Milestones in WNC history related by some of our past presidents:
1992 - President Pam Graven
Westside Newcomer Club founded by Pam Graven, Clare Beske, Debby Strang, and Sandra Dinsmore Frank. Pam Graven was our first president.
1993 - President Debby Strang
As the Las Vegas valley’s population continued its rapid growth, the Westside Newcomers Club membership grew too. The club’s environment was always social and welcoming. As with most social gatherings, the sharing of food was central to most of our activities. These gatherings gave our members an opportunity to showcase their “delicious” culinary skills. Eventually, the idea to compile our members’ recipes in a book form gained great interest amongst our membership. One of our “good southern cooks” volunteered to chair the cookbook committee. After several months of collecting member recipe submissions, sorting, and editing, The Westside Newcomers Cookbook/Sharing From Our Kitchens was in print.
1997 - President Barbara Schwartz
Members who had left the club for more than three years were able to rejoin this year. Some charter members rejoined, and our membership grew by over 200 women. A group for singles was added and is still going strong.
1999 - President Jo Ann Malkin
The club spanned the 20th and the 21st centuries! We added email addresses and fax numbers to the President’s column and we invited members to attend Board Meetings. A website was established through a local affiliate, and WNC was listed in the Newcomers Clubs Worldwide Directory. We created a new logo, and initiated a member survey for current and future planning. Also, our financial records were computerized for the first time. We started an evening New Members Coffee and a younger Newcomers Committee. Our Bylaws were revised and a liability insurance program was procured to protect the club. WNC logo clothing was made available and the first WNC dinner dance attracted over 200 people. And of course, we had a Millennium celebration luncheon in January.
2001 - President Barbara Bartholomay
The 2001 WNC year was very notable. This was the year when WNC became incorporated and also chartered in Nevada to protect all officers from any and all litigation. During the year, several programs were “firsts” for the club such as WNC attending the dress rehearsal of Nevada Ballet’s “Giselle” at UNVL Judy Bayley Theatre. The day after 9-11 was our luncheon, which was very well attended. Our speaker that day was Mayor Oscar Goodman. Going ahead and having this luncheon at the horrific time helped us all unite together and reinforce our patriotism. In December, WNC held its last dinner dance and was enjoyed by all who attended. The WNC December luncheon was the largest attended luncheon in the history of the club being held at the brand new Palms Resort and Casino. Elvis paid us a nice singing visit, which was the highlight of the program. At the January installation luncheon, not only did the new officers get installed at the new Red Rock Country Club, it was also the celebration of the WNC’s ten year anniversary. Not only did several charter members attend, there were also in attendance nine past presidents. At that time, WNC received several awards for its past service to new Las Vegas residents over the years. Dema Guinn, First Lady of Nevada, and Lia Roberts, Honorary Council to Romania presented special awards to WNC. All in all, 2001 was a very busy year but one that was very noteworthy.
2002 - President Roberta Greenberg
This was the first and only time that our membership roster included over 1000 members. We celebrated the 10th anniversary of our club, and entered the computer age by buying WNC a computer and software that could handle our expanding database. Dema Guinn, wife of then Governor Kenny Guinn, came to a luncheon and became an honorary member of WNC.
2004 - President Paula Johnson
The Desert Newcomers of Henderson were invited to attend our luncheon with guest speaker Mayor Oscar Goodman. It was our first time inviting another newcomer club to join us for a monthly luncheon. We linked our monthly Newsletter to the website, thus reducing our printing and mailing costs, and we developed a program for record retention for all necessary reports for WNC. Board Games was added as a new activity, and our first spiral bound Directory was printed which proved to be very user friendly. For the first time, Chairs and Co-chairs were encouraged to provide pictures, write-ups or samples of their activities to display at the new member coffees. This "Activity Fair" was very successful and is still currently used. Thanks to all of our Board Members for making this another successful year.
2005 - President Gaylynne Schaefer
We began the year by purchasing a laptop computer to be used by the Treasurer and a digital camera for our Historian. The newsletter, which was linked to the website the previous year, was sent out via email to those who requested it. This reduced the cost of mailing hardcopies to part of our membership. Procedures were put in place to streamline the reinstatement process of lapsed members.
2006 - President Patricia Cullen
It was a smooth year. We combined the Board Meeting and the New Member Coffee on the first Wednesday of the month. Members were appreciative of gaining an extra free Wednesday each month. Things went well, everyone did their jobs as expected, and the membership grew each month.
