A New Chapter

Things have been very quiet on The Eleanor Club front for several reasons but I am excited to share my intention of starting up another chapter due to a new chapter in my personal life.


I relocated back to the East coast the summer of 2018 and now live in Rhode Island!  It has been a delightful experience and after being here for a few months, I am now taking steps to create and expand a circle of friends who are interested in some of the things I am passionate about.  One of those things is bringing together women to change the world.

More to come!

— Dennise (12/6/2018)

Maya Angelou, art, and collaboration


I am pleased as punch to introduce you to the incredibly talented Robyn Williams! I have known her for almost a decade and even own one of her fabulous encaustic pieces of art.

Robyn has worked in the public assembly facility management field for more than thirty years in Texas, North Carolina and Oregon-where she is currently Executive Director for Portland’5 Centers for the Arts. Portland’5 consists of the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Keller Auditorium, the Newmark, Winningstad and Brunish Theatres.

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Women & Whiskey – December Social

The Women & Whiskey Social Hour is presented by The Eleanor Club.

For many of us, November is turning out to be a challenging month.  The holidays are looming, days are getting shorter and the rain, no matter how we love it, is gracing us with its silvery presence.  Give yourself a post-turkey, pre-present treat and come socialize with a group of pretty grand women.  No pressure, just frank conversation about how we can use our influence in service to the people and issues we care about.

Our next gathering is taking place on December 5 from 6 – 8 p.m., in Martha’s (Revolution Hall – located on the ground floor). Thanks to Revolution Hall for serving as our host for this fun event. This is a no host, 21+ event, you can RSVP via Eventbrite.

We hope to see you there and please share out this event to all the women in your community!

Marie and Dennise


Yoga, listening, and her mom

This is the second installment spotlighting another one of the incredible women in our community.  I’m pleased to share with you our second feature on an amazing woman who is a leading arts & culture advocate in the Portland area:  Tonisha Toler!


Tonisha is the Regional Arts and Culture Council’s (RACC) Community Liaison focused on building relationships, especially with diverse and underserved populations and growing RACC’s equity practices in all of their operations. Her work involves informing the community of RACC’s services and resources; learning how RACC may evolve to be more relevant to community’s needs; overseeing RACC’s annual Professional Development Artist Workshop series and RACC’s quarterly creative community networking event, Art Spark.  Tonisha started with RACC in 2007 as the Grants and Outreach Coordinator assisting in the administration of all the RACC’s grant programs and coordinating various RACC outreach efforts. Prior to joining RACC she worked for the Washington State Arts Commission (WSAC), Olympia, WA.  Her career started with internships, nationally and internationally in exhibition prep for art galleries and museums.  Additional passions include community work, systems and system change and just about anything renegade!

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Women & Whiskey Social Hour – Fall 2016

The Women & Whiskey Social Hour is presented by The Eleanor Club.

We started the group as a place for women to connect and speak frankly about influence and inclusion, and its importance. Our intention is to create a network that motivates women – both individually and collectively – to challenge the status quo.

Our next gathering is taking place in Martha’s (Revolution Hall – located on the ground floor). Thanks to Revolution Hall for serving as our host for this fun event. This is a no host, 21+ event.

DATE:  Friday, October 21 2016
TIME:  6 pm to 8 pm

We hope to see you there and please share out this event to all the women in your community!

All the best,
Dennise + Marie


It’s September – Get Your Civics On!

The Eleanor Club presents “Get Your Civics On!”

It’s time for The Eleanor Club’s next gather and we’re talking civic engagement and other cool election stuff.  Join us for cocktails and conversation at The Secret Society, followed by Q & A with the League of Women Voters and Healthy Democracy about ballot measures and the Citizen’s Initiative Review process (more here).  As women interested in influence, what happens at all levels of our government is of great interest and importance, so come join the conversation!
6:00 – 6:15 Brief introductions
6:15 – 7:00 Eat, drink, be merry
7:00 – 7:45 Presentations and facilitated Q & A with our guests
7:45 – 8:00 Farewells or another round!

No host bar, 21+ over event

Pianos, smart people, and Governor Brown

Recently in one of my many conversations with co-founder Marie about The Eleanor Club, I suggested we feature some of the incredible women we know and have met along our individual paths over the years.  I’m pleased to share with you our very first feature on an amazing women I met through a mutual friend several years ago:  Shelli Romero!

Shelli Romero was raised by educator activist parents on the picket line advocating for farmworkers rights as a girl in rural, suburban and urban Oregon communities. She holds a BA in Speech: Rhetoric and Communication from the University of Oregon and achieved a Masters in Public Administration degree from Portland State University. Recently, she received her Oregon Project Management Certification from Willamette University’s Atkinson School of Graduate Studies. Continue reading

The Club Opens

(NOTE:  This is a repost from Marie’s blog, meoutloud.com)

My friend Dennise and I were talking a few months back about women and power.  We’re both mid-career professionals, were both unemployed, and having weekly conversations about our job search, and what it means to be older women looking for positions of responsibility and influence.  Those conversations birthed The Eleanor Club, a place where women can speak directly about their areas of influence, personal ambition, and what it means to be a woman with power.

Our first meeting was last week and it was extraordinary.  Dennise and I had NO idea there was such a craving for this conversation!  Woman after woman came up to each of us and said “I’ve been wanting to talk about this, ask questions, explore what it would mean to expand my influence and own the influence I have.”

We had no idea, but we should have.

The current power paradigm we live in – authoritarian, hierarchical, individualistic – is becoming more and more problematic.  While it is not clear whether women and men are biologically inclined to use power differently, my personal experience is that women are often more interested in power as a way to connect, not dominate. While this offers its own set of challenges, it also opens the door to an multitude of new directions we could grow as a race and individually.

Women are actively seeking ways to exert power, to leverage their existing influence, and grow their circles.  We are learning to own our ambition, to state loudly and clearly that our agendas are critical to the health and well-being of our families and the planet.  At our first meeting, when we opened the floor for women to speak about the issues closest to their hearts, we heard about

  • community development on the micro level,
  • the importance of civil discourse in theory and practice,
  • amplifying the voices of women in the music industry
  • building a conversation around an all-year school schedule
  • the criticality of local and state elections,
  • finding ways for working mothers to serve as elected officials,
  • and how to protect and heal our environment.

Even though the conversation was entirely unscripted and unexpected, we can clearly see the seeds for robust discussion and action on a wide-ranging and deeply connected group of concerns.  In those moments, I realized that all the women in that room had tapped into something revolutionary – our mutual commitment to actively  and directly influence change through OUR decisions, our ideas, and our actions. It was an unforgettable moment.