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Letter from the President – April 2015

ZettleSterlingDear Members, It is with both joy and sadness in my heart that I write my last letter to you as the President of SNAG. What an adventure it has been! So much has happened during my term as President and some of it, to be honest, was challenging. I would go as far as to say that it has been one of the most challenging things I have ever done, but it has had its rewards. I take many priceless things with me, such as:

  • a deep sense of satisfaction having given myself to a cause other than my own immediate concerns
  • giving back to my community, a community that has supported me over the years
  • building new friendships and camaraderie
  • an improved sense of self
  • a deeper appreciation for those that serve
  • a deeper knowledge of SNAG that could not be acquired without serving on the Board
  • strengthened ties to our community that I have come to call my family.

I want to thank you for having faith, electing, and supporting me over the last few years. It has been a great experience working with the Board, Gwynne Rukenbrod Smith, and the rest of the staff in this capacity. I have learned so much from my role serving on the Board and as President. Yes… volunteering comes with its challenges, but the rewards far outweigh these. I ask each and every one of you to consider the tremendous benefits of volunteering and to think about your role in this organization. I hope that you will consider SNAG when you think of where and how you spend your time volunteering. SNAG really does need you!  If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Volunteer Coordinator Katie Poterela.

Nicole_JacquardPresident-Elect Nicole Jacquard will be taking over the reins in May. It has been a pleasure working with Nicole over the last year and getting to know her better. For those of you who do not know Nicole, she is a sincere and kind person, she is diplomatic, level headed, and has a very balanced perspective. I wish Nicole the very best and will be lending her a helping hand and advice if she asks.

As you can imagine, Nicole gives me confidence to step down knowing SNAG is in her capable hands. I will pass the torch to Nicole during the Membership Meeting at our Boston Conference on Friday, May 22nd. If you are at the conference, please consider attending this meeting, not just to see the passing of the torch, but more importantly, to learn what is happening in your community. This is one of the most important events at the conference. It is imperative to educate yourself on what has happened over the past year and what we’ve been planning  for the future. It is also a great opportunity to meet Board members, talk with them in person, and learn about Board service.

Since I am on the topic of the conference, I would also like to mention that there will be several significant SNAG members honored at the conference, including:

  • Fred Fenster will be awarded the 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award during the opening ceremonies. Fred FensterFred is a Founding Father of SNAG, jeweler and silversmith, as well as Professor Emeritus at University of Wisconsin-Madison.
  • The Volunteer Recognition Award will be presented to Harriete Estel-Berman. This new award was created to publicly acknowledge and honor volunteer contributions to the highest extent. HarrietHarriete is known for her outstanding work on the Professional Development Seminar Leadership Committee, which she was part of for many years before becoming its Chair. The award ceremony to honor Harriete will take place during the membership meeting.

VRA pin - Ross Tanner designMore about the pin being created for the Volunteer Recognition Award: Grand Valley State University’s Department of Art and Design student Ross Tanner (Graphic Design, 15′) won a design competition held by GVSU’s Jewelry and Metalsmithing Area. As well as GVSU donating the materials to create this gorgeous pin, the students in the Intermediate/Advance Jewelry and Metalsmithing class will work together to create five pins for future award winners.

In closing, I cannot express how much it has meant to me to be able to serve you and the organization as a whole. It has been a humbling, fulfilling, and productive experience and most importantly….one that I will always hold close. I would like to thank the Board, Gwynne, and staff for their countless hours given to the betterment of our community.

I hope to see you all at the conference in Boston!

Happy Smithing,
Renee Zettle-Sterling


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