2007 - President Audrey Zeibert
We really joined the computer age by creating a WNC website which was not only beneficial to current members, but also made it much easier for new people to find us. We had our first “email” board meeting with all board members able to participate. For the first time, a column call Norma (a take on Norm!) appeared in the Newsletter. WNC was listed in two Las Vegas Relocation Guides which realtors give to people new to Las Vegas. We encouraged members to receive their newsletter via email, and we refocused our mission to welcome newcomers, get them involved, and make them feel comfortable when they come to our activities.
2009 - President Judi Hanson
I came into the year without an agenda, but soon realized that I had a number of things to accomplish – the most important of which was to make this the best newcomers club in Las Vegas. I immediately went to work to change three bylaws: giving associates the right to vote, eliminating restrictions on associates and changing the minimum number of years that a person could join WNC from five to ten years or by board approval. To make the new members feel welcome, I sent them welcome letters and encouraged them to get involved. A number of our new members became involved by establishing new events, including: Conversation in Spanish, Chef International, and Chinese Mahjong and reinstating an old event canasta. We tried some new things at the luncheons, with our theme luncheons including the Easter parade, and birthday celebrations. New venues for the luncheons were also tried, including doing family style dining, and a buffet luncheon, as well as never before tried restaurants which everyone seemed to enjoy.
2010 - President Dee Oden
What an exciting, memorable and rewarding adventure I found myself in when I became the first President of WNC who had formerly been as “Associate”. Previously an Associate could not, among other things, hold office. When this by-law was changed the previous year, I was off and running! I had loved WNC from the day I joined in 2002 and now I had the chance to give back all that had been given to me. My goal was to personally meet as many new members as possible and to encourage the membership-at-large to make sincere efforts to make every new member feel genuinely welcome. “Be Our Guest” was born, giving every member who attended our monthly luncheons the chance to have lunch on us! I had a truly fun year by attending as many of our great Activities as possible (at least once!) to support a fantastic bunch of Chairs & Co-Chairs. The Treasurer’s Balance Sheet was added to the monthly Newsletter. Scrapbooking became a pleasant addition to our already long list of Activities. Our annual Fashion Show and Holiday Luncheon were remarkable successes. It was a year for which I will never forget and I was so grateful to have served.
2014 - President Carolyn Dickinson
My year as President was a flurry of tasks that overlapped from one month to the next. In 2013, I was a member of the committee that amended and restated our Bylaws to an easy to read and understandable document. It was an arduous task that took almost a year to complete. In February of 2014, they were approved by the Board of Directors and the General Membership. So when I started my Presidency in 2014, I literally wore two hats and was so proud to see our work published. My next task involved upgrading our audio system to a state of the art system which we all appreciate at our Board meetings and luncheons when required. Next came eliminating 22 years of paper copies of our minutes. They were scanned and now reside on a thumb drive. Welcome to the 21st century. I also did an analysis of costs starting with pursuing a realistic insurance policy for our club which resulted in a 50% reduction in cost. We also looked into the cost of mailing our newsletter versus electronic distribution. The cost to mail the newsletter to one person is 74% of their annual dues so we have eliminated this option to new members. Yes, it was a very productive year which I’m very proud to have been a part of.
2016 - President Georgiana Napolitano
When I first took office, I thought this was going to be a very long journey, but instead it became a fast sprint! I would like to reflect on a few things WE accomplished this year. The Coffee & Board Meeting was moved to Temple Sinai. This was a significant upgrade over our previous location. The website was upgraded to enhance our clubs image. We increased our marketing strategy by having an article written in the Review Journal about the history of the WNC and we entered into the new millennia by setting up Pay Pal for new member sign ups. 2016 was a very productive year.
2017 - President Fran Klein
Due to the amazing efforts of our Chairs, Co-Chairs, and members of the Executive Committee, WNC had a successful year. A team of volunteers arranged the 25th Anniversary celebration, attended by 250 of our members. We had new and exciting programs at our luncheons, such as, the Magnificent Seven Makeover, and a tribute show to Judy Garland and Liza Minelli. We created and continue to frame our Information Technology team. New activities were added and by the end of the year our membership had grown to 630 members. WNC continues to be strong financially and we look forward to using our resources for the benefit of our members.
