June 2023

A Message from Leadership

Well, “that’s the way we’ve always done it”…


I value tradition when employing consideration of standards or when consistency is desired. However, when things are done a particular way because “that is how it is always done”, I feel we short- change ourselves.


Think about it, if we always did things “the way it’s always been done,” we would rarely see progress. Career options for women would be limited, things we consider a “no brainer” such as equipping work sites with a lactation room, or extending parental leave to both parents, would have never happened. Would it have been possible for Barack Obama, an African- American, to have been elected as President or Kamala Harris, a woman, be selected as a running mate for Vice President?


Let’s take a look at a story that demonstrates this concept (you may be familiar with it):


A young girl is helping her mother with Thanksgiving Dinner. She watches her mom prepare the ham and right before she places it in a baking tray to cook in the oven, her mother takes out a knife and cuts off both ends of the ham. Observing this, the young girl asks, “Mom, why did you cut off the ends of the ham?" Her mother responds, “Why, it’s the way my mother always prepared her ham”.


Still curious, the young girl, calls her grandmother to verify what her mother told her. Her grandmother responds, “Yes, dear. I cut off both ends, because that is the way my mother prepared her ham.”


Well, the fact finder this young girl was she had an opportunity to speak with her great-grandmother when she visited for Christmas. She asked her great- grandmother, “GG, I asked mom why she cut off both ends of the ham when she prepared it, and she said it was because her mother always did it. Then I asked grandmother why she cut off both ends, and grandmother says it’s because you always did it. GG, why do you cut off both sides of the ham?”


Great-grandmother smiles and responds, “Yes, child. That is how I prepared my ham”. She then demonstrates with her hands how big the pan was indicating that it was pretty small. “However, that was because I owned a very small pan, and I wanted my ham to fit.”


Humans are creatures of habit, and we gravitate towards routines. The adage, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, is a way we can continue doing what works for us comfortably, even when it is not necessarily better, effective, or considerate of others. This type of thinking sets limits for a business, and for humans, it limits opportunities and achievements. When I receive such a response, it just says to me, “this person is not interested in verifying whether there is a legitimate issue or this person fears the possibility of change (more or less, a disruption to a routine).


Sometimes, we may even fear speaking up and challenging the response so as not to rock the boat. That fear is worse than “that’s the way it’s always been done”. If you ask me, I say, create the waves that will rock the boat. It is important we examine and evaluate conditions and determine if the established structures are working. This is not just applicable to the work environment. This is practical in our personal lives as well.


Remember, our story? The young girl did three things that we should keep in mind when responding to “that is the way it’s always done”.


The young girl:

  • Spoke up
  • Identified the issue
  • Did her research


Your response to “the way we’ve always done it”, should be backed by research. I am not talking about master’s level thesis research. I speak of research that could be as simple as speaking with other employees or other family members (as was done in our story) to gain insight and solicit ideas.


The main take away from this message is we should not become comfortable with the way we have always done it. It does not hurt us if we are challenged to look at current practices and determine if there is something we could do better.


In solidarity,

Ijeoma Enendu

Vice President, Montgomery Women

Can I really be wrapping up my first year as Montgomery Women's President? I've led other organizations as well as my own business. Yet this has been such a fulfilling year (and there's more to come; I'm not going anywhere). Here's a bulleted year-in-review that seems to have addressed each of my "focus four" goals.

  • Membership is rising, returning to pre-Covid numbers.
  • In-person programs with connection, networking, and learning - our "sweet spot" - have returned in force.
  • First-Friday Power Breakfasts are exceeding our engagement expectations and exude a professional - yet fun - atmosphere.
  • This "Advance" newsletter was started (and will continue publication).
  • We have a completely new website!
  • Our programs are more diverse by topics addressed - including politics, advocacy, professional development, business leadership, non-profit leadership, and "simply social" pop-up events.
  • We maintain a healthy mix of online and in-person programming so that we include as much participation as possible throughout the year.
  • We've collaborated with a greater variety of Montgomery County groups to expand programming opportunities.
  • Our Governance Committee has thoroughly reviewed and updated our bylaws and has begun formalizing committee operating procedures.
  • More members are volunteering to join committees and be engaged, providing greater value to the organization and gaining greater benefits to being members.
  • We've offered encouragement to the largest number of female Montgomery County Council members ever.
  • And a sad "sorry to see you leave" to one Board member - Jane de Winter, our Treasurer - who has come to the end of her Board term (yet promises to be even more present at events now that she has so much more time!) Big smile and heart.

