Resources for local chapter business meetings, including President’s Book pages, are now available on our member website. Find everything here.
Anyone ever heard of a derecho before this week? I know I hadn’t…and I hope to never experience one again! The storm that quite literally blew through Iowa without advance notice recorded winds in excess of 100 mph and devastated 770 miles of Iowa and neighboring states. Most of Iowa was affected, including Des Moines and our beloved P.E.O. Executive Office. It was like a giant tornado and a hurricane all rolled into one. But after all, it’s 2020, so what should we expect?!
Thankfully, employees are safe, although some had property damage and some remain without power at home. The office was spared, with the exception of a large tree in the front lawn that took out power lines on the way down. After 2 ½ days our power was restored (although thousands are still without), but both our primary fiber optic and our backup internet cable are still providing spotty service. The power company will not release the area as safe for internet repairs until at least Monday, August 17. We will then be on a list with thousands of other customers for repairs. As a business, we hope to be considered high priority. Even as things begin to come back online, we may experience sporadic outages until everything is repaired in the area.
What does this mean for P.E.O.s? As many already have discovered, our websites have been down and therefore, access to P.E.O. resources and project applications may not always be available. Our phone lines are currently not operational and mailboxes are full without the ability to retrieve messages. The access to our membership database has not been consistently available and it is limiting our ability to communicate directly with chapters via email, phone and mail.
It also means our return to business meetings and social meetings under new guidelines originally scheduled to begin September 1 may be postponed as we work to get updated materials to chapters. Preserving the integrity and versions of documents as well as providing resources to local chapters is very important to us—and even more so for our President’s Book. We are very aware of the ripple effect of this and appreciate your assistance in sharing with your local chapters:
Your patience and understanding during this unexpected natural disaster is appreciated beyond measure. Thank you for your continued dedication to our Sisterhood.
Wishing you and your loved ones health and safety during these unprecedented times.
Kathy A. Soppe, Executive Director
You should have received an email from the International Executive Board regarding more guidance on how to reopen our chapter meetings. Please check your spam folder if you did not receive the email. This is exciting news and an exciting time as we get to move forward with our chapter business and get back to some normal. While we get to move forward in a safe environment, I acknowledge for some of us, these new guidelines may be hard to accept.
What I ask you to think about as you go forward is what IS STILL THE SAME. We still are sisters that are united in a sisterhood that supports each and every one of us. We believe in education for women and supporting them through our monetary and personal support. We live our lives following our objects and aims and we believe in our 5 virtues – Faith, Love, Purity, Justice, and Truth. What is changing is how we do P.E.O. The how will ebb and flow until we can get back to some of our old “hows”. At the same time, we have an opportunity to be creative on the “how” which could influence our “new norm” in the future.
As you review the video and check out the information on the Michigan State website on the COVID-19 tab, please let anyone on the executive board know what questions you have. Keep in mind that some of the hows are still to come from International by mid-August. The board will also be reaching out to you over the next weeks in some way – so stay tuned.
Here are some toplines from the information provided you today:
Know we are all in this together and together we will go many places over the next year.
Lisa, Sue, Barb, Pam, and Tami
This email was sent directly to local chapter presidents from the Executive board of International:
To Local Chapter Presidents -
Our thoughts and hearts continue to be with our sisters as the COVID-19 pandemic emergency continues. The pandemic has brought change for us individually and for our families, our Sisterhood and the entire world. Change–even when it is change you want–brings questions and unknowns.
We’ve put together a video (around 25 minutes) to share the decisions and directives for re-opening P.E.O. gatherings. The message reinforces that our focus and priority continue to be the health and safety of our members. As a reminder, it is the chapter’s choice whether or not to hold meetings starting in September—and their choice in what manner the meeting is conducted.
Please click here to access the video.
Additional communications and resources
Your state, provincial or district chapter executive board is a knowledgeable source to help answer your questions. We encourage you to reach out to these local leaders to help you navigate this change.
We are confident the bonds of Sisterhood and the focus on our shared mission of women helping women will ensure our Sisterhood remains vibrant, united and strong.
Please stay safe!
Our love to each of you,
Brenda, Patti, Cathy, Alix and Kay
On July 1, International shared some high-level information on moving forward. In a nutshell, it says:
Chapter presidents will be working on how to proceed within their own chapter.
Questions I have been asked:
Through the end of August, our focus is to continue to keep our chapter sisters connected, informed, and ready to start meetings in the fall. If you have questions, please contact me or any other state board member.
MSC Board President
The following information has been provided by the P.E.O. International Executive Board members regarding updates to how chapters can manage business during our Stay at Home time.
Remember, P.E.O. member gatherings may not be held until August 1st. And please be mindful that the Michigan State Stay at Home order is in effect through May 15. However, this is a time ripe for developing chapter goals, using the “Cascading Chapter Goals” information that was sent in April. Put together chapter yearbooks and programs (allowing for plenty of flexibility in the early part of the program year) and work on Officer Training. This is also a good time to consider and work on prospective Project applicants. Project Committees can hold electronic interviews with women and gather required information and Chapters may hold emergency meetings to discuss and approve Project nominees.
Do not hesitate to contact your Board Buddy if you have any questions.
Lovingly and with big Hugs,
Karen and the state board
From the International Executive Board:
Local Chapter Yearbooks: Following their local chapter bylaws, local chapters are to list fifteen meetings in their yearbooks including any that would have occurred during the time that chapters were not allowed to meet due to the COVID-19 pandemic emergency.
