My Last Presidential Post – A Heartfelt Thank You

Image 08-05-2022 at 11.38

This is a difficult President’s message to write. It is no surprise that this should be the case. Farewells are usually hard. And, for sure, it has been a challenge to lead a social organisation during social distancing working hard to see it reemerge. But what has always been easy is finding the motivation to serve. That was evident in every member, every activity leader, and every Board member who set examples that moved and guided me. Having great colleagues is a bad habit. It can be impossible to work again comfortably with others once the standard has been set high. So, I exit the Presidency of KCWC next month genuinely honoured to have had the privilege to get to know well our volunteers. Above all, I have been continually humbled and amazed by the strength, diversity, and talents of our membership of international women. They have always made this job rewarding even when, if I am honest, there were discouraging days.

Leadership roles, as I said last month, have specific challenges. And, despite my having spent my entire educational training and professional career around women, oestrogen can be a hard task master! Women are notorious for their impetuous natures, unfairly labelled “hysteria”. For sure, some too are not shrinking violets, but capable of the occasional hurtful barb and biting commentary. I can say from experience, this is generally a bad rap. Yes, women are often driven by passions, but when we channel them to work productively together, we are unbeatable in our ability to get things done. Yes, we may be occasionally curt with one another, but this is generally born from our high standards leading us to push ourselves and each other to premium performances. I do not mean to sugar coat and suggest that women are always paragons who foster bliss! But I can honestly say I never once wrote a post, contributed a message to the newsletter, authored an eNews introduction, answered member emails, or welcomed members and guests from the podium without gratitude and humility for the privilege to do so.

Thank you all for having the faith in me to lead a club which we all hold dear. I invite you to offer the support you generously gave me to our new President, current Vice President Farzana Seddon. June 15th she will rise to the role and along with her talented Board see out 2022 and welcome our 40th anniversary year in 2023. They will have different challenges than I to meet. Fortunately, KCWC never loses its propensity to lead all other women’s organisations in London, and its surroundings, by our tenacity, penchant for excellence, and a sense of humour about ourselves. That is where the real pitfalls lie for women – taking themselves too seriously. I hope I cede KCWC to a new generation who will resist the temptation to be self-important, always remembering their role is not for self-promotion. It is instead about KCWC members with club By-Laws as the compass guiding them in that service.

All that remains, then, is for me to quote another childhood friend – Peter Pan.

Never say goodbye because goodbye means going away and going away means forgetting.” – J.M. Barrie

I am happy now to exit stage right after two fulfilling years I never wish to forget. I remain in London excited to at last have the time to enjoy the many activities our ALs create, and our Board oversees. Above all, I never, ever want to forget a day of being President of KCWC (both times in fact). It was a post I relished not least because of my admiration for all of you who put me there.

Thank you so very much. Here’s to the future!

Mary Narvell


  1. Bonnie Sher on May 12, 2022 at 9:26 pm

    Mary, KCWC has been honored by your presence at the helm — two separate terms to be precise. It is not easy “herding cats” and the pandemic did not help. When we see you at the podium we assume it was all done effortlessly. For all of us who have led clubs or organizations, we know how difficult it can be. Thank you so very much for having been our leader, our mascot, our representative in London, and our friend. We wish you the very best in your well deserved retirement. We are grateful to all you have given to the Club and to its members. Bonnie Sher

  2. Karen Gustovich on May 27, 2022 at 12:03 am

    Dear Mary,

    It was a pleasure to serve this club with you. I will never forget any of it. Thank you so very much! Wishing you much happiness and adventure as you start another chapter in life. Always, Karen

  3. Lisa Woodcock on May 30, 2022 at 8:09 pm

    Mary , I have so enjoyed getting to know you over the last couple of years . Thank you for keeping our wonderful club going at a time when many would have run a mile . You humour & eloquence holds no bounds ! Looking forward to joining you on the many activities the club has planned now & into the future . Have a wonderful summer with hopefully no emails to reply to !

  4. Theresa Klassen on June 14, 2022 at 7:20 am

    Well done Mary, thanks for all your perseverance throughout a tough term. Enjoy your summer and free time. It was great to work with you!
    All the Best
    Theresa Klassen

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