The Pine - Summer 2021

The Official Publication of AAUW MN

In this issue

  • Notes from the president, Mary Ann Lucas Houx
  • The 2021 Annual Meeting
  • By the Numbers
  • New Board & Committee Members
  • Public Policy Recap & Resolutions Passed
  • The Speakers
  • Karen Kirkwood on the AAUW Bylaws Amendment
  • Kim Churches, AAUW CEO, the Keynote address
  • Other News
  • The 2022 AAUW MN Convention
  • Virtual NCCWSL 2021
  • A Valuable Connection
  • AAUW MN Legislative Agenda of Public Policy Priorities
  • Next AAUW MN State Board Meeting
  • Interested in The Pine and/or website
  • Around the State
  • St. Cloud AAUW

Notes from the State President Mary Ann Lucas Houx

This was an unprecedented AAUW MN planning and activity year. We needed to find new ways of communicating and working on our mission of advancing gender equity for women and girls through research, education and advocacy. I hope you have taken time to read the Branch Hi Lites in which they shared the creative ways they have responded to an incredibly challenging year. Our strength of working together was evident this past year.

For the first year that anyone can remember, the State Board has not met in person. We, like many of the branches, relied on “zooming” to communicate. This was difficult for non “techies” like me. We appreciate the “electronic savvy members” who shared their expertise.

In the Fall, Board members made the traditional Board to Branch calls to the president or members of each branch. The Board members asked about the activities, needs, and what type of help branches would like from the State Board. As the Board discussed the responses, a common request was for help in programming and speakers. The board initiated a pilot program with the Minneapolis Branch in which Minneapolis shared their programs via zoom with all statewide branch members able to participate without cost to the members.

On the state board agenda will be a discussion regarding the expansion or modification of the statewide pilot. Once again in the fall, the state board members will be making our calls to branch presidents to ask about activities, needs or concerns, and what type of support is needed or wanted by the branches.

The board’s greatest activity this year was the planning of a state convention in which all members had the opportunity to participate. We tried to mirror the activities of a state convention and then determine the technical components needed to make it happen. The convention was a success with 98 AAUW members participating. Many positive comments were received.

The comments received on our highly informative 2020-2021 AAUW Minnesota Directory were the results of the diligent work of Teresa Sagen of the Ely branch. Branches will hear from Teresa as she will be updating the 2021-2022 directory.

Our thoughts and prayers are with our long-time AAUW supporter and board member, Dave Kirkwood, as he deals with health issues.

The 2021 Annual Meeting

By the Numbers

Submitted by Teresa Sagen

We were pleased to welcome 98 AAUW members for our 92nd AAUW of Minnesota Annual Meeting this year, with 23 of our 28 branches represented.

We would also like to thank branches and delegates who participated in the electronic elections held prior to the May 1 meeting. Twenty-four branches submitted delegates to provide the necessary two-fifths quorum required by our Bylaws. Of the 146 eligible voters, 99 members voted. That number included 80 branch delegates, 9 past state presidents, and 10 state board members.

Again, our thanks go to each of you who voted prior to the meeting and to those members who attended the May 1 Zoom meeting. We know that we can always count on our AAUW of Minnesota members to meet whatever challenge is before us.

We can now look forward to next year’s State Convention where we can reconnect with old friends and make new acquaintances at an in-person meeting!

New Board & Committee Members

Submitted by Teresa Sagen

MN State Board Administrator

Jan Carey, President-Elect for 2021-2022

Carey, a member of the Hibbing Branch was elected as President-Elect for 2021-2022. Jan will automatically take over as President of AAUW MN on July 1, 2022. Jan has served as AAUW MN VP Public Policy since 2018. She is an active member of the Hibbing Branch, currently serving as editor/publisher of her branch newsletter and administrator of its Facebook page. She has also held the offices of President and Public Policy Chair in the Hibbing Branch, as well as organizing and presenting at AAUW public events. She has served as Vice President of Program on the AAUW MN Board.

Jan has been and continues to be a leader in many organizations in her community, as well as professional organizations. She has a BA in Speech Communications and Theater Arts and a MA in Information Media from St. Cloud State University, as well as post-graduate study at several universities. As a former academic librarian, she brings research skills to the issues of the day. She is an experienced lobbyist at the Minnesota State Capitol, has led voter registration campaigns, and led a successful AAUW MN Lobby Day in conjunction with ERAMN. Jan writes “Our state and nation continue to be in political flux. Now, more than ever, AAUW MN must move forward with energy and commitment to promoting the policies, vision, and mission of AAUW.”