I invite you to let me know what might bring even greater value to your Montgomery Women membership - and if you are not yet a member, what might move you to become one - so that we can include ideas into our upcoming Board retreat. None of the above was done alone. I appreciate each of our 2022-2023 Board members. We are an all-volunteer organization of supremely busy women who are leaders well beyond Montgomery Women. 

To be continued,

Sylvia Henderson

President, Montgomery Women

Member Spotlights

Jaime Hirschfeld

Director of Client Sales, FlexProfessionals

As the Director of Client Sales for FlexProfessionals, Jaime focuses on driving business development and supporting client-focused and revenue-generating activities. Most recently, Jamie was the Director of Revenue Development for a software company focused on public libraries. There she helped hundreds of public libraries build community engagement, increase marketing impact, and improve fundraising efforts. During her tenure, the company grew four-fold. Prior to this, Jaime spent ten years providing training, technical assistance, and grant support to Community Health Centers and other federal grantees.

Althea Lloyd-White

Program Manager, Center for International Private Enterprise

Althea is a global development professional with experience in the public, private, and non-profit sectors. As Program Manager for Policy & Program Learning at CIPE, an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Althea leads a team that develops cutting-edge economic policy approaches, fosters learning across the CIPE portfolio, and assesses CIPE’s programmatic impact. Althea's experience also includes consultancies on youth economic opportunities programs for organizations in Washington, DC, South Africa, Benin, Kenya, Liberia, and Afghanistan where she led the first nation-wide survey of Afghan youth on behalf of USAID.

Quick Tips

For the Everyday Leader

As workplace burnout runs rampant, organizations are expressing their ambitions to drive a meaningful well-being agenda. For many, widespread employee burnout is yet another systemic issue that must be solved at the root, particularly by addressing the company culture around how work gets done and how results are achieved. Here are four key drivers of well-being at work:

Alignment: This driver measures the fit between the individual, their role, and the organization overall. Achieving a good level of alignment helps to reduce (or buffer against) job pressures.

Support: This driver measures employees' perception of the availability of continued support, particularly from their managers, as well as their colleagues, and the organization overall.

Resilience: This driver represents the resources that help an individual cope – despite workplace demands – and maintain healthy levels of well-being.

Balance: This driver measures how well an individual is coping with the demands of a job that requires sustained effort.

Learn more here.

Have a leadership tip or resource you want to share? Click below.

Share Here

Key Updates

Newly launched Montgomery Women website

As you may know, Montgomery Women recently launched a new website! After months of hard work and dedication, we are excited to share our new online platform with you. Our new website offers an easy-to-use interface with a user-friendly design that will enhance your experience. We invite you to visit our website and take a look around. If you have any questions or feedback, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us. We value your input and would be happy to hear from you.

Brief hiatus in our newsletter publication

As we embrace the warmth and excitement of this season, we wanted to inform you of a brief hiatus in our "Advance" newsletter publication. For the month of July, we will take a short break from our regular newsletter schedule to focus on strategic planning for the upcoming program year. This pause will allow us to assess our progress and reflect on the valuable feedback we will incorporate into future issues. Regular distribution of "Advance" will resume on August 1, 2023.

Upcoming Events



First Friday Breakfast

7:30 AM - 8:30 AM

Mosaic Cuisine - Rockville, MD

Register Here



Montgomery Women Annual Meeting (Members Only)

3:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Bethesda, MD




First Friday Breakfast

7:30 AM - 8:30 AM

Mosaic Cuisine - Rockville, MD

Register Here

View All Events

Facebook  LinkedIn  Twitter  Email  Web

Want to support the advancement of women in

Montgomery County while forging new connections?

Become a Member