Dear WACHH Members,
The Program Committee, once again, put together a stellar Speaker series for 2018-19 capped off by a mad scramble at the last minute to find a speaker replacement for David Eisenhower. The combination of John Gilbert and Bill Pendley covered the very timely topic of a Nuclear North Korea in a strong fashion that elicited comments from many of you about the depth of talent in the membership. I have attached the 2019-20 Speaker’s List for your review, and I think you will agree that once again the quality is high, and the topics are timely. You get all 14 of these and more for only $100.
The big highlight of the year is that we Met the $50K Match challenge from our member couple who have donated $150,000 that funds our Global Speakers Program. This ensures that we can continue to seek out international speakers at the rate of two per year for the next several years. So, for the coming season you can plan on a visit to Costa Rica in the Fall and Down Under to Australia in the Spring.
As you know, we are a membership driven organization and are always looking for new members. The number one reason that new members join WACHH is their friends/neighbors, our wonderful members, told them about the organization. So, I am asking our Marketing/ Membership Department, that would be YOU, to help us by talking to your friends and neighbors, who are not members, and solicit them to become members. To that end we will hold a free guest day this Fall for Ambassador Peter Ammon’s presentation on 25 October. While serving in the German Foreign Office Amb. Ammon served three “hardship” Ambassadorial tours first in Paris, then in Washington DC and finally London. While serving in Washington DC, Amb. Ammon and his wife ventured down Interstate 95 spent some time on the Island and bought a condo here. They now split their time between Berlin and Hilton Head so come listen to a fellow Islander and bring a friend/future member -- we will have the capability to sign them up on the spot.
On the Education front, we have invited Dr. Francisco Rodriguez, the new Beaufort County School Superintendent, to our opening Speaker Presentation on 4 Oct. He has accepted and I booked his calendar starting at 9:00 AM so that you and he can have informal chats in the Gathering Space at First Presbyterian before the presentation starts. I am meeting with him in mid-August to explain who we are, what we offer our members and how we support the Beaufort County School System.
One final item, Carlton Dallas, Margaret McManus and I will complete our second tour of duty on the Board in December. Succession planning is critical to the ongoing success of all voluntary organizations. With that in mind, Ivan Bennett, a retired educator, joined the Board in June and will take on the Academic World Quest portfolio so capably filled by Carlton these past four years. John Gilbert will be the new President and will select a new VP in the near future. Not being a fan of changing horses in the middle of the stream, we will make the leadership change at the Annual Meeting in September rather than waiting until December when terms are completed. I invite you to come to the “Change of Command” at 10 am on 27 September in Fellowship Hall at First Presbyterian. This will give you an opportunity to meet John and the other Board members and we will preview all the Programs for the coming year.
Finally, I wish to thank all of you members for your support these past four years. Because of the size of our active membership we are a different organization today than previously. The quality of our Speaker Programming remains high due to the dedication and hard work of the Program Committee and successive chairs. We transitioned from an active and hard-working Joan Lemoine to an active and hard-working Maureen Korzik as Executive Director with nary a hiccup which is a tribute to the two of them and the Board’s Selection Committee. We converted to/built a new Internet presence that allows us to better communicate with you and we now have an active Facebook presence. We have upped our game with the Beaufort County School System with both Academic World Quest and Model UN. All of this is possible because of you, our members, when we ask you to volunteer you do, when we ask for financial support you open your wallet but most important you come every Friday when we have a speaker. Along with our demographic twin, Naples/Marco Island we are the envy of the WACA Network with our ability to turn out 600 informed and interested members for a presentation. You are the compelling piece of our Speaker recruiting efforts. You made being President interesting and rewarding and for that I thank YOU!