A Letter From the Executive Director – 1st Quarter 2018

Dawn Repoli
Executive Director & COO

“Whose History Will You Change?

In honor of Women’s History Month, it feels appropriate to start this month’s letter with a little inspiration from one of my favorite women, Maya Angelou:

“Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women.”  

Complementary to that, I believe that each time we stand up for one another, we validate why we are here.  To that point, I feel it is important to share a story with you.  A few months ago, I was on an international flight back to the US.  A young woman (maybe 12 or 13 years old)  took her seat, which happened to be right next me, and I immediately sensed something was tense, troublesome and uncommon. Over the course of the flight, through her broken English and my limited Spanish and many odd occurrences and red flags, I grew more and more certain that this young woman was a victim of human trafficking. I struggled with the decision to say something to the flight crew. What if I was wrong? What if I created a problem that didn’t exist? Letting my intuition and lessons from the indicators list that I learned from our partners at ECPAT lead me, I used my voice and the flight crew was notified. Through their subsequent observations, they concurred. When the plane landed in New York, a full-scale investigation took place, confirming my suspicions about the safety and security of this young woman.

I share this example to illustrate the fact that the choice to ͚say something͛ can make a real impact on the lives of others.  This experience has magnified the lens through which I see so many things, including my work at WINiT.

As we strive to #makehistory for women, I encourage every one of our Members and Leaders to consider how you personally will step up, be present, and use your voice and actions to change history – for others and for yourself. Whether it is recognizing a colleague’s efforts, negotiating your own salary increase, sponsoring a more junior professional to help increase her visibility and opportunities, or vocalizing that a colleague is being overlooked or possibly treated unfairly, progress can be realized through choices and actions made by individuals every day, both personally and professionally.

THIS is WINiT, this is the courage and tenacity of every leader, member, donor and partner.  I ask, are we doing it enough? #seesomethingsaysomething

In April, WINiT will be hosting the WINiT Summit 2018 where we will bring together women and men to learn, connect, and #makehistory for women in the industries we serve.  This event is also an opportunity to celebrate the progress that is made when people make the choice to use their voice for change. Join us this April in New York to #makehistory for women.

Dawn Repoli
Executive Director & COO, WINiT

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A Letter From the Executive Director – 3rd Quarter 2017

Dawn Repoli
Executive Director & COO

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.” – Melody Beattie

I feel incredibly fortunate that I love what I do.

Because of that, I am naturally inclined to tell the story of WINiT – to colleagues and my ever-growing network of dedicated professionals in the industries we support. While I may be one of WINiT’s most passionate advocates and storyteller, our Members – our WINiT family – are the true voice of WINiT. They tell our story through the experiences they have, the successes they celebrate, and the challenges they overcome while navigating their career paths. They truly are the artists that paint the most vivid and authentic landscape of our organization.

This quarter, I asked one of our leaders (Carrie Freeman Parsons, Vice Chair, Freeman) and one of our members (Donna Mitsos, Vice President of Sales Innovation Meetings / WE World Experts) some questions about how WINiT has had an impact on their lives and careers. Here’s what they had to say:

What impact has WINiT had on you professionally and personally?

The most significant impact has been the impressive commitment by so many smart professionals who are sharing their knowledge, expertise and time with the WINiT Community.  Seeing the relationships that are formed by those who choose to truly engage is a reminder that this network is making an impact. – Carrie Freeman Parsons 

What legacy do you hope to leave for future generations of professional women?

I love to connect people – personally and professionally. To see the synergies and opportunities that can come from bringing people together, whether because they have shared experiences, goals, or interests. I believe so strongly in the value that is created by connecting people and hope to show others, by example, how simple and powerful the act can be. –Donna Mitsos

That women (and, men too) worry less about their career path and more about finding their purpose and then translating that purpose into their work.  When that happens, there is so much more clarity regarding the professional options that are open to you.   And, when you are living your purpose in your work, you are not only fulfilled, the work is more enjoyable and your impact is more significant. – Carrie Freeman Parsons

How do you hope to make an impact on the careers and lives of women?  

There are two important lessons I’ve learned and that I hope to share. You can have it all, but not at the same time. And, that’s OK.  What this means is that you need to know yourself – you need to know your strengths and ruthlessly prioritize.  When you set a standard for yourself based on your truth rather than what you think others believe your truth should be, you will ultimately be more successful personally and professionally. – Carrie Freeman Parsons

To help women gain the courage, confidence and power to excel and continually grow. I hope to share my experiences and talents to help others grow, learn, and succeed. – Donna Mitsos

What program or programs do you think deliver the most benefit to members?

Within the WINiT community, the eagerness to help each other is remarkable. I think the WINiT Mentor Program offers tremendous benefits. As mentees, we can learn from those more experienced to help us identify skills and educational areas that can be improved upon, to determine a path and direction and to develop relationships and provide important networking connections. Being a mentor is rewarding as it allows us to share what we have learned through our successes and failures during our career and also to give back. – Donna Mitsos 

What types of programs and services would you like to see WINiT offer in 2018?  

