NAPW Norfolk, VA Chapter Hosted “Mrs. Virginia International 2013” Amber Wandtke & Grief Coach Cynthia Grossman in June

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National Association of Professional Women Norfolk, VA Chapter heard 2 captivating presentations in June: how PTSD affects servicemen & women and how one heals after loss.

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Amber is also heavily involved with Wounded Wear, a group that provides free clothing and modifications to wounded warriors and raises awareness about their sacrifices.

At a professional networking meeting on June 20th, members and guests of the NAPW Norfolk, VA Local Chapter got together at the Holiday Inn Norfolk Airport, the Chapter’s new, permanent meeting location.

While enjoying a buffet dinner, the group of professional women was visited by “Mrs. Virginia International 2013,” Amber Wandtke, who shared her experiences as a Navy Petty Officer First Class and spoke about the seriousness of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Attendees also heard from Chapter Vice President Cynthia Gossman, a Grief and Relationship Coach and Owner of Life after Loss Healing Solutions, LLC.

Ivory Morgan-Burton, NAPW Norfolk, VA Local Chapter President, opened the meeting by thanking member and guests for coming. The group of 24 professional women in attendance was from various industries.

The Chapter’s sponsors were given an honorable mention. Sponsor Pamela Chesson of Talk Fusion recorded the meeting and provided live streaming of the meeting online.

The Chapter Leadership Team introduced themselves and spoke about their companies. In celebration of the evening’s special guest speaker, the President added a little pageantry to the meeting by presenting the Leadership Team with tiaras and sashes.

“In the spirit of the meeting’s theme of royalty due to having ‘Mrs. Virginia International 2013’ Amber Wandtke as our special guest, I gave the Leadership Team sashes with their titles and tiaras to wear during the meeting,” said President Morgan-Burton.

The guest speaker spoke to the group of professional women about her experience in the Navy as a Petty Officer First Class and her four deployments. She talked about how this has shown her the devastating effect Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can have on servicemen and women and their families.

“As Mrs. Virginia International 2013, Amber makes appearances at events to promote awareness of PTSD not only for our military, but for civilians who have experienced trauma as well,” said Norfolk Chapter President Ivory Morgan-Burton.

“Amber is also heavily involved with Wounded Wear, a group that provides free clothing and modifications to wounded warriors and raises awareness about their sacrifices.”

After her speech, Ms. Wandtke posed for pictures with the group. President Ivory presented her with a bouquet of roses after presenting each member of the leadership team with one as well.

Next, the Chapter President invited Vice President Cynthia Gossman, Grief and Relationship Coach and Owner of Life After Loss Healing Solutions, LLC to the podium.

“I measure my life in how many minutes I need to talk to Cynthia,” said President Ivory Morgan-Burton as she introduced the next speaker.

The Vice President shared with the group about how she came to be a Grief and Relationship Coach, drawing from her own experience as a young widow with three children. Ms. Gossman helps her clients to not just “get over it,” but shows them how to grieve in a healthy way and live a joyful life despite their loss.

She shared that it can take five to eight years for a widow or widower to feel like themselves again. She also shared that the Wall Street Journal calculated that grief takes a toll of $75 billion on the economy each year due to stress, absenteeism, health issues, etc.

During the meeting, new members of the Norfolk Chapter were officially recognized and pinned. Treasurer Amy Kretzer gave her report on the Chapter’s finances and Vice President Cynthia Gossman reported that the group is looking for additional charities to support. Chapter members and guests had the opportunity to introduce themselves and their businesses.

The group then sang “Happy Birthday” for all those who had April, May and June birthdays. Chef Melissa Pearson provided cupcakes for the group to celebrate.

As the meeting closed, guests and members were encouraged to network and to also attend the Norfolk Chapter’s Meet & Greet event on Monday, June 24th from 6:30 to 8:30pm at the Holiday Inn Norfolk Airport. This event features Tonya Hoffman, International Speaker and Business Strategist and Founder of the Public Speakers Association. All community businesspeople, both men and women, were encouraged to attend.

The National Association of Professional Women (NAPW) is the largest and most recognized network of female professionals. NAPW provides a forum where women can interact, exchange ideas, educate, network, and empower. NAPW Local Chapters allow members to maximize their experience through meetings, networking opportunities, and professional events.

For additional information regarding the NAPW Norfolk, VA Local Chapter and/or NAPW, please visit http://www.napw.com.

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Karen Slusser
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