For three days last month we sat around with our past Women of the Year honorees and had far-ranging discussions about transitions in our lives, views on mentoring and women’s empowerment, career advice, and intimate and insightful vulnerable conversation. Participants commented that they were struck by the fact that every single one of us – though our backgrounds and seasons of life were different – felt in the midst of a life transition, whether it was changing careers, dealing with unexpected challenges, adapting to new ways of looking at communitarian contributions, or awakening to some new truth within ourselves. Transitions are funny things: sometimes we seek them out, other times they land gently in our laps or hit us roughly over the head. But whether we welcome them or not, things are always changing – and for many of us, 2020 has taken it to a new level. This creative way to bring our alumnae and friends together while celebrating these distinguished change makers, thought leaders, and influencers was a success thanks to our panelists and our ticket buyers and sponsors. We are so grateful that others joined us in this experiment.

One of the best take-aways from this series was that our past Women of the Year honorees who have NOT gone through a Greater Missouri Leadership Challenge Class indicated that they wish they could be more engaged with our work and that we count them as alumnae to ensure they stay connected. So we have done that. They are now receiving our newsletter and will continue to receive communication from us as they desire.

Another request was that we share the chat details. Some were so engaged in the conversation they didn’t make note of the items shared. Others just wanted to review the notes to get some sense of how the conversations flowed. So we are doing that here. In reading through this, it won’t make sense for some of you. For others, it might trigger some additional inspiration or light a flame that has been rekindled since your Challenge Year experience. We will be editing and sharing highlights of the series on our YouTube Channel in the future, but for now – glimpse through these notes and find your own inspiration.

And thanks again to all who joined us!

