Yvonne Gitchel--From Newbie to Trophy-Winner!
Since joining EWGA in 2005, Yvonne Gitchel has held a number of volunteer roles. This year, she becomes the
15th president in EWGA Seattle's 20-year history.
Back in the early 2000's, Yvonne had never golfed and when she watched it on TV, it looked "kinda boring" to her. But then an EWGA member and then co-worker, Mary Marshall, gave her a one-year membership as a Thank You gift. Not one to let a gift go to waste, she bought golf gear, signed up for lessons, and got hooked!
As a totally new golfer, she signed up for EWGA's Heron Links Par 3 league.
"I remember driving to league the very first night and being so scared that I just wanted to turn the car around and skip it," she recalls. "I was so relieved to find out that every new golfer that came that first night felt exactly the same way!" Supported by the great attitude of league coordinator Cherie Litson, she learned a lot and, after several sessions at Heron, began playing the "big girl's course" at the Nile.
Playing at the Nile led to her first volunteer role with EWGA, league co-coordinator. "It gave me the opportunity to help out and give back to our chapter, as well as get to know more fantastic women golfers!"
Before she knew it, she had built a handicap, and others were encouraging her to compete in the EWGA Chapter Championship. However, she didn't think she was competitive, or knew the rules well enough, so she signed up to volunteer at the event. That experience gave her a better understanding of the event. She also saw the fun that her fellow members were having.
So, last July, she took the leap and entered the tournament, competing in the Fourth Flight. (In the championship, players are paired with others having similar handicaps, so all skill
levels are welcome). Not only did she qualify for the semi-finals in Utah, but she made it to the EWGA Championship Finals in Florida and finished seventh out of ALL Fourth Flight players in EWGA!
"Playing in the semi-finals in Utah was a huge highlight of my year. The camaraderie among the Seattle players was a wonderful thing to be a part of," she says. "And I won my first trophy in a competition!"
Yvonne is a great example of an EWGA member who has experienced the full range of what EWGA offers--golf (of course!), networking, friendship, and volunteerism. She hopes others take advantage of all the opportunities her membership has provided to her.
"Golf has opened many doors for me personally and professionally, and I'd like to see more women have the same experience. It's through volunteerism and participation that members feel more connected to the organization and to each other," she points out. "It's my hope that each member finds a volunteer
opportunity that not only 'fits' with them, but also challenges them to go beyond what they think is within their ability."
Despite all her EWGA activity, Yvonne finds time to work at a paying job. She has her own business, Executive Support Advantage, which provides an array of administrative and event support services to board-governed professional peer groups and associations.
And when she's not golfing with her EWGA pals, Yvonne enjoys
spending time with her husband and two adult daughters as well as dabbling in her addictive scrapbooking hobby.