Body Language Says It All

You may not realize it, but the majority of what you say isn’t coming out of your mouth. It’s being said with your body.

Kristin Bock, a certified body language trainer and coach, presented a “Self esteem/Self imaging” program to a group of 6th grade students at Perry Tipler Middle School on Tuesday, March 8.  Each sixth grader participated with an eighth grade mentor.  She spoke about the many ways that students can portray a stronger, more confident version of themselves.

Bock started by asking the students to form a line at the front of the room next to a microphone. Each student was required to read a question on a card they were given out loud. Some of them had questions such as “what is your favorite ice cream flavor?” or “if you could be anyone else for a day, who would you be?” They recited their answer to the group and quickly found their seat again. When everyone had gone, Bock explained that it wasn’t the question or the answer that was important. It was the manner in which they spoke (loud or quiet, fast or slow), the way they were standing (slouched, hands in their pockets) or how they looked at the audience (if at all) that mattered most.

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Students present their question and answers to the class.

After a lively presentation on how to strike an “own your ground” pose, give a confident handshake, and look people in the eye when talking, the students were asked to recite their question and answer once again to the group.

As you could probably guess, some students still refused to look up at the crowd, speak into the microphone or take their hands out of their pockets. But, the majority of the students (mostly the boys) made significant improvements! They spoke up, stood straight and fidgeted a lot

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The sixth grader (left) and her eighth grade mentor (right) practice eye contact.

less. The girls on the other hand were still shy, quiet and some even refused to answer their questions, giving answers such as “I don’t know” or “I don’t have a favorite sports team.”

We know that a girl’s self-esteem plummets during puberty. You see boys gaining confidence, while girls tend to shrink into the shadows. Bock’s interest in engaging these students connects with the Women’s Fund’s desire to inspire young women to be more confident, assertive and lively!

If you’d like to connect with Kristin Bock for a presentation to your organization, group or classroom, visit her website at

Prepping for the Tank

As we inch closer to the Student Think Tank competition on April 27 (see last blog post) the students participating have begun to flesh out their ideas and start their business plans with help from college mentors. Colleen Merrill, executive director of Alta Resources Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and director of the Small Business Development Center at UW Oshkosh, has helped students go from having a simple idea to actually selling products in local stores. We asked her to share with us more about this process and what to expect on April 27.

WF: What are you most excited about with this round of students leading up to April 27? We have spent some time in each of the three high schools (West, North, and Lourdes) and have seen the students come alive with ideas! Having them not only understand the process of validating a business idea, but more importantly, believe they can, excites me the most. We are at a 24 year low of young entrepreneurs owning a small business. By providing resources, mentors, access to seed funding, and a community that fosters the entrepreneurial ecosystem – we can change our region and have a major impact on our economy. That is the reason we created the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Alta Resources Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. In only three short years we have launched over 25 businesses, expanded to high school, and will be teaching a seed accelerator in Fond du Lac for the Fox Valley region.


WF: How do you prepare the kids for such a professional presentation that they’ve maybe never done before? We gave them all the tools they need to present the key content items the judges will be looking for as well as resources on the internet to watch successful 90 second presentations. During our kick off meetings at each high school, we brought in two college teams that presented their 90 second pitch and answered any questions the students had. At this point, a faculty champion at each school will be working with the students to prepare for their contest.

WF: How does this program affect our community as a whole as far as expanding the minds of our high school students? From my experience running the UWO program, this process completely empowers and transforms individuals. Our goal is to use the 90 second pitch contest as a stepping stone, an entry point, which allows students to gain confidence. The 10 week accelerator program is where their lives change. They learn interview skills, personality types so they are able to communicate clearly with different types of people, refined presentation skills, critical thinking and the ability to feel comfortable making mistakes—all while learning how to validate their idea. By engaging students in high school, they are ready to explore at a deeper level once they graduate. Our mission is to engage these students, help them develop a sound business strategy, and provide the resources so they build and grow their business in North East Wisconsin. This ecosystem is critical to the growth of the region and will certainly take a village to raise.

Student Think Tank will take place on April 27, is free and open to the public. We anticipate a large turnout, so we’re encouraging everyone to reserve their seats by calling 920-426-3993 or going online to

*Watch the Women’s Fund website, Women.OshkoshAreaCF.Org, for more information on the presentations that will take place on May 19 with Lori Greiner.

Send your student to Lori Greiner!

It’s that time of year when we make New Year’s resolutions.  Here’s one for you: act on something you’ve been thinking about or wanting to do.  It may be an idea or an innovative concept that you’ve been tossing around. Think of Lori Greiner, our speaker for this year’s Power of the Purse Luncheon.  She realized a need, formulated an idea which evolved into her famous jewelry armoire that ultimately transformed her into the multi-million dollar mogul she is today!

If you know of a high school student with an idea for a product or business, send them our way! The Women’s Fund will be sponsoring a student competition for budding entrepreneurs, critical thinkers and out-of-the-box dreamers on May 19 (the day of the luncheon). This fun event will be judged by Shark Tank’s Lori Greiner, the “queen of QVC.” Lori will listen to the students as they pitch their ideas, rank them, and then the top students will receive the largest scholarship amount. (which means no one walks away empty handed!)

To be considered as a finalist in the student competition, we will need to meet the students ahead of time and they’ll be expected to present their ideas to our panel of judges. If you know a student or group of students that would be interested, please call us at 920-426-3993.

As Lori would say, “this one’s a hero!” So for that reason…


We’ve Got Ourselves a Shark!

Lori_official picOur 2016 Power of the Purse Luncheon speaker is Lori Greiner of Shark Tank! If you’re wondering why we chose her- it was easy-she’s a strong woman who knows how to persevere and that makes her a perfect fit for us!
As one of the female “sharks” on the ABC show, this “Queen of QVC” is a tenacious businesswomen and highly successful entrepreneur. She started out with an idea for an earring holder in 1997 and 400 inventions & 120 patents later, she’s still at it.

I’ll share one story with you but I have to save the rest for the luncheon. The first time Lori met with a patent attorney, her husband came along and sat off to the side for support. Within minutes she realized that the attorney was only talking to her husband and wasn’t directing any of the conversation to her! She interrupted him and asked to speak with a female partner in the firm. That lawyer, Natalie Kadievitch, is still her attorney today. This sort of thing has happened to most of us at some point in our lives. My experience was when I was a young mother shopping for a new car. The salesman directed the entire conversation to my husband, showing him how he could fit his hunting equipment in the trunk. I stopped him and said, “It’s going to be MY car. So you need to talk to me; I need to know how groceries and kids’ stuff will fit in the trunk!” He obviously lost the sale.

If you haven’t signed up for the luncheon, do it before we sell out. Bring a friend, a relative or a neighbor- it’s going to be a great event!

Have a wonderful holiday!



Cherri Vierthaler
Vice-President of the Oshkosh Women’s Fund



Your success will have everything to do with how you perceive yourself, because how you perceive yourself is how others will perceive you, too.“-Lori Greiner


Why I Want To Be A Police Officer — As told by a fifth grader

Oftentimes we share stories from the Women’s fund that have a huge impact on our community. But we also have many stories that start very small, and turn into a success years and years down the road. This is what we envision for Jaiden.

Jaiden is a fifth grader at Merrill Elementary. In September she was given the opportunity to participate in a Police Exploration Day thanks to a special Women’s Fund donor. Jaiden got to explore what it was like to be a police officer and the different avenues of law enforcement. Here’s what she had to say about it, and if you can’t quite read the letter, you can read the paragraph below.

Police Exploration Day

“I think that becoming an officer or being in law enforcement is important because you get to help other people by helping them find someone that is lost. I can find the person who has robbed someone or a place. I can make my community a better place by making sure no one gets hurt or to make sure no one hurts themselves. I think that being in law enforcement is important because you can do so many things like be a detective, deputy, sheriff, and state patrol. If you become an officer or in law enforcement you learn to protect and serve. Protecting and serving are very important.

When you’re in law enforcement you get to investigate on many different scenes. I would like to be a cop when I get older because I love to  help people. I also love mysteries so I could be a great investigator. I think that being a cop is great because you can do so many things. I want to be a police officer because I want to help and protect people. I like to protect people because some people need help and I can help them.”

Go Jaiden!!!

My Experience Interning for The Women’s Fund — By Alicia Gehrig

I am currently entering my fifth year at UW-Oshkosh majoring in Human Services Leadership and Minoring in Social Justice and Psychology. Within the Human Services field, we have a requirement to complete a total of two internships: one 120 hour internship and one 280 hour internship. I decided to fulfill my 120 hour internship with the Women’s Fund of the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation and I couldn’t have picked a better organization.

When reading through the descriptions of different organizations that I could choose from, the Women’s fund really stood out to me. I had little knowledge of what the Women’s fund did but I had high hopes that I would have a great experience working with the Girls Granting Initiative. My first day at the Women’s Fund I was welcomed with open arms. Everyone was so kind and I got the vibe that my time with this group would be a beneficial and inspiring one.

Mean Muggin'

A lot of my time was used in preparation for the two days toward the end of the spring semester when the Girls Granting Initiative would take place. Being able to bring together 15 high school girls from the community to educate and learn about a genuine philanthropic experience was a great opportunity. I watched and learned as the girls chose to focus their granting dollars (an amount supported by Women’s Fund donors and the JJ Keller Foundation) on middle school girls and the difficulties that come with transitioning from middle school to high school. After having five different organizations pitch their program ideas to the girls, the Girls Granting Initiative chose a program called 4-Real by Catalpa Health–a program that will begin in Fall 2015 and focus solely on pairing middle school girls with mentors to help them through various aspects of middle school life.

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The relationships, leadership skills, and communication skills that I have developed throughout this experience will stay with me forever. Thank you, Women’s Fund, for allowing me this wonderful time as an intern.

RACKs to Riches

The concept of “pay it forward” can be traced back to ancient plays in Athens, writings and poems by Ralph Waldo Emerson and the teachings of Benjamin Franklin and Woody Hayes. This philanthropic ideology can also be experienced during the Women’s Fund biennial Power of the Purse Luncheon.

Mystery Money is a Women’s Fund tradition that began at the 2012 Power of the Purse Luncheon. Each of our guests receives an envelope filled with money. Regardless of the amount, everyone is encouraged to use their “mini grant” to create change in their community.

Provident Financial Consultants, a Supporting Sponsor of the 2014 Luncheon, used their Mystery Money for a campaign promoted through RACK (Random Act of Christmas Kindness) Cards. Each card described the purpose of the RACK and how to participate in the campaign.

RACK card

The RACK Cards eventually made their way into the hands of Zack Pawlosky, President of Candeo Creative, who took his staff to Caramel Crisp for an afternoon of buying people’s coffee. Each time they bought a coffee, they would hand off a RACK Card and ask the customer to email them with their own stories of paying it forward.

“It was amazing,” said Pawlosky. “We bought coffee for 30 people, we received over 100 emails back and the chain grew! People did everything from opening a door for someone, to bringing the homeless a meal on Christmas. It was tear jerking.”

After reporting his great news to Abbey Burlingham, Director of Communications at Provident Financial Consultants, she was overwhelmed with the positivity and holiday cheer that came from the RACK Cards.

“It’s great knowing that [the RACK Cards] had an impact, no matter how big or small, on people in the community.” said Burlingham. “We would love to do the project again this year!”

The Women’s Fund mission includes teaching the value and impact of philanthropy to all who attend our events and to the community at large. Attend the 2016 Power of the Purse Luncheon in spring for your chance to pay it forward. Also, if you are interested in participating in the RACK project this holiday season, please email for more information.