Board & Staff

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Cathy Freeman – President

Cathy Freeman - PresidentBack around 2010, Gigi asked me if I was interested in joining the Board of the Ann Arbor Women’s Group. It was a great compliment to be asked, but I told her I wasn’t interested in joining a group that didn’t get things done. (We now laugh about this often.) So I went to a Board meeting and found a group of committed and skillful women, having fun while they worked together to connect women in recovery.  My desire to get things done quickly turned into my election as the President of the Board, a role I have held for more years than I remember.

I had two significant working lives – as an IT professional and as a minister – but I like retirement much better. The ministry was a direct result of recovery; after about five years of sobriety with the Twelve Steps, God asked me to take on a new role. I “listened” (kicking and screaming all the way) and was blessed to have this second career.

It is my honor and my joy to be in a role that allows me to connect with so many wonderful women in recovery.

Nancy Rhodes – Vice President

Nancy Rhodes – Vice PresidentI was a 49-year-old operating room nurse with a drinking problem. I knew I was an alcoholic, but I did not want to stop drinking. My ritual of picking up a bottle of wine to go with dinner had progressed to a liter and a half every night, plus any hard liquor that I could find in the house.

Black outs in the evening were causing fights with my family and my life was becoming unmanageable. At the suggestion of my husband, I went for a substance abuse evaluation at a nearby treatment center. I was “diagnosed” as an alcoholic and needed to go to treatment.

“Wow,” I thought, “I’m in big trouble now.” Alcohol was my best friend. How could I live without it? I was scared that my Nursing job and license were on the line.

Well that was 20 years ago and it was the best thing to ever happen to me. God brought me to the Twelve Steps, and they brought me back to God. What a miracle this journey has been: Working with a sponsor, incorporating the steps into my life, and sponsoring other women have kept me on track.

And now, A2WG is a part of my recovery! I joined the board a few years ago, as I was looking to do some service work to augment my recovery program.  At the first board meeting, I was blown away at how respectful everyone was to each other and how so many ideas were considered for each topic on the agenda! These women were seriously looking out for the good of women and were dedicated to best serving them.

We meet each month to discuss affordable, sobriety enhancing, fun activities for women in recovery.  After each event, we review the evaluation from each participant to see what needs to be changed for the next event and also how helpful this event was for their recovery. It is a thorough process!

I am so grateful to be on the board of this amazing organization and treasure the yearly weekend retreat on Lake Huron. We are not alone on this journey of sobriety. When women support each other, incredible things happen!

Di Kimball – Secretary

Di Kimball For most of my 30 years of sobriety I lived in California, so when I moved to Ann Arbor six years ago, I didn’t have any sober friends. I found meetings at the local Alano Club and was welcomed by Amy, Cathy and Janice along with other sober women. Amy told me about a weekend retreat at Lake Huron sponsored by A2WG, so I signed up and I’m glad I did!

I had a terrific time and was impressed by the A2WG Board Members that worked so hard to make the weekend a success. Besides the annual retreat, they sponsor a variety of recovery speakers on interesting topics, horseback riding, going to movies, a night of painting, canoeing, and more. A2WG even provides child-care and sponsorships. (I wish I’d had that kind of support earlier in sobriety when I had young children!)

The Board members are clearly dedicated to putting fun and support into so many recovering women’s lives. (“We are not a glum lot!”) I was flattered when Amy asked me to consider joining the Board, and I continue to be impressed by the dedicated friends of A2WG who make such a difference in the lives of so many sober women.

Amy Gibson Thomas, MBA, PhD – Treasurer

Amy ThomasI love the Ann Arbor Women’s Group! I wish it had been around when I was getting sober. I have served as Treasurer since 2011, and it’s an enormous privilege to work with these smart, creative, loving, sober women.

By the grace of God, I have not had a drink since 2005. (My first sponsor would never have predicted this!) I have more education than I need, but I learned I could not study my way to sobriety. Thanks to Twelve-Step recovery and the company of sober women, I get to be serene, happy, and contented much of the time. I also know I can learn something from a woman who has been sober for even one day.

