Ninety per cent of the time, when asked who they believe contributes to the success of an organisation like ours, people will mention members of the Board or executive. And that makes sense because those are the people whose faces and names are on the website and who are formally charged with the responsibility of shepherding the chapter along.
But there are other members who give time and energy to Canada West, quietly and cheerfully. Who never ask to be recognised. Without whom, our chapter would be much less vibrant, and without whom our executive members would find their jobs that much more difficult.
It’s time, we’ve decided, to let these people know just how special we believe they are.
We’re Grateful For Charlotte Morganti
Since joining our chapter executive in 2017, Charlotte Morganti has worn many hats and dedicated countless hours to building Canada West into the thriving, multi-talented group it is today. Former chapter president Sandra Wong well remembers convincing Charlotte, then Membership Secretary, to accept the VP position under then-president Linda L. Richards.
“What a joy it was working with Charlotte to plan our first-ever chapter retreat in 2018. I knew I could always count on her, not only for tasks and planning items but also for always pitching in with a smile and a signature, witty quip. Her resourcefulness, good humour, and supportive cheer made the sometimes-overwhelming planning fun, and the day-of-event itself a huge success. Charlotte is a true gem and Canada West has been truly blessed to have her as part of its leadership and volunteer teams.”
Charlotte moved from Membership Secretary to VP, and then to President. She’s also been Webmaster (still is as of March 2023), Event Organizer, and Zoom coordinator. She was the incredibly organised co-chair of our chapter’s 1-day Victoria crime conference in 2018 and the even more challenging 2.5 days of crime panels and expert speakers at When Words Collide 2022 in Calgary. She trained many of the current executive. Her mark on our chapter is indelible.
Marcelle Dubé, who served alongside Charlotte since her early days, says, “I first met Charlotte Morganti online, when I joined the executive of the Canada West chapter of Sisters in Crime. I liked her immediately—everybody does. She was the chapter vice president, and she struck me as smart and capable. It was only when I met her in person in Victoria, at the chapter’s inaugural in-person conference, that I realized how warm, funny, and creative she was.
Then, when Charlotte stepped into the president’s role, the full range of her abilities became evident. Her tenure coincided with the arrival of Covid-19, which resulted in the cancellation of our second in-person conference. Undaunted, Charlotte created a “deconstructed” online conference, featuring guest speakers and online workshops that continue to this day.
Under her presidency, our membership grew on an almost weekly basis, our members gained writing skills and benefited from the advice of guest professionals, and the chapter produced two well-regarded anthologies. She also created a communications position responsible for promoting members’ published works. Even now, after stepping down as president, she handles the promotion of chapter events on our website.
She did it all with grace, aplomb, and humour, and she never ceases to impress me.”
Now Charlotte is enjoying a well-deserved retirement from years of near-constant volunteering, and members who have been particularly helped and/or inspired by her are taking the opportunity to speak out about what her encouragement and inspiration has meant to them.
Karen Abrahamson, who worked with her on many projects, had this to say. “I am thankful for Charlotte’s amazing work ethic and her dedication to the Chapter. There was no task too small or large for Charlotte while she was president (or past president) and she was amazing at developing excellence in whatever she did. She took us from a small, fledgling chapter to the vibrant organization Sinc-CW now is. Many, many thanks to Madam Morganti. May she now get back to her wonderful writing!”
There’s a common thread to many of the reminiscences:
Current membership chair Laurie Wood says, “Charlotte was the first person I met in the Chapter when I joined last year. And because of her enthusiasm and encouragement, I was happy to take over the vacant membership position on the Board. When my father-in-law passed away suddenly in February 2022, Charlotte contacted me immediately and graciously offered to pick up my duties for a month so that I could get my feet under me again. Charlotte is always available by phone, Zoom, or email for questions or advice. I value her perspective and savvy knowledge. Her sense of humour is infectious, and I can’t thank her enough for her patience and support during my initial year on the board.”
Longtime member Debra Henry wrote, “Charlotte Morganti is a ray of sunshine with a smile and laugh that is infectious and unforgettable. She must have more than 24 hours in her day… otherwise, how does she manage to successfully juggle so many balls at once?? She helped me feel welcome on the Sisters in Crime Canada West executive and always showed appreciation for my suggestions and my contribution to the chapter. Charlotte had answers to every question I asked (or knew who to refer me to). She had my back when I was struggling (momentarily). Charlotte’s an inspiration of positive energy and fun. Her accomplishments in helping SinC grow are astonishing. Huge thank you, Charlotte.”
