The most important goal I set for myself as Chair of Women’s Network was to start and see to completion the creation of a new strategic plan for the next five years.

The first step was picking the right leader and visionary for the project. To me, this was the easiest decision of all. My choice was Ann Merrifield. She brought the wisdom, professionalism, and leadership that I knew we would need to keep all of the cats herded (spoken by the most distractible cat of them all!).

Our second step was choosing the right facilitator for the project — Deb Snellen. Not only had Deb been a past president of WN, but she also had the professional experience to help guide us through what promised to be an arduous process. Thanks to her affinity for the group and her charitable heart, Deb volunteered her services and time to help with this project.  

The third step was getting the right people around the table. Ann had the full blessing and confidence of the steering committee to choose her team as she saw fit, and in my opinion, she did an impeccable job. During our talks, she mentioned how important it was for her to have all opinions represented: those new to WN, experienced, older, younger, male, female, happy with what we offer, jaded about what we do, etc.

We met once a month for seven months to break down and put back together the identity of Women’s Network. There were amazing discussions. There were challenging questions. There was back and forth on the relevance of certain issues and hours wrestling over specific words. When the goals were finally agreed upon, there was literally a reverent hush in the room. Many committee members — including myself — had goosebumps. We knew collectively and simultaneously that we had done it. We had fought and slain the beast. The direction had been chosen, and we had done it together.

While you probably won’t have the same goosebump-inducing reaction that we did, I do want to officially introduce you to the newly refined goals of Women’s Network. 

  1. Invest in Strategic Outreach
  1. Cultivate Empowered Leaders
  1. Inspire Committee Involvement
  1. Deliver Relevant Programming
  1. Diversify and Engage Membership


We will be officially revealing the entire plan, along with the specific strategies under each goal, at the June luncheon. I do hope that you make a point to join us for this event as we officially launch the vision for what is bound to be an extremely exciting and productive next season for Women’s Network. Additionally, I hope you will join me in a heartfelt thank you to each of the committee members that invested their time and talent in this process.

Committee Chair:

 Ann Merrifield, Columbia College


 Deb Snellen, University of Missouri

Committee Members:

Rusty Strodtman, Columbia Mall

Shatenita Horton, Providence Bank

Tennille Dorsey, Landmark Bank

Beth Lammers, Juice Plus

Gina Mauller, Edward Jones

Jan Grossmann, Greater Missouri Leadership Foundation

Krista Kippenberger, Focus on Health Chiropractic

Leigh Ann Haun, Woodhaven

Mark Mills, Cumulus Broadcasting

Mary Kroening, Tompkins Construction

Michele Curry, Commerce Bank

Michelle Batye, Flooring America

Molly Borgmeyer, Columbia College

Suzanne Rothwell, Columbia College


All my best,

Erica Pefferman