Trailblazing The Path For Women’s Rights

English: Sandra Day O'Connor, 1st Female Assoc...

Many young women do not know the advances that have been made in the last 40 years by some courageous Trailblazers! In one year, I had the opportunity to meet three women who helped change the course of our history in the United States and several international organizations around the globe.

Just a few years ago I was the director of membership for the Los Angeles Rotary Club and in 2009  they were celebrating 100 years as a club. They are also known as LA5, they were the fifth Rotary club in the world. From this one club in Los Angeles many Rotary clubs started across California. 2009 was a life changing year for me.

LA5 chose Justice Sandra Day O’Connor as their  Person of the Century.  For this spectacular event clubs from across California were invited and  of course the special club to be invited was Durate Rotary Club, the club which challenged Rotary International by allowing three women to join their club.

At that time in the 1970’s Rotary was an all male organization, and the women had a separate organization that they could belong to, but it was like an auxiliary. Rotary International acted swiftly by telling the club they could not have women as members and they could not be part of Rotary International if they continued to have the three members.   The entire history of the case can be found here:

The club said they were going to keep the members and sued Rotary International to keep their members.  They took the case all the way to the Supreme Court for a decision.

Helen Blanchard

Helen “Homer” Blanchard

Now in a little Toastmasters club on a Navy base in San Diego, a young woman was joining Toastmasters, which was also a male only organization. She worked for the Navy and the men in the club wanted her to join. They first tried with initials, but Toastmasters sent it back and said they had to have a full name.

Helen Blanchard, became “Homer” and the application went in and Toastmasters International was none the wiser. She was the first woman member of Toastmasters in the mid-70’s and yet no one really knew.

Back to the Rotary Case,  a Judicial precedent was set in 1987, when all nine Justices with one abstaining, the first woman justice, Sandra Day O’Conner, due to the fact that her husband was a Rotarian in Phoenix, sat on the sidelines on this case, decided against Rotary International and said they must admit women.

The doors of organizations were now open to women, all male clubs including Toastmasters International now had to admit women. Male private clubs, now had to allow women as members, and “Homer” Helen Blanchard quickly changed her name on her application and was the first Official Woman in Toastmasters International.  Helen wrote her story and it can be found on her website:

Moving up to 2009, the LA5 100 year party for Justice Sandra Day O’Conner, we had worked for over a year for this special day, over 400 people from across Los Angeles elite and Southern California came to meet this famous woman.  The first woman president of the Durate Rotary club, Sylvia Whitlock, came to meet Justice Sandra Day O’Conner. Madam Justice was a trail blazer as the first female Supreme Court Justice. She grew up on a ranch in Arizona and came from humble beginnings. When she told of the decision against Rotary that day, our room was filled with powerful women from throughout California, my only regret was that Helen Blanchard could not be there to meet one of the women who sat on the court that helped open the door for her and so many of us.

In November 2009, I had our District 52 Conference for Toastmasters International, which includes Los Angeles, and I invited Helen “Homer” Blanchard to be our featured speaker for the Conference. Helen had just published her book about her life  and becoming the first woman in Toastmasters. She also became the first woman International President.  That’s right she rose to the top of the international organization.

It is important to know the history of where we have come from, because we are losing Helen “Homer” Blanchard as I write this, her hours on this earth are short. Her impact however has been huge and I already miss one of my trail blazers who helped open the door to allow me to join Toastmasters and to the women who joined the Duarte Rotary Club who pushed to the Supreme Court to pave the way for more of us to join Rotary, Lions, Kiwanis and many more organizations that had been closed to women.

So long my friend, Helen, you brought us your charm, and your courage in adversity, you showed us that if you have a desire to go to the top, you can achieve. You battled the male chauvinism that existed in the organization when you joined and your strength and intelligence showed all of them that looking at skill and  the growth of the organization is what counts. I will miss your jokes and your smile, but most of all I will miss your encouragement.



Path — Gary Vaynerchuk- No Regrets

Gary Vaynerchuk Talks Wine and Social Media at...

Gary Vaynerchuk Talks Wine and Social Media at ABC News Radio with Dan Patterson on Vimeo by Dan Patterson (Photo credit: Dan Patterson)

Path — Gary Vaynerchuk. Click to see this wonderful poster to be.

Many of you may have seen this Poster to be on Facebook this week, if not I invite you to take a minute and click the link. It comes from an interview that Gary  Vaynerchuk did this week. He hopes to make this into a poster.  I hope he does, because it will be a hot seller.

To the Right is a photo of Gary from a previous interview, not from the one that this possible poster is from.

