COVER | story
THE Secret TO
by Nancy DiFrancia, IS, Kirkland, Washington
Dorothy Adds To P.E.O.
She influenced some from her current chapter to transfer, reached out to women about their daughters joining P.E.O. through this new chapter, called unaffiliates in the area, talked with friends and called women on the referrals list. Chapter IS organized April 22, 1995, with 30 members. Dorothy didn’t stop there. She enthusiastically delights in reaching out to people about P.E.O. When she learns of an unaffiliate in her area, she calls her. When she learns of a woman who has been referred for P.E.O. membership, she calls her. When she meets someone who she thinks would make a positive addition to P.E.O., she invites them to meet other sisters. Do some lead very busy lives? Yes. Does this deter her? No. She advises to not miss out on inviting busy women because you never know when the time may be right for a prospective member. Never assume they are too busy; give them the opportunity to make the decision for themselves. When she reaches out, she has a sincerity and warmth that welcomes others. “Dorothy was the first P.E.O. to invite me to a meeting. She made me feel like an old friend,” says Ann Guthrie who transferred to Chapter IS after receiving a call from Dorothy when on the unaffiliate list. Similar to Dorothy’s first impression that P.E.O. was right for her because of the nice women she met, she has mirrored that generosity to others. Cheryl Mana’o, who was initiated into Chapter IS in 1998, shares, “Dorothy WAS the reason I joined P.E.O! I met Dorothy through a mutual friend and we had an instant connection. Dorothy is a selfless, generous, caring, independent woman. When she told me about P.E.O. and the amazing women involved, there was no question. If P.E.O. had a group of women like Dorothy, I wanted to be part of it. Dorothy has made me a better person!” While wearing a Cottey College sweatshirt on a plane, Dorothy met a P.E.O. from another state which led to another sister for Chapter IS. When serving as Unaffiliate Chair for Washington State Chapter, she called a woman who had been a P.E.O. for 27 years and had never gone to meetings. At the moment she called, the woman was looking at her calendar and thinking “I need something to do on Thursdays,” which happened to be the Chapter IS meeting night! You never know when your call will be the right time for a sister.
When gathered for a recent chapter anniversary celebration, sisters in
Chapter IS, Kirkland, Washington, shared stories about how they came to P.E.O. It quickly became humorous when
so many shared similar stories such as “When I met Dorothy…,” “When Dorothy called me…,”
“When Dorothy invited me…,” etc. So many of these sisters had one thing in common. They came to be in Chapter IS, Kirkland, Washington, through Dorothy Caravias, a 36-year member of P.E.O. who served as the chapter’s first president and repeated a
two-year term during the pandemic. Of the 107 women who have been in Chapter IS, Dorothy has been a part of well over half of them joining the chapter either through initiation or transfer. Since some chapters in our Sisterhood struggle with finding new sisters, perhaps we can learn Dorothy’s secret to having such influence on a chapter’s membership growth. Dorothy is a self-proclaimed introvert who was very shy when she was first asked if she was interested in P.E.O. by a college friend. Encouraged by her mother, she went to an organizing meeting and thought “If people are as nice as this, I’m in!” The first woman Dorothy arranged to be presented for membership was her mother, Ethel Caravias, Chapter Eternal, who was initiated a year-and-a-half after Dorothy. Dorothy then presented her first name for membership, her roommate, after just three years in P.E.O. A few years later, she was asked to help a small group of women who were organizing a new chapter in her city. After the first meeting she attended, she said to herself “I want to do this!” And, she was off and running with developing the charter membership.
THE P.E.O. RECORD | September–October 2022
Women helping women reach for the stars
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