The Pine - Fall 2020

The Official Publication of AAUW MN

We are starting a new year with AAUW-MN! There a few changes to our communication too.

  • The Pine will be sent on September 10 (fall), December 10 (winter), March 10 (spring), and June 10(summer) and will primarily provide information specifically around the state board communications to the overall state membership.
  • AAUW-MN Website will provide a place to find information for key national updates, grants, awards, and conventions along with general information about the state board positions and responsibilities (coming January 2021).
  • The AAUW-MN Facebook page will provide timely updates and emphasis on branch information that has been submitted to share with our state membership, along with notifications to check the website.

Planning through an Unprecedented Crisis

Mary Ann Lucas Houx, AAUW MN State President

Our families, friends, community and our country has been impacted by a health and economic crisis and normal seems illusive. Planning, with all its uncertainties, will challenge our creativity as we face each new development along the way. AAUW members are part of a community that know the importance of working together and supporting each other. This is our strength in any crisis, including our current pandemic.

On the branch level, it is important to maintain contact with each other so that there are no isolated members. Many socialization opportunities we have had in the past need to be changed. This is where creative ideas will replace or modify activities and where sharing is an important way in which we will support each other. Technology has greatly assisted in the planning of virtual activities, everything from virtual socials, virtual focus groups, and virtual fundraisers. The Board would like to hear from the small groups who have been meeting outdoors to do the planning. How do some branches that do not use technology meet the challenges of meetings and activities? Using our web site, we hope all of our branches will share what they are doing to move forward and support each other. The State Board members will be in contact with the Branches so we can gather information to share with the membership and further identify Branch needs.

In the words of Kimberly Churches, CEO of AAUW, “AAUW has always used our collective influence to fight for economic justice from grassroots to national and international fields. But never has our work been as badly needed as it is right now. So my promise to you is that, when things settle finally settle down, we will be on the front lines of the coming battle to ensure equity and economic security for all.”

Please do not take unnecessary risks. Be safe and healthy and together we will complete 2020 and move into 2021 with new skills and a sense of greater support for one and other.

AAUW Minnesota State Board 2020-2021

Elected Officers

President-Mary Ann Lucas Houx

Past President-Lisa West

VP Program-Deanna Ensley

VP Membership-Pat Powers

VP Public Policy-Jan Carey

VP AAUW Funds-Anne Johnson

Treasurer-Beth Nienow

Secretary/Historian-Linda Blaisdell

College/University Representative-Anna Voight

Appointed Officers

Finance Chair-Janice Quist

Pine Editor & Web Site-Cyndy Harrison

Administrative Assistant-Mychal Lucas

Bylaws Chair-David Kirkwood AAUW

Committees 2020-2021

Nominating Committee

  • Chair, Teresa Sagen, Ely
  • Gail Glashan, Hastings
  • Beth Nienow, Rochester
  • David Kirkwood, St. Cloud

Bylaws Committee

  • Chair, David Kirkwood, St. Cloud
  • Barb Wonson Liukkonen, Ely

Strategic Planning Committee

  • Chair Lisa West-Hastings

Financial Review Committee

  • Chair Janice Quist, St. Paul
  • Beth Nienow, Rochester
  • Jan Bensen, St. Cloud

NCCWSL Committee

  • Chair-Gail Glashan Hastings

Get to know the state board a few members at a time

AAUW MN State President Mary Ann Lucas Houx

I am a 30 plus year member of the Duluth Branch. I have served as Co-President for four years, several years as a program chair, and two years as the scholarship chair. I served four years as MN State program chair and worked with talented branch members to plan and coordinate activities for four state conventions, including our first “unconventional” convention. I am a strong supporter of branch and board officer training.

I am an educator having served as an elementary teacher, helping teacher K-12, principal of K-8, Supervisor of Certified Personnel which included contract negotiation, grievance hearing officer, and affirmative action officer. I also served as Director of Curriculum, Staff Development, and Evaluation for the Duluth Public Schools. I have a BS degree in Education, a MA degree in Educational Administration and a CAS in Administration, Planning and Social Policy from Harvard University Graduate School.

I have served on many educational and community organizations and currently, I am on the Boys and Girls Club Foundation Board and President of the Superior Vista Condominium Association.

VP, Public Policy - Jan Carey

“If you have a fairly hard shell like a turtle, controlled blood pressure, firm values, a proclivity for research and the stomach for a little political schmoozing, then Public Policy has a place for you.” [Jan Carey] That statement is an exaggeration. But there is some truth in it. My values, especially those of equity and advocacy for women, have not wavered in my lifetime. My career as an academic librarian is proof I enjoy scholarly research. As a somewhat social butterfly, I enjoy attending political events and forums. For these personal reasons, I accepted the position of VP Public Policy for AAUW MN.