Gigi Langer – Member of the Board

Georgea (Gigi) M. Langer, SecretaryI joined the board of A2WG in 2007 and helped our founder launch it. One of my greatest joys is helping recovering women connect for fun and growth. I love my fellow board members and always enjoy the harmony of our relationships as we plan our monthly events.

As a person in recovery, I haven’t had a drug or drink for 35 years (although I do occasionally overindulge in Ghirardelli chocolate and historical novels!). After drinking my way through my doctoral studies at Stanford and facing my third divorce, I sought help from a psychologist and the Twelve Steps. Thank God, it worked!

After 30 years working as an educator, I’m now retired in Florida with my husband, Peter, and our cat, Murphy.

Brady Goode – Member of the Board

Brady GoodeWhen I first got sober in November of 2010 I was lost. After not drinking for a while, I was missing connecting with friends, especially women. People at meetings always told me to hang out with women, but I just didn’t know how to do that! My sponsor encouraged me to go to a meditation event offered by A2WG, and I had a great time.  I even made a new friend that day!!

As the years passed, I found their events truly enhanced my recovery and helped me branch out to meet new sober women in the area. After having twins four years ago, I quickly took advantage of A2WG’s free childcare at Twelve Step meetings! Having an hour to sit in a meeting, while knowing my children are being looked after by CPR-certified and background-checked childcare workers is a wonderful thing. And my kids love it!

When I was asked to join the Board about two years ago, I excitedly said yes. I love being able to offer new resources and fun events for the sober women in our community. The best part is being able to foster new friendships for women in sobriety.  Being on the Board has definitely done that for me. I have become friends with all of the wonderful, caring women on the board and it has enhanced my recovery, my life, and the happiness of my children.

In addition to focusing on my recovery, I am the mother of amazing four-year-old twins, Maggie and Ethan. They continually amaze and inspire me on a daily basis. There is never a dull moment in our house!!  I also work full-time at a local restaurant/retail establishment.

Eileen Grady – Member of the Board

Eileen GradyI got involved with A2WG through their annual retreat. The women on the retreat planning committee were wonderful and we had so much fun “working” on the retreat. I was hooked! I joined the board in 2009 and the fellowship and fun have continued.

Since baking is my superpower, bake sale fundraisers and organizing food for the retreat and other events were right up my alley. I’ve learned a lot about friendship since getting sober in 1996, and I remember how much I needed safe activities and friends who “got it,” especially in early sobriety.

In my working life, I was a professional caregiver. Working with A2WG has given me the opportunity to join other caring women to provide the fun and educational activities that support the recovery community in a meaningful way. I’m proud to be a part of this inspiring organization.

Recovery has given me so much. I’m grateful to be able to give back to the community that has believed in me over the years.

Janice Weber – Member of the Board

Janice WeberBack in 2000, I was a miserable unhappy person that did not want to admit I was an alcoholic. Today I am leading a life that I could never have imagined. Giving up alcohol was only the beginning of my recovery. Learning that I did not have to “do it myself” and being able to change were key lessons for me. The Ann Arbor Women’s Group has helped me along this path of change which is an ongoing process.

The need to develop and sustain a healthy sober lifestyle applies to me just as much as to the many other women A2WG has touched. To be a part of this wonderful organization is a gift.

Who would have thought a woman aged 74 could still land a great job? Or find herself in a new meaningful relationship? All this is one year! Now I am a few years older and look forward to retirement which will mean more time for visits with family, friends, and the ski slopes!

Andrea Forbing – Member of the Board

Andrea ForbingI’ve been sober since July 2012; it hasn’t been an easy journey.  Twice I relapsed at the 2-year sobriety mark. My sponsor helped me figure out the fatal flaw causing my relapse. We beefed up my “recovery tool kit” over time and I continued to access it to resist the temptation to drink and relapse again.

