In the early 1980s faculty from other Harvard Schools began to be invited to speak, as well as lawyers, legislators, authors, journalists, environmentalists, psychologists and psychotherapists from the Greater Boston area. All of our speakers have generously given their time without any honoraria.
Previous speakers include philosopher and author Sissella Bok, anthropologist and author Mary Catherine Bateson, former Smith College president and author Jill Conway, Federal 1st District judge Nancy Gertner, psychoanalyst and author Jean Baker Miller MD, anti-nuclear advocate Helen Caldicott, psychologist and author Irene Stiver, politician and philanthropist Ambassador Swanee Hunt (now at the Kennedy School), elder activist Elsie Frank (Barney's mother), arts activist Elma Lewis, theologians Thomas Berry, Matthew Fox and Harvey Cox, Globe columnists Linda Weltner, Patricia Smith and Derrick Jackson, CBS TV 4 newscaster Liz Walker, broadcast journalist and radio presenter Callie Crossley, and innumerable faculty members from the Divinity School and other schools at Harvard and from other colleges and universities in greater Boston, Worcester and the Connecticut Valley Five Colleges.
Between 40 and 70 people, mostly women, usually attend WE. Our chronological ages range from the 20s to the 80s. In our past and present religious orientations we represent a diverse range of religions as well as the non-religious, and welcome all faiths. We are daughters, sisters, wives, mothers, aunts, great-aunts and grandmothers. We are teachers, clergy, housewives, psychotherapists, physicists, business women, lawyers, architects, authors, composers, singers, gardeners, caregivers, artists, and craftswomen. Our participants are a very intelligent, sensitive and responsive group to speak to. We all share an interest in gaining deeper insight into our lives, our relationships and our world.
Participants travel up to two-and-a-half hours to come to our Thursday half-days. WomenExplore mails to about 1600 alumni in Greater Boston, Eastern Massachusetts, Cape Cod, Rhode Island, a few in Hartford CT and the Amherst MA area, a few in Vermont, a considerable number in southern New Hampshire, and a few in Maine. We typically get 3 to 10 new attenders each Thursday. Most come because a friend brings them. Since 1973 more than 4,500 have participated.
The Advisory Committee is an open group of women which meets with the Program Coordinator to plan WE's fall and spring conferences. All WE participants are welcome to attend the Advisory Committe meetings. Not everyone comes every time. But over the afternoons of the planning process 30 to 40 women take part in giving shape to each new series. When acting in its planning capacity, which is what it spends most of its time on, this group is often referred to as the Planning Committee, but the name "Advisory Committee" better reflects its more general role as a forum to consider any matter that might affect WE.
People who took part in the Advisory Committee in recent years include:
Marcia Miller Boehlke
Hoodo du Monde
Reita Collins Ennis
David Dodson Gray
Elizabeth Dodson Gray
Mary Margaret Halsey
Barbara Appleton James
Erica B. K.
Elizabeth Wolfe Morse|
Martha ALB Nielsen
Mary Ann Robinson
Mary Ann Serra
Sandra Schonbrun Wayne
Ann Sayre Wiseman
The last Board elections took place at the Advisory Committee meeting on 16th May 2013. At the Annual Meeting of the Board on 12th September the President, Treasurer and Clerk for the next year were chosen by the new Board. Next year's Board elections will occur at the end of the Spring 2014 series, at the last or second last Advisory Committee meeting, with the Annual meeting of the Board to follow in June or July.
Members of the Board (and dates elected to Board) are:
|President................||Mary Ann Serra (2012)|
|Treasurer................||Marcia Boehlke (2003, 2011, 2013)|
|Clerk (Secretary).....||Lindsa Vallee (2010, 2012)|
|Members at large....|
Elizabeth Dodson Gray (2003-10) was Coordinator when TOP disengaged from Harvard and became the foundation President, serving until her retirement. Charlene Brotman was President from 2010 to 2013.
Other previous Board members include:
|Judith Cohen (2011-13),||Colleen Donohue (2003-09), Treasurer and auditor|
|Anna Donovan (2010-12),||Carol Goldman (2008-12)|
|Mary Margaret Halsey (2011-13),||Muna Killingback (2011-13)|
|Angela Maffeo (2008-10), Treasurer 2009-10||Esther Scanlan (2003-11)|
— chair is the Executive Director.
— members are Maria Behnke, Tracey Hurd, Paula Chandoha, Barbara Sweet.
— members are Judith Cohen, Cheryl Suchors, Susan Nulsen.
— members include the Treasurer and the Executive Director.
— members include MaryMargaret Halsey, Mary Ann Serra and Maria Behnke, the Executive Director.
— members are Maria Benke, Jared Shinabery, MaryMargaret Halsey, Elaine Fisher and Susan Nulsen.
— led to the selection of Maria Behnke as the new Executive Director starting in December 2012, and previously Tracey Hurd starting in February 2012.
— responsible for December mailing
— chair is Judith Cohen
— as the Party Committee organized the garden party held in June 2010 in honor of Elizabeth and David Dodson Gray on the occasion of their retirement
— under the leadership of Lindsa Vallee is organizing the 40th Anniversary celebrations.
— was set up following the recommendations of the Transition Task Force.
— was to find one or more people to replace Elizabeth and David Dodson Gray when they retired at the end of May 2010.
— members were Charlene Brotman, Anna Donovan, Angela Maffeo, Emily Robertson, Esther Scanlan, Sandy Wayne, Cheryl Suchors (co-opted), Susan Nulsen (co-opted)
— after advertizing and interviewing candidates, selected three to present to the Advisory Committee. Conducted election at which the second Executive Director/Program Coordinator was chosen
— led to the selection of Muna Killingback as the new Executive Director and Program Coordinator starting in August 2010
— continued the work of the Growth and Sustainability Committee. It made a report to the Advisory Committee before dissolving.
— the Advisory Committee voted to determine the preferred models for succession.
— members were Helen Barron, Charlene Brotman, Chris Farrow-Noble, Louise McMurray, Elizabeth Wolfe Morse, Susan Nulsen, Cheryl Suchors, Sandy Wayne
— examined the organization of TOP after Liz and David
retire. It has made a report to the board and is now dissolved.
— members were Jadzia Allison, Elizabeth Wolfe Morse, Pat Morris and Octavia Porter Randolph.
— looked at how new board members might be democratically selected. It has made a report to the board, which was accepted by the board and AC and now provides the basis of all WE elections. This committee is now dissolved.
— members were Louise McMurray (Chair), Sandy Wayne, Erica B.K. and Susan Nulsen.