The house was half in-person, half online, but all together during this year’s April Advisory Board and Board meetings. To stay mindful of the health and safety of our board members participating from long distances, the meeting was offered as a hybrid model with attendees in person and online.
Advisory Board Meeting
Advisory Board members and staff were greeted with a breakfast and refreshments if attending in person while virtual attendees logged into the Zoom session. As a collaborative organization with a network spanning 10+ countries, technology is well-appreciated as a tool that can connect ASEC Sisters and staff in Africa with board members, staff and Sisters in the United States.
Sr. Lina Wanjiku Ndung'u, SE, ASEC Regional Director of East & Central Africa, read the opening prayer for the meeting, offering a prayer, brief teaching and uplifting music. Afterwards ASEC Staff and Advisory Board members briefly introduced themselves. There were attendees from Chestnut Hill College, Rosemont College, DePaul University and Marywood University. ASEC Staff in Africa represented Ghana, Kenya, and South Sudan. Representatives from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation also attended.
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Board Chair, Brighid Blake, MA, LL.D., acknowledged all attendees by stating, “Thank you for all the ways you’ve added to ASEC’s flourishing.”
Sr. Patricia M. Bombard, BVM, D.Min., from DePaul University, agreed, “It is very much a joy to be a part of this group.”
After the greetings, Dr. Tara Lopatofsky, Senior Program Manager, Monitoring and Evaluation, and Jaime Lyn Bloxham, MPA, Program Manager, SLDI & Service Learning, presented updates on ASEC’s overall impact. Dr. Lopatofsky called attention to the fact that this year marks the 10th year of data collection by ASEC, a proud accomplishment for our Research Initiative. She also discussed Success Stories featuring ASEC Sisters whose education had an impact on their communities.
In one case study, Sr. Leonard Ngoin Tubuo, who graduated in 2018 from the SLDI program in Cameroon, discusses how the program improved her life. She is now able to provide rehabilitation services to children and adults for orthopedic and neurological needs. ASEC helped her obtain skills such as time management, grant-writing and prioritization of tasks as she continues in her mission.
Programs created by ASEC have allowed for collaboration across congregations and countries, connecting people who may have never had the opportunity to learn or grow from one another prior. Jaime Bloxham continued the presentation by giving updates on set objectives and goals for the programs.
Updates discussed include:
- As of March 31, 2022, 5,315 individuals were served by ASEC, with 3639 served through the SLDI program.
- At least 332 distinct congregations were served through ASEC, creating an international network of sisterhood.
- There have been 818 graduates of the HESA program with 32 percent of students receiving first class honors and 46 percent receiving second class honors. Ninety percent of alumnae report being able to effectively use skills learned in their programs.
- As a part of HESA, the research program has completed four publications, with two more under consideration and two in development.
- The Scholarship program has, to date, awarded 583 scholarships across six countries, including 3 pilot doctoral scholarships in Kenya.
After the presentations, Advisory Board members had time for a question and answer session. Suggestions were put forth to integrate charisms and congregations into more programs and research the global network of sisters being created through ASEC.
“Even in terms of Sisters in 10 countries partnering with different universities, there is a network emerging from our collaborations,” explained Rosemary A. Shaver, M.Ed., Senior Program Manager for HESA & Scholarships, “We do hear in the qualitative data … we do see this emerge as a theme where sisters are mentioning networking with other sisters from different congregations.”
ASEC Executive Director Sr. Draru Mary Cecilia, LSMIG, Ph.D., ended the meeting with a closing prayer.
Members of ASEC’s Board of Directors met the following day on Thursday April 28, 2022. The morning offered breakfast, a time to greet and get to know one another, and opening prayers. Board Chair Brighid Blake asked all members to join together in reciting prayers out loud – a request which was met with a chorus of voices creating unity in the organization.
After a brief morning check-in members of ASEC Staff gave Board Members the time to discuss recent developments, changes, and strategies moving forward for the organization.
ASEC was excited to welcome Sr. Francisca Damoah, SIJ, Regional Director of West Africa, for an in-house visit. Traveling all the way from Ghana, Sr. Francisca met the board, staff and learned more about ASEC offices in the United States.
Board members were honored in a celebratory meeting in which gifts and awards were given to those who exhibit extraordinary contributions to the organization.
The meeting concluded with a lunch including Board and Staff members.