I would like to see the WINiT community have more opportunity to engage face-to-face.  No doubt, the virtual community is beneficial. But, when people get together face-to-face, the impact is even more significant. – Carrie Freeman Parsons

Carrie and Donna represent two of our many amazing WINiT Ambassadors who emulate the spirit of WINiT every day through their actions and words. To see how other WINiT Members bring the WINiT mission to life, take a look at some of our Member case studies.

Dawn Repoli
Executive Director & COO, WINiT

 

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A Letter From the Executive Director – 2nd Quarter 2017

Dawn Repoli
Executive Director & COO

Thinking Outside the ROI Box: The Real Reason to Give

What do the people of WINiT mean to you? Do you remember why you joined the WINiT family?

The harvest will never come if you don’t take the time to plant the seeds. The more seeds you plant, the bigger the harvest you will have. ~ Wendy Nicole Anderson Seems rather obvious, right?

April 15th marked the close of our first fundraising campaign. I am always humbled by the generous support WINiT receives – both by the many organizations (large and small) that make up the travel, meeting, event, and exhibition industries as well as the individual donors. Thank you for planting those seeds.

As the Executive Director of a non-profit, fundraising is one of my most critical and daunting responsibilities. Ironically, fundraising really comes down to being able to answer one basic question for the organizations and individuals WINiT approaches: why should I/we donate? The answer to that question is different for every potential donor. For many large organizations (and even individuals), there is often a need for concrete evidence that non-profit giving will yield some sort of qualitative return: Articulating the qualitative return can be elusive for all non-profits. How, then, can a non-profit illustrate what it is ‘returning’ to its donors? Why should organizations and people give?

I realized, after pondering the question for countless hours and looking internally to my own motivations for giving, the reason for giving is much more powerful than numbers on a report or checking a corporate responsibility box. I personally donate (time and money) to 5 non-profits and charities on an annual basis. I share this not to pat myself on the back but to explain that I sit squarely on the other side of this proverbial coin. The organizations that I choose to support are guided by a mission that resonates with me. These organizations represent a community. They are a network of people coalescing around ideas and beliefs about which they feel passionate, passionate enough around which to create real movement and change. I give because I believe that the visions and goals these organizations are working toward are worth the investment, even if the outcome of their efforts cannot be measured in hard data. And, in fact, I believe the ‘emotional ROI’ gained through giving is far more powerful because it moves something in people and organizations. It creates connection and commonality. It harnesses and cherishes that most basic sense of humanity: working together for a common good.

Every day, the WINiT program office and our network of almost 200 volunteers come together around the belief that we can create real change for women in the industries we serve. We know we are making an impact because of the stories our members share, the engagement of our volunteers, and the commitment of our donors.  We look back with gratitude at the generations of men and women who planted the seeds of change. We look forward with hope as we strive to continue to harvest change for future generations.

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A Letter From the Director – 1st Quarter 2017

Dawn Repoli
Executive Director & COO

Why WINiT?

Things are a buzz here in the WINiT Program Office as we count down to the WINiT Annual Summit 2016. The event will bring together over 250 of our Members, amazing women and men who will share their insight, experiences, and powerful energy to inspire one another and create real change.  The WINiT Annual Summit is our pinnacle event and a true representation of the spirit of our mission.

At WINiT, our mission is our compass, but it is our Members who are our True North.  They are the reason we do what we do, inspiring us to work tirelessly to improve the careers and lives of women.  We do this to leave a legacy of strength and progress for our daughters, granddaughters, nieces, and the future generations of women who come after us.  We do it in memory of and gratitude to our mothers, grandmothers, and the generations of women before us who, with conviction, dedication, and personal sacrifice, created the momentum to change history.  And, we do it with the unwavering support of our fathers, grandfathers, husbands, and sons who believe wholeheartedly in our mission and the journey we must take together to achieve it.

With the support of our Donors, Partners, and Members, we seek to continue this momentum and see promising signs that our efforts are moving the needle in the right direction. Our membership continues to grow and expand, both in size as well the levels, roles, industries, and countries it represents. Uptake of our educational sessions and career development programs has risen year over year; we delivered 75% more education sessions in 2015 than 2014. At the ground level, we have heard from our Members about the direct impact their involvement in WINiT has had on their careers. Visit our website to hear one Member’s story.

Still, we must continue to charge ahead for there is much work to be done. The recently released “Women in the Workplace 2016” study confirms that women’s presence at all levels of the corporate pipeline still lags far behind men, and that difference becomes even more marked at the senior executive level.  The reality is clear: fewer women are hired, promoted, and advanced into senior roles than men.  In fact, according to the same study,“In 2015, 90% of new CEOs were promoted or hired from line roles, and 100% of them were men.” WINiT will continue to examine and tackle issues such as this one as well as the many internal and external factors impacting gender inequality in the workplace.  We will maintain our steadfast commitment to our mission, refining our roadmap and making necessary course corrections along the way, staying nimble, dynamic, and focused on making an impact – one woman at a time.

