2022 State Convention

Disruption as Opportunity… It’s a Woman’s World               
June 3-5, 2022
Central Hotel & Conference Center, Harrisburg

This broad theme gives us the opportunity to explore all the opportunities for women as we emerge from the pandemic.  We don’t want to “get back to normal” because normal wasn’t the best for women and girls.  The pandemic was a disruptor.   We hope to explore what good will emerge from the disruption and how can we leverage change to improve issues impacting women and girls.

Convention Program — printed for attendees.  Download here.

COVID protocols –recognizing this was the first time meeting in person, we worked to create an environment where all would feel safe.  Details here.

Convention photos, taken by Ajla Laussegger can be viewed at:  AAUW PA | Flickr

Convention Highlights

see Convention Program for the full schedule

Friday, June 3

Keynote Speaker

Co-Creating Change
Hershey has been on an intentional journey of co-creating a refreshed DEI strategy and the future of work with employees from across the company. How pausing and listening, leader vulnerability and showing up in new ways is creating change—like pay equity, development opportunities, diverse talent pipelines, and deeper community connection and impact.

Alicia Petross, Hershey Company Chief Diversity Officer
Alicia, a member of the Human Resources Leadership Team since 2015, leads the development and execution of Hershey’s diversity and inclusion strategy. She partners with key internal and external leaders to drive the iconic company to becoming an even more inclusive workplace. Externally, Alicia represents the company in key industry partnerships with DEI leaders including Paradigm for Parity, CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion, and the National Organization on Disability Look Closer Campaign.

Alicia has more than 15 years of progressive human resources experience. She joined Hershey from the Target Corporation, where she played a key role in advancing and executing Target’s inclusion and engagement strategy and led the company’s ascension to the Top 20 in Diversity Inc.’s Top 50 Companies for Diversity rankings. Prior to joining Target, Alicia held various jobs including Store Team Leader at the Dayton Hudson Corporation – where she was the first Black woman to hold this position. In 2021, The Hershey Company was named #10 on Diversity Inc.’s Top 50 Companies for Diversity list.  Alicia was named to Diversity Woman Media’s inaugural Elite100 Black Women leaders list in 2021.

Saturday, June 4

Panel Discussion exploring Local Impact

HOLA Gems — Supporting Girls in STEM
This program exposes young girls and girls of color in STEM through hands-on experiences, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, and communication skills. The HOLA Gems program focuses on STEM activities where the girls attain confidence, a growth mindset, and STEM attributes in a learning space that encourages all girls to be leaders.

Ivonne Miranda, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in Teacher Education at Cedar Crest College

Kids and Coding, It’s a Wonderful Thing!
Involves kids from third grade to teens in computer coding and the benefits of this program to build confidence and problem-solving skills. The “Code Brave” program story from 2021 and 2022 will explore how to give kids real excitement in their own abilities as they grow to understand the creative process of coding.

Kate Geiger, Director of the Indiana Free Library, Indiana, PA

State of the State

Celebration of AAUW presented by Ann Pehle, AAUW Pennsylvania President.

Melissa Ingram, Chair of the AAUW Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee (and traveled all the way from Alabama to be with us) provided an update on the work of her committee.  Quick access to the DEI toolkit here and email her directly at diversity@aauw.org.

Luncheon Keynote Speaker

Research and Revolution: On Women, Work, and What Comes Next
It has been more than two years since the COVID-19 pandemic upended our workplaces and our lives, and ongoing uncertainty about the future has become a constant for many. Against this backdrop—with a recovering but tumultuous economy, persistent caregiving demands that continue to fall heavily on women, and ongoing attacks on women’s reproductive rights—the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) undertook new research to gain a deeper understanding of the impact of the pandemic on women and their families. The findings are sobering: Many women—particularly Black women, Latinas, and other women of color—are still struggling to make ends meet; nearly 40 percent of women say their family’s financial situation is worse today than before the pandemic; and 58 percent of women report that the pandemic has had a negative impact on their mental health. In keynote remarks, Julie Vogtman, Director of Job Quality & Senior Counsel for the National Women’s Law Center, will review this research—captured in NWLC’s report, Resilient But Not Recovered: After Two Years of the COVID-19 Crisis, Women Are Still Struggling—and discuss current threats and opportunities for women in the workplace and beyond.

Download the full research report here.  Download Julie’s slides here.  Learn more about National Women’s Law Center here.

Julie Vogtman, Director of Job Quality and Senior Counsel, National Women’s Law Center
At NWLC, Julie engages in research, policy analysis and advocacy, and public education to advance federal and state policies that benefit both women in low-paid jobs in their families, including higher wages, fair work scheduling practices, and child care assistance.  She has written extensively about women and the economy and the factors contributing to racial and gender pay disparities.  Prior to joining NWLC in 2010, Julie was an associate with Covington & Burling LLP in Washington, DC.  She is a magna cum laude graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, where she served as an editor for the Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law & Policy, and holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Furman University.

Luncheon Fundraising raised $1,870 for AAUW

During this joyful return to in-person convention, we revived the tried and true convention envelope donation opportunity at Saturday’s luncheon.  Thank you to the many generous attendees who put “money” into the box on your luncheon table.  We raised a whopping $1870! The breakdown of donations was $1520 to the Greatest Needs Fund, $150 to the Economic Security Fund, $140 to the Education and Training Fund, and $60 to the Leadership

Concurrent Branch Presentations

Fluidly Navigating around COVID Obstacles
Loretto Bellicini, AAUW Erie, President
Our Presentation looks at the new way of doing things at AAUW Erie. Initially to get by. Then as routine.   It began in March of 2020. Our speaker for our monthly program was informed by her employer, a medical school, that she was not permitted to speak before a live audience because of COVID. We were forced to cancel our programs for the rest of the year. Over the summer of 2020 the incoming president and program chair explored ways and means to overcome the COVID obstacle. This would affect every aspect of the Branch’s functions. With imagination and creativity…that we didn’t know we had…we elevated the performance of our branch to new dimension.

