November / December 2020 Newsletter

News from the RWN President, Megan Flanagan Mills

Hello Rochester Women’s Network! 

I hope this finds you all staying healthy and enjoying the change to the fall season. The leadership team is busy figuring out new and exciting programs and activities we can offer our members in this virtual world. We are excited about some of the programs that are coming up at the end of this year. 

On November 12, please join us for the second part of Making Spaces, A Diversity and Inclusion Series, featuring Denise Reed-Lamoreaux. The topic of conversation will be “Calling Dibs on Belonging.” We will be discussing how we can own the concept behind calling dibs on belonging and creating a “belonging moment” for someone else. I am really looking forward to this thought-provoking discussion and hope you will join us. 

If you haven’t joined us for one of the RWN FUN’draisers, you are missing out! Our special events group is doing an amazing job of curating interesting and engaging events for our membership. Most recently we visited Kettle Ridge Farm and had a delicious drive-through breakfast. The pancakes were made to order and fabulous! 

The next event is going to be especially fun if you are a wine lover or casual sipper. “Beaujolais Day” Celebration and FUN’draiser is a virtual wine tasting event where we will sample the Beaujolais Nouveau and the Beaujolais Villages. Matt Yaeger of Pinnacle Wine & Liquor will guide our tasting, including origin and flavor profile, and discuss the significance of Beaujolais Day, a French tradition. Jennifer Posey, owner of Hedonist Chocolates, will be creating and donating chocolates specifically to pair with our wine. The kits will be available to pick up on Wednesday, November 18, and the virtual event will be held on Thursday, November 19 at 5:30 p.m. Please look at the details on the website and join us to help RWN survive in these crazy times.

Finally, we are still accepting applications to join the RWN Leadership teams. We would love to discuss it with you in more detail. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at or call my office at 585-678-8008. Let’s discuss how you can get involved and help form the future of our great organization! 

Stay well,
Megan Mills

Upcoming Events

Visit the RWN website for a list of all upcoming events.

Making Space, A Diversity and Inclusion Series, Part II
November 12, 2020 • 5:30 - 7:00 pm

Beaujolais Day Celebration!
An RWN ‘FUN’draiser

November 19, 2020 • 5:30 - 7:00 pm

RWN Explore -
Free Information Session

December 3, 2020 • 5:30 - 7:00 pm

Save the Date!
Irondequoit Beer Company FUN’draiser

December 8, 2020 • 5:30 - 7:00 pm
The event will feature a crowler (2 pints), with a Zoom component where Head Brew Master Nate Kester (husband of RWN member Kelly Kester) provides a virtual tour of the brew company including active brewing followed by a discussion of the beers individuals are tasting.

Useful Links

Membership Information

Committee Descriptions

SIG Descriptions

Committee / SIG Calendar

Sponsor an Event


News from the RWN Office

I would like to thank all our RWN members for supporting the organization through memberships, sponsorships, and (virtual) participation. It has certainly been a challenging year and your constant support is very much appreciated.  A special thank you to RWN’s Board & all our committee and SIG volunteers who continue to help Rochester Women’s Network thrive. We have had to adapt and pivot numerous times throughout the year. Thanks for hanging in there and keeping RWN vibrant! 

Hopefully, when we look back at 2020 we will remember the bright moments—a new or revamped business concept, more family time, a greater appreciation for teachers and schools, more time outdoors, slowing down and enjoying all the little things we often take for granted, time for reflection and exercise, connecting with friends and neighbors, volunteering to better our community or ease someone’s burden, extra time with our pets who bring out the best in us, and mastering skills like technology, flexibility, listening, patience, coping, empathy, gardening, and cooking! Many people had the pleasure of welcoming a child or grandchild, which is a wonderful reminder that life goes on, love helps us rise up and face our challenges head-on, and we can adapt and come out stronger and wiser. 

Here’s looking ahead to 2021! May we continue to work together for the greater good of our community.

Happy Thanksgiving! Happy Holidays! 

With Peace & Joy,

In case you missed it, RWN’s in-person event guidelines have been updated.

Engagement is the best way to maximize your membership. Please reach out to me if you would like help navigating the organization. I’m happy to help connect you to the right individuals. The Nominating Committee is also looking for more members to join the Leadership team. Here is the Leadership application link.

From the Diversity Committee

Active Allyship: Empathic listening

Posted on October 1, 2020

As you learn to become a good ally, one of the most important skills you can develop is empathic listening. Those of us who experience the world as white, straight, cis, and abled sometimes end up thinking that our experiences are universal. But this isn’t the case at all, and empathic listening helps us unpack those unconscious biases.


Active Allyship: Ask Questions, Grow from Mistakes

Posted on October 26, 2020

As a member of the Black community and the LGBTQ+ community (as well as the vegetarian, mom of school-age kids, etc. communities) I like allies who aren’t afraid to ask questions and who know what to do when they make mistakes. Both of those require some guidance, however.


