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Organization Update – 4/19/19

Hello Competent Women!

Thanks for checking in! My apologies for being MIA – first I was in Florida at the ASAM conference, and then I got sick – again, ugh (I think I might be allergic to spring in PA). It’s late and I’ve been working on financials all day so I don’t have a lot of time, but I didn’t want to let you down 3 weeks in a row! So here is the whirlwind tour of what’s up at WFS:

ASAM Annual Conference

I had a great weekend with our Volunteer Coordinator Lisa – that’s her stuffing packets in our booth! (Sorry for the blur – I am terrible at taking pictures.) She picked things up so quickly and we were unstoppable telling all the addiction medicine specialists about our great program. They were very excited to hear about our free option for their patients and our extensive online support.

We also stood out for being abstinence-based but also medication-friendly. That’s right: for those of you who aren’t aware, WFS is somewhat unique in this way. We believe that addiction is tough enough to overcome, and if women and their doctors’ think medication will help, then by all means it should be used.

We gave away all 47 of the physician Professional Sample Kits that we brought, and got a mailing list of 25 more to send out.

WFS Annual Weekend Conference

For our own annual conference, Early Bird Registration closed strong with 89 registrants – that’s up 15% from last year’s Early Bird period. The number today is up to 102 – wow!

Those of you on our postal mailing list may have noticed on this year’s conference flyer that we mentioned that WFS is on the move. This year will be our last year at the beloved DeSales University. Now don’t worry, because we have a great place picked out for 2020. Keep an eye on your inbox for the big announcement!

I’m also very proud to report that we were able to offer a work scholarship to every woman that applied this year. That’s right, we’re bringing 14 women to conference who might not otherwise be able to attend. It helps them, it helps me because I have more hands on deck, and it helps everyone in WFS because we are stronger together!

Teddy Bear Challenge

We received our first 2 bears in the mail today! They will be lovingly stored until conference, when a drawing of all our Teddy Bear Challenge donors’ names will be completed and the bears re-homed. The latest totals are 52 donors and $6,530 donated – that’s almost as much as we raised in all of last year’s challenge, and we still have over a month left!

New Literature Coming

One of our office volunteers has been hard at work getting our new Men’s Collection formatted for printing. Thanks to the hard work of one of our Men for Sobriety groups at Above and Beyond Family Recovery Center in Chicago, IL, four of our seminal pieces have been adapted for men. These include the Program Booklet, the Beginner’s Booklet, the New Life Diary, and the Levels of Recovery. These great guys have truly gone above and beyond in this task. They didn’t just change the pronouns; they also provided some male-specific examples to make the material even more relevant. Let’s hear it for the boys!

Next up is our Reflections for Growth daily reader series. Part of our strategic plan is to outsource our production and fulfillment services. To accomplish this, we need to combine some of our smaller booklets into bigger pieces. Members of the Materials & Literature Management Team have been hard at work reviewing the daily reflection booklets and adding a Statement for each day. The edits are in, and now our trusty volunteer is formatting away. We can’t wait to premiere this updated work at this year’s conference!

 

Alright, folks, that’s it for me today. Please let me know what you think of these exciting changes and feel free to share your ideas on how we can bring the WFS to even more women! (And a few good men, too!)

Enthusiastically Yours!
Adrienne Miller
President/CEO
Women for Sobriety, Inc.

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Organization Update 3/29/19

Hello Competent Women!

Quick post today to show you the beautiful full-color brochures that just came in this week. This is a real milestone for WFS. Can you believe that in over 40 years, WFS has never before had an official color brochure? I can’t wait to give these away to all the addiction doctor’s at next week’s outreach event, the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) National Conference.

Our office volunteers have done an amazing job helping me get ready for the event, stamping free copies of literature and preparing our special Professional Sample Kits as giveaways. Thanks, volunteers!

WFS Annual Weekend Conference

Conference plans continue to move along quite nicely. Don’t forget to register this weekend before the Early Bird registration period ends – automatically save $20 when you register before midnight (Eastern time) on Sunday night, 3/31/19!

Check back next week for a photo of our exhibit booth at ASAM!

Enthusiastically Yours!
Adrienne Miller
President/CEO
Women for Sobriety, Inc.

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Organization Update 3/22/19

Hello Competent Women!