Helping Students “Cross the Finish Line”
Pamela Schleif, AAUW Lansdale, Past President
https://aauw-pa.aauw.net/files/2022/06/Erie-concurrent.jpgFor many years the Lansdale Branch has supported scholarships for high achieving high school students in our local area.  Previously we had also offered a scholarship to women hoping to return to college, but we found that most nontraditional students (part time, working, older, or parenting) were hard to recruit, yet they often desperately needed financial assistance. Finding the students, qualifying their financial need, and following all IRS guidelines was a challenge.  We implemented a scholarship program to address these needs three years ago. The Branch partnered with Community College of Philadelphia and set up scholarships for students who were in their last semester of a two-year program, thus helping them to cross the finish line of an Associate’s degree.  Most of the applicants move on to a four-year degree.  Our Higher Education Scholarship Committee has input on who is selected.  We also provide mentorship opportunities with our members after the selection.  The program has been highly successful and receives strong member support.  This workshop will address finding applicants, determining qualifications, selecting the top candidate(s), and implementing the mentorship program.

During the presentation, Pam shared the website for the auction info used to raise the funds for “Crossing the Finish Line” scholarship program.

Support Women Filmmakers Through Lunafest
Carol Toomey, AAUW Reading Past President
LUNAFEST is a traveling film festival of 8 short films (90 minutes) by women filmmakers and about women’s issues. Reading Branch has successfully presented this event for 4 years for the purposes of fundraising, social networking, as an educational opportunity, and for visibility in the community, (we also present it to college students). Through the years, we have paired it with our used jewelry sale and a buffet. This year we were invited to be a part of the ReadingFilmFest, offering live and virtual presentations. Lunafest.org has a complete description and offers in depth and personal attention and help.


System Shakers & Barrier Breakers: Women in STEM

AAUW Pennsylvania Gateway to Equity Award

AAUW PA is proud to honor the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV) with our 2022 Gateway to Equity Award.  In May 2021, PCADV issued a report on pay equity which indicated that the wage gap has several negative impacts on women, both economically and on their health.  Many of these negative impacts are also known risk factors for intimate partner violence (IPV).  The report stated that pay equity, in turn, can improve women’s access to education and opportunities, which will increase the economic and social empowerment of women.  Eliminating the wage gap will lead to women being viewed as more valuable in society, ultimately reducing the risk factors for IPV.  Their efforts show how the lack of pay equity can have dire consequences for women beyond its economic impact.

Kristen Herman, Director of Prevention, accepted the award and spoke about the importance of PCADV’s relationship with AAUW Pennsylvania in pursuing common initiatives for the women of Pennsylvania.  You can see the September 29, 2021 virtual meeting in which PCADV spoke about pay equity and intimate domestic violence, one finding of their March 2021 report.

Winner of the AAUW Elevator Pitch contest announced

Cathy Cathy Kotanchik, Bethlehem

“I belong to an organization that fights for an equal playing field for women and girls, be it on the playground, in the classroom, in the lab, in the office, in the boardroom, all the way to Capitol Hill.  AAUW gives voice to the fight for women’s equality.  AAUW creates programs that encourage all women to ask for what they deserve.  AAUW funds fellowships, research, and legal defense for women struggling against the barriers of inequality.  AAUW lobbies state and national government, keeping women’s issues in front of legislators.  Come join me at our next AAUW program and see how you can be part of our battle for equal rights for women.”

Closing of the basket silent auction — $1172 to AAUW’s Greatest Needs Fund 

Many thanks to the following branches for their generous donations of creative baskets of goods for the silent auction: Carlisle, Doylestown, Easton, Fox Chapel Area, Harrisburg, Huntingdon, Johnstown, North Hills-Pittsburgh,Pittsburgh (2 baskets), Reading, State College, West Chester-Chester County, and York.  Bidding was lively and strategic, and, because of the great interest these baskets received, AAUW PA was able to make a donation of $1172 to AAUW’s Greatest Needs Fund from these baskets.

Sunday, June 5

Update on Title IX — View presentation here.
Exploring Title IX from a K-12 lens and higher education and trans people in sports.  Will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Title IX which is June 23, 2022.

Peg Pennepacker
Peg Pennepacker is a retired K-12 educator and high school athletic director.  As a high school athletic director, Peg has worked with and continues to work with the Pennsylvania State Athletic Director’s Association (PSADA) and the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association as a Title IX consultant and national faculty member where she helps to educate high school athletic directors about Title IX law and its application to athletics as well as other legal issues in sports.

Fifteen years ago, Peg founded High School Title IX Consulting Services and works with K-12 schools in educating and training staff about all things Title IX.

Peg is recognized nationally as an expert in Title IX and athletics and has received recognition for her work both by PSADA and the NIAAA. This December at the national high school athletic director’s conference in Nashville she will be inducted into the NIAAA Hall of Fame.

Peg is delighted to be here this morning to share information regarding the current state of Title IX in our schools and to support the mission of AAUW.