by Erin McGann, Providence
EWI of Spokane Chapter President
I’ve just returned home from an impromptu 24-hour visit to Seattle. It was a blur of a day with my husband’s family, but a rare visit by two nephews gave us (nearly 25 of us) an informal reason to come together and spend time.
To give you some insight, my husband is the youngest of five from an “Irish-Italian from Boston” family. Which means our family get-togethers are overwhelmingly boisterous, include some kind of athletic competition, and always end in the very wee hours of the morning.
One by one, as each person arrived (ranging from 2 years old to 80 years old), the party’s discussions and intensity became more complex. Even within an amazingly fun get-together filled with laughter, love, and so much joy, like any big group, personalities find a way to clash, and strong feelings came closer to the surface. My husband’s family is comprised of truly some of most wonderful people in the world, but group dynamics are not easy.
On my ride home, I thought about this blur of 24 hours, and smiled as I recounted the small moments with each of the family members. Laughing with my sister-in-laws at our awful cornhole shots. Showing my new grandnephew his two feet as he searched for words to explain objects. Enjoying the witty banter of my stepson and his 20-year-old cousins. Talking to my nephew about his experiences on day one of his first adult job. And watching my nine-year-old’s fear of dogs lessen after some time with three adorable beagles.
Large groups, even family, hold complexity. But even in the tough times of disagreements and challenges, you can always find an opportunity to build understanding and connection.
Last month, EWI has its own sort of family reunion. I am so grateful to the Past Presidents for hosting such a wonderful chapter meeting in Kendall Yards. While sunshine provided the perfect backdrop, the evening was that much more special because of the amazing individuals who have pioneered this Chapter’s evolution and continue to serve its mission and values. You heard many of the past presidents share their tales of friendship that night, and it is within this context that I think it’s fair to say, sometimes friends are 100% family.
As we embark on the Annual Business Meeting in August, we will be discussing and voting on important items. The two key ones are the proposed budget, as well as the slate of Board officers. I am honored and proud of those willing to step into leadership roles to lead this amazing organization forward another step. If I know anything, it’s that leadership requires consistency, transparency, and patience. The best any leader can do is learn from the past, envision the future, and execute to the best of his/her abilities to achieve it. I am truly confident we are heading in a great direction.
Secondarily, the proposed budget reflects a thoughtful and strategic response to fluctuating business and societal influences. The Board’s decision and approach to proposing a slight increase in dinner dues was difficult. But to do what is best for the organization, tough decisions were needed. Again, leadership isn’t always easy. The slate of officers, proposed budget, and supporting financial notes were recently sent out. Please make sure to review those documents and join the upcoming town hall calls (there will be two) if you have any questions prior to the vote in August.
EWI may be an organization, but it is also a family. With more than 50 member reps, the collective mix of our diverse personalities, interests, approaches, styles, industries, and even personal values make us unique. And like my husband’s family–regardless of whether we agree or disagree on everything, respect and communication are expected, because love and friendship hold this whole crazy thing together.