Organization Communique #3

National President-Elect and Chairperson of Organization Anne Gorman, May 1, 2017


“for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice,  but a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.”

                                                                                                                                                                     (2 Timothy 1:7)

Greetings and a very happy Easter Season! The aforementioned passage is most appropriate to introduce this communiqué. Included is background information for members to prepare at home or as a registrant at the annual national convention in Charlottetown. I realize the communiqué is lengthy, but in the interest of providing a full explanation, it is written in this way.

Strategic Planning

The League is embarking on a process of strategic planning, “the process of determining: (1) what [our] organization intends to accomplish, and (2) how [we] will direct the organization and its resources toward accomplishing these goals over the coming months and years” (Strategic Planning Workbook for Nonprofit Organizations). The impetus for this endeavour is explained through the complete timeline outlined herein.

For background, please read “Past, Present, Future” by National Past President Barbara Dowding in the Spring 2017 issue of The Canadian League. It is a very positive, realistic article and an excellent summary of the strategic planning. I thank Executive Director Kim Scammell for keeping notes from several teleconferences that have been held and for providing two progress reports and a timeline of activities completed.


  • Prior to the 2016 national convention, a realistic discussion was held on the viability of a national Catholic women’s organization, its importance in the present and the ability to sustain itself into the future. National President Margaret Ann Jacobs, Barbara and I, as president-elect, were charged with studying strategic planning and determining if this would be a good fit for the League.
  • In the fall of 2016, Margaret Ann, Barbara, Kim, National Spiritual Advisor Bishop William McGrattan (Calgary) and I met in teleconference to discuss issues in the League and moving forward. Decisions made included: one training session for the national administrative committee and one training session for the entire national executive (provincial presidents and standing committee chairpersons) at the winter national executive meeting; an invitation to Dr

Reginald Bibby (Canada’s Catholics) to present at the 2017 annual national convention; all 2017 national convention attendees, as well as members who could gather for the “live feed” at home or in groups, would take part in an analysis of the League’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Save the date: AUGUST 8, 2017.

  • Committee members Margaret Ann, Barbara and I would become educated in the strategic planning process. We received copies of Transformational Governance: How Boards Achieve Extraordinary Change and Strategic Planning Workbook for Non-Profit Organizations. Using these resources, we worked through several exercises to gain a realistic base for moving forward, i.e., getting organized, reviewing history and the current League situation, and identifying critical issues and choices facing the organization.
  • In February 2017, consultants provided more information on the process and how it would fit in with the League structure. The national executive approved the “Steering Committee Terms of Reference” on February 18, 2017, and Margaret Ann, Barbara, Kim and I began to move from the pre-planning phase to the planning phase. Our first focus was to build capacity in the committee and hire a professional consultant to guide the committee’s efforts.
  • In March and April 2017,
  1. a) Names were put forward for potential members of the steering committee, and discussions were held about budgets and national convention details to support the strategic planning process. The following additional women will comprise the steering committee for the duration of the planning process: Ontario Provincial President Pauline Krupa, Quebec Provincial President Ingrid Lefort, Honorary Life Member Danielle McNeil-Hessian and Vancouver Diocesan President Roxanne McDonald.
  2. b) Discussions were held with two potential consultants, following which the decision was made to hire Tecker International’s Donna Dunn. Ms. Dunn will: conduct an in-person strategic plan design session with members of the steering committee and national administrative committee in Toronto, May 2017; perform a high-level scan of the League’s history, including previous research (2000 and 2008); facilitate a 1 ½ day session (evening August 3rd and all day August 4th) in Charlottetown for the steering committee and the national executive to develop an envisioned future, goal

and objectives; and facilitate a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) exercise for convention attendees and for those members who choose to participate in small groups of six to eight participants from home via the live feed of the workshop.

  • On April 3, 2017, Barbara Dowding attended a conference in Vancouver entitled Associations 2025, High Performance Associations of Tomorrow and provided a written report to the steering committee.
  • On April 27, 2017, a teleconference was held with full steering committee. The committee discussed the timeline and suggested actions, feedback from the aforementioned conference, the training session on May 13th in Toronto, the logistics for session on August 3rd and 4th with the national executive, the August 8th presentation by Dr. Bibby, and the town hall session that will be livestreamed.
  • The steering committee members’ task moving forward is to reflect on the areas of communication and promotion, current membership needs, programs and activities, governance and decision-making, and a few other areas of concern.
  • The next meeting will be held in person on May 13, 2017, when the steering committee and national administrative committee will take part in a design session with consultant Ms. Dunn of Tecker International.

Livestreaming at Annual National Convention

At the annual national convention in Charlottetown, all guest speakers and presentations will be livestreamed (as they were in 2016). This means members not in physical attendance may listen and watch the speakers. Furthermore, it means that when Ms. Dunn facilitates the town hall meeting on Tuesday, August 8th at 11:00 a.m. ADT (aka, “Building on Foundation, the League of the Future”), members will be able to listen AND participate. Later that same day, Kim and a team will collate the responses from across Canada. Tune in on your computer with a group of your League sisters and have your say.

On Wednesday, August 9th at 9:00 a.m. ADT, the steering committee will present a summary and provide further information. Watch for more information on the logistics of this exercise on the website.

This is an exciting time in the history of The Catholic Women’s League of Canada. As we prepare to celebrate 100 years “For God and Canada”, we rely on the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to guide us as on this journey, and I thank all my sisters for their attention to this communiqué.

Your League Sister,

Anne-Marie Gorman

National President-Elect and Chairperson of Organization