Letter from the President – March 2022

by Erin McGann, Providence
EWI of Spokane Chapter President

“The person who starts the race is not the same person who finishes the race.”

Have you ever done a marathon? I’ve only ever run a half marathon in my life, but since they wrapped me in the “tin foil blanket” at the finish line, it totally counts in my mind.

So for those who have run a marathon (or some version of it), you can probably recount the number of hours of dedication and training that you put in before the race. You can vividly share the wave of emotions – the nervousness, the struggle, the pain, and even the exhilaration you felt during the race. And of course everyone can hear the proud inflection in your voice when you re-tell the feeling of accomplishment that rushed over you when you crossed the finish line. A marathon may be a physical activity, but what happens internally is equally important.

I think we can look at the last two years as its own version of a marathon—a marathon we didn’t sign up for or even know to train for, but when you’re thrown into a race and feel unprepared, unstable, and out of your comfort zone, you summon up all of your courage and effort to just keep moving forward. One foot in front of the other. Walking or running. It’s the GRIT in each of us that our amazing guest speaker, Nadine Burgess, spoke about at last month’s meeting (pictured below).

We are each in our own race. A journey towards something; hopefully something better. But life is a series of races. The question then begs, what do you do when this particular race is over? Do you look at how it changed you? Do you analyze what you would have done differently? Or do you identify ways to train harder so you’re ready for whatever the next race (or life) throws your way?

EWI is a perfect complement to your race. I consider EWI a special way to “train” and build your skills so that when you’re faced with another “race,” you’re better prepared. This organization offers leadership roles, both locally and nationally. It offers a chance to hone your networking skills. It provides an opportunity to work and collaborate with other reps from different industries with different perspectives. This is training in a safe space that you may not be able to find anywhere else for fear of looking silly or feeling inadequate. I’ve felt both. EWI is made up of so many amazing people and I encourage you to lean into the great things this chapter is doing.

Being an adult, especially during this unprecedented time, has been challenging, but consider the young people just starting their journeys. This year, we are fortunate to have the chance to hold not one, but two scholarship banquets. Our first one rocked the house in fall 2021 and our second is coming up this spring. EWI’s dedication to helping students find academic success is truly remarkable, and we, as an organization, should be proud of the impact we’ve made over the years.

Additionally, at our March Chapter meeting, all of you will have a chance to vote to add to our community footprint and impact by creating another scholarship level – the EWISP II scholarship for non-traditional high school juniors. Please reach out to Jene or the scholarship committee to learn more prior to the vote.

Just like in a marathon, there are dozens, if not hundreds, if not thousands, of people right next to you. Everyone is running in the same direction. And ultimately everyone is running his or her own race. It is their unique journey. But when you take a broader perspective at the racers from above, you’ll notice that there is power in a group that is moving forward, together, toward a common goal. And that is what EWI represents.