Our annual retreat on Lake Huron was crucial to my sobriety; the women of AAWG welcomed me back with open arms just a month after my 2nd relapse.  There was no judgement, just love and acceptance. I joined the Board in the Fall of 2018 as a way to give back to the organization that was instrumental in my sobriety.

I’m a mobile phlebotomist for the Red Cross and have 2 wonderful children who tell me that they’re so proud of the changes they see in me. Recovery keeps me grounded and I’m able to set a good example for them.

Attending my home group, “Celebrate Recovery”, grounds me as well and gives me a way to fellowship with people seeking to connect with their Higher Power.

Recently, I’ve had to deal with breast cancer and the support from fellow Board members has been integral in helping me cope. I’m getting through this one day at-a-time and I like to encourage other women going through challenges to keep fighting and lean on their Higher Power.

I am blessed!

Liz Audette – Staff

Liz AudetteI moved to Ann Arbor from Massachusetts in May of 2010, but I didn’t know anyone. When I attended A2WG’s Women’s Recovery Retreat in August of 2010, I thought to myself, “What a great concept. I’d love to be a part of this organization!”

I’ve been with A2WG since October of 2010 when I attended my first board of directors meeting. During my three years on the board, I helped develop the free childcare program (offered during Twelve-Step meetings) which is still going today.

I had to step off the board to accept a paid position as the A2WG Communications, Marketing and Development Coordinator. I went back to school at EMU and got a Bachelors of Science in communication, with a minor in marketing. My job is to get the word out to as many women in recovery as possible about A2WG events through our multiple platforms.

I’ve never enjoyed a job more than I have this one, and I’ve never met a better group of women than the women involved with A2WG.

Marrianne Wendt – Staff

Marianne Wendt My first 9 years of sobriety I was involved with a women’s group in Milford, MI. I was very lonely and withdrawn when I first got sober and attending AA social events helped me feel at home. I helped plan fellowship events and became involved as a General Service Representative, then an Alternate District Committee Manager, and planned events for our district. These positions helped my growth in the program, helped me meet others with similar goals, and get me out of my comfort zone.

In my professional and personal life, I got married during sobriety and had a daughter who is now 6 years old. I love the fact that A2WG has childcare options for women in recovery. I am a Girl Scout co-leader for my daughter’s Daisy Troop, and a Lunchroom Monitor at my daughter’s school.

I moved to Dexter almost 3 years ago with my husband, daughter Aubrey, and our pets. I have participated in a few of the A2WG events and have enjoyed them. I noticed the job posting for an event coordinator and applied. A passion of mine is helping others in recovery and planning events, so I was thrilled to be offered the position! I am looking forward to helping coordinate events for women in recovery and continue to grow and see others grow.

Elyssa, Child Care Coordinator

Elyssa, Child Care Coordinator Hello! I’m Elyssa. In spring 2020 I graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in sociology, which I enjoy very much.  In my free time, I really like practicing Spanish and exercising as well. I started helping with the A2WG childcare back in 2015 as a substitute, and have now been the childcare coordinator for about three years. It is always so fun getting to know all the kids and their families over time, and knowing that we’re providing a helpful service makes it that much better!

Emma, Child Care Assistant

Emma, Child Care AssistantMy name is Emma, and I have been working in the childcare program here for about 3 years now. I am currently a junior at the University of Michigan studying environmental science and creative writing. Outside of school, I like to spend my time hiking and biking as much as I can. I thoroughly enjoy my time in childcare and love seeing the kids and parents every week!

Haily, Childcare Sub

HailyMy name is Haily and I graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a bachelor’s in biology. I plan to go back to school to become a radiology technician. I currently work full time in healthcare and I have been a substitute child care giver with A2WG for the past couple years now.

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Ann Arbor Women’s Group: About Us

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Upcoming Events

  1. Parenting in Recovery

    June 25 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm EDT

Free Child Care

The Ann Arbor Women’s Group’s free child care program fulfills a crucial need for parents in recovery. Since December 2010 A2WG has provided safe, free child care while parents attend their 12 step meetings.

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