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April 2020 BPWNC Newsletter

Our meetings are on hold until further notice due to the current COVID-19 health stay-at-home advise


March is Women’s History Month so I am reading a book about amazing women from 100 years ago. It is called Flappers and it is by Judith Mackrell.
I will happily pass it on to anyone who wishes to read about these women: Josephine Baker (American-born French entertainer, French Resistance agent,
and civil rights activist), Tallulah Bankhead (American actress), Diana Cooper
(the original Lady Di and Scott Fitzgerald’s inspiration for a flapper), Nancy Cunard (writer, heiress and political —anti racist/ facist activist), Zelda Fitzgerald (American novelist, socialite, painter), and Tamara De Lempick (Art Deco painter). I knew about
all these ladies except for Nancy Cunard
so it was great to learn about someone new.

We do hope to have our March meeting about the Women’s Suffrage Centennial rescheduled to the May meeting. Please stay tuned for details.

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, PBS premiered Rise Up: Songs of the Women’s Movement, which chronicles the role that music played in one of the nation’s most dynamic social movements of the 20th century. It is available for sale on the bps website in you missed this remarkable showing on tv.!!

Be well!!
Mary Sivila, President

Shannon Cotter
It is a privilege to have Shannon as part of our BPWNC family. At 42, she is a lesson and a role model for us but is particularly inspiring to young women who are struggling to overcome challenges in working toward professional and personal success.

Shannon always knew she wanted a college degree, but life choices and circumstances caused her to put that dream on hold for a long time. As she puts it:
“I always say I did everything backwards in terms of having children at a young age, completing school later in life, and beginning a ‘career’ at 30”. She is certainly not alone in that!!

As a child, she grew up on welfare and wanted to break that cycle and many other negative ones modeled for her. She tried to go back to school in 1995 while pregnant with her first child. When that first attempt didn’t work out, she returned to Sierra College in 2004 and completed an Associate’s Degree in Accounting by 2008. At that time Shannon began working for the Union, ultimately leaving in 2013 to return to school full-time. In January 2014, she began the first of five semesters at Chico State, graduating summa cum laude with a Bachelors degree in Accounting and minors in Management and Ethics in May 2016. As Shannon says, it was a challenging time balancing the commute, children, finances and, because she is an over-achiever, Teaching Assistant, student Office Assistant, and VP of Beta Alpha Psi. And, during much of this time, she was a faithful and hard-working BPW member. Where did she find the time!

Through all this, Shannon and her husband have raised six children in their blended family—three boys and three girls, ages 12-24. The four oldest are now grown and independent, the youngest two Shannon describes as bright, challenging, funny, kind, thoughtful and artistic. Shannon has lived many places, concluding that she has probably lived in 30-35 different homes and towns, not only in California but in Nevada, Florida and Massachusetts. She and her husband bought their second home together in 2017 in what she describes as an “oldie” built in 1881 and located on Mill Street in Grass Valley. They love it!

Shannon is, as ever, modest, giving others credit for the inspiration to achieve her dreams. When asked what inspired her to become a member of BPW, she mentioned Jennifer Wilkerson’s encouragement, Lindy’s help with her scholarship applications and interview process, the “dynamic duo of Lynn & Judy as co-presidents,” the programs, the women, and the support; she says she misses the energy that was present in the meetings which she feels has changed for various reasons. Shannon says: “If I could say anything about the changes I’ve seen and felt, don’t let the current administration harden your hearts and make you forget who you are and what you’ve fought for in the past.”

In her spare time [hah!] Shannon particularly enjoys reading biographies, autobiographies, science-fiction and books about spirituality and recovery. She enjoys exercise (weightlifting, spin and PiYo especially), visiting family, playing Rummikub and eating good food, although she is way too busy to do much cooking or baking right now.

Shannon is most proud of attaining her college degree and getting clean. Her advice to young women now is to go to college, avoid debt, save for retirement, exercise, eat well, find their passion and don’t take themselves so seriously. “That’s the exact advice I’d have given my younger self,” says Shannon. She hopes to someday work less and travel more. Those of us who have worked with Shannon on the board know how dedicated a colleague and friend she is. BPW is lucky to have her as an officer, a member and a shining example of humanity.
Club Business
Now that we have more home time help get the word out. Please send names and email addresses of your friends and family to Phyllis to receive the BPWNC monthly newsletter. This will give them a great idea of our organization that you are involved with.
Thank  you
~ Membership, Deb Armanino 415-786-1160
*** Please add Phyllis Orzalli e-mail ( to your address book to ensure it does not go to junk!
Mission Statement
The mission of the Business and Professional Women of Nevada County
is to support and promote equity for women in all aspects of their lives.
~To promote personal and professional development for working women.
~To advocate on National, State, and Local legislative issues of importance
to working women.
~To support the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls.
~To promote the education of our members and the community in matters of women's equality as it relates to economics, employment, health, education, housing, civil rights, and other issues of equal opportunity.
Interested in joining our dynamic group of women?
Want to take on a lead role in our organization?

We need active members who have time and interest
in being a board member: president, vice president, secretary,
treasurer or program committee.

For only a few hours a month you can guide future endeavors of our great group. Please contact Mary Sivila at 530-346-7192 or email her at to discuss the great possibilities!
Our meetings are on hold until further notice.
Mary Sivila - 530.346.7192
Vice President
Becky Goodwin
Shirley Hall - 916.826.8944
Shannon Cotter - 530.798.1192
Deb Armanino - 415.786.1160
Our members - Submit an idea to the board.
Lynn Wenzel - 530.477.0746
Judy McCarrick - 530.478.0677
Elaine Sierra - 530.274.0738
Phyllis Orzalli - 530.913.8473
Phyllis Orzalli - 530.913.8473
Patricia Wolf - 530.273.0605
BPWNC Facebook
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Business & Professional Women of Nevada County · P.O. Box 2642 · Grass Valley, CA 95945 · USA

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