Sunday, April 12, 2015

Thank you from Beth Ruyle Hullinger

Dear Sarasota Sister Cities Members:​

I would like to thank all of our Members and Board Members for their participation in Sarasota Sister Cities' events and organizational activities. Your work made our organization a great success.

As I end my two years as your President, I would like to reflect on our many efforts.

We visited three of our Sister Cities - Vladimir, Russia, Tel Mond, Israel, and Merida Mexico.  Our thanks to Yuliya and Alex Gaukhman, Linda Rosenbluth, David Harralson, and Mike Fehily and all others who helped set up and lead these great vis​its.
Thanks to Mike, Kenny, and Carrie for the great return visit for the Merida exchange.  I am really sorry to miss it.

I would like to especially thank Ray Young for leading an outstanding conference on sustainability. We won two awards based on his efforts. Likewise, thanks for developing our new Speakers' Bureau.

Gloria Grenier did a superb job on our 2015 Gala and the Economic Development Brochure.  Now, add our new relationship with the Art Center Sarasota.  

Kenney DeCamp brought new energy and leadership to the position of Economic Development.  The Dakin Festival was a great success, as was the entertainment he provided at the 2015 Gala.  Thanks, too, for all those who manned the tables and arranged the restaurants and served the food.

Werner Knoop did an outstanding job as our Treasurer.  I am proud to say our books and audit are perfect and we have completed all of our compliance requirements.

David Harralson first led our City Directors as the VP of Cities .Dave then as Membership VP revitalized our Membership. He and Carrie Weaver selected and worked on our new IMembersdb system which helps us track and coordinate with our membership.  I am sorry to miss his presentation at the first Speakers' Bureau presentation.

Bill Wallace led the fundraising efforts and was always there for me for advice.  He was behind the scenes on many projects.  He was also the Chair for our previous galas.

Ron Gossett was instrumental in our relationship with the ballet and made numerous contacts within the cultural community.  He served on the Board of International Sister Cities representing our issues. Finally, he is now heading our Florida State Theater (FST) efforts this year.

Carrie Weaver brought energy and effort to almost all of our projects and events.  She did all the heavy lifting on the organization's Meet and Greets and Luncheons. Great job. Great job, also, for those who designed and completed the programs for the luncheons.

Byron Hill did a fine job as our Secretary. I thank him for his efforts.​

Carolyn Bloomer was instrumental in the development of our new bylaws and the upcoming policy documents.  She also was our person for the Ringling College of Art and Design's Saturday Chinese Film. Her Chinese Student Reception and subsequent dinner was outstanding.  Finally, she has taken the reins as our new VP Cities. 

Thanks also to our Vice City Director’s for their efforts.  An especial thanks to Emile Langlois for Co-Chairing our Gala and Kim Sheintal for her articles in the Jewish Press.  Finally, Irene is always representing us in Chinese related events.

Pauline Mitchell served as the coordinator for the FST program for the last few years.  She also coordinated our efforts with the Caledonian Club Highland Games and Thistle Ball.

Thanks to Linda Rosenbluth for facilitating our role as co-sponsor of the Tel Aviv Embracing Our Differences Competition.  I will miss meeting our winning student.   Her efforts with FST and our continuing winners from Tel Mond are priceless.

Yuliya Gaukhman was the gracious hostess for the Russian Dance performance. The Spring Day celebration was also a special event.

Finally, thanks to Craig Hullinger for all of his efforts with the Social Media and communications.

In naming people for their help, I am sure I have not recognized all efforts. Please forgive me.  In general, thanks to all the members and board for their ongoing efforts to create a better world as the "Citizen Diplomats" of Sarasota.


Beth Ruyle-Hullinger

Past President