Here’s this week’s happenings at WFS:

Teddy Bear Challenge

BunnyH shared that we are up to 28 bears being customized and donated to this year’s Teddy Bear Challenge drawing. But we only have 13 donors so far! I guess everyone is just going to get 2 bears each… unless you donate today! We are off to a great start financially with $2,600 of our $10,000 goal already collected. But what about the bears? BunnyH reminds us that we have…

  • 834 WFS Online members who have logged on to the forum in the last month and over 2,000 in the last 6 months.
  • 72 in-person WFS meetings across the US and Canada
  • 13 weekly chat meetings
  • over 100 WFS Online members who take the Daily Pledge to stay sober every day

She has challenged us to spread the word to find 100 donors. (Our most fruitful year of the Teddy Bear Challenge we had well over that many.) Will you help us get there?

American Society of Addiction Medicine

Our office volunteers have been hard at work this week helping me get ready for my upcoming trip to the ASAM national conference in early April. We are putting together some great Professional Sample Kits to hand out. These will contain sample literature and provider education articles to improve physician knowledge of what the New Life Program is all about. They will also contain a variety of outreach items like brochures, business cards, and bookmarks that the providers can give to their patients when they tell them about WFS.

If you are planning to attend the ASAM conference, please stop by booth 529 to get your goodies!

New Software

The WFS Board of Directors met this week and, among other things, approved another major software migration for WFS. NeonCRM is an all-inclusive software solution for non-profits. The things that it will be helping us with include donor and volunteer management, task automation, and event registration. My favorite part about it is that it will allow us to track service delivery at a level that we have never done before.

I know I am showing my true nerd colors (I consider “nerd” a compliment, don’t worry), but I can’t wait to get the new system implemented. It will make us much more efficient so we can focus our energy where it really counts – helping women! And it will help us demonstrate the effectiveness and growth of our program, too.

 

Well that’s all I have to report this week. Time for me to head off to a Management Team meeting!

Enthusiastically Yours,
Adrienne Miller
President/CEO
Women for Sobriety, Inc.

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Organization Update – 3/15/19

Hello Competent Women!

Here’s just a few of the things that we have done this week.

Materials & Literature Management Team

The team met this week and reviewed our first ever Personal Stories category post. Yes, we are expanding this blog and trying to incorporate more of your voices! Who better to inspire women to start their journeys on the New Life path than the women who are already walking it? The post premiers tomorrow morning and shares our 2019 conference theme… how apropos!

We also delved further into plans for a new comprehensive WFS handbook/workbook. I put both words there because we couldn’t quite decide what it will be yet! Should we make one big, more comprehensive handbook that introduces WFS concepts and gives enough “meat” to really work through them? Or should we make one smaller handbook that introduces basic concepts, and then supplement that with additional, more involved workbooks for each Level of Recovery? Decisions, decisions!

We decided to look at what some of our peer organizations are offering, as well as our own extensive catalog of items, and circle back next month to make a more informed decision. What do you think? Tell us in the comments below! (Comments can be left with a pseudonym!)

WFS Annual Weekend Conference 2019

Registration is still going strong. Best news of all? We have collected $950 in Scholarship donations! We finalized some plans for the Silent Auction and the Paddle Raise, as well as the joyous surprise during the 11 am and 3:30 pm break periods on Saturday. I touched base with the volunteer who has agreed to design this year’s conference program, and another who has agreed to be my right hand women for the Joy of Transformation event – talk about #12 in action!

Office Volunteers

Now here are some very special women that I sometimes forget to mention here… my intrepid office volunteers! One woman stops by every Wednesday to help with cleaning, office tasks, and errands. She is so great and does everything I suggest to her with a smile! She has been coming for a little over a month now and is quickly becoming an important part of our team. Another regular office volunteer recently retired. Her work’s loss and our gain, I guess! She was here on Wednesday, too, and even treated us all to lunch. What a sweetie! And another 4C woman who has been with WFS for quite a while has been stopping by more lately, and has agreed to help with some computer tasks. How did I get so lucky?

Annual Report

You may not have noticed, but just today I posted WFS’s very first Annual Report! The Board of Directors has been so hard at work ensuring that this corporation is running smoothly and in line with best practices and legal guidelines. It is exciting to have this opportunity to brag on it! Now that we have our first report under our belt, we are sure that we will be able to continue this important practice in the future!

Don’t forget to share your thoughts on our handbook/workbook conundrum below!

Enthusiastically Yours!
Adrienne Miller
President/CEO
Women for Sobriety, Inc.

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Organization Update – 3/8/19

Hello Competent Women!

Sorry, 4C women, I was out with the flu this week and most of my time since returning has been playing catch-up, but here are a couple tidbits for you:

WFS Annual Weekend Conference 2019

Registration opened with a boom with 30 women registered in the first week! I saw some familiar names and some new names on the list. My favorite part of this annual event is making real life connections with the amazing women of this program. We are a pretty awesome bunch.