Deanna Ensley, Vice-President, Programs

Deanna Ensley, a member of the Grand Rapids Branch was elected to a 2nd term as Vice President Program for 2021-2023. Deanna joined AAUW in 2016 after moving to Minnesota in 2015. She is currently serving a second term as Co-President of her Branch. She has also served as the Branch VP of Programs.

Deanna holds a BA Degree from The Evergreen State College and Non-profit Management Certification from Skagit Valley College. Before coming to Minnesota, Deanna’s professional experience included Washington State Park and Recreation Commission Park Ranger; Industrial Insurance Claim Manager; Washington State Labor and Industries – Industrial Insurance Claim Manager, and Industrial Relations Agent (wage and hour compliance). Currently, she works (for the past 2.5 years) for an adult foster care agency.

Deanna is an active volunteer in her community. She serves on the following Boards in the community: Itasca Trails Task Force, Itasca County Parks and Recreation Commission, Grand Rapids Human Rights Commission, Itasca Unitarian Fellowship, and the Grand Rapids Friends of the Library.

Nominating Committee

Barb Wonson Liukkonen, a member of the Ely Branch and Saundra Martell of the Brainerd Branch were elected to the 2021-2022 Nominating Committee.

Barb Liukkonen has belonged to AAUW since 1976, as a member in four branches across the state: Duluth, Crookston, Northeast Metro, and Ely. She has served in leadership roles at the branch and state levels, including as branch EF and LAF chair, branch Co-President, state LAF chair (1995-1997), and Funds VP (2018-2020). Barb has been a member and/or chair of numerous AAUW MN committees such as Bylaws, Resolutions, Nominating, and the selection committees for Mission in Motion and Branch Projects grants.

Saundra Martell is a longtime member of AAUW. Before coming to Minnesota, she was a member of the Marco Island FL Branch where she served as President, VP Membership, and Newsletter Editor. After moving to MN, Saundra joined the Brainerd Branch where she has or is currently serving as VP Membership, VP Program, and Newsletter Editor.

Saundra has a BA from Vanderbilt University and a JD from the University of Virginia. Her professional experience includes working as a trial lawyer for the Navy Department and then as Assistant General Counsel, then as a Special U.S. Attorney in the Fraud Section of the Department of Justice. After moving to MN, she served as General Counsel for S J Groves & Sons, an international highway and heavy contractor, and finally as Director of Transactional Law for the University of Minnesota

Saundra has been active in and held leadership positions in many organizations from being a Girl Scout leader and Area Cookie Manager to tutoring at a school for homeless children. Currently, she serves on the board of the Longville Lakes Arts Alliance.

Additional Board Positions for 2021-2023

  • VP PUBLIC POLICY 2021-2023 - No candidate applied prior to electronic voting. The State President, with Board approval, has named the President-Elect, Jan Carey, to fill the position for 1 year as part of the duties of that position.
  • TREASURER 2021-2023 - No candidate applied prior to electronic voting. The AAUW MN Board of Directors appointed Beth Nienow to continue in this position.

If you would like to join Barb and Saundra as a member of the Nominating Committee for 2022 Elections or as an alternate, please contact Mary Ann Lucas Houx at In July, two State Board Members will also be appointed to the Nominating Committee.

Public Policy Recap & Resolutions Passed

Submitted by Jan Carey

VP Public Policy

AAUW MN recently held its Annual Meeting via ZOOM technology communication platform. Albeit a different method to hold a ‘convention’, but it was delivered well and featured nearly every aspect of an in-person event. The ‘Annual Meeting Information’ program included Public Policy Committee actions, such as Resolutions. If you could not attend the Annual Meeting, included here are the Resolutions approved by the voting delegates and additional information. Since the Annual Meeting, branch public policy chairs/contacts were posted, via email, a full Public Policy update.

Resolutions approved by the voting delegates:

  • Resolution #1 – Hastings - AAUW of Minnesota supports closing the academic opportunity gap for all students with a special emphasis on students of color and working toward greater awareness among AAUW of Minnesota’s membership and the greater community regarding existing educational disparity through advocating for greater financial and educational system access which would lead to better high school completion outcomes. Approve 86 Disapprove 5 Abstain 8
  • Resolution #2 – Ely - AAUW Branches will actively support and advocate for the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment within Minnesota and nationally. Approve 92 Disapprove 1 Abstain 6
  • Resolution #3Ely - AAUW Minnesota actively supports and advocates for passage of the Paid Family and Medical Leave Act (House File 1200 and Senate File 1205) through the Minnesota State Legislature. Approve 83 Disapprove 2 Abstain 14

Note: Resolutions require the approval of ¾ of eligible voters voting. 99 voters x ¾= 74.25

VP Public Policy Vacancy

Also reported, during the Annual Meeting, was the vacancy of the position of VP Public Policy. As there were no nominees for the position and to eliminate any complications to the order of business in a virtual meeting environment, the AAUW MN board suspended the nominations from the floor portion of the by-laws. AAUW MN president, Mary Ann Lucas-Houx, then appointed me to continue in the Public Policy position for 2021-2022. A member has come forward who will shadow me during the time period. This may lead to a permanent solution. Meanwhile, I will serve two positions in 2021/22 – VP Public Policy and AAUW MN President-elect.

