From the President

Winter 2017

Becoming a Stronger Organization in the 21st Century

President Virginia Franklin Campbell and husband Verne at The Pen Arts Building and Art Museum, Washington, D.C.

As a woman in my eighth decade, I am increasingly aware of the need to live in the “here and now.” When I joined my branch, our only way of communicating with each other was either by phone or United States Postal Service — one extremely time consuming, because that also preceded most telephone answering machines or voice mail, and the other an additional expense for the branch.

Now, we depend on email, as well as Facebook, Twitter and blogs. It has opened our entire League to the world, and we are compelled to use each of those venues for the ever-expanding possibilities that they offer.

Our website has seen many changes in the last few months. Our web editor, Elizabeth Martin, has diligently dedicated many hours to make it our megaphone, belting out positive messages about and for the League. All branches and members at large have the opportunity to share their projects, creative output and joy of being a Pen Woman.

The website needs to speak of who we are, what we want to be, and thereby encourage other women to become a part of our thriving organization. “Thriving” as in our ongoing and visionary projects, our goals, and the execution of our mission.

Visit our website and share it with everyone. This is not the ‘80s or ‘90s, and we need to understand that “We Are What We Create.” Our website is part of that portrayal to the community.

Become a part of our Facebook page; communicate with fellow members in our “members only” group. One of my goals is to be more inclusive of members at large, who are just as much Pen Women as any one of us, BUT they don’t have regular opportunities to share with sister Pen Women.

Now, they have that opening. We want to hear from you. We urge you to share your latest poem, your latest paragraph, your latest achievements.

Ladies, this is our chance to become a stronger, closer organization, and that happens by embracing those tools that the 21st century offers us.

We also have a Twitter page and a blog, which are efficient, inexpensive ways to spread the message of creative Pen Women. We must utilize all of these pathways of communication to effectively make our organization grow, both in recognition and in membership.

Recently, one of our youngest and newest members shared some marketing ideas and concepts with me that involve several points:

• An elevated sense of responsibility in the membership; starting with the individual, the branch, and national. When speaking with branches, I have quoted John F. Kennedy’s “ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” In a similar vein, please ask yourself, what can you do for your branch and/or for national?

• An elevated sense of opportunity. Realizing what being a Pen Woman can mean and embracing the current social media to put that message across.

• An elevated sense of pride in the organization. Buy our lapel pin and wear it proudly. Be proud to support our GoFundMe campaign and encourage others to support our mission. We need to listen to the younger generation and learn from them. This means communicating through their forms of media and not just relying on the methods of the past.

Promoting creative women, highlighting and applauding their creative output, and providing universal encouragement to each of our writers, artists, musicians, and those in allied professional fields who walk with us is our calling. Let us endeavor to speak the language of our time for the benefit of all.


New President’s address May 2016

Virginia Franklin Campbell, NLAPW President

Virginia Franklin Campbell, NLAPW President

It’s an honor and very humbling to be chosen to be your president for the next two years. I recognize the challenges facing the League in the months ahead, and truly believe you, the membership, have a Board of Directors, both elected officers and appointed chairs, who possess the capabilities and commitment to positively address the needs of our great organization in a positive and visionary manner.

I have selected a theme for my term of office, “We Are What We Create,” that draws on one of the underpinnings I adopted to motivate my piano students during my long career as a piano teacher. This theme also builds on the previous administration under Candace Long, who proclaimed “Born to Create” as her beacon for progress.

Quilt made by President Virginia Franklin Campbell and refurbished by Pen Woman Diana S. Alishouse

Quilt made by President Virginia Franklin Campbell and refurbished by Pen Woman Diana S. Alishouse

My way forward is focused on bringing our collective talents and skills to bear in solving problems, seeking new ideas for outreach, expanding our membership, opening new vistas for women in the arts, and spreading our story to the nation.

We celebrate our 120th anniversary in 2017, and I want to reduce the size of the population who respond with quizzical looks when queried and admit they’ve never heard of Pen Women. New horizons are now available that weren’t in our “toolbox” just short months ago. Expanded opportunities for music membership have already resulted in a few new members. I anticipate slow, but steady growth in that category. The new possibility for allied professional membership has opened the door to many of our colleagues who have previously professed a desire to join with us in passionately blazing trails for women in the arts, but who didn’t specifically meet the requirements in letters, art, and music. We welcome their voices and look with excitement to their collaborative efforts in moving the League forward.

So many creative minds who are now qualified to be allied professionals can have a formidable impact on a broader recognition of the League and the furtherance of its objectives and goals. I feel blessed to have the officers and chairs who are settling into their new roles. It’s difficult to imagine a more dedicated and harmonious group of kindred spirits than those serving you during this administration. Please appreciate that we are all volunteers, and we stand ready to give our all in accordance with our motto, “All for One and One for All.” I look ahead with hope, optimism, and steadfastness, understanding that “We Are What We Create.”