RWN New Members

Bryn Virkler
Rita Pettinaro
Rebecca Lowery


RWN Renewals

Kelly Johnson
Katie Rudow
Renee Veniskey
Leslie Arduser Brogan
Dena Paratore

Becca Schneiderman
Alyson Orr
Velvet Spicer
Danielle MacNaughton
Lisa Crecco
Tamara MacDuff
Nancy Woolver
Beth Timmerman
Cindi Crowley
Heather Henry
Preeya Gholkar
Kristi Mitchell
Erica Walther
Kate Bohonos

RWN Board Spotlight:
Velvet Spicer, Rochester Business Journal

Velvet has been a writer with the Rochester Business Journal for the last 17 years. Her areas of focus include the local economy, nonprofits, the manufacturing sector, diversity and inclusion, and women’s issues, among other things.

Velvet has bachelor’s degrees in business and journalism, as well as a master’s degree in communications from SUNY College at Brockport, where she served as editor of the college newspaper and as president of Lambda Pi Eta honor society.

Velvet is a long-time supporter of the Alzheimer’s Association, having experienced the disease firsthand through her father-in-law’s and her mother’s diagnoses and care. She also supports local animal rights causes and has worked with Verona Street Animal Society. She currently volunteers as a literacy tutor with Gigi’s Playhouse, a not-for-profit that serves children with Down syndrome.

A lifelong resident of Western New York and the Finger Lakes region, Velvet is married and has two rescue dogs. In her spare time, Velvet enjoys reading, yoga, and caring for her pups. She has been a Rochester Women’s Network member since 2018. She currently serves as the Co-chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee and belongs to several RWN special interest groups.

On The Blog

Stories From A “New Normal”

Posted on October 14, 2020

Wearing masks, avoiding handshakes, limiting your social gatherings… COVID-19 has made it difficult (if not impossible) to conduct business as usual. As we struggle to get used to the new normal, it helps to keep in mind that this year hasn’t been entirely bad.


Committee / SIG Updates

From the Ambassador Committee:

Next meeting is Thursday, January 21 at 9 a.m., currently planning to be virtual. If you are interested, please contact Nancy Woolver.

From the NEW Book Club SIG:

This SIG will meet to discuss books and articles, primarily by female authors and about female-specific topics. The readings will be jointly decided upon by the group members, and will be a mix of fiction and non-fiction.

SIG Leader: Preeya Gholkar
Contact Information: (202) 441-3315 OR

Frequency: Monthly

There has been a great response to this new SIG. It’s not too late to join! If you are interested, please contact Preeya Gholkar by November 9 and she will bring you up to speed.

General News

Jane Plitt, one of RWN’s founders, was recently featured in Sarasota Magazine, where she mentioned RWN. For more, here is the link:

Community Connections

Northwest Bank is seeking a part-time teller for their Webster Branch. If interested please contact Erin Garrett at 585.787.2265.

Pegasus Early Music: This 501 (c)(3) non-profit is looking for individuals interested in joining their Board of Directors. Interested? Or need more information? Please contact Deborah Fox at 585.703.3990 or email

Brightstar Community’s mission is to help women survivors of sex trafficking, prostitution, abuse, and addiction find healing, hope, and freedom. We do this by providing safe and supportive housing, the opportunity for economic independence, and a strong community of advocates and partners. Brightstar believes that in the end, love is the most powerful force for change in the world.

Our biggest fundraiser was cancelled due to COVID-19, so we decided to celebrate with you virtually instead! Please join us on November 19, 2020 for the virtual Love & Light Gala benefitting Brightstar Community. For more information on Brightstar and the event go to

News from RWN member, Heather Henderson,  Kiwanis NY District Lt. Governor for the Genesee Division.  Contact Heather directly for more information:  OR 706.331.1022 


Nazareth College Tuition Discount

RWN maintains a partnership with Nazareth College, a significant opportunity for members interested in pursuing a master’s degree. The Nazareth College Educational Partnership provides RWN members with a 20% tuition discount and opportunities for professional development, career advancement, network building, and acquisition of necessary, relevant skills that benefit our members. Members receive the tuition discount for graduate degrees in education, human resources, management, or marketing at Nazareth, in addition to any employer tuition benefits. Please visit the Nazareth Partnership Network webpage for more details and how to apply. 

Resources for people looking for employment:

RochesterWorks! is a not-for-profit corporation that helps job seekers find jobs, move to higher-paying jobs, and get training to improve skills. RochesterWorks! offers services such as one-on-one job search assistance, career counseling, resume critiquing, training seminars, and much more. All their services are free of charge. Learn more about what RochesterWorks! has to offer you.

NovelNY is New York's Electronic Library. They offer many useful resources to job seekers, including access to the New York State Department of Labor's Career Zone and Job Zone, two expansive sites that allow you to easily assess yourself and career opportunities. Explore the many resources available to you at NovelNY.

Open Access 

Alcoholism and other substance-use disorders continue to hurt individuals and families in our community every day. When you or a loved one is ready to seek treatment, call or go to Open Access at 1350 University Avenue, Rochester (585- 627-1777). Open Access is staffed 24/7 and welcomes all ages. There will be an evaluation and a connection to an appropriate level of care. Families seeking guidance can call a Recovery Support Navigator at 855-778-1200. RWN member Erin Egloff, the Finger Lakes Addiction Resource Center Coordinator at the National Council on Alcoholism & Drug Dependence, can also guide you to the right resources. Call her at 585-719-3485 or email Recovery IS possible.

Copyright © 2020 Rochester Women's Network, All rights reserved.

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