Quite a few women have stepped up to volunteer to lead informal activities on Thursday and Friday before the official conference kicks off. Volunteers are also starting to step up to help with wake-up and wind-down activities. There are still a few slots left, so let us know if you want to coordinate a morning jog, evening meditation, or anything in between. Together, we are making this conference one to remember!

Also, I made some progress in my plans for a super fun surprise at the event… you will just have to show up to find out what it is!

Teddy Bear Challenge

Total collected so far is $1,190! Keep checking back on the WFS Online forum Everyday Living category for weekly updates and watch that fundraising thermometer fill up.

Cigna Webinar

Don’t forget to set a calendar reminder for Wednesday, March 20, 2019 at 1:00 pm EST for my webinar, Closing the Gender Gap: Women and Addictions. It used to be that men were significantly more likely than women to experience problems with drugs (including alcohol). However, these differences are quickly diminishing. We will explore how and why these numbers are changing, as well as how gender-specific needs of women can be addressed in recovery.

Attendance is by telephone, so no need for any fancy software! Simply call the number provided on the Cigna Substance Use Disorder web page.

 

Enthusiastically Yours!
Adrienne Miller
President/CEO
Women for Sobriety, Inc.

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Organization Update – 3/1/2019

Hello Competent Women!

 

Conference Registration Launched

Did you see our new 2019 Conference page? It has all the details you need about this year’s Annual Weekend Conference. Read about the beautiful DeSales campus, travel, lodging, and all the fun activities and workshops planned. Take advantage of the Early Bird Registration period and save $20 when you register by March 30th!

Outreach

We’re all registered up to do outreach at the ASAM, NCAD, and NAADAC national conferences in 2019. These are great opportunities to multiply our reach by educating treatment professionals about WFS. As a result of last year’s major outreach effort at NAADAC, we have had numerous agencies start offering the New Life Program as part of their care.

This week’s photo is a table that I staffed at the Greater Philadelphia Area Counseling Association Trauma Symposium last weekend. They donated the space FREE – thanks GPACA! I was able to make some great connections with local mental health and chemical dependency treatment providers.

Good Governance

We had a Board of Directors meeting last week. We passed the new Document Retention and Destruction Policy – and you thought your job was boring! Now I am only half kidding, because sometimes the nitty-gritty work of managing a charitable organization can be really boring. However, all this boring behind-the-scenes stuff is important to making sure that we have an ethical organization with sound business practices. This helps us ensure that we will be around for a good long time. It also helps ensure that we are spending your donated funds where they really count – empowering women to overcome addiction!

Other boring stuff I’m working on includes continued exploration of a new CRM software solution. This will allow us to focus more of our organizational time and energy on program development and volunteer empowerment. So even though it isn’t exciting now, it will be a great thing in the long run.

Teddy Bear Challenge

Now speaking of fundraising, if you aren’t involved on our WFS Online message boards, then you have been missing out on the exciting preparations for this year’s Teddy Bear Challenge. Online member BunnyH is practicing Statement 12 and has taken charge of this annual fundraiser with gusto! She has been sending hand-sewn teddy bears across North America. Volunteers will be stuffing, accessorizing, photographing, and naming the bears to prepare them for adoption.

As with the past 2 years, we will do a drawing at the WFS Annual Weekend Conference, when the bears will be matched to their new homes. To enter to win, donate to the Teddy Bear Challenge through our website. You can also send a check with “Teddy Bear Challenge” in the memo line. (18 years and over, no donation necessary to win, 1 entry per person; email contact@womenforsobriety.org with name, shipping address, phone number, and email to enter without a donation.)

Well that’s it for this week, my competent friends. See you soon!

Enthusiastically Yours!
Adrienne Miller
President/CEO
Women for Sobriety, Inc.

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Organization Update – 2/15/19

Hello Competent Women!

Did you miss me? I sure missed sharing all the exciting stuff that’s going on in the organization with you!  Where to start…

How about Conference? We combed through the workshop applications and set our tentative schedule. I am still following up with the presenters but we were able to offer all of our peer applicants (i.e. 4C women) a slot, which made me incredibly happy. There will be a great balance of peer presenters and professional presenters again this year, so a little something for everyone. I’m making a new webpage with the full schedule, registration information, travel tips, and answers to all your lingering conference questions – that should be launched next week, with registration opening on March 1st. Lisa, our volunteer coordinator extraordinaire, is busy procuring a small army of additional 4C women to help with specific areas of need, including developing the printed conference program, working the registration tables, coordinating all the fun additional activities, and planning and executing the new Gala dinner on Saturday night. Let us know if you want to sign up!

