by Martha

Arriving in Ann Arbor from Germany in the late 1960s, Helga soon joined International Neighbors (IN). Many years later in 2003, she became the first woman to have joined as a newcomer from a foreign country to later serve as IN President!

As President, Helga wanted to change things to make IN even better. She wanted more democracy, more sharing of work between “guests” and “hostesses”, increased involvement among all members of IN. She knew that women, who came from a foreign country, even though here for only a few years, had a lot to offer our organization.

To realize her dream, Helga held a retreat to allow International Neighbors leaders to brainstorm about things that could be done to improve IN. Some of the goals the group came up with during the retreat were: (1) make all women who come to the Ann Arbor area aware of IN soon after they arrive, (2) implement more efficient and diverse means of communicating with our members, (3) provide a process to create new interest groups, (4) become a family oriented organization, and (5) focus on community service.

Thanks to Helga’s leadership and those who followed her, we have made, and continue to make, progress towards these goals!

Image: Pixabay