Our Vision: "Women and girls have the resources and opportunities to reach their full potential and live their dreams."

Governors of Founder Region

1927 - 1928  Director,  Jeannie G. Todd

Soroptimist Club of Alameda County, CA
Regional Director: Jennie G. Todd, Alameda County, California Jennie Todd served as director for one year or, until she was elected first vice president of the Soroptimist Federation of the Americas. Records for this year are unobtainable for research purposes.

1928 - 1930  Director,  Mae Wright Hutchins

Soroptimist Club of San Jose

Secretary: Florence Gardiner, San Francisco
Treasurer: Ina Stanley, Long Beach
Mae Hutchins presided at the Southwestern Regional Conference, as it was then called, on October 21, 1928, in San Jose. The minutes show 16 representatives from seven of the eight clubs in the district, two regional officers, one federation officer, First Vice President Jennie Todd, Alameda County club, and four members.

Upon convention action charters will be granted on a basis of 25 members. It was agreed that the charter fee would be $15.

The second regional conference was held in Los Angeles, March 4, 1929, with eight of the nine clubs represented. In typical Southwestern style Southwestern region subscribed $50 for the first SFA project, the Wakefield Memorial Fund to restore the home of George Washington for the 200th anniversary of his birth.

The minutes show that Director Mae received the federation president's award for the region gaining the most clubs (eight in Southwestern, while only three in all other regions) in the biennium. 

1930-1932  Director,  Blanche O Edgar

Soroptimist Club of  Sacramento

Secretary: Lillian Kelson, Stockton
Treasurer: Inez Smith, Bakersfield
Extension was Blanche Edgar's strong point, even in the early days of Soroptimist work. She had compiled the first Extension pamphlets and had one club (Marysville) to her credit before becoming the regional director. The 15 clubs in the region as of July, 1930, were increased to 20 during the biennium. Four of these were in California and one in Salt Lake, Utah.

While extension on the local level was the responsibility of club representatives, the regional directors did most of the contact work and organization of new clubs, mostly at her own expense. Her total clerical allowance for the two years was $20.

In addition to her duties as director, Blanche found time to organize the Salt Lake City club, at the request of Federation President Bertha K. Landis.

Reported cost of operating the federation and a deficit in the federation treasury brought a motion to endorse a plan that the regions pay to the federation, $5 from each new member fee.

Each president gave a verbal report of the growth and service of her club. Now that the growing pains were easing, the reports showed greater stress on service. Clubs on a local level supported the federation project of planting trees to commemorate the George Washington bi-centennial.

Director Blanche was elected secretary of the federation for the 1932-34 biennium at the American Federation Convention in Sacramento.

1932 - 1934  Director,  Amelia F. Johnson

Soroptimist Club of Los Angeles

Secretary: Gladys H. Barndollar, Oakland
Treasurer: Ruth Parkhurst, Ventura
Gleaning from the minutes: "In spite of wide spread business readjustment with loss of membership, the four district council meetings were attended by an average of two representatives from 99 percent of the clubs." President's reports showed many programs devoted to "woman's position in the economic field." These played their part in the federation's adoption of the objective "economic advancement for women."

Recommendations from this region for the federation objectives included (1) Soroptimist Foundation for Applied Business Research, and (2) "Junior Soroptimist Clubs for the Advancement of Young Women."

Two clubs were chartered during this biennium. Federation law had reduced the minimum number required for chartering to 15.

Director Amelia was elected president of the American Federation at the Baltimore Convention for 1934-36.

1934  - 1936  Director,  Helena M. Gamble

Soroptimist Club of Oakland

Helena Gamble, founder member and assistant organizer, had played a key part in extension throughout the SFA during the early years.

Helena's directors' report read as follows: "During my term of service as regional director, there has been a very definite effort made to organize new clubs. Three were organized. One in Phoenix, Arizona brought club contact with more than one state. Five more clubs are in the offing. The total membership in our 23 clubs is approximately 950. Interclub meets in several sections of the region have served to cement the friendship for which we strive.

"It was with a great sense of honor that I accepted the appointment as SFA historian in Washington, D.C., in 1928. Each succeeding federation president has given me great encouragement and assistance. I received the history of most clubs organized for the first nine years and in the American Soroptimist issues of April and May, 1931, these were published."

