The Purpose-Driven Pen Woman

Every issue of The Pen Woman magazine features a “Purpose-Driven Pen Woman,” a member whose work is having an impact on the League and beyond. Our national president makes the selection for this honor, and the selection is a surprise, including to the recipient, until the magazine comes out!

Gail Speckmann, Minnesota Branch; Art, Letters (Summer 2020)

Gail Speckmann
For the past two years, Gail Speckmann has been a dedicated and enthusiastic member of the NLAPW National Board of Directors and a fierce advocate for outreach in its many forms. She introduced the board to Zoom months before the pandemic as a vehicle for connecting our members-at-large, and the five articles highlighting outreach that she has contributed to The Pen Woman during her service as outreach chair form a compendium of guidance for our League. She is assuredly purpose-driven.


Lucy Arnold, Golden Gate-Marin Branch, California; Letters, Art, Music (Spring 2020)

Lucy Arnold

Since becoming an art member of the League and the Golden Gate-Marin County Branch in April 2012, Lucy Arnold has been diligent in pursuing every aspect of her many talents and interests. She currently holds membership in all three classifications that NLAPW offers. Being involved in all the activities necessitated by her careers in art, letters, and music has not stopped her from being very active in Pen Women at the branch and national levels. She will soon begin another term as president of her branch and is currently art editor for The Pen Woman. During this administration, she has accepted two very demanding tasks asked of her by the president of NLAPW and has completed them in an exemplary fashion. 


Janie Owens, Member-at-Large, Florida; Letters (Winter 2020)

Janie-OwensElizabeth “Janie” Owens currently serves on the National Board of Directors as chair of the Commemorative Endowment Fund and is the newly elected secretary of the Florida State Association. A former member and president of the Daytona Beach Branch before it disbanded, Owens faced the adversity that occurred to her branch in an authoritative, dignified, and determined manner. She was undeterred in pursuing a daunting task to its ultimate conclusion. Janie is a devoted member of NLAPW and certainly represents the strength of character that is expected of a Pen Woman.


Grace Joy Reid, Washington, D.C. Branch; Music (Fall 2019)

Grace Joy Reid, composer and professional pianist, has been a member of the D.C. Branch since 2009 and has embraced service since her first year. She began this service as secretary of the branch, and then accepted the role of treasurer. She has just completed her fourth term as president. She has performed at numerous Pen Arts concerts and several Biennials. During this time, Reid has home-schooled her children, maintained the household, served as pianist at area churches, and continued an active career in composing. Ten years as a Pen Woman. Ten years as a branch officer and an enthusiastic provider of her musical talents at the national level. She is purpose-driven.

Carol M. Cook, Member-at-Large, Raleigh, North Carolina; Letters (Summer 2019)

Carol CookCarol M. Cook, retired professional communications specialist and fundraiser, joined the National League of American Pen Women as a member-at-large in 2004. She immediately immersed herself in volunteer work at Pen Arts. Two years later, she was elected national treasurer. Following her term in office, she continued her volunteer efforts at Pen Arts and in recruiting new members. Until her recent move from D.C. to North Carolina, she was a regular visitor to Pen Arts and volunteered her service at every First Friday event. We salute her as a Purpose Driven Pen Woman and will miss her smile and willingness to serve.


Susan Zerweck, Santa Clara County Branch, California; Music (Spring 2019)


Susan Zerweck, composer and professional vocalist, has been a member of the Santa Clara County Branch since 1992. A very active member of her branch and the NorCal Association, she has held numerous offices and is currently branch membership chair. She served as registrar for the past two Biennials and has agreed to serve again in 2020 for the 50th Biennial. Always willing to serve, she is a purpose-driven Pen Woman.



Sandra Seaton Michel, Diamond State Branch, Delaware; Letters (Winter 2019)



Novelist, journalist, and poet Sandra Seaton Michel is a 47-year member of the League. She has served as both branch and state president and began serving at the national level in 2004. Since that time, she has committed herself to documenting and preserving the history of NLAPW and conserving its archives. She brings to the Board of Directors a depth of knowledge that is much needed and appreciated by an administration whose membership is relatively new to the League and to the responsibilities of serving at the national level. Her service and dedication to NLAPW are a tremendous asset.