Day One; Chris Chinn, Teresa Maledy, Cici Rojas

Julia Gaines: 2018!!
Leigh Anne Taylor Knight: Fantastic!!!  Celebrate Jan!
Gina Mauller-Crane: Class of 2009! Great to see everyone!
From Suzanne Rothwell, Past GMLF Prez: 2004 in the house! From COMO and Columbia College
Deidre Backues: So thankful to be Class of 2020/21
Missy Montgomery: Class of 2017!
Cindy Miller: Question for Teresa: How has the pandemic changed the conversation regarding equity in delivery of public-school services in Columbia (with the addition of virtual/remote learning and required technology to hold classes)? Specifically, has the district provided support to students who don’t have hardware or stable internet connectivity?
Jennifer Alvarez: Amazing, inspiring story!  Thanks for sharing CiCi.
Deidre Backues: Great reminder! Live in the moment. <3
Tina Olson: Thank you Cici for sharing your story and reminding me to live in the moment and slow down.
Lori Gregory: CiCi – praying for your continued healing and recovery ❤️!
Missy Montgomery: Thank you for sharing this personal story that reminds each of us to prioritize health and self-care.  Linking arms in support for healing in your journey CiCi.
Jan Grossmann: Thanks to each of you for sharing your current experiences and challenges.
Julie Middleton: These are amazing stories!
Leigh Anne Taylor Knight: Supporting one another – soooooo important!
Leigh Anne Taylor Knight: Run, CiCi, Run!   And great question!!
Leigh Anne Taylor Knight: CoMO BOE is very fortunate to have you, Teresa!  It IS about caring!
Suzanne Rothwell, Past GMLF Prez: CPS is so incredibly blessed to have your leadership, Teresa. Especially now. Your level headed leadership is just what our community needs.
Jan Beckett: Thank you so much for all you do for Columbia, Theresa.  We all benefit from your experience.
Tina Olson: Thanks so much. I enjoyed the “pause” and hearing from amazing women.
Amy Crawford: I have enjoyed hearing Teresa’s story of being on school board.  So many challenges facing those who volunteer to serve in these roles.  The decisions being made in these districts both large and small are difficult and there is little guidance to make these decisions currently.
Leigh Anne Taylor Knight: To ALL – or anyone who is willing to answer:  What is something you would have done differently on your leadership journey?  Would love to learn from each of you!
Leigh Anne Taylor Knight: AGREED Teresa~ 19 million people in our country do not have access to reliable high-speed internet
Cindy Miller: Colleges and universities seeing the same thing. I read about a recent survey done with current students, and about 57% of them experienced additional financial stress due to the need to purchase or upgrade computer equipment, or to secure more stable internet access – all from the rapid movement to virtual learning that occurred in spring.
to   Katie Danner (Privately): Hi Katie! TY and our panelists today for sharing your time and perspectives and stories – wonderful to hear. I would like to ask one question – I am curious as to what our panelists thoughts are re: recent research/news (I’ve heard a few times recently) stating that the pandemic will have lasting negative impact  on women particularly (income, careers (service areas hit the worse w/namely women in those roles), economic outlook) not just near term but longer term. Curious as to their thoughts, concerns, and possible solutions moving forward in 2021 and beyond. TY!
Suzanne Rothwell, Past GMLF Prez: Teresa, I admire you for pulling back on community work in KC to focus on your family. You certainly made up for it in Columbia!  And, there is a time and a place for everything so I think you chose right. We can’t do everything all at once.
Leigh Anne Taylor Knight: GREAT words of wisdom and advice, Teresa, Chris and CiCi!  Thank you!
Gina Mauller-Crane, Edward Jones: Woman’s intuition never misleads!
Missy Montgomery: Interested in thoughts from our panelists about strong leadership and talent development that works for women (and men). What you have done about identifying and working with male advocates to increase gender diversity?
Suzanne Rothwell, Past GMLF Prez: CiCi, YES!  More strategic with networking.  That is definitely learned.
Jan Grossmann: GMLC needs to create a program like this.
Cindy Miller: Nobody puts Baby in a corner. 🙂
Chris Chinn: I agree Cindy Miller!!
Juli Shaw: Very inspiring, thank you all!
Cindy Miller: Thank you all for your wisdom and inspiration!
Leigh Anne Taylor Knight: What a wonderful event!  Looking forward to NEXT two!
Gina Mauller-Crane, Edward Jones: Indeed, thank all of you so much – panelists, Katie and planners for this event – apprec. all your experiences, stories and words of wisdom! Great way to spend the lunch hour – great juice!
Julie Middleton: So engaging and inspiring! Thanks to each of you.
Teresa Maledy: thanks to you all!  Great job GMLF!!!
Missy Montgomery: Thank you! Very much appreciate GMLC and the community created today. Looking forward to the next one!
Jennifer Ingraham: Thank you!

Day 2; Linda Arnold, Maxine Clark, Julie Middleton, Jean Peters Baker

Katie Danner: Love that. Shoes you don’t have to alter!
Sarah Dubbert: And Maxine was super when she came not only to speak, but to help mentor our Missouri Girls State delegates on business topics and acumen – what a huge impact she made in their lives!!!
Tia Drake: I am so excited to hear about this project. I know this area well and it will be a great benefit to the community
Michelle McCaulley: I love that you are rebuilding that area of St Louis!
Michelle McCaulley: I have supported Build-A-Bear A LOT! About 20 of the critters 🙂
Jan Beckett: And she did an amazing roll as a Mom!
Tia Drake: great point!
Cindy Miller: We definitely need some civility in this country right now!!!
Kristy Chastain: I love that
Kristy Chastain: We need to be kind to all!
Cindy Miller: Amen, Kristy.
Kristy Chastain: I agree with you too, Cindy.
Michelle McCaulley: I worked at the bank with Linda in HR and I always remember (and still use it today) that we were always told in training that people can deposit their money anywhere – it is how you treat your customers that keeps them coming back.
Tia Drake: Women often assume we have to be completely qualified to be considered. It is a good challenge to go and prove them wrong.. I just did this, and yes its hard but I am learning something new about myself everyday
Julia Gaines: Great documentary!
Katie Danner: Only the Educated Are Free: The Journey of Michael A. Middleton
Cindy Miller: Thank you so much! Would love that!
Katie Danner:
Cindy Miller: Yes, thanks so much, ladies!
Cindy Miller: OMG, that is awesome, Maxine! She was obviously your very first mentor and role model! What an inspiration!
Jan Beckett: Sarah Dubbert!
Cindy Miller: Perhaps we need to do a “junior” Greater Missouri Leadership Challenge…? A new scholarship program for younger women???
Cindy Miller: But vote for Jean right now! On November 3 that is. 🙂
Julie Middleton: Thanks to each of you
Kristy Chastain: Thank you, Ladies. I loved all the points about women!