The Speakers

Karen Kirkwood on The AAUW Bylaws Amendment

A Short Video about the AAUW Bylaws Amendment to Remove the Degree Requirement for Membership

Kim Churches, CEO AAUW, Keynote Address

aauw mn annual meeting 2021 kim churches movie

St. Cloud AAUW to celebrate 100 years

By Hosting the AAUW MN State Convention

in 2022!

Big picture

Other News

Virtual NCCWSL 2021

A Thank You from a Dakota County Technical College (DCTC) student to the AAUW Hastings Branch…

Good morning Gail Glashan,

Here are my thoughts about the NCCWSL conferences, the workshops were highly interesting. My favorite one was the BRANDYOU for Career Excellence, Chelsea is just such a remarkable speaker, she interacted a lot with the audience. All the workshops were great and taught me a lot about equity and the psychology behind success.

The speakers shared about their journeys and tips that can help us reflect on our journey or future journey, they also shared their contact information. Many participants did as well, we can connect through LinkedIn. I also greatly appreciate the fact that the recordings of all of the workshops were made available after each session because it was not possible to go to two workshops at the same time, and I was interested in a few other workshops. There were many elements about the STEM field as well.

Overall, the discussions were greatly inspiring and interesting, especially because of the current social conflicts. Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to attend the NCCWSL.

Warm regards,

I. Thao

AAUW of Minnesota Branches awarded 33 NCCWSL 2021 scholarships!

Submitted by Gail Glashan

AAUW of Minnesota, NCCWSL Chair

Has your branch heard from your NCCWSL attendee? We would all love to hear about their experience or see any screenshots they may have shared with you. Please send them to me at and I will include them in future Pine articles as we prepare for NCCWSL 2022 and carry on with OUR MISSION— Advancing gender equity through research, education, and advocacy.

AAUW MN Draft Strategic Plan

Submitted by Lisa West

A plan is not supposed to be a shelf dust-collector. A plan should be a living document that evolves over time, establishes goals, and provides direction and purpose for an organization.

A committee of AAUW MN Board members drafted a Strategic Plan for the organization [Lisa West (Chair), Anne Johnson, Jan Carey, and Teresa Sagen]. The AAUW MN Board reviewed the draft Plan and now it’s ready for member review and comment.

The Strategic Plan Committee drafted Goals, Objectives, and Actions, based on the four main macro-areas of focus in the AAUW National Strategic Plan: Education, Economic Security, Leadership, and our own Governance and Sustainability as an organization. The Plan is designed to be a five-year outlook for AAUW MN actions.

Please take the opportunity to review the draft Plan. This guiding document will help shape what AAUW MN intends to do and support, as we continue to empower women and girls now and into the future.

Comments on the AAUW MN Strategic Plan are due on or before July 9, 2021. Please send comments to Lisa West at .

A Valuable Connection

Submitted by Lisa West

Past President

The AAUW of Minnesota (AAUW MN) made a new connection in 2019-2020, by teaming up with the Carol E. Macpherson Memorial Scholarship (CEM). The CEM is a private family scholarship, established in 1975, that provides scholarships to Minnesota women who have a five-year or longer accumulative gap in their post-secondary education, who are attending, or have been admitted to Minnesota colleges and universities.

The CEM is now administered in partnership with the AAUW MN. The CEM was administered in partnership with the University of Minnesota (U of M) before legal challenges loomed regarding its availability only to women. The purpose of this scholarship fits strongly within the mission of AAUW, and AAUW MN was a logical choice to pick up where the U of M needed to leave off.

The main AAUW MN contribution in connecting with the CEM is to provide two AAUW MN members to serve on the Board, with Macpherson family members, and provide additional AAUW MN members to serve on scholarship selection and other committees as needed. The AAUW MN does not handle or pass through any scholarship funding.

For more information on the CEM, check out the website at: If you’re interested in being involved as an AAUW MN member, please contact any state board member to be connected to current AAUW MN members working with the CEM.

AAUW MN Legislative Agenda of Public Policy Priorities

Submitted by Jan Carey, VP Public Policy

Please share AAUW MN Public Policy Priorities as we continue to move forward with our 2022 MN Legislative agenda.