He challenges many of us to have no regrets in the last 10 years of our lives. To take the challenges of life and move to the places where we can accomplish our dreams.  If you never pick up the challenge and do it, you will never know if you can or not.

Many of my friends from high school are still in our home town,I am not saying they have done anything wrong, but there were several of us who had a challenge inside of us to leave and go out into the world to see what we could do and achieve.  Some of us are in foreign countries, I am in Los Angeles, California, not doing what I had expected to do, but doing what I have  enjoyed doing since I was in high school. Planning events, and working for a non-profit.  I have some regrets of course, but my accomplishments outweigh the regrets.  The people I have met on my journey have been educational and fun, witty, charming, quirky, spontaneous, giving, and I wouldn’t change one of them.

We learn from everyone who comes into our lives, they all teach us lessons. Some lessons are short and some are longer and painful to endure, but all must be learned.  Life is a path and there are no right or wrong paths, we each have our own to walk.  I have lost many friends along the path, some whose time had ended on this earth, and some whose time was gone from my life for now. I hope to run into some of my friends again down the road, and maybe even those who I left in my hometown.  Remember that quote, You can never go home again.  I think it is because, when you do, your realize, you are not the same person as the one who left, and everyone else has changed as well.  Life is about change, thank God.  If we all stayed the same how boring we would be.

Lindsey Lohan Turns Down Rehab, Wants to Be Public Spokesperson for Drunk Driving!

Actress Lindsay Lohan. Photo by Rafael Amado D...

Actress Lindsay Lohan. Photo by Rafael Amado Deras. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yes, that is right! Ms. Lohan turned down a deal with the Santa Monica prosecutors to not do Rehab, “I don’t have a problem”.  But she wants to be a public spokesperson for not driving and drinking. Get Real Ms. Lohan, you do have a problem and you are not someone who should be doing any type of publicity about not drinking and driving since you have done it many times and now are facing jail.

I have not commented on her craziness of late, but she needs help.  Do you hear me Ms. Lohan, you are losing your home that you and your Mom have in New York, your Los Angeles home was also taken away because you couldn’t pay the rent. You owe the IRS back taxes and the state of California.  Wake Up! Your drug use and drinking have gotten you here.  No one but you is responsible for lying to the police about driving. You did it.

Your terrible acting in Liz and Dick was done by you, no one else and you are to be held accountable for why you can not get a job in the Film Industry. Showing up late, not showing up, what do you expect? A Red Carpet? Forget it you are not eligible anymore.  You have lost that ticket because of your bad behavior. No one wants to work with you except the Porn Industry.

When someone has a problem drinking or doing drugs they need help. Ms. Lohan does need help, but she belongs in jail this time. No get out of jail card this time. You have lost all of your chances and you keep hurting others beside yourself.  Sober up in Jail, that is what anyone else would get and you deserve to be there this time.

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Lindsey Lohan In Handcuffs Again, Does She Care???

If you missed it, poor Lindsey was in court again yesterday, and yes her probation was revoked from her because she has not been performing her community service at the Women’s Center on Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles.  It appears she failed to show nine times, and maybe showed up twice for an hour or two, or maybe less and decided it wasn’t fulfilling for her, so she quit.

Seems poor Lindsey now wants to dictate to the court where she goes and what she wants to do for her community service and had found a Red Cross she was “volunteering” for in the LA area.  Her bail was set at $100,000 and L.A. County Superior Court Judge Stephanie Sautner told Lohan that if she wanted to mitigate any further punishment, she should complete 16 hours of community service at the county coroner’s office between now and her Nov. 2 probation violation hearing. (That’s about two weeks away)

Read more:

You would think that the court system in Los Angeles would wake up and realize this girl is playing them for all she is worth.  She knows she can get out of jail with a bond, and that the jail is not going to keep her for any length of time, so she is out within hours.  No problem for Lindsey, in and out, the jail door swings again!!

The problem with all Lindsey’s antics is she is not getting any drug treatment and her behavior is getting worse.  She needs inpatient treatment and a court-ordered half-way house or residential treatment for over a year.  Not one where she wears a bracelet and gets tested.  We know that doesn’t work with her and she doesn’t care.  One where she is shipped off to Utah or Idaho where there is no plane to hop on and jet over to Europe and get plastered.

Drastic measures to save Lindsey’s life is what is needed and I hope that someone steps up soon, or we will be having another celebrity funeral soon.

Sugar Drinks Are Not Your Friend – Obesity Up!

Just in case you didn’t know, Obesity is on the rise in our country and the world and many experts are now saying that it could be that can of soda in your hand.

