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President's Message

Lee Chaix McDonough

Let's Talk About Our Strengths

I was attracted to “Building Bridges” as this year’s theme because of its hopeful, relentless optimism. It speaks to how we’re always able to move forward and create connections between people and ideas, which is at the heart of Coastal Women’s Forum mission of Networking, Education, and Encouragement.

In earlier letters, I’ve talked about how our values – the concepts around which we build our lives –connect to the Coastal Women’s Forum mission and to this year’s theme. This month, I want to talk about our strengths. Each one of us has been gifted with a unique constellation of qualities and strengths, and they help us build fulfilling, meaningful lives.

Recently, I took the Gallup StrengthsFinder survey and discovered my top 5 strengths: Connectedness, Relator, Futuristic, Positivity, and Strategy. With this new information, “Building Bridges” took on a very personal meaning.

Connectedness means I have faith in the links among all people and things, Relator indicates I value close relationships and working together, and Futuristic suggests that I’m inspired by the future and what’s possible. Add in Positivity and Strategy, and you’ve got a recipe for building bridges. Not a bad combo for a president, huh?

But each strength is also accompanied by a shadow aspect or weakness. Positivity makes me more likely to rush into decisions without considering the potential negative consequences, and my Futuristic tendencies mean I rarely consider historical context. Because I prioritize connections and relationships, it’s not always easy for me to take charge or set clear boundaries. Not a great combo for a president, huh?

Fortunately, CWF is greater than one person or one president. The strength of our organization relies on the diversity of strengths among its members.

I need only look to my fellow board members and to past presidents to find women who excel in areas where I struggle. They are my examples and role models. And when I look to our entire membership, I see countless other strengths and gifts working together for the benefit of our community.

This month features our annual TradeShare event, with the theme of “Building Bridges to Your Future.” It’s a wonderful opportunity to network and connect, and to celebrate our strengths as an integral part of building bridges. I hope I’ll see you there, and I hope you won’t be shy about sharing your strengths with me.



Coastal Women’s Forum (CWF) welcomes smart, savvy women of all ages, interests and abilities...

Women just like you!

We invite you to join us at our monthly lunch and dinner meetings,

and take advantage of being a CWF member. 

Coastal Women's Forum Membership includes:

Meetings that fit your busy schedule
Business, professional, and volunteer networking opportunities

Informative and entertaining speakers
Opportunities to promote your passion

Career and self-development

Access to the support, knowledge, and experience of your fellow CWF members

      Encouragement from women who have been there and done that

  Your chance to give back and support other women in our community

CWF Members are women who own businesses, or are following careers in the for-profit and non-profit sectors. Other members are blissfully enjoying retirement or raising families. Some are new to New Bern and are seeking ways to establish themselves within the community. They are all energetically involved in pursuing their personal passions and often committed volunteers for the benefit of the community.

Become a CWF member and share our mission of Networking, Education and Encouragement. Browse the website and understand who we are and what we are all about. But the best way for you to know us is to meet us in person. Sign up to attend a luncheon or dinner and meet the dynamic women of our thriving and constantly growing group.

We’ve saved you a seat! For information on how to join CWF, click here

Become a member

For only $40 per year, you can receive all the benefits of being a member of Coastal Women's Forum. 

In addition to the networking and education opportunities CWF provides to all guests, members receive a $5 discount on the price of meals, have access to members-only content areas of the website, and can promote their business or cause for free at CWF events and in the CWF newsletter.

Why not join today!

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Coastal Women's Forum
PO Box 15392
New Bern, NC 28561

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