In 2007, Dawn gave birth to her first child. Dawn’s husband, Norman was diagnosed with cancer one month later and died when William was just 3 month’s old. Understanding the needs of widows and the limited support services available, Dawn started work on creating The W Connection in 2009.
In 2015, Dawn left an Executive Position in a financial firm to volunteer full time on building The W Connection. Dawn’s strong visionary, execution and technical skills are crucial to creating key elements of The W Connection’s success and strategy, including the organization’s Programs, Services and W Connection Online Interactive Portal to Get Widows, Connected, Encouraged, Educated and Empowered.
Today, Dawn is the Executive Director of The W Connection, a Certified Professional Life Coach, Mindfulness Teacher and Public Speaker advocating for widows with other organizations and non-profits that support grief. She knows that she can help change the way we deal with bereavement in this country. In her new work, Dawn has helped thousands of people create their vision and transform their lives. Dawn is also a Professor, teaching courses in Organizational Development and Technology,
On her free time, Dawn enjoys the beauty of nature. She is an avid hiker and skier. And, when not in the mountains, she enjoys running along the Central Park Reservoir and spending time with her 9 year old son and 2 rescue dogs.
In 2008, Barbara lost her husband and father of their two young boys, after a short battle with cancer. Barbara found support after her loss in bereavement groups, but felt that they did not provide the ongoing peer support needed to rebuild one’s life after the death of a spouse. After seeing an article in the New York Times, Barbara knew she wanted to become a part The W Connection.
In 2013, Barbara joined The W Connection as a volunteer to provide peer support to other widows and then moving on to co-lead the Upper West Side Chapter. In 2015, Barbara left her career as a Counselor working with students at a small private college, to volunteer full time as the Program Development Manager.
Barbara believes there is no time line for grief and that people do not “Get Over It”. She often describes her journey as building a new mosaic; picking up the shattered pieces of her life to rebuild her life for her and her family. Today, she is continuing to provide direction to The W Connection by using her background in psychology to help build programs and services and by providing guidance and training for our chapter leaders.
In her free time, Barbara is writing the story of her journey.
Sarie has worked in the field of documentary film for two decades. She began her career in film at the Independent Feature Project before working in production. She is the Director/Producer of the award-winning short The Special Music School of America and the Producer of the PBS short Orchestra 2001. She produced the feature-length documentary Three of Hearts: A Postmodern Family that had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival and aired on Bravo and the Sundance Channel. Sarie is also the Producer of Fallout, Supply & Demand, Engine of Change and is a Co-Producer on the feature documentary Welcome to Shelbyville which had its festival premier in the fall of 2010 and screened on PBS’ Independent Lens in 2011. Currently, Sarie’s full-time position is the program manager for The Flaherty, a New York based media arts non-profit organization that runs the annual Robert Flaherty Film Seminar held at Colgate University. She also oversees Flaherty NYC a seasonal screening series at Anthology Film Archives in New York City.
Sarie was suddenly widowed at the age of 42, she felt lost without the support of women who had been through such a loss. She feels so lucky to have found the W Connection. She said;
“The W Connection was a life saver in a time when there was only darkness. The love and continued support is like no other and I don’t know where I would be without the women to help with the process of rebuilding my life. When I feel down they are there to lift me up.”
Sarie, currently works as The W Connection’s part-time admin after her work at The Flaherty has completed for the day. Sarie is there to lift up our growing membership by providing much needed administrative support for our members and volunteer team.