Yes, it has more sugar than you might be aware.  “Sugary drinks are the single largest source of calories in the American diet and account for half of all added sugars consumed,” according to an article entitle Money and Company in the Los Angeles Times, Consumer Confidential: Soda warning; free Chick-fil-A meals.

The American Heart Association in the same article is suggesting that Americans should only drink 3 cans of soda a week, that would be 450 calories per week just from 3 cans of soda.  I don’t know about you, but I can put those calories into something else besides soda.

What is most important is that we look at how our children are drinking these drinks because this is a major contributor to obesity which does result in type 2 diabetes.  Many schools are removing sugary drinks out of the drink containers in the school and I have noticed in Kaiser facilities in Los Angeles they have taken them out as well.

This is proactive and I think more needs to be done to keep our children safe from sugar in the diet.  Education is key to stopping the obesity epidemic.  Schools can help more with the parents and programs that teach better food preparation at home and at school will be the only way to solve this crisis.

Remember When? Facebook Posts Are Wonderful Ways to Bring a Community Together!

Oklahoma City

Image via Wikipedia

Many of us are on Facebook and have personal pages.  My high school has an Alum page and recently we started a thread discussion Remember When? about the community we grew up in.  Before we knew , many of us were connecting with people we had not spoken to in 30 to 40 years.

The memories of our elementary schools and the teachers and crossing guards, came rushing back to all of us.  Our Kindergarten teacher and the photos pulled from Mom’s who had so carefully stored them for us, were suddenly posted.

Our community, Del City, was a Baby Boomer Community where the Veterans came back and bought homes and we grew up.Our city  we could ride our bikes and visit the grocery store for our Mom’s and wave to everyone on the way home.  We watched every new business that came into the community and we remembered those that were no longer there.

One of the television stations in Oklahoma did a story on the Remember When threads going across Facebook about the many communities in Oklahoma City.  Although, I am in Los Angeles now, it made me homesick for a time when all was simple and pure.  Our lives were filled with going to the Drive-in Sonic and Burger Train and seeing our friends after school.  Life was not filled with the stress  of debts and recession, although, we did have the Vietnam War that took lives.

What we all realized as we came to the end of our high school days, was that we had lost many of our friends over the years, and then the Remember When turned into a Memorial Wall postings of who had passed and left our lives too soon.

If you have not participated in a Remember When? thread on Facebook, I urge you to see if there is one going for your community.  If not start one, and relive the history of your community.  I emailed the current city manager for our community, and advised him that much of the history of the developers and the business owners was now part of the thread for our community.

Knowing the history of how things started and who started them, can help you understand growth and why you and your children need to continue to carry that growth forward for your community and our country.

Using Social Media In A Crisis For Communications, Get Information Out There Now!!

The Tragedy at the Indiana State Fair this weekend shows us the power of smart phones when every news channel was showing the collapse of the Indiana State Fair stage from concert goers’ phones who sent them to local news channels.  But a very astute observer from Indiana, Erick Deckers, has written in his blog the failure of the state authorities to use social media in this crisis.

Having worked at a hospital in Houston, before we had Social Media, I can relate to many of the elements he brings up in his blog.  When you need up to the-minute information, you depend on state authorities to give it to you, and having cell phone towers clogged with everyone trying to reach their loved ones, it would have been nice to have the state authorities updating their messages via Twitter or Facebook.

In an earthquake, emergency responders will shut  down cell phones allowing the networks  for emergency responders use.  Getting word to family members can become difficult.

I have gone to many state accounts here in Los Angeles only to find they haven’t up dated them in months.  Why have them?  If you are not going to update your Twitter account with relevant information, then you need to assign a staff person to check it and update it.

People depend on Social Media in a Crisis and on Facebook for updates.  When Michael Jackson died, did I go to CNN? Yes, did they have anything, no.  NBC, Yes, but nothing, I then went to Twitter, and found many sources that I follow there with up to the second updates from trusted news sources not CNN or NBC, but others at the time, who had just announced his death.

With Smart Phones, we can use our Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts in an instant to see any updates from local authorities.  In my case, I check the Los Angeles Fire Department to see if there are any fires or accidents that might delay me in traffic around the Los Angeles area.

Updates can be sent from the scene with a Smart Phone to a Twitter feed, and many people need to use them when an emergency happens.  Updates can also be sent directly to news outlets from phones as we saw this weekend with the Tragedy at the Indiana State Fair.

Social Media can be used to find relatives in a disaster to let family know you are okay, by posting an update to a Facebook or Twitter feed.  This was used by survivors in Japan to let families know they were okay, when phone lines weren’t working, but somehow, the  internet  was working.

Social Media has transformed our world, and if you do not know how to use it, learn!  Many classes are out there and now is the time to learn, because it isn’t going away.