Often, YWCA board members will write a blog about their experiences while serving on our Board of Directors. Here is an amazing account of Brittany Dahl’s contribution to one of our major fundraisers ‘Women of Distinction’. SO much planning goes into events like this, as Brittany knows, and we would like to share it with you! Enjoy!
I first learned about the YWCA from my mother-in-law, Alisa Dahl, who served on the Board of Directors. She had many roles throughout her term as a Director, including the chairperson for the Women of Distinction banquet, the largest fundraiser of the year for the YWCA.
The Women of Distinction banquet honors women in our community that have been nominated by their peers in one of several categories like business, community, and professional. One award is presented for each category. It is a truly inspiring evening–it also takes A LOT of work to make happen!
A few years ago, Alisa asked me to help her with a few things that needed to be done for the banquet, and I was happy to help. My husband and I attended the banquet for the first time that year and we both were blown away, not only by the women that were honored that year but also by a resident who was staying in the shelter at the time. She spoke about her journey before the YWCA and how much it meant to her to have the opportunity to get back on her feet while at the women’s shelter.
I have also had the opportunity to work with an amazing group of women who served on the committee. They dug their heels in and helped me put fires out left and right!! This was the first big event I have ever planned and I received an amazing amount of support and help, all while displaying how green I was in this type of setting. I learned so much, but what I learned about myself would be my biggest take-away from this experience.
YWCA Board Director, Sana Keller and YWCA Executive Director, Gina Gonstad
On the day of the banquet, I was nervous, excited and scared!! All that was left to do was make sure that all the hard work, time, planning and preparation put into the banquet was not wasted as well as make sure the women received their awards. I also wanted to make sure the funds raised from this event were enough to help keep the YWCA of Minot open, operating and able to continue to help women receive the “hand up” they need to take the next step needed to put their lives back together!!
That morning felt so important to me and I thought I would remember every second up to the banquet! I could not have been more wrong. What I remember most is the feeling I felt aftereveryone left, the clean-up was done and I was on my way home. A warmth I had never felt in my life rushed through my body and has stayed there to this day.
I have chaired the next two Women of Distinction banquets which has given me the opportunity to meet some amazing women in our community that might not otherwise be recognized for what they do, because these are “behind the scene” type of women. They don’t feel they need recognition for the inspirational acts they do on a daily basis. I’ve also been honored to meet the women staying in the shelter and permanent supportive housing. I now consider them my friends. These women are the same as any of us. Circumstances in our lives lead us to places we never thought we would be–good or bad–and I am so grateful to have the opportunity to help in any way I can.
The YWCA board of directors is made up of women with different backgrounds, interests, lifestyles and opinions, all with the same goal…to empower women in whatever capacity needed. Every woman that serves or has served on the board of directors, worked or volunteered for the YWCA has brought their passion and talent to a nonprofit organization that has been serving this community for 100 YEARS!!!
When it comes to the role the YWCA has had in my life, I have so much more that I could say. I hope the take-away message from what I have shared is that the Women of Distinction banquet (and Alisa Dahl) is where my love and passion for the YWCA began. The banquet is the BIGGEST fundraiser of the year for the YWCA.
In addition, I hope I was able to express how the YWCA is so much more than a homeless shelter for women and children!! “Empowering women” is in the mission statement. This does not just apply to the women in the shelter–it applies to all women. I have never felt more empowered and grateful for having the opportunity to be a part of such an amazing organization and group of women!