Day 3; Kristy Chastain, June McAllister Fowler, Karen Miller, Tina Olson

Mindy Mazur: Thank you, Kristy! Way to represent GMLC Class of 2015!
Amy Schneider: Thank you Kristy!
Cindy Miller: Great insight, Kristy. Love the story how you came full circle to trust your instincts and trust yourself. Good advice for all of us!
Katie Danner: Finding your voice is empowering!
Mindy Mazur: It’s always a delight and inspiring to hear you speak, June. Thank you!
Amy Schneider: Great insight June – thank you.
Cindy Miller: Karen, your self confidence is awe-inspiring! No hesitation, just absolute assurance you can do the job. Wow.
Katie Danner: Understand that Karen was the Chair of the NATIONAL Association of Counties. An impressive get in any situation, more so given her “rural” base
Rosalind Cochran: I agree with you Karen! GMLC has given a lot of women the courage Lead!
Mindy Mazur: Thank you for your consistent leadership and creating opportunities/connections for others to make a difference, Karen! You do get it done!
Amy Schneider: Always inspiring Karen – Thank you
Rosalind Cochran: Thank you Kristy and June for your leadership and your awe inspiring stories!!
Gina Mauller-Crane: I have always admired Karen for her tenacity and direct communication style – she’s a gem for CoMO!
Mindy Mazur: Tina! What perseverance and resilience! Thank you for modeling a growth mindset in leadership.
Tonya Noble: Tina, thank you for your courageous leadership!
Cindy Miller: Tina, I’m so glad that my son is in your class! For those of us raising young men, we need to continue to have these conversations to ensure that they are open to more opinions than just are offered by white men. That is the only way we can make the culture shift…
Rosalind Cochran: Yes you are! You bring your own things.
Tina Olson:
Jennifer Alvarez: Thanks so much for sharing your Tina! Enjoy hearing all these inspiring stories.
Tina Olson: How to be an anti-racist in another book to read.
Rosalind Cochran: Please read Mindful of Race by Ruth King, as well.
Amy Schneider: TIna – thank you !! I was just given a copy of White Fragility so this is timely. I look forward to reading and learning.
Tina Olson: Thank you Roz…
Rosalind Cochran: Tina, always a pleasure to see and hear you!
Mindy Mazur: Thank you, June.
Gina Mauller-Crane: Thank you so much June
Gina Mauller-Crane: Also, thank you Tina – I’ve always admired you as well – yond have faced so many challenges (personally and professionally) and have not just overcome and survived, but thrived! Another CoMO gem!
Tina Olson: The job market is overwhelmed with these opportunities right now.
Leigh Anne Taylor Knight: Agreed, June! Embrace the disruption and move with the HOPE!
Tina Olson: Kudos to your church, Ann. The faith community has been absent (my church included) when we’re called to social justice.
Ann Merrifield: Tina, agreed.
Cindy Miller: For those of you who may not have attended last week’s GMLF speakers, Julie Middleton shared a link to the documentation that she produced for her husband Mike Middleton, who served for a period of time as the Interim President of Mizzou. I watched it last week on YouTube and it s very powerful. Katie, do you still have that link you can share again?
Katie Danner:
Ann Merrifield: I was just introduced to the Loden Diversity Wheel. A great visual that illustrates the many dimensions that make us who we are.
Tina Olson: That’s amazing that BJC did this and recognizing the needs of your employees especially women.
Tina Olson: I’m so sorry I need to leave. I’ve got class at 12:30 and let my students know I would be 5 minutes late.
Ann Merrifield: Nice to see you Tina
Cindy Miller: Tina, thanks for your inspiring words!
