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February 5, 2020 Minutes

Attendees: Clara Sartori, Sue Okie, Evonne Klein, Mary Genco, Stephanie Maher, Millyn Gaaserud, Barbara Thorne, Laurie Williamson, Carolyn Bayne, Arlene Tulacro,Theresa Vogt, Shelly Skoglund, Jean Sweeney and Tiffany O’Connor

Clara Sartori called the meeting to order at 10:00 AM.

The Minutes for the January 8, 2020 meeting were approved.

Treasurer Report (Stephanie Maher)

  • The current balance is $16,725. Membership count: 110 paid members, 2 honorary members

Membership (Satori)

  • Thank you to Betsy Shay and Shelly Skoglund for updating our membership database that is reported to the State and National Leagues. The January 31st count is used to determine our 2020-21 State and National dues, which will be paid over the summer.

Legislative Coffee (Sartori)

  • Thank you to Stephanie Maher for hosting the Legislative Coffee, and to ArleneTulacro for helping with hospitality. Also thanks to Martha Banks, Mary Genco,Evonne Klein, Clara Sartori and Laurie Williamson for developing topic and question priorities, to Evonne Klein for coordinating our legislators’ participation and to Tiffany O’Connor for taking notes.
  • More than 25 attendees heard from our state legislators, Senators Bob Duff and Carlo Leone, and Representatives, Matt Blumenthal and Terrie Wood. Topics included transportation (including tolls), economic initiatives, housing, increased access to voting, and more. Please read the minutes from the meeting 
  • General consensus – the new format (a few prepared questions) is preferred, along with continuing to host the event in someone’s home.

LWVUS “Women Power the Vote” Day of Action – February 14, 2020

  • The date falls at the beginning of the school break, and the registrars did not think voter registration was warranted.

LWVCT Gala Dinner – Saturday Feb 22nd at the Italian Center in Stamford

  • Tickets may still be available; sign-up deadline is Feb 12th
  • The Darien league is sponsoring a $50 gala program ad, celebrating the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage and the founding of the LWV.

Programs (Evonne Klein)

  • The Darien Library and Darien LWV will host a screening of “One Woman One Vote” on Sunday March 1st at 2:00 PM in the Darien Library (Louise Berry Auditorium). The documentary is about the 70-year struggle for women’s suffrage, and why the suffragists faced entrenched opposition from men and women who feared the women’s vote would ignite a social revolution. The event is free and open to the public.
  • LWV Norwalk will host a program “Redistricting and Gerrymandering – What Do They Mean for You?” on Sunday, February 9th from 2:00-4:00. The event is free and open to the public.
  • LWV New Canaan is hosting a “Women Rock the Vote” party to celebrate 100 Years of the 19th Amendment
  • Technically the celebration continues throughout 2020. If interested in a similar Fall Kick Off Event for Darien LWV, please contact Clara Sartori.

Food For Thought

  • FFT will meet Thursday, February 13th 12:30-2:00 PM at the home of Ann Ferris,30 Hale Lane. Contact Karla Coe ( ) to get on the FFT email list. The news topic is not announced in advance, so no preparation is required. All members invited.

Discussion of Nominating and League Leadership Structure

  • Thank you to Sue Okie and Evonne Klein, who have volunteered to lead recruiting efforts for 2020-21, which has become especially challenging.
  • There are concerns about filling positions due to:
    • Current leaders rolling off
    • Membership declining
    • Lack of participation outside of direct responsibilities
    • Fewer members willing to take on leadership positions
    • Poor attendance at meetings
    • Fewer “younger” (55 and under) members actively involved
  • Members shared perspectives regarding the concerns listed above, which included:
    • More working women
    • Time demands (children’s activities)
    • Other means of getting political information (internet)
    • Negative view of single-sex organizations (perceived because of LWV name)
    • Members uncertain about what specific leadership positions entail, then surprised and overwhelmed (and apprehensive to say yes next time)
    • Leadership positions lack community and adequate help/support
    • Conflicts with the new 10:00 meeting start time
  • Improved and updated marketing (including website, social media)
  • Educating, marketing – what the league is, and what it offers (that others don’t)
  • Next Steps – Two plans offered:
    • 1. Small group meeting of those interested in offering input and ideas for restructuring the slate
    • 2. Whole group offering input and ideas at next scheduled meeting (DPS on break Feb 14-21; small group meeting may not be possible before next meeting)

Members expressed support for the league’s mission and appreciation for the

invaluable work and guidance by current and past leaders of the league. Suggestions are meant to address the evolving changes of the volunteer commitments and communications of members (and potential new members).

Jean Sweeney provided an update regarding the Equal Rights Amendment.

Our next meeting will be on March 4, 2020.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:18 am with a motion from Evonne Klein, seconded by Laurie Williamson.

Respectfully submitted by Tiffany O’Connor, Acting Secretary