Letter from the President – January 2024

by Collette Leland, Winston & Cashatt, Lawyers
EWI of Spokane Chapter President

I am writing this month’s message on New Year’s Day. And so, I find myself in a reflective mood—grateful the lessons and joy of 2023, and excited for what 2024 may bring.

2023 was a big year for our family. We welcomed our first grandchild in May, and our second just one week before Christmas. New life is a precious thing.

2023 was a big year for our Chapter as well. Our Scholarship and Fundraising Committees achieved their goal of raising enough money to fully vest our ASIST Scholarship fund. Not only does this ensure that we will have sufficient funds each year to help an adult student return to school, but it has allowed us to have more flexibility when considering where to direct our fundraising efforts in 2024. Thank you so much to all of you who contributed your funds and time to this effort. Well done!

In 2023, our Philanthropy Committee committed to putting on two Reading Rallies each year for local elementary school children. The behind-the-scenes tenacity of this group is truly inspiring. There were several moments when it appeared that they just wouldn’t be able to jump through the bureaucratic hurdles in time. Yet, they prevailed (twice!) and in October, delighted a class of students with an opportunity to meet a young, local author, and take home a copy of her book. This group is already preparing for its first of two Reading Rallies for 2024. Watch the Connect for ways to get involved in this fun event.

In 2023, our Marketing and Communications Committee won the Corporate EWI award for best website, but this group does so much more than maintain our website. They create online forms for our scholarships and our various fundraisers; they ensure we have an active social media presence. Each year the MarCom Committee puts our Journal of Business insert together and every month they create a new Connect that keeps all of us—er—connected.

Thanks to the work of our Retention and Recruitment Committee in 2023, our connections are expanding. Two years ago, our Chapter voted to amend our standing rules to allow two businesses with the same primary business purpose, instead of just one. This change, along with the enthusiasm and hard work of the R & R Committee, has resulted in a steady stream of new member firms and representatives eager to get involved. Many of the folks serving on the Board this year have been representatives for less than five years. They have added new energy and ideas to our Chapter, and for that, I am extremely grateful.

In 2023, our Programs Committee started planning our 45th Chapter Anniversary celebration, set for April 16, 2024. What better time to remind ourselves of all that we have achieved and to honor those representatives who have provided outstanding service to the Chapter over our last 45 years. This will be a special time to learn more about the history of EWI, and women and men who made our Chapter what it is today. If you have not done so already, please, invite your firm’s executives to this special event. Get it on their calendars before April fills up.

We have a new year of joys and challenges before us. I am so grateful that we are not starting from scratch, but instead are building on the strong foundation begun almost 45 years ago. Thanks to each of you for what you do to make EWI of Spokane a good place to be. I can’t wait to see what we can do together in 2024.