Jayne Barnard says, “Speaking as a proxy for our deceased Sibling Isobel MacDonald, she wanted to thank Charlotte for sitting down beside a complete stranger at the Surrey International Writers Conference several years ago and telling her all about the great collection of crime writers who would love to have her join. Isobel did join, both Sisters In Crime and our chapter, and she found not only assistance and encouragement with her crime writing efforts but valued friendships as well. Charlotte connected me with Isobel when I first moved to the Comox Valley and thus began a friendship that grew by the week until Isobel’s passing.
Speaking for myself, I never suggested an idea to Charlotte for a chapter program or special event that she didn’t tackle with immediate zeal, both when she was president and after. I am still in awe of all the stellar team-tracking and Zoom wrangling that Charlotte did to make our chapter’s online programming at When Words Collide run without a hitch for the full 2.5 days last August. She lived, breathed, and likely swore that conference through innumerable small hitches and brought it all together with a smile, right up to the final panel on the final day. Well done, Charlotte!”
Winona Kent wrote, “My recollections of Charlotte go back a few years to 2018 when I was still working full time and I’d just begun to write mysteries. I’d joined Sisters in Crime (and CWC) and I was thrilled when Charlotte issued an invitation to a get-together at the Troller Ale House in Horseshoe Bay. It was actually a meeting followed by a social event. That was my warm, welcoming, and friendly introduction to the group, and I was so pleased to be a part of it. Charlotte WAS Sisters in Crime – Canada West. She followed that up the following year with another get-together, same time, same place… and once again, I felt like such a welcomed member of the little group. We had to stop the in-person meetups after that because of the pandemic… but I’ll always remember the warmth and the friendliness that Charlotte extended to me when I was first starting out on my mystery-writing career. Thank you, Charlotte!”
Elizabeth Bass also credits Charlotte with going above and beyond to make her feel accepted and supported. “To me, the best anecdote about Charlotte is that we haven’t been able to thank our past president because she’s such a worker bee that she’s still in charge of the website!
Myself, I first met her at the Victoria conference, but I really remember talking to her at Left Coast Crime at the Sisters in Crime-CW get-together. I’m a very shy person in groups and I was on overload that weekend, but she made me feel very calm. She even showed up for moral support at a panel when I was a first-time moderator.”
Current chapter vice-president Pamela Donison adds, “I first met Charlotte Morganti, Immediate Past President, when I joined the Executive Committee as a Member At Large in 2022. I immediately felt I was in the company of a kindred spirit. Charlotte’s enthusiasm, humour, keen intellect, and 1,000-watt smile draw people to her, while her innate sense of organisation, fair play, and thoughtfulness inspire confidence and dedication to our common cause. Her skill at wrangling notoriously wayward writers for our first collaboration with When Words Collide sealed the deal. While Charlotte is our past president, she set a high-water mark for volunteerism in Canada West.”
Karen Dodd, current chapter president, gets the final word.
“I simply could not conceive of a better past president, adviser, and all-around good friend than Charlotte Morganti. She was beside me every step of the way in the first year of my presidency, always stepping up without being asked when something needed doing. Her dedication to her SinC siblings is extraordinary, as she has worked tirelessly—often at the expense of her own writing—to serve and help grow our chapter into what it is today. Her dedication to our first collaboration with When Words Collide will never be forgotten. Along with the wonderful team you somehow managed to wrangle, thank you, Charlotte, for helping us shine!
On behalf of everyone in the Canada West chapter, thank you, Charlotte, for your passion and dedication. I’m not going to say that I’ll miss you (although I do!), because I know you won’t be far away. Hopefully, you’ll be deep in the world of the characters of your upcoming novel. I wish you all the success in the world!”
We’re Grateful For Isobel McDonald
So let us tell you about Isobel McDonald, who has been a member of our chapter since February of 2018. Because our chapter has a wide-spread base and we conduct almost all our meetings online, the first time many of us met Isobel face-to-face was at our 2018 retreat in Victoria. She made other attendees feel welcome and comfortable and we suspect we gained a few new members that weekend because Isobel made others want to spend time in an organization she belongs to.
Isobel is the type of person who will sit down beside you at the Surrey International Writers Conference and say, “I just want you to know you’re doing a great job with the chapter.” For no reason other than she wants to give you a pat on the back. How did she know that pat on the back would come at exactly the right time?
Then there are our anthologies. For both of them, Isobel has been our independent reader—the one who reads the stories submitted by members of the anthology committee and offers an independent assessment. It’s not an easy task to judge short stories and usually the deadlines are somewhat demanding. Isobel pulls it off with aplomb, and on time.
We’re grateful for Isobel, her quiet, cheerful, welcoming presence, and the contributions that she makes to Canada West, which she may think are no big deal. But which we know go a long way to making our chapter the success it is.
Our “Grateful” posts will be infrequent and members of the chapter are encouraged to suggest siblings who have made a special, unrecognized, contribution. Send your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.