I’d like to share my personal story about AAUW. I joined fresh out of college on my mother’s urging. Mom was not eligible to join then (she was a diploma school registered nurse), but knew this was an organization I should belong to.
I didn’t get to meetings because I started graduate school. One night I got a call inviting me to join the branch board. I was thrilled and immediately said yes! I noticed that I was the youngest member and not in education. So, know what I did? Invited my friends from college to join. Today, we are all still members.
My involvement in the branch grew. In four years I was branch president – that was in 1977. In 1981 I decided to run for state office. I was elected secretary, then treasurer. In 1992 I was elected state president. I served four years.
I continued my AAUW journey as chair of the National Conference of State Presidents. I got to meet First Lady Hillary Clinton. I was on the steps of the Supreme Court and appeared on CNN live! In 1999 I was elected to the board of the AAUW Foundation. Two years later I became vice-president of development for the Foundation. I sat next to Gloria Steinem at dinner.
In recent years I’ve served on the state board and on our branch board in varying roles. Currently I serve on the national campaign committee for Charting the Course, a $1million campaign to raise unrestricted funds.
At the same time, I’m a branch president.
Why I am sharing this? I would not have been able to accomplish what I have without AAUW. Now that may sound funny, but…allow me to explain.
AAUW has been my training ground, my safe haven to develop my leadership skills. I have grown as an individual expanding my AAUW know-how to other organizations and to my own career path. It’s been a wonderful experience and I look forward to continuing my personal development and advocacy for issues facing women and girls.
I hope you will join us. I have belonged to three different branches and my level of involvement has ranged from very much to very little. What’s great about AAUW is you can be very involved or be a supporter of our issues. Your AAUW experience depends on you.
Susan K. Nenstiel, President