2018 - President Barbara Schafer
The year 2018-2019 was so amazing. I loved every minute of it. The Board of Directors and especially my Executive committee worked hard to make WNC open and convenient to all. We moved forward with our “go green” theory to incorporate payments on line for membership, luncheons, and we hope that our activities will soon be able to participate in the “ease” of participating that we have initiated this year. We have streamlined and rewritten bylaws, procedures and activity chair descriptions, again to
make it easier to belong to WNC. We are financially healthy as we pass the torch to another group for another year.
2019 - President Ellen Bachman
2019 was a year that just flew by! I was so fortunate to have an amazing Executive Committee: Sylvie Courtemarsh, VP of Membership, Marice Bronstein, VP of Programs, Maureen Peacock, VP of Luncheons, Georgia Purpura, Secretary and Nicole Kallush, Treasurer. And, we had a terrific Executive Board of committed women who worked hard to make all our activities successful. I couldn’t have done my job as President without each and every one of them. We had a goal of 550 members for the year, and we exceeded that goal with an amazing 600 members - wonderful! We continued to expand our online capabilities, with many members now paying their membership dues and luncheon reservations online. This has made for a much more efficient process for all. We also had a year filled with great luncheon programs, including our luncheon at the College of Southern Nevada’s Russell’s Restaurant. This restaurant features the talents of the students in the culinary arts department. Special thanks for this event went to WNC member Joan Soltz, whose husband Steve Soltz is one of the professors in the culinary arts department. We also had a very successful fashion show featuring clothing and accessories from Chico's, and our very own WNC members as models. And, of course, who can forget our lovely holiday luncheon at the famous Lawry's. Other outstanding luncheon venues included Vintner Grill, Suncoast, Red Rock Country Club and Orleans among others. A final highlight of our fiscal year included the appearance by Nicole Kallush and Linda Egge on behalf of WNC on Channel 13’s Morning Blend. This appearance was due to the hard work and persistence of our Marketing Chair, Linda Egge. I hope this has provided a glimpse of the spirit of WNC. I was so honored to be President of an organization consisting of so many outstanding and inspiring women.
2020 - President Nicole Kallush
Our 1st two months of this club year brought a record number of new members, joyful luncheons, and other activities. Then, COVID-19 was upon us and all activities were cancelled until further notice! How was our strictly social club supposed to overcome this challenge? Thanks to our creative and resourceful Executive Committee, Standing Committee Chairs and Activity Chairs - we quickly found Zoom and learned how to use this platform, along with calls and emails, to keep our membership engaged. This fantastic team of women held monthly Board Meetings, WNC 3rd Monday Chat, Book Club, Socializers, New Year’s Toast, and Installation of 2021 Officers – via enjoyable and informative Zoom meetings. We called each other often, did email recipe/photo/joke exchanges and even did a few birthday drive-by celebrations. Soon as it was allowed, we resumed Golf, Hiking and other activities we could safely do outside. We even managed to have luncheons within Nevada State mandates (when circumstances temporarily allowed) - at favorite locations: Siena Bistro, Grape Vine Café and Lawry’s – all bending over backwards to provide safe and enjoyable experiences. In between stay-at-home periods - we revised our Bylaws, Nominated and Elected New Officers, created and/or updated job descriptions for all board chairs and – gained over 30 new members from April through Dec!! Many of us and/or loved ones also experienced the downside of COVID-19, as well as climate, racial, and other tragedies of 2020. My deepest condolences go out to everyone adversely affected by those heartbreaking experiences. And, my deepest appreciation goes out to everyone in WNC for making this a safe place for all of us to find new friends and adapt ourselves to the unexpected changes life can bring. It was my honor and pleasure to be your 2020 President.
2021 - President Ellen Ward
We started our roller-coaster year with the new executive board being installed on Zoom. As the vaccines for COVID-19 were developed and distributed, we felt a bit better about getting together in person while always following the CDC and state guidelines about masking and social distancing. We found a new venue for in-person board meetings and luncheons and programs were thoughtfully planned and executed by our VPs. We had several turnovers in our executive committee this year – the most tragic involving the sudden death of Sara Biggio, our VP of programs, but, in true WNC fashion, members jumped in and made it work! We gained some real go-getter new members who volunteered for committees and started new activities after just months in the club. By the end of the year, we were again hit with the omicron variant of the virus which put us back to the day-by-day decisions about the wisdom of gathering. Personally, I was most impressed with the generosity and tenacity of our membership. It’s no surprise that the club has survived thirty years!