I have a creative side. I’ve worked to develop new ways to communicate public policy initiatives. The challenge is bringing branches into that realm and to motivate branches to create public policy initiatives that focus attention to the advocacy work of AAUW.

When my term ends, I will continue to promote AAUW and advocate for the fine arts. As a soprano in three choral ensembles, a watercolorist, jewelry creator, and crafter, I’ll try to soften that turtle shell and control my BP while finding a little time for political schmoozing.

VP, Funds - Anne Johnson

Anne Johnson has been the Associate Vice President of Student Affairs at Dakota County Technical College in Rosemount, MN since 2015. She manages all functions of the student affairs area at the college. Anne has been fiscally responsible in her role working to operate efficiently and effectively while developing strategies to increase enrollment through student recruitment and retention.

Anne currently serves on the national AAUW Nominating Committee. She has been the Minnesota State AAUW College/University Representative since 2017. Anne has served on the AAUW state Nominating Committee. She is on the Board of Directors for Neighbors, Inc. in South St. Paul, MN, and the Instructional Technology Council, a professional Council based in Washington D.C. In her spare time, she enjoys walking, running, yoga, pilates, and reading.

"I am excited to be the Vice President of Funds as I believe this will allow me to share some of my strengths to further advance the mission of AAUW," said Anne.

College/University Representative - Anna Voight

Anna Voight serves as the Associate Director of Student Life at Dakota County Technical College (DCTC), and has worked at the college in various roles since 2011. She received an AAS degree in Executive Assistant from DCTC, a BAS degree in Management from Southwest Minnesota State University, and an MA in Educational Leadership from Saint Mary’s University.

Anna has served as a mentor and role model for students supporting their personal and professional growth. She believes every student crosses her path for a reason and strives to have a positive impact on the lives of each one.

In her new role with AAUW, Anna is looking forward to collaborating with colleges and universities to provide women opportunities to develop their leadership skills and recognize the innate strengths women bring to the workplace.

A native of Farmington, MN, Anna now resides in Apple Valley, MN. In her free time, she enjoys studying leadership, psychology, and continuous improvement; learning new things; spending time with her nieces and nephews.


The Minnesota State Board met via zoom on Saturday, July 25, 2020. It felt strange not to meet the new members in person and do the exchange of materials. We were able to proceed after a few technical issues were working.

A decision was made that some activities would not be held due to safety and health issues. These decisions included the Leader on Loan Program being suspended until further notice and the 2021 State Convention will be suspended for another year. It was recommended we support the Regional Convention to be held in Illinois and support an MN State Convention in 2022. The Board will also explore the possibility of regional state officers training in the Fall of 2021.

State Officers will be contacting the Branches seeking information on Branch needs, how Branches are adapting to meetings and activities, and activities involving the coming election. The Administrative Assistant, Mychal Lucas, will be contacting Branches to update the State Directory. Deanna Ensley will also be looking to redesign some of our grants to encourage smaller branches to apply and assisting in coping with transitions due to the virus.

The Board made a $300 gift to the Greatest Need Fund in honor of Lisa West in appreciation for her service to AAUW Minnesota as President from 2018-2020. Thank you, Lisa!

The AAUW of Minnesota Board Needs You!

Our vision -- Equity for all - Will you get on-Board?

Joining the AAUW of Minnesota State Board will connect you with terrific members from around the state who work to promote AAUW’s mission—To advance gender equity for women and girls through research, education, and advocacy. It’s time for you to share your talents!

We are seeking candidates to serve on the state board of directors for the following positions:

  • President-Elect 2021-2022 (The President-Elect automatically takes office as President 2022-2024)
  • Vice President Program 2021-2023
  • Vice President of Public Policy 2021-2023
  • Treasurer 2021-2023
  • Nominating Committee, 2021-2022 for 2022 elections (3 members and 1 alternate)

The members of the Nominating Committee are Gail Glashan, Hastings Branch; Beth Nienow, Rochester Branch, and AAUW MN Treasurer; Teresa Sagen, Ely Branch. If you have questions, contact the Nominating Committee or contact board members who currently hold the position in which you are interested.

All you need to apply is a strong belief in the mission of AAUW and a willingness to learn and grow. Rewards for state service include leadership development, camaraderie, and teamwork with other leaders. An applicant may be self-nominated, nominated by your branch or branch board of directors, or any individual.

Nominations are open until November 15, 2020. The nominating committee will present a slate of candidates to the membership by email no later than 60 days prior to AAUW MN annual meeting.

Please give serious consideration to applying for a state board position. These leadership positions provide a great opportunity for you to share your talents with AAUW of Minnesota. We need you. Together we can make a difference in the lives of women and girls. Thank you!

