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Susie Malone

General Federation of Women’s Clubs holds 2021 Convention

The International General Federation of Women’s Club held its 2021 Annual Convention in Atlanta at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in August.

The 2020 convention was held virtually; therefore, the attendees were excited about being together again in person.

The four-day convention included a lot of business meetings, luncheons, banquets, outstanding speakers, workshops, awards and fun times that club women from across the country and internationally enjoyed.

The long-awaited official installation ceremony of 2020-2022 GFWC International officers was held.  The officers are President Marian St. Clair, President-elect Deb Strahanoski, First Vice President Suellen Brazil, Second Vice President Wendy Carriker, Secretary Jolie R. Frankfurth, Treasurer Mary Beth Williams and Director of Junior Clubs Kristina Higbee.

The convention theme was Celebrating Cultures, Cultivating Connections.

Six of GFWC’s International Affiliates shared video messages to celebrate their culture and contributions to cultivating GFWC’s worldwide connections during the Gateway to the World Celebration Banquet.

Entertainment was provided by Orchestra Noir with its contemporary and classical jazz selections.

Lilly Ledbetter was one of the keynote speakers. She is well-known for her work to achieve pay equity for women and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 that was passed by Congress. She is the author of the book Grace and Grit: My Fight for Equal Pay and Fairness at Goodyear and Beyond.”

Another convention speaker was John T. Broderick Jr., senior director of external affairs at Dartmouth-Hitchcock. He shared his experience as an advocate for the R.E.A.C.T. Mental Health Awareness Campaign designed by Dartmouth-Hitchcock.

Broderick talked about the common signs of mental illness and encouraged attendees to raise awareness about the importance of getting treatment and the need to change the unfair culture that surrounds it.

Jane Jenkins Herlong, a renowned humorist, presented hilarious anecdotes. Her singing and inspirational messages and life lessons were a highlight. She is the author of Rhinestones on My Flip-Flops: Choosing Extravagant Joy in the Midst of Everyday Mess-ups,” and “Bury Me with My Pearls.”

The convention body approved the GFWC resolutions that were presented. This is an important procedure, as resolutions are the foundation of the GFWC organization. The following affiliate organizations were honored: Shot@Life, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Prevent Child Abuse America, Canine Companions; Heifer International, Hugh O’Brien Youth Leadership, March of Dimes, Operation Smile and UNICEF USA.

Awards of the Convention were given in the areas of Arts and Culture; Civic Engagement and Outreach; Education and Libraries; Environment; Epsilon Sigma Omicron; Communications and Public Relations; Leadership; Membership; and Health and Wellness.

GFWC Alabama won the following awards: Education and Libraries CSP Chair: Cheri McCain of Russellville Book Lovers Study Club; Civic Engagement and Outreach CSP Chair: Patricia Cox of Book Lovers Study Club; Arts and Culture CSP Chair: Glennis Posey and Pat Berry of Double Springs Study Club.

In response to the congratulations for the awards, Patricia stated, “I just wrote what the clubwomen of Alabama supported and reported on during the past year.”