Helena Gamble was made permanent historian through the carrying of a motion by Harriett P. Tyler, San Francisco, Federation secretary: "In recognition of the fact that she has made a valuable contribution to the federation from its inception and that she compiled an accurate and complete record of the clubs and from their beginnings and has been the federation historian since formation of the federation, I move that Helena M. Gamble's name be submitted to the convention body as historian by the American Federation for the duration of her life."

Helena M. Gamble, known as "The Fairy Godmother of Soroptimism," continued her work on the federation's history, striving to get it published until her death. She was paid special tribute at the federation's Silver Anniversary convention in Estes Park, Colorado in 1946, for her faithful service and devotion to Soroptimism. 

1936 - 1938  Director,  Mayme V. Matthay

1938  - 1940 First Vice president of the American Federation
Soroptimist Club of Los Angeles

Secretary: Dr. Mable Hammons, Alhambra
Treasurer: Ada Cummings, Santa Paula

The report of the regional director shows that a questionnaire was submitted to the clubs in the region regarding the causes of the loss of membership. From the returns "expense of maintaining membership" was given as the chief cause.

Various interests shown by the clubs were: economic advancement of women; Venture clubs; legislation; revolving funds; club councils, and obtaining employment for women.

Recommendations considered were "that all clubs select as regional delegates persons who are qualified to do organization work," and "that all regions in their meetings discuss the many matters which are of interest to all the membership."

Clubs Chartered:  Six clubs were organized during this biennium.

1938 - 1940  Director,  Alta D. Hengy

Soroptimist Club of Oroville
Secretary: Blanche Parson, Chico
Treasurer: Ada Cummings, Santa Paula
The story begins to change with many more "visitors" present at regional meetings. Then, as now, the term means members other than delegates. The minutes of the meeting of October 15-16, 1938, show 29 clubs present and represented by 81 delegates and 128 visitors.

"Geographically Southwestern region was comprised of the State of California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. At the beginning of the biennium, there were 31 clubs with 1,095 members. During the biennium 14 clubs were chartered, including Oregon, Utah, which was sponsored by the Salt Lake City club. This chartering made it possible to organize a region (three clubs being required) and the Rocky Mountain region was established. The number of clubs in Southwestern region was reduced to 42 with a membership of 1,295 at the close of the biennium. During this biennium two board members were added to the regional board, and a regional roster was compiled.

"Meanwhile, world wide affairs were affecting Soroptimism. Great Britain had declared war on Germany on September 3, 1939, and the international aspect of the organization was emphasized by the exchange of letters during war time. This is a short quote from one: 'London has more or less returned to normal. Except for the blackouts, all theaters are in full swing. We would rather be bombed at home than bored in the country.'"

1980-1982- Marge Conley
1982-1984- Patricia Daniels
1984-1986- Del Nickerson
1986-1988- Carol Steele
1988-1990- Susan (Lompa) Joyce
1990-1992- Lorraine Komor
1992-1994- Dorothy Avilla
1994-1996- Patti Cross
1996-1998- Nancy Walker
1998-2000- Linda McDoniels
1960-1962- Mary Lorentzen-Moser
1962-1964- Evelyn Holland
1964-1966- Mary Ellen George
1966-1968 – Mary Gianotti
1968-1970- Matie Barker Sparks
1970-1972- Charlotte Chichester
1972-1974- Julia 'Bess' Combs
1974-1976- Margaret "Maggie" Knott
1976-1978- Violet Unland
1978-1980- Catherine (Jordan) Burns
1940-1942- Lessie M. Hancock
1942-1944- Lois Stanley
1944-1946- Edith B. Kelley
1946-1948- Dr. Ruth S. Thomas (Heitfield)
1948-1950- Emily N. Ziegler
1950-1952- Ruth G. White, M.D.
1952-1954- Josephine Deterding
1954-1956- Maryn Overhouse
1956-1958- Robina Sleeper
1958-1960- Grace Patton
1927-1928 Jeannie G. Todd
1928-1930- Mae Wright Hutchins
1930-1932- Blanche O Edgar
1932-1934- Amelia F. Johnson
1934-1936- Helena M. Gamble
1936-1938- Mayme V. Matthay
1938-1940- Alta D. Hengy