GPWA in der Presse: 10th Anniversary Celebration

Left to right: Erika Ofenhitzer, Rica Lade, Gisela Blevins, Beate Turner and Christina Griesser

Artikel und Bild:

Southfield ­ It is truly hard to believe that it has been 10 years already since a few women started to get together on a regular basis for dinner to network about jobs and area events and to build friendships. Our international membership consists of all kinds of talented women from different paths of life. We help and support one another in all aspects of life. A decade of networking, friendship and support needs to be acknowledged, remembered and celebrated.

We greatly enjoyed the celebration of our 10th anniversary on April 18, 2008 at the Southfield Marriott with a large number of guests. We were especially honored that our friends Frederick (Fred) Hoffman, Honorary Consul of Germany and James (Jim) Stokes, Director Appointments Divison for the Office of the Governor, attended this event and that Governor Jennifer Granholm acknowledged our anniversary with a congratulatory letter presented by Jim. Several German American organizations were also represented: Horst Griesser, Austrian Society; Marianne Krenzer, German American Cultural Center; Edith Kuplent, GBU Saxonia/Rheingold Choir; Monika Kitchen, GA Kids, Regina Weiss, Austrian Ski Club; Ingrid Stein, Wochen-Post; Kathrin Schwesig, Lufthansa. All of you, thank you so much for your wonderful support in the past!

As special thanks also to our friends at Lufthansa, including Meredith Upward and Kathrin Schwesig, for providing us with airline tickets for a drawing at this event. Lufthansa has been a terrific supporter of GPWA at our past events.

Cornelia Schaible and Erika Ofenhitzer deserve all the credit for editing and compiling our anniversary booklet and creating a valuable keepsake that holds special memories, pictures, and stories about the German Professional Women’s Association. We would like to thank all of advertisers in this booklet for their financial support. Within the next few weeks, our webmaster Kerstin Sigl will post our anniversary booklet for public viewing on our website

Back to the beginning of the GPWA: I founded this organization after my return from my studies in Europe while looking for an interesting job where I could utilize my language skills and bi-cultural experiences. Ten years ago, when people were just starting to access the Internet and communication by email was not wide-spread, networking was much more difficult than today. In the early days of Der Professional Deutsche Stammtisch”, as our organization used to be called, I often had to stay late at work and fax information to each member individually. It sounds like ancient history, but in this day and age, one single decade can be a long time in terms of technical developments.

Our group meets on a monthly basis for networking and listening to a variety of interesting guest speakers at the Southfield Marriott; our past speakers are also listed on our website. We organize annual trips and Christmas parties, Sommerfests as well as children events such as the annual Laternenlauf and Kinderfasching in conjunction with the GACC. We also participate with a team in the yearly Race for the Cure” (benefiting breast cancer research) in downtown Detroit; this year’s event will take place on May 31, 2008, and the public is welcome to join our team. Our next event is our Sommerfest will be held on June 1, 2008 at the beautiful Austrian Park. Please check our website for detailed information: or call (248) 693-9341. The GPWA also works and cooperates with a variety of organizations and schools within the German-American community.

GPWA views itself as an ambassador for German culture and language in the US and is building bridges of friendship between both nations while celebrating their cultural diversity and fostering mutual respect and tolerance.

As all successful organizations, GPWA relies heavily on a strong team: Gisela Blevins (Secretary), Christina Griesser (President), Rica Lade (Treasurer), Erika Ofenhitzer (Director of Events), Cornelia Schaible (Director of Communications), Kerstin Sigl (Webmaster) and Beate Turner (Vice President) are all amazing women with incredible talents and vision. It has been a pleasure working with these wonderful women and with our many volunteers, and I look forward to another 10 years of fresh ideas, events, friendship, and success!