Over the past biennium, the Membership and Leadership Development (MLD) program has continued to bring together League leaders from across the country to strengthen and grow the League and ensure lasting impact on our democracy. At the 2014 League of Women Voters National Convention, the Ruth S. Shur Fellows were able to continue building those important relationships with the state Leagues. Developing a relationship between the Shur Fellows and their state Leagues creates positive interaction that helps foster success in the MLD program. The key to improvement is to create meaningful connections which bring Leagues and communities together. By strengthening the League, these coaching teams are at the forefront of strengthening our democracy.

At Convention in June, the national coaches were encouraged to meet with their state Leagues. Tracy Adkison, Nancy Eitreim, and Donna Lauffer are three coaches who shared with us what a positive experience it was. Tracy revealed that communicating in-person with the states she coaches will be beneficial for providing them with guidance and support. “It always helps to foster trust and open communication with hopes of better assisting with their needs,” Tracy explained.

During Convention these three coaches took on a variety of jobs, but they all agreed that the opportunity to connect with their states was one of the most positive parts of their Convention experience. Enthusiasm about the MLD program was evident in many of the discussions that took place throughout Convention. “I was pleased with the positive emphasis on MLD by delegates from many states,” Nancy said. She agreed that it is much easier to communicate and solve problems with someone you have met face-to-face, and she hopes to “sustain the enthusiasm and support for Local Leagues no matter their sizes.” With the opportunity to meet in-person, state Leagues were able to put faces together with the voices on their monthly phone calls, generating more positive energy and a stronger bond between coaching teams.

Relationships grew during personal interactions, round table discussions, training track workshops, and various individual meetings. “I really enjoyed the breakfast meeting with coaches and state presidents,” Donna shared. She hopes Convention will encourage further interaction in the future. Coaches and Leagues left Convention inspired to continue building their support network.  Donna looks forward to reconnecting with more state Leagues after having great experiences doing so at Convention. As the coaches and League’s relationships continue to flourish, the MLD program is poised to continue strengthening the League’s mission well into the League’s second century.

The MLD program is funded by the Fund for Local League growth (FLLG), which is supported by League donors. It is a designated fund with the sole purpose of supporting this program’s work for local and state Leagues to ensure the organization’s success and sustainability.