A big warm welcome to Lynn Comandich, Myra Killeen, and Sarah Manning, who are all joining our Board of Directors. These women bring a wealth of experience to our board, as well as a combined 19 years volunteering with WE CAN!
Lynn Comandich is the former owner of the Beth Bishop Shop in Orleans for 36 years. For the past several years, Lynn has served in several volunteer roles at WE CAN, including co-chair of the organization’s “A Day of Words, Wit and Wisdom” and the celebratory Community Breakfast. She is a Cape Cod Five Corporator and member of the Charitable Foundation Trust, a steward of multiple conservation properties for the Barnstable Land Trust, and the Meghan Tripp Scholarship committee.
Lynn knew that when she retired, she wanted to give back, and she was drawn to WE CAN because wanted to support an organization that empowers women to be self sufficient – exactly WE CAN’s mission. She had seen that mission in action when she attended her first W3, where she was “just blown away. The energy, the enthusiasm, it was so inspirational..” Lynn’s work at the WE CAN office allowed her to see firsthand “how the organization’s mission plays out” and now that she is a co-chair of the W3 Committee, she is pleased to be part of the event that originally inspired her. Lynn says she gets as much from volunteering as she gives. She was looking for a volunteer position that provided mental stimulation, social interaction, and creativity, and found all three at WE CAN. She says she now counts WE CAN volunteers among her best friends. “And then there’s the best part of all – what it does for my heart. That was the part I didn’t expect.”
Myra Killeen, who, after 35 years in high tech, began volunteering for WE CAN, including on the Upper Cape Outreach Committee and as a mentor in the PathMakers program. As an independent business consultant, she was instrumental in the design and implementation of large eCommerce websites such as T.J.Maxx and El Corte Ingles, the largest retailer in Spain. Prior to that, she held senior management positions at Oracle, IBM’s Lotus Development and Reed Elsevier.
One of Myra’s first volunteer roles at WE CAN involved answering phones and speaking directly to the women we serve. During her training she wondered what to do if the phones lines were very busy, and was impressed when she was told not to think about the next call, but rather to put all her focus and attention on the woman she was speaking with. “Being told to pay full attention to the person you’re with sounds so simple, but it was unlike anywhere else I’d ever encountered. This made tremendous sense and impact on me, because I know how easy it would be for someone not to make that call.” Myra understands that it’s hard for participants to take that first step, but it leads to them taking control of their lives. “That’s the part that I love about WE CAN. We’re not giving out fish, we’re teaching them how to fish and showing them how empowered they can be. That alone is tremendous.”
Sarah Manning is of counsel practicing in Nutter’s Litigation Department in the firm’s Hyannis office and is past president of the Barnstable County Bar Association. Since 1991, Sarah’s primary focus has been on Massachusetts family law, and for several years, she has volunteered her legal services to WE C AN program participants. She serves on the executive board of Community Action Committee of Cape Cod and the Islands and also acts as a mentor to the domestic violence unit of the Massachusetts Women’s Bar Association.
Sarah says that when she was first introduced to WE CAN, she was immediately impressed with how well the organization was run, how easy it was to volunteer her skills and how much of an impact she could immediately make in helping participants with family law needs. Sarah says, “I like to be in the trenches helping people, and making the best of the volunteer time I have available. I also like the idea of women helping women over difficult hurdles in their lives. What good is it having a skill in this world if you can’t share it and truly help people who need it? And the participants are always so grateful for the time spent with them. It is in giving that we receive.”
WE CAN is grateful to have these amazing women on our team. Lisa Guyon, WE CAN’s Executive Director, says “Lynn, Myra and Sarah each bring different skills, knowledge and experience to our board that will help guide the organization into the future. Collectively, they share a deep commitment to empowering women and a generosity of heart and spirit that is an invaluable asset to WE CAN.”