Ann Merrifield: Tina is on the cover of the Affinity magazine, put out by Columbia College Alumni Association. Check it out on Facebook. A good article inside as well.
Cindy Miller: Here is the link:
Katie Danner: You rock Cindy. Thanks!
Ann Merrifield: Thanks Cindy.
Leigh Anne Taylor Knight: What a great value proposition for Alumni and current cohort and the entities we represent!
Ann Merrifield: Getting ready to have to switch to my phone as I have to travel. I’ll still be listening. I love this group!
Leigh Anne Taylor Knight: Speaking of supporting women who are running for office, check out SheShouldRun’s site, too!
Mindy Mazur: YES! ^
Rosalind Cochran: For sure! I vote in ALL elections.
Leigh Anne Taylor Knight: Me, too, Katie! A brand new experience!
Jan Beckett: As we’ve just discussed, any of us can contractCOVID and need to be quarantined with no notice. I did not want to loss the opportunity to vote because of possible quarantine.
Mindy Mazur: Great point, Jan.
Cindy Miller: We can all push links and information out in our social media feeds. We can share GMLF information more faithfully and diligently!
June Fowler: Hi Jan!!!
Jan Beckett: Great to see you again, June.
Mindy Mazur: Here is my newest volunteer effort I just mentioned, LeadMO:
Leigh Anne Taylor Knight: Another idea could be to have a GMLC intentional connection/session with (newly branded) United WE (formerly Women’s Foundation) in order to help everyone know more about the Appointments Project so we get more diversity in our “appointments” to local and state entities. 😉
Leigh Anne Taylor Knight: Reconnect on Zoom with college and high school friends!
Gina Mauller-Crane: Lots of outdoor trails and walking the fury family members
Leigh Anne Taylor Knight: No reunions in the normal way, and the cool virtual experience is that NO ONE has to travel and ALL can attend. 🙂
Jennifer Ingraham: Walking and cycling. Taking advantage of city, county and state parks. Get outdoors!
Rosalind Cochran: I’ve been calling all of the elder family members and friends…talking on the phone for hours at a time. Wonderful conversations, history and stories.
Amy Schneider: Trail system starts right outside my office. It’s beautiful and a great way to walk off stress
Ann Merrifield: just have to wear a heavy coat
Rosalind Cochran: Dropping off care packages to them if they’re in the city.
Ann Merrifield: walking has been therapeutic for me
Leigh Anne Taylor Knight: Policy Coalition join – great choice GMLF Board!
Jennifer Ingraham: Agree with Leigh Anne about United WE and Appointments Project. Could be a great “what’s next” choice for GMLC graduates.
June Fowler: Rosalind, notice that my adult children are calling much more often and taking much longer! And agree on bundling up to keep enjoying the outdoors.
Mindy Mazur: Thank you so much – great to see you all!
Jennifer Ingraham: I am so glad this group of women and their stories were saved for the grand finale. I wish I could have this level of inspirational, elevated discourse every day!
Amy Schneider: Agree Jennifer – what a great way to spend some time in the middle of the day !
Gina Mauller-Crane: Thank you so much ladies – appreciate each of you! Make it a great rest of the week!
Jennifer Ingraham: Honorary alumna!
Mindy Mazur: yes! ^
Tonya Noble: Thank you all for your outstanding leadership and drive to level the playing field for all!!
Shayla Cooper: Thank you all so much. This has been a pleasure!!
Rosalind Cochran: Thank You Katie!!!
Juli Shaw: thank you all! and so good to see my 2018 friends!!
Jennifer Ingraham: Thank you Julia! Roo Up!
Julia Weber: Thank you!
Mindy Mazur: LOVE that idea
Leigh Anne Taylor Knight: Great series! Thank you, Katie!