Our workgroup simply could not decide on a conference logo from among the many beautiful logos submitted, but we managed to narrow it down to the 2 above. Which one do you think best embodies this year’s theme of Hello Happiness? Click here to put in your anonymous vote!

Last week I missed my blog post because I was busy in Maryland for the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Advisory Council meeting. Dr. Deidra Roach did a compelling presentation called Women and Alcohol about the need for more resources to be directed to researching, preventing, and treating alcohol use disorders in women. Unfortunately, this is one area where the gender gap is closing rapidly, a subject which I am currently researching for my upcoming webinar for the Cigna Behavioral Awareness Series: Coping with Substance Use Disorders on March 20, 2019. I was able to make a personal connection with Dr. Roach and I let her know that WFS is always happy to partner with researchers to strengthen the evidence on self-help options such as the New Life Program. This was followed by a day of self-care with our MD administrative volunteer and CM – we went to a salt cave, bought some shoes, and got massages, followed on Saturday by a fantastic f2f meeting where we geared up for Valentine’s Day by writing ourselves love letters. What a wonderful way to practice Statement #7!

The other Management Teams are moving along nicely. Internet Services launched the new chatroom on February 1st and I have heard nothing but good things. They are also starting to play around with some of the other cool features of the new platform, such as Journals. I’m excited to see how that develops! We received and distributed the new statement and motto posters to all of our face-to-face groups, and plans for the new Moderator’s Support Circle continue to be developed by the Face-to-Face Management Team. The Materials and Literature Team is working on a revamp of the Reflections for Growth series and is starting to brainstorm ideas for a new offering for the bookstore, and we finalized some guidelines about how to help grow this blog and start featuring the most important individuals – the women who are rocking this recovery thing using the New Life Program! The Fundraising Management Team is vetting some important new software to help us organize our fundraising efforts, and as a nice plus, our generous volunteers. We’ve also launched the Teddy Bear Challenge, which is already garnering a lot of enthusiasm. And the Outreach & Events Team had a small (me +1!) meeting discussing strategies to increase the availability of the New Life Program in the U.K.

Thank you to all of the wonderful women reading this – leave me a comment and let me know what you think of all these changes or if you have any questions or want to get more involved. (I changed the settings so you can now leave comments anonymously.) I’m so grateful to be on this journey with you and I would love to hear more about you!

Enthusiastically Yours!
Adrienne Miller
President/CEO
Women for Sobriety, Inc.

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Organization Update – 1/25/19

Happy Friday Competent Women!

More good things happening as always here at WFS.

The Internet Services Management Team met to further discuss the launch of the new chat room, which is due to go fully live on February 1st! They’re also talking about new ways to use this great new software, which includes many more features than just a chat room. Have you ever wanted to keep a recovery blog to share your journey but didn’t feel comfortable posting it on the public web for everyone to see? Well we may just be able to help you with that!

Speaking of blogs, we have a new volunteer who is going to help get this public-facing blog a-hoppin’! I’ll let her introduce herself when she is ready, but keep your eye out for increased content being posted. We are hopeful that posting more content here will help folks who are curious about WFS learn more about all the wonderful things this New Life Program has to offer.

On the conference front, I was able to speak with our headliner for the WFS Annual Weekend Conference 2019, Karen Drucker. She is just such a special person and we are so fortunate to have her joining us for the entire weekend! We’re also getting some really great submissions in response to our Call for Presentations and our request for conference logo ideas. It still amazes me how every day my gratitude can grow for the amazing women of this organization.

Speaking of which, I’ve also got an angel volunteer hard at work searching for a new venue for the 2020 conference. That’s right – WFS is on the move! Where will it be? Well, we don’t know yet but we will make the announcement at the end of this year’s event. Better show up so that you can be among the first to hear the news!

On the boring “we’re good stewards of your donated funds” front, our beautiful Treasurer Britt Rodriguez was here this week doing our annual selected transactions audit. We combed through a plethora of receipts and bookkeeping records, tracing transactions from start to finish. This is an important financial control so that you can be sure your contributions are being spent appropriately and tracked properly… even if it’s not the most exciting way to spend a couple of January days!

Until next week, we at WFS remain…

Enthusiastically Yours!
Adrienne Miller
President/CEO
Women for Sobriety, Inc.

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Organization Update – 1/18/19

Hello Competent Women!

