Recap: Storytelling and Workshops


As most of you know, we started a new partnership this year with Back Fence PDX.  B. Frayn Masters, Mindy Nettifee, and Liz Olufson saw the importance of tradeswomen’s stories and jumped right into creating a storytelling event for OTI! Most folks don’t think twice about how much work an event involves from planning to recruiting to donations and every other little detail. The dedicated staff at Back Fence were there for us, every single step of the way, it was the type of partnership a non-profit dreams about.

This fabulous partnership led to the development of an exciting, appealing event. Demand from the community was even higher than we had expected, Back Fence and OTI fielded dozens of calls from people trying to get tickets at the last minute. We wish that every single person could have joined us, and that is why we hope to replicate this event next year. If you missed the event, you can watch videos from each of the story tellers online:

Sarah Heidler
Laurie Suchan
Jen Netherwood
Bea Jenkins

Of course, the event would not have been such a success without the support of the tradeswomen who took a big risk to get on stage.  We are so thankful to Sarah Heidler, Jen Netherwood, Laurie Suchan, Jodi Tillinghast, and Bea Jenkins. Hopefully, some of you are considering telling a story next year!

Friday night was a fun way to bond before we launched into the workshops for the Tradeswomen Leadership Institute. Tradeswomen volunteers, staff from AFSCME, the AFLCIO, and from LERC taught eight workshops for 47 women in attendance.  We kicked off the morning with a tour of Benson High School focused on their trades and manufacturing training. Did you know that approximately every two years, the students at Benson design and build a house from the ground up?

Marilee McCall inspired us all with her keynote address. She opened her life to us and shared her path to becoming Mayor Pro-Tem in Woodland, Washington. Marilee was heartfelt in telling her personal journey. Now, she faces challenges regularly for being a woman in leadership but it doesn’t slow her down and she revealed her own secret for dealing with Naysayers. Thanks to Marilee (and Bea for the connection) for showing us one path to leadership.

None of this would have even been possible if it weren’t for the amazing women on our planning committee: Anjeanette Brown, Maddie Ettlin, Irais Gandarilla, Sarah Heidler, Kadence Jimenez, Bea Jenkins, Leigh Jenkins,  and Jodi Tillinghast.

Thank you all so much and we look forward to an even more amazing Tradeswomen Leadership Institute in 2016!

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