Message from the executive director
TTN At Our Best – Engaged As We Age
January 2012As I work on TTN’s Annual Report – coming in February – I’m inspired to see that almost 400 members are listed as volunteers, leading chapters, organizing peer groups, planning programs, welcoming newcomers and taking on many other roles. Their efforts are invaluable for TTN and also good for the volunteers, it turns out.
A new study by the Sloan Center on Aging & Work documents the connection between well-being and “engagement” – enthusiastic, dedicated, absorbing involvement in volunteer activities, caregiving, education or paid work. The study reveals that adults over 50 are more engaged than their peers under 50 in volunteer activities, caregiving and paid work; it also demonstrates that as we get older, engagement plays a bigger and bigger role in our well-being.
TTN is a living laboratory for what works for smart, energetic women over 50 and the Sloan Center report is right on target. Our themes, Connect, Discover and Impact are a distillation of their study – we engage women in learning, bring them together in a positive community and in the process, make a big difference to others. I work with many of our 400 volunteers; over and over, I see the skill and passion they bring to projects, and the exhilaration they feel as a result. “The Transition Network changed my life” is a common comment, and it reflects the sense of purpose and community that members tap into as they build the organization.
I’ll highlight four members who embody the concept of engagement:
* Nancy Reedy (LI Steering Committee) – as the Long Island chapter’s PR person, Nancy has become an expert at telling TTN’s story, never taking no for an answer…and achieving off-the-charts results. Nancy’s latest coup is the three-page January 21 Newsday article that grabbed the attention of women all over Long Island. Over 200 women have signed up for a late February mix and mingle, and 10 have joined in just five days.
* Del McCormick (Chicago co-chair) – a natural saleswoman, Del spreads the word about TTN as she networks to find her next job. In January she and co-chair Emma Kalaidjian had a bigger microphone to tell TTN’s story in an interview on mega-radio-station WGN.
* Bethene LeMahieu (NYC leader of the Salon peer group) – Bethene conceived and has led the Salon for six years, offering a wait-listed monthly discussion of big topics. Last summer, she reached out to other chapters to help them launch their own Salons; Philadelphia and Santa Fe are getting started with Bethene as a mentor.
* Jean Palmer (Santa Fe chapter chair) – in a classic TTN story, Jean relocated from Washington DC to Santa Fe to be near family…and decided to build a new TTN community in her adopted home town. She’s used her coaching and organizational skills to build a strong Steering Committee and plans are underway for the late-April chapter launch.
Nancy, Del, Bethene and Jean - thank you all for being such great role models and enriching the lives of many other women through your work. To others in our audience who haven’t joined TTN, or who haven’t gotten involved – now’s the time! We promise an enjoyable and life-enhancing experience.