AAUW MN advocates public policies & priorities that promote, enhance and ensure:

1. Economic Security for All Women

  • Equity in the workplace
  • Equal Pay
  • Enforcement of anti-discrimination statutes
  • Security in retirement
  • Access to job training for career development
  • Work-life balance, including access to quality affordable childcare and paid sick and caregiving leave

2. Equal Access to Quality Public Education for All Students

  • Vigorous enforcement of Title IX
  • Adequate and equitable funding at all educational levels, including pre-school and post-secondary
  • Instruction in STEM fields
  • Opposition to the use of public funds for schools that do not meet public school civil rights and accountability standards

3. Social and Racial Justice for All Members of Society

  • Self-determination in reproductive health
  • Equal access to quality affordable health care
  • Freedom from violence in all its forms and wherever it occurs, including racially motivated violence
  • Guarantee of civil and constitutional rights for all
  • Protection and expansion of voting right


The next Minnesota State Board meeting will be held in July. A final date and time are not confirmed as we are trying to arrange an in-person and virtual option.

Are you interested in being involved with the website, The Pine, or both?

Please let me know of your interest if you are interested in taking over the website and The Pine duties. These are traditionally two positions, so if there are two people interested that would be great, or if there is someone that would like to have both duties, that's wonderful too!

My second term ends next year but wanted to bring the upcoming vacancy to everyone's attention so that we have ample time to train the next person (or people).

If interested, please call me at 281-682-4033 or email me at (Do not respond to this email that delivers The Pine as I do not see these emails.)

Branches around the state...

St. Cloud AAUW

Submitted by Linda MacLeod

Career Professionals Inspire High School girls!

After a long year of planning, writing grants, communications, and marketing work, Savvy Teens was launched by the Saint Cloud Area Branch. It was supported by a branch allocation, member donations, the Initiative Foundation, and the St. Paul Foundation. The comprehensive marketing plan included:

  • A media buy with Townsquare Media (WJON) featuring pop-up digital ads that connected to the branch website, a radio interview, and a story on their virtual news feed (71,000 impressions with 54 clicks).
  • Extensive written, digital communications with nine area high schools (initially with the principal, then with counselors)
  • Hand-delivered media packets to each school
  • Ongoing communications with 12 professional women (everyone agreed to be presenters)
  • Creation of flyers, postcards, posters, letters, and a concept PowerPoint
  • Communications with St. Cloud, Sartell, and Sauk Rapids Community Education Directors (all three published the event in their spring/summer catalogs which were available online and were mailed to 10,000 homes.
  • Follow-up communications with students who registered, digitally, mail, phone.

The attendees received Savvy Teens T-shirts in AAUW blue, white screening, AAUW Saint Cloud Area Branch logo on the back, lots of giveaways from the presenters, and delicious snacks and bottled water.

Survey /Responses

Would you recommend these seminars to other students? "Absolutely - especially to those struggling to have an open mind regarding their future."

What new jobs did you hear about that you would now consider? " being a nurse or being a therapist."

Was there something you wanted to learn that was missing or too brief? "Being a female leader in the workplace - should we be concerned or prepared to experience sexism or be put down?"

What new information or advice did you learn that surprised you? "No one knows exactly where to start or [if there] is a straight path. Learn from the people with peers, family, and counselors."

What new jobs did you hear about that you would now consider? "Engineering areas, health careers, nurse assistant, business success, banking."

Was there something you wanted to learn that was missing or too brief? "I would like to learn more about negotiating, ex. wages, college, tuition."

What new jobs did you hear about that you would now consider? "Starting my own business."

What area of career assessment do you need help with? "Financial management, planning for school."

What new information or advice did you learn that surprised you? "[You] can ask for internships from people."

Was there something you wanted to learn that was missing or too brief? "I would've liked a more detailed description of other government jobs and how to get into the field."

What seminars did you find the most helpful or interesting? "Discovering interesting career paths."

What are you the most interested in learning about; education, training, or employment? "Employment and education."

What additional questions or comments do you have? "This workshop was super helpful, and answered questions I had."

All of the girls said they would recommend the Savvy Teens seminars to other students! The group was small, 13 students which accommodated more interaction. Even though the high school counselors were excited about this event, it was challenging to get the students to sign up due to competing schedules and fallout from the pandemic. AAUW public relations and awareness soared because of the communications efforts by the branch, the schools, and community education organizations.

Finally, Dr. Joy Plamann, President of the Saint Cloud Hospital and VP of CentraCare Operations, wrote a post-event email saying,

"Linda, What a great event! Thank you for the opportunity to showcase the opportunities at CentraCare. It looked like you had a wonderful day. Thank you also for the gift, but that was not necessary. I was simply happy to participate. Let me know if you need anything in the future. Sincerely, Joy. "