49th Annual National Conference September 2011

National President Claudia Langner (Long Beach)
welcomes members
 to San Francisco at the opening meeting of the
49th annual Assistance League
National Conference

Close to 1,000 members from 118 chapters convened at the Hilton Hotel San Francisco Union Square for the 49th annual Assistance League National Conference September 19-21. Meg Cooper and Marianne Cortopassi represented our Chicagoland West chapter. We connected with interesting women from all over the country and learned some valuable information in the different break out sessions we attended. We came back together at the end of the day energized and excited about all the new ideas we picked up. It was well worth the time away from home and an experience every member should have during her Assistance League years. 

Keynote Speaker Dr. Lois Frankel
spoke about leadership
Day One:  Dr. Lois Frankel, president of Corporate Coaching International and author of the Nice Girls book series, presented the dynamic opening address See Jane Lead, about how to unleash the hidden leader in all of us After the afternoon sessions, Meg met with the members from the Ohio, Michigan and Indiana Chapters, while I met with the Public Relations gals, including Charlene Liesveld (Omaha), our consultant from the National PR Committee and Sally Shobe (Tucson), NAL Director of Public Relations. We then out to dinner with our new friends from Indianapolis. 

Meg and Marianne with
Midwest chapter members 

Claudia Langner presides over the Annual Meeting
and introduction of the 2011-2012 board

Conference attendees donated books for the
Boys & Girls Club in the Tenderloin District

Day Two:  Following breakfast, we attended the Annual Meeting, which included the election and introduction of the 2011 - 2012 National Board, including the new NAL president Anne Neish (Saddleback Valley, CA)
Lunch included a presentation of the hundreds of books donated by the members in attendance to the Boys & Girls Club in San Franciso's Tenderloin District.
I did not understand the impact of conference until I gathered in a room with 1000 other women and realized that our chapter is part of a powerful nationwide network of volunteers who give their time and talents to help others. Just as Meg and I represented all of you, the 1000 members present represented a total of 26,000 women of different backgrounds, ages and hometowns. This is the big picture of Assistance League.  One by one the faces came into focus, as we met and found common ground with women from as near as Indianapolis and as far away as Fresno, CA. not to forget the gals from the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii.  We emerged from our local cocoons into one massive interconnected web of caring and commitment in action.
Juliet Funt spoke about creating
"white space" in our lives

Ferry Building at the
Port of San Francisco 

Day Three: Our Keynote Speaker was Juliet Funt who began by showing a clip of her two-year-old self being interviewed by her father Allen on Candid Camera. Her lively presentation, Overcommitted, Overwhelmed and Over It! emphasized the importance of cultivating a demeanor that is Calm, Confident, Patient and Present. (I have Juliet's DVD for anyone who is interested!) She is extremely engaging, a comedian, actress and singer with sage advice for today's busy women. After the final session of the day, Meg and I walked through Union Square to Chinatown then down to Embarcadero Center for a view of the Bay Bridge.  Conference ended with a Celebration Dinner and dancing. 

Celebration Dinner 
Closing thoughts:  We are among the smallest, if not the smallest chapter of Assistance League in terms of membership. Although some chapters have hundreds of members, run thrift stores, own their own buildings and trucks; women stopped and listened when we talked about our signature Operation New Start program, our signature Books & Brunch fundraiser, our signature eBay program and even the way we run our Operation School Bell program.  What we do is a vibrant part of the overall organization, which is why we need to publicize the Assistance League name with our buttons and banners, in person and in print.

Let's all plan for 2013 when we can show off
who we are and why Chicago is one of the
greatest cities in the world.

National Assistance League Conference
          September 19-21, 2013
                Hilton Chicago
Goodbye to our new friends from the
Indianapolis Chapter