During convention, due to the extended length of deliberations on amendments and the need to keep business moving, I decided not to give my prepared closing remarks in person, noting they would be included in this issue of The P.E.O. Record and instead, I simply shared heartfelt thanks to all my P.E.O. sisters for your dedication and efforts for this Sisterhood that we all love. These are the original comments I had planned:
When asked what I might say in my closing remarks after a decade on the executive board and especially as we are wrapping up this 2021-2023 biennium, my overriding response is how grateful I am to have had this opportunity to serve P.E.O. and its members in many capacities.
It has been a pleasure to work with such talented and hard-working members of the executive board these past two years. I have the utmost respect and confidence in the incoming executive board. Cathy, Alix, Kay, Jen, and Kathryn will do an outstanding job leading our beloved P.E.O. Sisterhood, and they will have backing from the excellent staff at the P.E.O. Executive Office.
Great thanks to all my P.E.O. sisters for helping to Raise the Bar to the Stars during this biennium. When I accepted the gavel in September of 2021, I shared this theme and asked each of you, individually and as chapters, to do it—as those words call us to a higher level of integrity and values. They also reinforce what P.E.O. sisters already do so well. You have generously taken that theme to heart and have Raised the Bar in countless ways. Thank you for every effort in furtherance of that call to action.
Throughout this biennium, I have stressed the two foundational tenets of P.E.O. that have never changed, and which are crucial to the future of our Sisterhood. First, our hallmark loving concern for our sisters and the bonds of sisterhood that set us apart. Second, our philanthropic mission of supporting women to pursue their educational goals with both financial and emotional support. For both of these foundational tenets of P.E.O. to endure, it takes work by all of us. Each and every P.E.O. makes a difference to the well-being and vitality of her own chapter and our Sisterhood as a whole. The effort each member makes grows exponentially and, through teamwork, we have made a significant impact this biennium. We can and should be proud of the results.
My State of the Sisterhood address provides a summary of the many significant actions we have taken this biennium to address challenges and move P.E.O. forward. We navigated how best to lift COVID restrictions while addressing procedural questions and respecting our members’ concerns with health and helping them to reconnect and find the joy in P.E.O. We made improvements to address cybersecurity concerns and challenges with technology; we took positive steps to ensure our sisters and potential members feel they truly belong; we addressed matters of sustainability facing Cottey College; we responded to changes in society that impact P.E.O. in many ways, and we found ways to help our chapters and membership stay engaged and remain strong so we can continue the vital work and impact of P.E.O. In all those areas, I am proud of the progress made and all we have accomplished to firmly lay the groundwork for even more steps forward in the future. For details on all of these matters and more, please take time to review the State of the Sisterhood remarks that are included in this issue of The P.E.O. Record.
I’ve always believed our five virtues, together with our Objects and Aims, help guide us as we navigate challenging topics such as amendments, procedures and even the appropriate path forward for our Sisterhood. While there may be matters about which our views differ and that could possibly divide us, we must not lose sight that we have far more in common that brings us together—including our love for P.E.O., our special bonds with our sisters that enhance our lives and pride in the global impact we make for our project recipients, excellent examples of which you heard during the wonderful Projects Program Thursday evening. In short, we are blessed with this precious gift we all share as P.E.O.s.
Thank you for the honor to serve you on the Executive Board of International Chapter and this biennium, as your president. I am profoundly grateful for the fulfilling experiences afforded me in addition to the customary duties of each office, including: chairing the inaugural Ad Hoc Committee for Leadership Development Initiative; the privilege to serve as organizer for the Convocation of Alaska State Chapter; and especially the opportunity to be the Representative of International Chapter to 41 state, provincial and district conventions. I treasure each memorable experience and especially cherish the many lifelong friendships made through them.
I am also grateful to all the executive board and leadership team members with whom I have served, the dedicated staff at the Executive Office, my chapters and especially my family and my wonderful BIL, Nils. Great thanks to each and every P.E.O. sister who has inspired me, encouraged me, and walked this journey with me. I look forward to seeing you at future P.E.O. events, and in the meantime, will share a favorite passage by John Muir – “The mountains are calling and I must go.”
With P.E.O. love and best wishes,
Patricia L. Brolin-Ribi, President of International Chapter, 2021-2023
Convention of International Chapter