Local EWI member elected to national board of directors - Hamilton County Herald by David Laprad

Friday, October 30, 2009 9:00 AM | Anonymous
 Front Page

Nancy Harrison, paralegal at the Law Offices of Lloyd Stanley, will serve as secretary-treasurer for EWI's national organization through September 2010. She's the first member representative from Chattanooga to serve on the corporate board.

Chalk up another first for Chattanooga: a local member representative of Executive Women International has been elected to the organization's national board of directors. Nancy Harrison, paralegal at the Law Offices of Lloyd Stanley, will serve as secretary-treasurer for EWI's national organization through September 2010.

Harrison was elected in September during an annual meeting in Louisville, Ky., attended by more than 400 businesswomen representing 63 chapters from across the U.S. and Canada. The event combines professional and leadership development for EWI's membership with philanthropic efforts in which the organization is involved.

As secretary-treasurer, Harrison will oversee communications within EWI and handle the organization's treasury. She says her most enjoyable task to date has been communicating EWI's congratulations to the presidents of chapters celebrating milestones, such as Denver, which recently observed its 55th anniversary.

“It's my privilege to write those letters and then call the presidents to find out what they're doing to celebrate,” Harrison says. “And for me, my position is all about establishing those personal connections and making communications from the corporate level accessible.”

To be placed on the ballot for a corporate position, a member representative must have served as president of her local chapter. Harrison was president of EWI of Chattanooga during the 2006-2007 year. She faced over a dozen candidates in her bid to become secretary-treasurer.

Harrison will serve with directors from Michigan, California, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Canada, including incoming president Louise Anderson of Jackson, Mo., who represents Maurice H. Joseph, Inc. In a press release, Anderson says her vision for the coming year involves placing EWI at the forefront of professional organizations dedicated to fostering the core values of EWI, which are “connections, careers and community.”

“As our membership is facing economic challenges, company restructuring and personal priority shifts, EWI will help them meet these challenges,” says Anderson. “We are at a crossroads like many organizations; however, our commitment to our mission to embrace new ways of connecting our membership, to enhance our members' careers and to encourage their community project goals will lead us toward the path of growth in the coming year.”

Harrison can personally testify to the benefits of her affiliation with EWI, as she met Stanley through an EWI connection after she'd been laid off and was looking for work. “We have a reputation for being well-trained professional women,” Harrison says, “so when companies are looking for someone to hire, they come to us.”

A paralegal currently earning a degree in organizational management from Covenant Quest, Harrison says she's grateful for the support Stanley has given EWI. “I can't thank him enough for his belief in me and in EWI. None of us would be here without our employers, so we try to do everything we can to bring value back to our firms.”

Other highlights of the conference included the distribution of $84,500 in scholarships to high school juniors, non-traditional students in scholastic transition and EWI representatives continuing their education. (Harrison is a two-time winner of the latter endowment.) In addition, EWI presented The Allstate Corporation with the Lucille Johnson Perkins Award, the highest honor EWI gives to its member firms, and named EWI of Chattanooga the winner of the Tillie Award, which recognizes a chapter for its membership growth.

“A lot of people are talking about the economy and how there's a fear that organizations like EWI might falter or fail to grow at the same rate as when the economy was better,” says Harrison. “But it's during a weak economy that membership in EWI achieves its greatest value because you need a large network and strong connections to continue growing your business.”

EWI of Chattanooga, which has over 60 member firms, grew 53 percent in 2007 and 44 percent in 2008. “We just keep growing,” Harrison says. “When people come to our meetings, they pick up on our energy. They quickly recognize the value of being a member.”

Harrison is just as enthusiastic about the potential for personal professional development through EWI. “I've gone on record as saying one of the biggest benefits of EWI to me is the mentors I have, connecting with women who have more experience in business and developing relationships than I do,” says Harrison. “I like being able to pick up my phone and ask someone how an e-mail sounds, and I like knowing I'm going to get an honest, professional response.”

Established in 1938, EWI is a non-profit organization with more than 2,500 member firms and 2,800 representatives in major cities through the U.S. and Canada. EWI brings members together to promote member firms, enhance personal and professional development, and encourage community involvement.

As an organization for networking and leadership development for business professionals, EWI offers professional development through its Academy of Leadership, scholarships, online learning and philanthropic initiatives, with a focus on literacy.

For more information on EWI of Chattanooga, visit ewichattanoog.org.

EWI of Chattanooga | P.O. Box 11522 | Chattanooga, TN  37401 | Contact
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