Contact any Nominating Committee member to express your interest in a position prior to November 15, 2020

Gail Glashan 651.253.3578

Beth Nienow 507.287.8647

Teresa Sagen, Chair 218.235.8349

AAUW MN Public Policy Update

It is September and in less than 60 days we will exercise our right to vote in the most crucial election of our time. Historians will record this election cycle as one that changed our republic and altered democracy. We know our nation is politically and ideologically divided and polarized. Racial tensions are at their highest level in history. The COVID-19 pandemic is ravaging cities and states.

Yet, amid the chaos and what we know, AAUW is employing strategies and action plans to continue its mission of advocacy and equity for women and girls. Public Policy state chairs, across the nation, are implementing initiatives and activities to bring visibility to AAUW, its mission, and its values.

It is alongside the actions of other states, the AAUW MN state board approved the “I WILL VOTE…” ad campaign.

Each AAUW MN board member and a representative from each AAUW MN branch may submit a photo of a member; label photo with member’s branch city/town and the answer to the statement “I will vote in 2020 because _____________________________________ ”.

  • Statements of candidate endorsements will NOT be allowed.
  • Statements of political party endorsements will NOT be allowed.
  • Statements should affirm and acknowledge the importance of voting.
  • Statements should recognize the belief of our right to exercise our vote.
  • Statements may include personal reasons and/or support of our AAUW Mission-to advance gender equity for women and girls through research, education, and advocacy; AAUW Vision Statement: Equity for all; and our AAUW Values: Nonpartisan. Fact-based. Integrity. Inclusion and Intersectionality.

The deadline for submissions and participation by the branches is September 16, 2020. All photos combined will run, during the month of October, in key geographic news centers across MN.

As an option to branches who choose not to participate, they may contact local newspapers to run the full-page layout, by seeking a local sponsor to help pay the costs of the full-page ad.

This is an AAUW MN public policy initiative that will:

  • bring public awareness to AAUW MN
  • build membership
  • renew our collective and personal AAUW goals.

This is our moment to promote AAUW and AAUW MN through this initiative.

In addition to the ‘I WILL VOTE ….’ The ad campaign, I remind members to also be as proactive in the election process as possible. You can do so by reviewing the AAUW website Policy page and use the voting strategies and information on the AAUW Action Fund page. The AAUW Action Fund advances equity for women and girls through member activism and voter mobilization. The information is organized by key action areas. Click each key area for further information. Check your voter registration status is a valuable tool. Especially if your branch is running a voter registration campaign. It is an effective & instant way to learn if college students are registered in another state.

In a previous Public Policy update (see the state AAUW website), I provided Public Policy Action Proposals for Branches. Proposals included:

  • Voter registration events,
  • Live Two-Minute Activist programs at branch meetings,
  • Op-Eds in newspapers, direct contact with U.S. Congressional candidates (use the Voter Guide and ask the tough questions),
  • broadcast a specific program or a panel discussion on a public policy issue via Public Access TV in your city, and
  • use Social Media platforms

Become AAUW leaders in your community who publically demonstrate the value of AAUW and its mission.

Thank you!

Stay well, stay safe.

Together – Moving Forward for AAUW

Jan Carey, AAUW MN VP Public Policy


Contact Jan: 218-263-7159 or

AAUW Legacy Circle Benefits of Planning in Times of Change

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many AAUW members have been thinking about their legacy and their desire to include AAUW in their plans. Putting a plan in place or ensuring that your plan is current can provide peace of mind during times of change. Whether you are thinking about legacy giving for the first time or want to revisit your current plan, AAUW and the AAUW Legacy Circle Team are here to help.

The top three motivations that AAUW donors cite for making a planned gift are the importance of AAUW’s mission; the belief that AAUW makes a significant impact; and the ability to make a larger gift through an estate gift than is normally possible during the donor’s lifetime.

There are many creative and flexible giving options to help you achieve your vision. Popular options include a bequest through your will or trust, naming AAUW a beneficiary of your IRA (which may provide tax benefits while benefitting AAUW), and naming AAUW as a beneficiary of your life insurance policy or a bank account. There are also planned giving options that provide income to you for life and give you an immediate charitable tax deduction for the present value of the gift in the year the gift is made.

If you would like to learn more about the benefits of planned giving, please contact Heather Miller, AAUW Advancement Director at Maxine Lampe of the AAUW Legacy Circle Team ( is also available to assist you. You can also find more information on AAUW’s website in Leave a Legacy. We would be delighted to welcome you to the Legacy Circle—AAUW’s recognition society for our beloved visionaries who are committed to advancing equity for women and girls long into the future.

Branches around the state...

St. Cloud has been busy

Check out their fundraiser taking place in October by clicking this link. And see how they enjoyed each other's company at a summer picnic by clicking on the link below, Pat's Backyard Paradise document below.