Why WINiT?  Because we have come so far yet we have so far to go.  Maintaining the momentum we have created to shift this reality is our charge. Thank you for your commitment to our mission – through your words, actions, and support – every day.

*2016 Women in the Workplace Study, LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Company, September 2016. 

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A Letter From the Director – 3rd Quarter 2016

Dawn Repoli
Director of Program Management
Mentor Program Facilitator

Building Momentum

As we approach the third anniversary of the launch of WINiT in January 2017, there is so much anticipation and momentum building as we shift our focus from where we began to where we are headed next.

It is important, however, to me to pause and share with all of you how grateful I am to be guiding this organization. Just over two years ago I was working in Special Education, grant writing, and non-profit fundraising. I loved my work and the amazing people whose lives I was honored to be a part of every day. In the same period of time, life dealt me a series of personal challenges that left me yearning for a change. My passion has and continues to be guiding and supporting others so when Mick Lee, Founder of WINiT, approached me about leading the organization, I recognized it as an amazing opportunity to apply my passion and skills in a new way. It was truly the collective strength of the many women and men who had come together to help form WINiT that inspired me to take on this new challenge and completely transform my career and life.

Fast forward two years. WINiT is now a growing organization that is +2,000 members strong (5,000 by 2017)!

  • In the last 18 months, we successfully piloted and launched the WINiT Mentor Program and WINiT Central Career Board.
  • We facilitated over 800 services for our members including speaking, educational, and career advancement opportunities.
  • The development of the WINiT University program is well underway and is one of dozens of initiatives on which we are collaborating with our growing network of partners.
  • We redesigned our committee structure, website and communication channels to facilitate collaboration and communication with members, leaders, and Donors.
  • Looking ahead, we continue to build #momentum as we prepare for the 2016 WINiT Annual Summit. I look forward to the Summit as many of us will take a day and a half to pause from our lives in order to learn, connect, and be inspired. SAVE THE DATE for the SUMMIT
  • These metrics and milestones, our member and leadership survey results, as well as countless conversations and emails, confirm that we are doing meaningful work that is creating a real impact on the careers and lives of our members.

All that WINiT has accomplished is because of the hard work and dedication of its members – our WINT Ambassadors. Each and every one of you inspires me. Your commitment to this organization renews my faith and steadfast belief in our mission – every member, every day. As WINiT heads into its 3rd year, I want to thank you for your role in creating this organization. So much is possible when a group of people – however small or big – take a leap of faith for something they believe in, and I am so proud to stand beside all of you on this amazing journey.

Quotes to Consider

“Do one thing every day that scares you.” ~Churchill

“I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things.” ~Mother Teresa

 

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Building Momentum

As we approach the third anniversary of the launch of WINiT, there is so much anticipation and momentum building as we shift our focus from where we began to where we are headed next.

It is important, however, to me to pause and share with all of you how grateful I am to be guiding this organization. Just over two years ago I was working in Special Education. I loved my work and the amazing kids whose lives I was honored to be a part of every day. In the same period of time, life dealt me a series of personal challenges that left me yearning for a change. My passion has and continues to be guiding and supporting others so when Mick Lee, founder of WINiT, approached me about leading the organization, I recognized it as an amazing opportunity to apply my passion and skills in a new way. It was truly the collective strength of the many women and men who had come together to help form WINiT that inspired me to take on this new challenge and completely transform my career and life.

Fast forward two years. WINiT is now a growing organization that is +2,000 members strong (5000 by 2017)!

In the last 18 months, we have successfully piloted and launched the WINiT Mentor Program and WINiT Central Career Board. We have facilitated over 800 touch points with our members including speaking, educational and career advancement opportunities. Development of the WINiT University program is well underway and is one of dozens of initiatives on which we are collaborating with our growing network of partners. We have redesigned our committee structure, website and communication channels to facilitate collaboration and communication with our members, leaders and donors. Looking ahead, we continue to build #momentum as we prepare for the 2016 WINiT Annual Summit. I so look forward to the Summit as many of us will take a day and a half to pause from our lives in order to learn, connect and be inspired.   These metrics and milestones, our member and leadership survey results, as well as countless conversations and emails, confirm that we are doing meaningful work that is creating a real impact on the careers and lives of our members.

All that WINiT has accomplished is because of the hard work and dedication of its members – our WINT Ambassadors. Each and every one of you inspires me. Your commitment to this organization renews my faith and steadfast belief in our mission – every member, every day. As WINiT heads into its 3rd year, I want to thank you for your role in creating this organization. So much is possible when a group of people – however small or big – take a leap of faith for something they believe in, and I am so proud to stand beside all of you on this amazing journey.

Quotes to Consider

“Do one thing every day that scares you.” ~Churchill

“I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things.” ~Mother Teresa

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