Lorna Jean Hagstrom, Member-at-Large, Florida; Letters (Fall 2018)

Lorna Jean HagstromA 40-year member of NLAPW, Lorna Jean Hagstrom is committed to service. Before her branch disbanded, she held positions at the branch and state levels. As a member-at-large, her service has continued at the national level. She has held numerous positions on the board of directors over the past 12 years and has been a mentor and source of institutional knowledge for newcomers to the board. She has willingly performed any task asked of her or seen by her as a need. Her continuing effort to maintain a working inventory of the Pen Arts building and its contents, and her attempts to gain property-tax abatement from the D.C. government have been invaluable.


Sheila M. Byrnes, Central New York Branch; Letters (Summer 2018)

Sheila M Byrnes


Sheila M. Byrnes is the epitome of a purpose-driven Pen Woman. Always willing to step up to the plate, she has served as president, vice president, and secretary of her branch and as New York state president. At the national level, she has held the positions of letters chair, historian, biennial chair, and fifth and second vice presidents, and is currently the first vice president. Her tireless efforts in support of the League and its mission are a model for future leaders of the organization.


Dorothy Atkins, Santa Clara County Branch; Art (Spring 2018)

Dorothy Atkins


Dorothy Atkins exemplifies a caring attitude concerning the well-being of all of her sister Pen Women. If someone needs support, encouragement, or inspiration, she is there to offer words of wisdom and motivation. Dorothy’s stewardship as president of the Northern California  Association of NLAPW is a testimonial to her leadership, empathy, and perseverance.



Susan Eads Role, Washington, D.C. Branch; Letters (Fall 2017)

Susan Eads Role

Susan became the League’s parliamentarian in 2015. Once immersed in the activities, policies, and vision of the League, she enthusiastically became a Pen Woman. Susan subsequently took a position on the D.C. Branch Board, and personally recruited several new members. As of July 2017, she is fulfilling the retitled part-time headquarters position as NLAPW director of operations, to which she brings her zeal, professional background as an attorney and Professional Registered
Parliamentarian, and honed organizational skills to bear. 


Judy Bingman, Santa Clara County Branch, California; Art (Summer 2017)


Judy Bingman has the ability to capture a moment in time, whether it be the quizzical gaze of a fox, majestic wings of a bird in flight, the beauty
of the swirling wheat fields of the Palouse Hills, or clouds framing the magnificence of jagged Alaska peaks. Her capability as an artist is equally matched by her dedication to Pen Women, and she chose to include the National League of American Pen Women, Inc., in her estate plan. Judy works tirelessly for her Santa Clara Branch, NorCal, and our national organization.


Bev Goldie, Central Ohios Branch; Art (Spring 2017)

Bev Goldie


Beverly “Bev” Goldie, as membership development chair, wholeheartedly embraced this new position on the national board, provided definitive explanations of the new allied professional category, and emphasized the importance of the new music requirements. Like an analytical engineer who, when designing a bridge, must first examine the underpinnings to see that they will support the proposed structure, Bev addressed every new facet and option with unequaled passion and concern for capturing the enthusiasm of prospective Pen Women.

Patricia Setser, Jacksonville Branch, Florida; Art (Winter 2017)

Possessing the innate creative thoughts that envisioned the Vinnie Ream Exhibit at Karpeles Manuscript Museum in Jacksonville, Florida, Patricia “Pat” Setser set into motion a monumental idea for the League. She conceived the idea, nurtured it, and saw it to fruition with the opening of the exhibit on September 9, 2016. The event included stunningly displayed Pen Women art from the 2016 Biennial. Every Pen Woman in attendance was especially proud to be called a Pen Woman that evening, and it was because of the dedication and purpose with which, like an architect conceives a blueprint, Pat Setser launched this distinguished event with the Jacksonville Branch at her side.


Laura Walth, Des Moines Branch, Iowa; Letters (Fall 2016)

Inspired by attending her first Biennial in 2016, the League’s new outreach chair embraces her responsibilities with zeal and vigor. Laura credits the workshops and connecting with other Pen Women at luncheons and other events as elements in renewing her enthusiasm for the League. She is dedicated to learning from the past, focusing on the future, and using the present to accomplish our mission. Laura’s vision for outreach is to recruit and sustain members by connecting with branches and helping them find ways to encourage members to the 2018 Biennial.


-Rosemary Wood Dodd, Atlanta Branch; Art (Spring 2016)

-Beverly Lewis, Pikes Peak, Colorado; Letters (Fall 2015)

-Jeanette Martone, All Cities Branch, New York; Art (Spring 2015)