It was a chance meeting. I was at an informal networking function. It was a perfect Michigan summer day sitting on the patio of the Peanut Barrel in East Lansing. No disrespect, but I didn’t think much of the introduction. I guess this would be the prime example of significant moments happening in the most unexpected places and times. Her name was Cindie Alwood, founder and executive director of the Women’s Center of Greater Lansing.
Someone told her that I did a bit of stand-up comedy. One of the center’s fundraisers was called She Laughs, where they had an all-female lineup of comedians perform during the event. She called me to ask if I would be interested in doing something similar called He Laughs. Her thought was to get more men involved in the support of the Women’s Center. I was apprehensive because comedy is subjective. I didn’t want to produce something that would be found offensive, especially considering the reason for the event. She assured me that her donor base understood and appreciated a good laugh. Thus began my journey of learning about the Women’s Center and Alwood.
I learned a lot about the center over the years that included the services it offered, the impact on the community and the person behind the nonprofit. I would soon learn that Alwood is a dynamic human being who has a steadfastness that is unmatched by most. One of her biggest attributes is that when she puts her mind to something, it is practically good as gold before it even begins. I also learned that it is probably better to just say “yes” at the onset to a request from Alwood. Over the years, when I would see her name appear on my binary cellular device, I would think to myself, “I wonder what I’m going to be doing now.” During that time, I got a glimpse of how a nonprofit organization becomes a vital asset to the community. I enjoyed seeing Alwood surround herself with capable people such as Patsy King to ensure success. The Women’s Center of Greater Lansing is the organization. Alwood is the godmother. Patsy King is the consigliere. I was glad to be an asset to an organization that has a mission of helping women realize their potential, support each other, achieve economic self-sufficiency, and develop emotional and physical well-being, regardless of income level.
Women empowering women in an environment where they feel safe, welcome, heard and equal. There needs to be more of this in the world. Thank you, Cindie. You are an inspiration to many, including me. Enjoy your retirement. Job more than well done.