Thank you to my chapter, for this chapter in my life...

DAME Shelley Pedersen, immediate past chapter president

Our January chapter meeting at The Georgia Club, the annual New Year New Vision party, was another wonderful evening together.  As I drove home that night (and you know there’s lots of thinking time available on my commutes!) it was a drive-time of reflection and…  appreciation.  Your support (trust me, no one ever takes a standing ovation lightly) - and one very special, very gorgeous, very heavy Tiffany crystal vase – mean the world to me, and I thank you all again for such generosity.  It was very emotional….

Volunteer boards, by their very nature, are a vibrant jigsaw puzzle that bring together a group of people with varied life experiences, differing opinions, wide-ranging tasks at hand, and distinctive skill-sets.  The pieces fit closely together to work for the whole, bound together by the Mission and goals of the organization - in our case, our two reasons for being:  Education. Philanthropy.  And I hope our two-legged stool has a third leg for stability:  fun!

Our 2014 appointed committee chairs are an amazing example of having the pieces ‘fit’.  Once again I truly thank these Dames: Gena Berry (membership), Jennifer Booker (green tables), Suzanne Brown (global culinary initiative), Holly Chute (programs), Tamie Cook (scholarship/grants), Kelly Hornbuckle (archives), Rebecca Lang (nominations), Lizzie McDonald (newsletter), Kelly Norris (website), Allison Palestrini (social media), Mary Reynolds (marketing/PR), Julie Shaffer (green tables), and Gayle Skelton (parliamentarian) for the commitment, insights, dedication, hard work, and abundance of spirit demonstrated this past year.

And our 2014 elected chapter officers were also nothing short of incredible in their work…building on past successes, helping move our chapter forward, and creating new paths with the passion and skill that keeps the Atlanta chapter as ‘the one to watch’ in our organization.  I’ll never be able to properly express my deep appreciation to Dames:  Dale DeSena (VP communications), Amy Crowell (VP philanthropy), Dana Dabruzzi (VP programs), Gloria Smiley (treasurer), Barb Pires (secretary), and Stacy Zeigler (immediate past president) for making the year one of challenges met and successes achieved – a year that has truly impacted me for a lifetime.

Think of me as one grateful ‘presidential sandwich’ – on one side of my sandwich experience I had I’m-proud-to-call-my-friend, past president Dame Stacy Zeigler, a woman I respect and admire who offered unwavering advice, honesty, experience and support.  She always had my back….you just can’t imagine what that means. We’ll be cheering her on in the years to come…I know she’ll be a fantastic LDEI International President one day!  On the other side of my sandwich experience, I have my very dear friend for over 25 years, incoming president Dame Gayle Skelton. I know what a dedicated leader she is (we served together for years on NACE national boards), and I know you’ll adore her heart, focus, vision, and commitment as much as I do.  She was my nominating Dame, back in the early years of the previous decade (yipes, that long ago?) and I remain so indebted to her for that, and all that came with it along the way.  I know she’ll be a wonderful chapter president for LDEI Atlanta!

Thank you again to everyone for two amazing terms as your chapter president.  I know that I got back from LDEI more than I ever gave, and it was an honor to be of service….