We are off to an exciting start of the 2016-17 Program Season – hurricanes, presidential elections, program schedule changes, a new executive director – and we have yet to have our first meeting.
While we have dealt with weather issues in the past, I suspect that this is the first time in the history of the organization that we have cancelled a season opening presentation by order of the Governor to leave town. We have all had experiences these last two weeks that I am sure we could have done without but life goes on.
We did try to reboot our scheduled kickoff topic and speaker, Ambassador James Jeffrey, because we felt it very appropriate to the period but unfortunately, his schedule did not allow him to come on October 28. So instead of us designing the foreign policy for our future President in our opening program, we will journey to Japan, compliments of Clyde Prestowitz’s ability to adjust his schedule, to start our program year. The rest of the Fall schedule is intact so we will have a post-election analysis of presidents and foreign policy.
The Program Committee has invitations out to two Russians whom we are soliciting as a speaker for the March 3, 2017 Speaker Meeting. Not having a feel for response time from Russia, we opted to initiate two invites at once. This is our first venture in bringing a speaker in from off-shore, funded by the Program Enhancement Gift I told you about in August, so we are learning as we go.
Currently, we are determining whether or not we can squeeze into the calendar a replacement for the canceled October 7 Speaker Meeting or if this will be a 13-Speaker Meeting season.
In January 2017, we will start a new era for WACHH when Maureen Korzik will take over as our Executive Director. Maureen will start with us on November 1, working with Joan to learn the nuances of our organization before flying solo in January. She comes to us from Second Helpings where she was the Executive Director.
Joan has provided us with leadership and stability as we grew from 450 members to our current 1000+ members and you have all grown accustomed to her. This will be a measure of the maturity of the organization in its ability to motor on successfully. She took a couple of travel vacations this past year and learned what we have all known since we retired – that when you are retired you can do whatever you want whenever you want. (More about Joan’s retirement in my December letter). There being no way we ever let good recruiters escape, Joan will continue as a volunteer member of the Program Committee.
Lee J. Wilwerding
President, World Affairs Council Hilton Head