It was another busy week of Sisters doin’ it for themselves! I had the honor of three more meetings with 4C volunteers this week. It creates some late nights but also lots of enthusiasm and motivation to keep this organization moving forward!

Tuesday night was Internet Services Management Team (IST), where we discussed the ongoing transition to the new chat software for our online meetings. Also really exciting is the extra chat room we will be able to have available – the New Life Café – which will be a drop-in chat space for women to casually socialize outside of official chat meetings in a real-time open environment.

Wednesday night was the Fundraising Management Team, a team that is still in early development. Our new Peer Coordinator had a detailed agenda and outlined some basic tasks that will help us lay the groundwork for a healthy donor program. Another sister stepped up and volunteered to lead two of our recurring campaigns this year – wow!

Thursday night was the Board of Directors meeting, where we passed the new Whistleblower Policy, which is also posted on our Governance page. We encourage anyone with serious concerns about misuse of WFS funds or program services to report them so that we can do our best to ensure that all WFS business is carried out in an honest and responsible manner.

I am also really excited to report that I was able to get in touch with WFS Annual Weekend Conference favorite Karlee Fain (pictured above), who will again be joining us for workshops and Opening Ceremony at the 2019 conference! With Karen Drucker, Annie Grace, and Veronica Valli also on the bill, this conference is really going to be great! Don’t miss it June 7th through 9th, with pre-conference activities starting on Thursday, June 6th. Registration will open late February or early March.

Enthusiastically Yours!
Adrienne Miller
President/CEO
Women for Sobriety, Inc.

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Organization Update – 1/11/19

Hello Competent Women!

I want to extend a BIG thank you to all the 4C women who attended the Management Team meetings this week! I was in the office late 2 nights but it was definitely worth it to feel the enthusiasm and collaborative energy.

Over the weekend, the Conference Planning Workgroup has another fun online planning session. We decided on a theme! It is Hello Happiness!, which emphasizes the joy and enthusiasm that waits for us in sobriety. Each year we like to link our theme to the New Life Program, and it’s not hard to see how this relates to our 4th Level of Recovery: Using new attitudes to enforce new behavior patterns. This Level includes Acceptance Statements 3 (Happiness is a habit I developing), 6 (Life can be ordinary or it can be great), and 11 (Enthusiasm is my daily exercise). We also had a WFS Online member reach out to a prominent recovery blogger and invite her to join us and she has agreed! She and I had a great meeting on Wednesday and she will be joining us for the entire weekend, giving a keynote address, leading workshops, and being a part of our Opening and Closing Ceremonies. Keep an eye out for your next Call for Presentations email to find out who it is!

Next is getting an icon/image ready for marketing materials. We are soliciting submissions from competent women like you! Have an image in mind that says “Hello Happiness!” to you? We need two versions: one color (for marketing materials) and one black & white (for printing). Images should be at least 5” x 4” with a minimum of 300 dpi. If you use the works of others, please be sure to use royalty free/creative commons images only – nothing that is copyrighted or trademarked. Images may include the theme statement and/or the WFS logo, but should not include the words “recovery,” “sobriety,” or similar. I’ve created the above collage of previous logos to help inspire you! Simply email your submissions by January 31st to volunteer@womenforsobriety.org.

First off was my weekly meeting with our amazing Volunteer Management Team Peer Coordinator, who graciously sets aside an hour each week to meet with me and help me keep everyone straight! Wednesday was Outreach & Events and Materials & Literature open team meetings. These are two groups that have had a difficult time taking off, but are so important to getting WFS into the hands of more women in need! We started off with some brainstorming and a few people even signed up for tasks. I posted the list of ideas and projects on the Everyday Living forum on WFS Online and I’m hoping that we can inspire even more women to get involved. Members of WFS Online can find those lists and a link to the next scheduled meetings of these two groups online.

On Thursday night, our Face-to-Face Management Team met, which is our strongest team right now, operating a high strategic-planning level. We welcomed two new team members, updated each other on current projects, and also discussed the upcoming revision of the Moderator’s Manual. We have a couple of field professionals that I met on my trip to the Houston NAADAC conference last October, and I am very excited to be branching into this type of collaboration for WFS programming!

Next week is our Fundraising Management Team meeting, so make sure to join us if you are enthusiastic about making sure that WFS will have the funding to keep providing services for years to come. Log in information is on the forum or email me at admin@womenforsobriety.org. That’s it for this week! Have a great weekend everybody!

Enthusiastically Yours!
Adrienne Miller
President/CEO
Women for Sobriety, Inc.