They came together initially as 55 accomplished women who were strangers to each other but believers in a shared mission. And they partnered through the summer and fall of 2023 to deepen and expand that vision.

A year later, they reunited for a special gathering to celebrate the growth and progress of that vision—creation of a Women’s Leadership Center in Williams Bay, WI.

“You were the first!” said Ann Drake as she welcomed a reunion of the women who collaborated in three separate strategic visioning weekends about the Center in 2023. “You were so helpful and gave us such great input, we decided you had to have a name. Going forward, you will be known as the “Launch Crew,” said Ann to applause.

The June 27, 2024, gathering was an opportunity to thank these leaders for their deep work, and to bring them up to date on the Center’s progress plus future development. Videos of Center construction and site prep, which began in April, were shown, as well as illustrations showing how the Center will look, feel and function when it’s completed in late 2025 or early 2026. Ann also shared excerpts from the journals that participants kept during their strategic visioning retreats, describing the hopes, ideas, and excitement that the Center concept inspired.

“This is so energizing,” said one of the Launch Crew participants. “An event like this makes us realize how powerful women are.” Others chimed in: “This Center—this is what’s been missing.” Another agreed: “It’s really about the next generation of women,” she added.

“For women together, the possibilities are endless,” said Ann to the group. “That’s what we believe here. The power of women is astonishing.”