Zoom Queen, that is how Carolyn Morris has been designated and
applauded by the AAUW-West Harris Branch (WHC)! The Covid pandemic demanded much of Carolyn as WHC’s President-Elect (2019-2020) and President (2020-2021) that had never been asked of any other branch president over the years. Her leadership and organizational skills were evident throughout this period clearing the way to success.
Carolyn was undaunted by a pandemic that paralyzed the face-to-face
communication of a nation and had an immediate impact on the functions of
the branch. Thanks to Carolyn’s timely efforts, WHC stayed connected. She
singlehandedly researched how to access a Zoom account for our branch,
and working with the state organization, how to pay for it.
Setting up the Zoom account was one thing but implementing it and training
close to 200 members how to use it was another. Every member was
contacted and offered training. It worked! Because of Carolyn’s persistence
and diligence, activity groups could continue their meetings over Zoom that
were set up by Carolyn throughout the pandemic. Many branch groups
continue to use Zoom to this day and Carolyn is still helping to make it
happen. It was a monumental undertaking, but Carolyn worked night and
day to ensure WHC members stayed connected over the last two years.
During Carolyn’s tenure as branch president, she worked with WHC’s
AAUW Funds VP to raise additional funds for 5 Star Recognition, helped to
make masks for members, joined a phone campaign to check up on the
health and wellbeing of members who were homebound, and assisted in
keeping the newsletter up to date. All this while carrying on the standard
duties of her Board positions. Carolyn was always available to ensure
AAUW’s mission was advanced during these unprecedented times.
Carolyn’s contributions go back to 2006. She is a member who from the
very beginning was proactive and present, volunteering to help in any
capacity needed. If she saw a hole, she filled it and left whatever project
she worked on in better shape than when she got it! Before long Carolyn
was chairing WHC’s Expanding Your Horizons in Mathematics and Science
Conference in 2009-2010. This involved monthly board meetings
overseeing the recruitment of presenters, training facilitators, site selection,
fundraising, awards, and a plethora of other functions. Carolyn continued as
co-chair the following year and assumed many other valuable EYH
positions through 2019-2020.
In the months before COVID caused immediate cessation of face-to-face
contact, Carolyn called Dr. Michele Taylor at Texas Southern University
regarding her previously implemented AAUW’s Start Smart/Work Smart
program to her soon to be graduating students. This program trains
graduating students to use specific techniques to effectively negotiate
salaries with future employers and gives women, already in the work force,
the skills to negotiate salary increases and promotions to better positions.
After the initial class was held at the university under the auspices of Dr.
Taylor, she and Carolyn collaborated on setting up an evening class
followed by a snacks and a social hour with the students. Several of our
members attended and participated in role-playing activities with the
students as suggested by the curriculum. Attendees all learned a lot and
enjoyed chatting with each during the delightful social hour that followed.
Even better, Dr. Taylor was so impressed with Carolyn and the branch that
she has become a WHC member.
WHC’s Baker/Telfer Scholarship Fund is another place where Carolyn’s
mark has been felt in the last two years, both as Chair and presently as
Treasurer. This committee raises funds for three $2,000 scholarships for
girls in three Houston area high schools pursuing a Science, Technology,
Engineering, and Math (STEM) undergraduate degree. Presently, the
committee is collecting and reading the applications from this year’s
applicants and will soon be selecting the winners. The scholarships will be
awarded at WHC’s spring luncheon in June.
This recommendation for Carolyn Morris started with Zoom and continues
with Zoom! Even though she passed the torch as President last year, she
is still coming up with ways to make WHC better. In 2021 Carolyn created
and activated a new outreach book club called Eclectic Zoom that is
accessible to local members and members who have moved out of town.
Just like Carolyn to come up with a new way to stay in touch with members
both here and afar! Mama Mia may have The Dancing Queen, but we have
the ultimate and forever popular, Carolyn Morris, West Harris County’s
Zoom Queen. Long may she reign!!