Women Rising Boldly – 2020 YWCA Inspire Virtual Luncheon Sept 10, 2020


Thanks to the BPW supporters who filled our BPW Table! Eldean Montgomery, Patti Falsetto, Diane Lam, Sue Suwiwattanakul, Nancy Sorensen, Mike Healy and Elise DeGooyer. Building 1, Floor 5, Table 12.

Co-Hosts were Elisa Jaffe and Hollis Wong Wear. They began by recognizing the native (indigenous) soil they were standing on and Hollis performed “True Colors” by Cyndi Lauper.


Maria Chavez – Wilcox CEO of the YWCA gave an impassioned summary of the work that the YWCA has accomplished, even during COVID 19. She mentioned many of the groups that the YWCA has formed and supports:  Works Ready (helps job seekers), Gen Rising (group of < 40 yr. olds) , BABES Network provides peer support for women living with HIV. YWCA – Eliminate racism/ work for justice: Equal, Powerful, and Unstoppable.  Rising Boldly.


Melissa Strawn spoke. She found the YWCA who helped her find shelter and a new beginning that restored her power, gave her back her life after a bad marriage/abuse in CA.


Valerie Jarrett (left) presented “Finding My Voice.” Inspired, connected with “When We All Vote” and “United States of Women.” She feels her most important position is the one she currently holds, Office of Citizen.

She shared her life story, challenges she faced, how she always felt different. How she learned to use her voice to advocate for herself and others. She shared that her 91 year old Mom continues to teach, virtually now, at a school in Chicago, Erickson Institute which focuses on early childhood education.  Founded by her mom. “When the perfect plan crumbles, the adventure begins.” For some of us who stayed…. There was a post event Q & A with Valerie where she continued to share her thoughts and insights. “Never Forget who you are”.  Her focus now, to get the US Population to vote in record numbers this November.  100 Million people who were eligible to vote didn’t vote 4 years ago. In regards to a question about work / life balance.. She doesn’t like that term.  She asks herself.. “Did the Chapters Add up to the Whole”?


Approx. amount raised for the YWCA … almost $600K!  Amazing!


by Margaret Way