“I like anniversaries. They mark the end of one cycle, and the beginning of a new one. The Louisville Section can look back with pride upon its accomplishments during the cycle just ended. What of the future? We cannot just be satisfied with what we have done in the past. The past is only the corner stone of the future.”
Leontine M. Fuhrman, past NCJW, Louisville Section President from 50th Anniversary Celebration
“My first NCJW convention was the Leadership one. To this day I still have handouts (and use them!) from the seminars. Just amazing what I learned. Like a kid in a candy store, listening to top experts that I only had read about. And all the women, the old timers, like Betty Jane Fleischaker, were always there to guide and mentor you. No question too dumb, always ready to pull you back from the brink. As Marsha Roth once said: graduating from the University of NCJW.
And then there was Washington Institute. To walk down the halls of the U.S. Senate with Sammie Moshenberg. Senators would come out of their offices to greet her. One quickly realized the power of NCJW.
My favorite Washington Institute was of course 1998. So many highlights. From Pres. Bill Clinton making his first public appearance after the scandal, to being in Senator Mitch McConnell’s outer office with maybe a 100 other people waiting to see him, when his staff person comes out and say, “Everyone leave; the Senator is not seeing anyone else today – except (as he pointed to us), except NCJW.” Then there was Senator Wendell Ford, with cigarette smoke coming out of his office, him sitting at his desk, door wide open – “Come on in, ladies. Let’s talk.” And talk we did.
NCJW is not just about advocacy, but giving a voice, and power, to women. The countless programs we NCJW women have started; the elected officials we have become. NCJW has made all of this possible, and for that I am profoundly grateful.”
“I have many fond memories of NCJW since first becoming involved with the Louisville Section in the 1990s. One memory that stands out to me occurred in May of 2015 at our Closing Meeting of the year. Over the years, NCJW has hosted various speakers as they relate to our mission of improving the quality of lives for women, children, and families. On this occasion, our speakers focused on the Jefferson County Public School (JCPS) system and JCPS’s Compassionate School Project, a collaboration between JCPS and the University of Virginia.
It was very exciting to have Mayor Greg Fischer speak and introduce our keynote speakers Dr. Donna Hargens, then superintendent of JCPS, and Barbara Sexton Smith, chief liaison, University of Virginia, Curry School of Education Compassionate School Project and former Fund for the Arts president and CEO. Fischer explained that the project was “a signature part of our effort to nurture and grow the values of lifelong learning and compassion across Louisville”.
In particular, I remember what a dynamic and persuasive speaker Barbara Sexton Smith was. Both energetic and optimistic, she believes that “every day is a challenge and I thrive on a challenge”. She said that everything she needed to know about management and leadership she learned working at Wendy’s a long time ago. “You have to stay very focused. You have to remember to be decisive and committed as a leader. And when things get complicated and difficult, you have to stay still. You have to be calm in a storm.” Within one year, she advanced from grill operator to a regional supervisor, running five restaurants in the area. Her words were an inspiration to all of us.
Sexton Smith is also known for her skilled fundraising capability. She helped raise more than $220 million while working with the Fund for the Arts, Metro United Way, Olmsted Parks Conservancy, NCCJ, West Louisville Boys and Girls Choirs, Community Hunger Walk and more. A surprise occurred at the end of the luncheon when our very warm and gracious host, restaurant owner Vincenzo Gabriele, announced he would donate $100,000 to the project! It was a moment I will never forget.”
Sue Paul, Past President
“I was 20 years old, a newly wed, and moved to a city where I knew NO ONE other than my husband’s family. Someone suggested that I join NCJW, which I did, and soon after joining, I met a large group of young women, who were also new to the community. We started our volunteer “work” by waiting tables at the NCJW’s luncheon meetings! Before long, we were involved in study groups and other community volunteer activities. I learned so very much about our city and inner city, and eventually, as our children grew older, I served on the NCJW’s board. Council was such an important part of my life, and I was very grateful I was a part of the organization!”
“After having the honor of being elected to the Louisville Section Board, my husband began to ask me questions such as:
‘Why are there tricycles and scooters stacked in the back of your car?’ (I had an SUV) Answer: NCJW heard the storage shed at Iroquois Child Care Center was broken into and all of the riding toys were taken. We rounded up donations from members and were making deliveries.
‘What are all of those fancy dresses piled in the back of your car?’ Answer: the Nearly New Shop donated prom dresses to Maryhurst so the girls could enjoy a prom party organized by a group of volunteers who were looking for dresses.
‘What are all of those tote bags for in the back of your car?’ Answer: NCJW collected tote bags for the Home of the Innocents when we learned some young people were transferred from their emergency shelter with their belongings in garbage bags.
‘Why does your car smell like a cosmetic shop?’ (when he drove it). Answer: the back was filled with personal care products, donated by NCJW members, and were on their way to Maryhurst.
Eventually, he said, I will just assume everything (other than groceries) in the back of your car has something to do with the good work of NCJW (I am paraphrasing a bit here). I wanted to share this because one of the things I love so much about being a part of NCJW is we keep our eye on the big picture but, never lose sight of the day to day needs of our community.”