By Liz Townsend Bird, The Food Bank for Central & Northeast Missouri, Women’s Network Chair
Greetings, Women’s Network Friends! Here we go…embarking on a new program year and I am honored to serve as your Chair this year. For those of you who don’t know me, I have been a member of Women’s Network since 2014. Initially I joined to meet community members outside of my career field. At that time, I had been working in higher education for twelve years in a variety of fundraising roles. My friends and professional network revolved around work. I was missing something and I knew that Columbia had so much more to offer than higher education, so I set my sights on broadening my circle of influence.
My journey in Women’s Network has been incredibly fulfilling. I joined committees, I helped plan events, and I have served two terms on the Steering Committee. Today, some of my closest friends and valued mentors represent a variety of industries in our thriving community outside of higher education. My life is enriched by them and the vibrancy of Columbia. And, I have fallen in love with Columbia from a different perspective beyond just being a Mizzou alumna and employee.
There is a tradition of the Women’s Network Chair selecting a theme for their leadership year. We’ve had some amazing themes in recent years: Teresa Snow’s “One Thing,” Michele Curry’s “Be Bold,” and Krista Kippenberger’s “Best Yes.” This year, I invite you to join me as “We Rise By Lifting Others.” We are not here to go through life alone. We need to be cheerleaders and champions for one another; we need to be mentors or mentees; we need to be a voice for those who are not heard or seen.
Women’s Network focuses on connection, empowerment and engagement. We offer a variety of activities, events and professional development opportunities to enhance your professional and personal life. It’s up to each member to invest the time and energy to achieve the greatest ROI. You need to decide what you want out of your membership and how you’re going to realize it. Will you rise to the occasion by serving as a mentor, inviting another woman to the table, or supporting women-owned businesses?
While there is great reward in investing in yourself, there is great fulfillment in investing in others. Let’s make this year count as We Rise By Lifting Others.
Liz Townsend Bird
Women’s Network Chair, 2022-23
Director of Development
The Food Bank for Central & Northeast Missouri