October 2013 (ECM): The meeting began with an update on the organizational structure of KWEN, including introductions of the newly established Leadership Team. After enjoying hearty soup, bread, and a salad, KWEN members formed small groups focused on topical issues. This brainstorming session allowed members to learn from each other about grant writing and fundraising, social media, city and county government, and environmental education opportunities. As the first programmatic meeting of the KWEN, these small group brainstorms highlighted potential collaborations and strengthened existing connections among the network.
July 2013 (Genovese): We met in the upstairs of Genovese, it was crazy hot and loud! People introduced themselves and then those who wanted to spoke about projects that they were working on. We heard from the Topeka Zoo folks about goals for sustainability, Beth Shultz spoke about her grant, and Rachel and Kim sent around a sheet asking for the formation of the leadership team to help with the planning and organizing of the meetings.
April 2013 (Five Bar): The idea to create a networking group for women environmentalists was born during a breakfast meeting between Rachel Myslivy and Kim Bellemere in the spring of 2013. They wanted more opportunities to connect with others in the field and knew that there were other women who felt the same way. After months of thinking and talking about the idea, they set a date, made the reservation, and emailed everyone they knew – hoping that a few friends would show up. Boy, did they! Close to 40 environmental professionals, volunteers, and activists attended the first gathering at Five Bar to network, share ideas, and get to know each other. It was a fun, joyful evening spent with colleagues and new friends who share similar ideals. The women present pledged to work together to build this new networking group and KWEN was born!