Newsletter | Jan/Feb 2009

Member's Forum

We have gotten a few members agreed to write a paragraph on their involvements, thoughts and comments on OWA. It is to be informal and informative. We would like to keep this forum open for more input from our members. Please email your paragraph to the newsletter editor, Mui Ho

Suzanne Stewart
It's two and a half years of my service to OWA on the SC as newsletter editor. I have enjoyed and learned and hopefully contributed more than I gained to this Wonderful and unique organization. While the wonderful opportunity for those of us that work as sole practitioners or in micro offices. My circle of colleagues is much larger than would have been possible without OWA. We meet people we never would have. OWA is unique and needs to continue to fill that special niche. We are not AIA Lite nor do I think we should be.

Volunteering is not a job while it should have a commitment like a job, it should be handled with care so it is not taken so seriously, it is easier than the workplace.

Wendy Bertrand
I think it is healthy for the OWA steering committee to look at organizational effectiveness, integrity, and drift. It has been 35 years since we envisioned the organization and times have changed. However, many creative, feminist, and democratic principals were at the basis of the organization's foundation and they may still be valuable. In that spirit, I feel the essential task for the OWA steering committee must be to determine an open process where structural and procedural change will be transparent and inclusive for all interested members.

Mimi Malayan
For many years I have been a member of OWA. I have served on the steering committee twice, and continue to stay involved by attending events and keeping in touch in various members. This has been and continues to be a rewarding and pleasurable experience, which enriches my professional growth.

There are many qualities of my relationship with OWA which I would like to promote to the membership, including volunteerism, supporting women professionals, camaraderie, and discussions and insight of design concepts and issues. From my first involvement with the organization, I felt welcome and appreciated. Those feelings grew as I became more involved. Unlike other professional organizations, which don’t allow one to relax and enjoy the moment, the OWA membership is supportive and non-judgmental. This allows its members to form bonds or friendships which nurture each other rather than compete. These friendships are based on both personal compatibility as well as professional respect, a very rich combination.

OWA has created the professional arena from which I have developed lasting friendships. This has given and continues to give me rich interactions where design concepts and objectives are discussed and revealed, resulting in my better understanding of a project and contributing to my professional awareness and growth. Whether traveling with OWA members, visiting a museum, or attending the holiday party, our conversations affect me on both a personal and on a professional level, as I think about and question design issues which may have passes me by. These are unique relationships, which I appreciate and value deeply, and which I expect to continue and grow for a long time to come.

Mui Ho
I am always delighted to meet new members and find out about their work. I value working with the Steering Committee members, as it really helped to get to know other OWA members.

There is some confusion on the length and terms of the Steering Committee. From past experience, we found that staying on one year plus and no more than two years worked well with most members. It is not too long a commitment and at the same time, it is long enough for SC members to work well together. Since it is volunteer work, we would not like to use too much of our members' time. SC members are usually happy to be released of duty after a year on the Steering Committee. When SC members step down, usually they continue working on various OWA events or helping out in meetings. Volunteering their time and expertise have been the strength of this organization. We are proud of these inputs from all our members.

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