The Legacy of AAMD's Women's Division

Posted By: Carol Levey

At my age, I have the earned perspective to see what has been and what may be. Do you remember the Woman’s Division? It was started back in the late 70’s by Carol Luinstra and Pris Damon. They held monthly luncheons and if we had 80-90 attendees we were thrilled! Let’s remember that at the time the total association membership was approximately 400.

The Women's Division was formed so that women could come together in an engaging and inviting forum.
This allowed quality time to get to know people one-on-one. We walked away with lasting relationships.

For example, back in the late 1980's I had the privilege of leading the division, and I enjoyed greeting people as they came into the luncheons. So there I was greeting people on a day in 1987, and a blonde with a lost look on her face walked through the door. “Is this your first time attending a luncheon?” I asked. She replied, “Yes! This is my first AAMD function and you are the first person I’ve met.” I invited her to sit with me, and that person was Mary Wessler. The rest is history.

The Women's Division back in the day featured industry speakers, mostly men, sharing their success stories and inspiring women of the industry, as more and more women were starting to become major industry leaders.

There were parties, but I won't go into it. If you want to hear more about it, just ask Dave Phifer or Dennis Malone.
It was different back then - a much more relaxed industry without the pressures of today. When the once well-attended AAMD monthly dinner meetings were discontinued it left a void, so in 1991, the Woman’s Division was rebranded as the Networking Council. Julie McKeefer was the final person to be awarded "Woman of the Year."

The Networking Council provides phenomenal education and networking opportunities. The PowerLunch now averages 250-300 attendees, and members walk away with tangible tools and concepts in customer service, communication skills
and industry trends.

As AAMD's membership continues to grow and evolve, networking remains the same! The women of AAMD knew that in 1978 when the Women's Division began, and it continues today through the hard work of the Networking Council.

Regardless how the industry changes, one thing remains constant. There is no substitute for face-to-face conversation.
It has been my passion and pleasure to continue this journey with the lifelong friends I made through the Women's Division!


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