May 2023: President’s Message

from Laurie Schechter, 65th President of The Ebell

May 1, 2023

Dear Cherished Ebell Members,

It’s May and that means election time at The Ebell.  Accordingly, we are dedicating the bulk of this special E-Magazine to our feature story about the nominees.  Biographies for all Board and Nominating Committee nominees are included, and I hope you will take the time to read them.

If you are eligible, please VOTE! We need YOU!  As an Ebell member, and the heart and soul of our club, your voice is vital.  Regular and Lifetime members are eligible to vote on the first anniversary of the date of membership.  The voting will once again be electronic and soon be live.  If you don’t have an email or would prefer to vote with paper ballot, please contact Meredyth or me at 323-931-1277.  We will provide you with instructions and details. We need a minimum number of votes, so your vote does count!

The slate was presented at the April 17 Town Hall and Business Meeting and has been updated with several nominations from the floor. This final ballot and presentation of the bios is the culmination of months of hard work by your dedicated Nominating Committee. I say YOUR, because you elected them!

The nine-person committee worked diligently to: consider all members whose names were submitted; nominate members who have demonstrated their ability to work well together and follow through on commitments; and promote diversity and equal volunteer opportunities. We are incredibly grateful to this year’s talented and dedicated Nominating Committee for their time and effort. A huge thanks to Co-Chairs Helene Seifer and Patricia Lombard, and to the entire committee:  Vivian Arterbery, Nancy Castillo, Jane Gilman, Amy Green, Aretha Green, Dia Schuldenfrei, and Fazie Yakub.

You, the members, elect your leaders, and your leaders represent and are committed to YOU! As a quick reminder, here’s a list of some of what they are doing for you these days.

With the pandemic behind us, we have revived our monthly Confab Happy Hours.

We reopened the Sun Room on the 3rd Floor as a community work space; members are free to use the space most days between 9:30 am – 5 pm.

We have instituted all-new Town Hall meetings to provide more opportunities for Ebell leadership to share information, answer questions and listen to your ideas. In the past, members only received updates at the two bi-annual Business Meetings.  This fiscal year alone, we have had three Town Halls and one Business Meeting. Our end-of-the year Business Meeting will take place on Monday, June 26 prior to the Installation Lunch. We hope you will all attend.

We are sending members two e-blasts per week listing upcoming events. Phyllis Hansen and Meredyth Deighton, with input from the Programs Committee, are already planning next year’s program calendar! An overwhelming majority of our programs are member-chaired, initiated and sponsored. We hope you will join us for one of the exciting Writer’s Bloc programs this month, our Spring Chorale Concert on May 22 and our Members’ Art Show on May 31. If you are interested in participating in the Art Show, contact Donna Russell. June is packed with program traditions such as a Monday lunch with Dee Dee Myers, the Legacy Tea where we will remember past Presidents and other members who have left us, and a wonderful field trip to Yanks Air Museum.

LaToya Hearns and her committee are planning a Volunteer Recognition Brunch honoring our many active and long-time members on June 11. Last month, we held our first monthly Orientation meeting and building tour, for new and interested members. We will be rotating weekend, weekday and week-night orientations to accommodate all schedules.

To conserve our campus and ensure its longevity, Christy McAvoy and her House & Grounds Committee have secured the best historic architects and engineers to assist with planning for our seismic retrofit and the accompanying building upgrades. Fran Varga and her Development Committee are laying the groundwork for the critical and significant funding needed.  Janis Barquist and her Governance Committee are carefully reviewing and updating our governing documents.

We expect to have one of our most successful financial years in the last ten years, with rentals exceeding pre-Covid levels and contributed income from grants and donations at an all-time high. At the same time, we have been able to effectively manage our costs. Thanks to these solid returns and Madelyn Murray’s keen financial oversight and leadership, we are ending the year in a strong financial position.

I would be remiss if I did not recognize and thank our extraordinary Executive Director, Stacy Brightman, and her talented staff, for their integral role in all the above. They work tirelessly every day to support our mission and our membership.

The news is good and the future bright. A heartfelt thanks to you, all of our members, for your support and your VOTE!