Over the last few years, members in District 28 have been active in networking with younger generations in an attempt to ensure the future of Zonta clubs in their district. One way they have done this is by promoting e-clubs, which provide for more freedom in regards to locations and times, as well as allow for greater use of social media.
In order to keep in touch with alumnae from the Young Women in Public Affairs and Jane M. Klausman Women in Business scholarships, as well as with Amelia Earhart Fellows, District 28 members organized “Great Girls Meet Great Women,” a weekend event held every two years that focuses on recipients of the scholarships and other young women. The event offers leadership and training workshops and sets up a two-way discussion between girls and women.
“They learn from our experience, we learn from their innovative perspectives,” said District 28 Lt. Governor Fernanda Gallo Freschi. “We encourage the alumnae to keep networking among [themselves] and with us using social media, and consider to join us in Zonta.”
When Daniela Pedrini, a former AE fellow, met Zontians and fellow young professionals at a “Great Girls Meet Great Women" event, she felt inspired to join Zonta.
However, her deep interest in becoming a Zontian was not compatible with the location of clubs present in Italy. She lived in Pisa and there were no Zonta clubs located in Tuscany. Instead of joining an existing Zonta club, she decided to start a new one. But after a few months of attempting to start a club in Pisa, she felt frustrated by the difficulty of finding the required number of members locally. Daniela had several young colleagues and friends who wanted to participate in Zonta’s mission, many of whom she had met at the District 28 networking event, but most of them resided in other cities and even in other countries.
This is when Fernanda Gallo Freschi proposed the idea of an e-club.
Daniela began to contact friends and colleagues and connect with former AE fellows and alumnae of other Zonta scholarships. A SOM (Sponsoring Organizing Mentoring) Committee was created and members of the Zonta Club of Milano-Sant Ambrogio fully embraced their role as mentors in helping Daniela form the club.
Eventually, 16 members were committed to the new e-club and in October 2017, the efforts of Daniela and the District 28 members were visible during a chartering celebration for the newly formed Zonta e-Club of Italy.
The members of the e-club live in Italy, Germany and Scotland, and there are 15 women and one man. Nearly half the members are young professionals, four are AE fellows and some are YWPA and JMK candidates and district awardees.
Daniela, who is the president of the e-club, and Margherita Squaiella, Zonta e-Club of Italy board member, said the new members had quite a few reasons for wanting to launch the e-club.
Most notably, they wanted to find a digital way to interact across Europe with women and men interested in the vision and mission of Zonta.
Daniela and Margherita said their commitment is mainly devoted to supporting Zonta through educational activities, such as promoting female STEM careers by sharing their own experiences and spreading information about the education programs available through Zonta International.
Daniela and Margherita said the club is becoming increasingly involved in Zonta-related projects and they are excited about increasing their membership numbers to include other young professionals who interested in encouraging women to achieve their full potential.