Reciprocity Groups & P.E.O. Groups: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic emergency, Reciprocity Groups and P.E.O. Groups are permitted to accomplish 2020 elections via teleconference or video conference. Installation of officers is not required.
Transition of local chapter and state, provincial and district chapter officer supplies: One-on-one meetings are approved for local chapter and state, provincial or district officers in order to transition supplies and train successors during this time of no P.E.O. gatherings. Each attendee must be comfortable meeting in person and local governmental jurisdictions must allow that type of activity with attendees following all community safety guidelines (i.e., wearing of masks). Virtual transition training is encouraged.
Our dear presidents and all members of local chapters of the P.E.O. Sisterhood,
Our hearts and minds are with each of you during this generational and multi-country pandemic emergency. We hear of the loss of sisters and their loved ones, which reinforces the need for P.E.O. to be part of the positive solution to moving out of the sorrow we are feeling. P.E.O. is a resilient organization with the strength of the bonds of friendship to bring us together and forward.
The Executive Board of International Chapter continues to monitor the information provided by the Canadian Public Health Agency and the United States' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as national and regional restrictions which governments and public health officials have placed on anyone living on our continent.
Our number one priority with every emergency decision made by our executive board has been the health and welfare of our sisters and their families. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic emergency, the Executive Board of International Chapter has approved the following actions:
P.E.O. is United and Strong! We will build our legacy together!
Our love to each of you,
Brenda, Patti, Cathy, Alix and Kay
Dear Michigan Presidents,
It seems a bit odd to be sending information about "Cascading Goals" for our Michigan chapters, when simply getting out of yoga pants and putting on makeup are fairly sizable goals right now.
I do know, however, that chapters are starting to consider what P.E.O. will look like when we are released from our homes and when we feel comfortable beginning to re-engage. I don't know when or what this will look like, but I do know we will be meeting again and I want every Michigan chapter to start back strong and be ready to move forward.
I have heard sisters say, "What can I do now?" or, "I wish there was something I could do." I know that you are thinking about your chapter and the work ahead of you. So, since you all have plenty of time to consider what chapter goals and plans and strategies can be, let's get started now.
I understand that simply coming together is not an option right now. You will need to communicate and work together using all the technology available: phone, email, conference calls, video phone chats (ok, you get the idea). Please share this letter and the necessary documents (link below) with your chapter officers. Please bring them into the discussion and the planning.
The International Executive Board identified three key goals for 2020-21. These goals were the basis for the Michigan State Chapter goals. Your individual chapter goals should cascade down from the goals set by the State and International. Instructions and worksheets to help you develop chapter goals, and the Michigan State Chapter goals and strategies are posted here on the Michigan State website.
We would like you to submit your chapter's cascading goals to the Michigan State Board by September 1st. (Instructions on submitting will come a bit later.) That is an aspirational, but hopefully doable, date. Have fun brainstorming. Work collaboratively. Be creative. In other words.....be P.E.O.s!!!
If you have questions, please contact your Michigan State Board Buddy.
With warm Hugs,
To: All members of Local Chapters
The love and concern that you have expressed for your state, provincial, or district chapter officers, who were recently notified that the 2020 P.E.O. conventions would be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic emergency, is a beautiful testimony to our P.E.O. virtues. High on the list of questions is, "What will happen to our officers without a convention?" The executive board of International Chapter is delighted to share our plan.
During the weekend that your convention would have been held, your officers will have a transition meeting. The meeting will be an electronic meeting, meaning that officers will participate through a conference or video call. After all necessary business for the 2019-2020 year is concluded, the president will sign a Statement of Conclusion of Term of Office, which states that she has completed her term of office. The vice president will then assume the office of president. The new president for 2020-2021 will appoint the other officers of your executive board, based on the report of the Nominating Committee if the committee had completed their work, and with approval of the executive board.
We know that being installed as a state, provincial, or district chapter officer is a very poignant moment for all officers, and we do not want the 2020-2021 officers to miss this experience. The new president for 2020-2021 will choose someone to conduct the Ceremony of Installation. And yes, family and friends may join the transition meeting call immediately prior to the Installation and stay through closing remarks. Photographs may be taken and shared.
After the officers are installed, they are officially the 2020 - 2021 executive board of your state, provincial or district chapter. Please go to your website and social media pages for their pictures and bios, which will be posted only after the installation. You will enjoy getting to know them in the year ahead.
Of course, we cannot forget our wonderful 2019 - 2020 presidents. The first act of the newly installed president is to read the Past President's Credential to the outgoing president. Presentation of the Past President's pin will be at a later date scheduled by your executive board. Be sure to thank your outgoing president for a job well done and to congratulate and celebrate all of your officers for their service to P.E.O. on your behalf. Although there will not be convention proceedings this year, there will be a 2019-2020 Report of the Year, with all officer and committee reports that will be posted online later in the summer.
Rest assured, that the executive board of International Chapter loves your officers as much as you do and appreciates your support of each P.E.O.
Our hearts are with each of you!
Brenda, Patti, Cathy, Alix and Kay
The Executive Office sends love and greetings to all sisters during these difficult times.
Several updates have been issued over the last few weeks in an effort to keep our Sisterhood safe and informed. We also want to let you know that, as of now, the Executive Office is still open, but with reduced staff and capabilities. The health and safety of our employees is a top priority. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic emergency, and in compliance with guidance issued by governmental authorities, many of our employees have been sent home until at least April 1. Although some are able to work remotely, this change in routine presents challenges, which affects the level of service that we are currently able to offer.
During these next few weeks, please be patient with us if response times are slower than normal. In addition, we want you to be aware of the following: