Guess Who’s New to Who’s New

I had a surreal experience recently when asked to speak to a group I never knew existed. The woman making the request explained that the social group, Who’s New in Madison, had been around since 1935 and had a membership of about 500 women, doubly confounding me. How could a group that large not be on my radar? And a women’s group to boot!

“It was organized to help new residents of Madison become acquainted with their new community,” she explained. “We hope to become the glue that helps keep them attached, as the women who welcome them and help them get oriented.”

Huh? Where were they when I moved to Madison and stumbled about finding my way around lakes and traveling down streets whose names changed on a whim? When asked how they market the group, she admitted it was largely through word of mouth and said some referrals came to the group from in-the-know Realtors.

I’ve since done my presentation for the group, a large contingent of whom I met for the first time in April at the Marquis Ballroom in Fitchburg. (I’d never heard of that meeting area, either, so I guess I could have really used that group after moving to Madison in 1996!)

For those of you who are equally ignorant, Who’s New has several activities for its membership, including hiking, biking, card games, book clubs, social clubs, and couple’s activities for members with a spouse or guest. Also, it sponsors a charitable cause each year. Annual dues are $20, and while the club is intended for women who have only moved to the area in the past two years, it wisely has an “open amnesty” offer every January, May, and September to lure the rest of us in.



You can sample Who’s New by attending two functions without obligation – there was a guest as well as a new member at the April luncheon meeting, so I know the group isn’t just resting on its current membership numbers.

Given the luncheon meeting format with speaker, I asked my table partners what the difference was (for businesswomen) between Who’s New and TEMPO, the women’s business group that admits, by invitation, top female business professionals. A woman at my table asked, “What’s TEMPO?” and it was apparent there were no TEMPO members in that immediate circle. So I might not be the only one out of a loop or two!

Anyway, I think it’s a marvelous group for new arrivals, and for us more established folk who like meeting new faces. So put it on your “consider this for 2013” list. We’re in an amnesty period, so the time is now!

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