Being involved in the Pink Boots Society is such an empowering and meaningful part of my life, and being a Chapter Leader is even more fulfilling. On PBS’s social media members have asked for suggestions about how to start or lead a chapter. I want to share some ideas and tips I have learned and put in to practice as Chapter Leader with you all, so here goes!
Background: I work at two breweries in San Diego, CA wearing a number of hats. Earlier this year when Laura Ullrich became president of PBS I suddenly became the SD Chapter Leader! The SD chapter is the largest and most organized mainly due to Laura. We have an incredibly large pool of women here who are dedicated to growing our industry. Originally part of a SoCal chapter, as membership increased SD split into our own more localized group. When I started showing more interest in PBS (I had already been a member for a few years and was working with Laura at Stone Brewing Company) Laura was happy to let me jump in and help her with meetings and start doing a little more coordinating. I wanted to get involved because I saw a great chapter that I wanted to help become even better.
Chapter Meetings: I recommend you all decide together as a chapter how often to meet (at least once a year!). Our chapter meets monthly, which our members enjoy. I keep a google spreadsheet with all of my chapter information and on there I keep a list of members interested in hosting meetings. Right now I am in the middle of finalizing all of my 2017 meetings. From there I will typically reach out to the member hosting two months out and begin the actual planning of the meeting.
At our most recent meeting we had a brainstorming session for new meeting, fundraising and informal hang out ideas. Our best brainstorming is done in person (rather than over email/Facebook). A lot of our hosts have their own ideas for meetings but it’s not a requirement and I like to be prepared. Part of me wanting to be more involved was to make sure our meetings are as meaningful as possible to the members.
I find that delegating is key (although difficult at times for me!) to keep the chapter functioning. Someone helps with social media and I also have someone handle the check-ins at meetings so I can greet people and make sure everything is ready to go. Every meeting is educational and welcoming. When we have time and the meetings aren’t too large I like to do introductions before I go over business and before we start the meeting.
We had a lot of successful meetings this year because of our members. Some of our members prepping for the advanced cicerone test led an off flavors class that we’ll repeat this year. Fortunately, we didn’t have to charge members because it was done with homemade spikes and a local brewer donated the beer to us. We hosted a few pairing events and were able to keeps the costs around $5 per member because of our member connections and donations. For the most part I really don’t have to do too much to lead the educational portion because I rely on the members to take that on.
This year I want to focus on more fundraising opportunities because we don’t do any outside Big Boots Brew Day. We also want to try to have more non-meeting get togethers. We have had informal bottle shares before and last year did a tour down to Tijuana visiting craft breweries and meeting other women working there in the industry. On the top of my ‘to do” list right now is another casual bottle share and putting together a painting and drinking evening.
Benefits of Brewing a Collaborative Beer: For the first time ever, our chapter members brewed a collaborative beer for San Diego Beer Week 2016. Along with almost every brewery from SD, volunteers from the chapter poured it during the San Diego Brewers Guild Fest. Because our chapter is a nonprofit and SD guild affiliate we participated for free. Our goals were to promote PBS as well as recruit women in our industry who weren’t familiar with the organization and/or our chapter. It’s always fun to brew together and was wonderful to educate folks about us! We did this at the last minute so it was a learning experience for us. PBS Executive Director Emily Engdahl helped us out by sending materials and banners, and I have a much better idea of how to run this in the future. Next year we’ll have literature and cards to hand out to interested women.
When it comes down to the success of our chapter it all boils down to the members! Their dedication and brains are really what makes our chapter phenomenal. Every one of our members brings so much to the table and we try to utilize everyone’s different positions and knowledge. Learning from each other is incredibly rewarding.