In 1992, Roxann Dempsey was invited to her first Women Helping Women Fund luncheon by one of the founding board members, Marcy Drummond. That first lunch, and the others that would follow would become the primary source of revenue for the hundreds of community grants Women Helping Women Fund has invested in our local community. Twenty four years later, Roxann is consistently filling up to six tables each year - more than any other supporter or corporation. As we approach the 25th anniversary of Women Helping Women Fund's annual luncheon, Roxann shares her journey, her "why," and her tips for success.


Q: What was it about Women Helping Women Fund that made you take action? Roxann Dempsey

The mission statement: “The WHWF is a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering women and children to create healthy families and vibrant communities.”


Q: What was your first experiences as a table captain like?

A: For the first few years I was a co-captain sponsoring 1-2 tables. When my friend and co-worker, Dana, retired I started this adventure on my own. For several years I had 3 tables, but in the past 5 years or so it has grown. 


Q: How did you grow to championing six tables? 

A: It is a pretty easy sell. I work at a University (Eastern Washington University, Cheney, WA) that is very supportive of community outreach. Several of my tables are filled with administrators, deans, faculty, staff, and even students – both male and female. I invite many friends, including my PEO Chapter IQ sisters and my alumni classmates from when I attended Holy Names Academy in Spokane, WA. Also my husband, two beautiful daughters, beautiful daughter-in-law, and sister.

“Last year I almost filled an entire table with my previous classmates including one who lives in New York”


Q: Who is on your invite list?  

A: Oh my Gosh … my list is huge!


Q: What method do you take in inviting them?  

A: Email mostly and word of mouth.

Roxann’s 3 Key Secrets to Filling Her Tables:

  1. Start early: I start the process before our keynote is announced - this year I already have commitments from 30 attendees.
  2. Give enough information about WHWF
  3. Share how you feel while attending an event like this with all 1800+ attendees supporting local agencies that support women and children in our very own communities


Q: Who was your favorite speaker?  

Hard to choose because that is not why I attend and all speakers have been great. The committee that selects the keynote speakers does an amazing job finding the right person each year. Honestly, I would attend even if we didn’t have a keynote.


Q: What is your “why” for contributing to Women Helping Women Fund?

Each and every person that supports the WHWF makes a difference and we do it to support local agencies in the community we live in.


Q: What are your goals for the future?

I hope to fill 5-6 tables every year and continue to bring in someone that has never attended.


More about Roxann: Roxann and her husband, Greg, are 40+ year residents of Cheney, WA, the place where they have raised three children and now have seven grandchildren. 30 of her years in Cheney have been spent employed at Eastern Washington University; she is currently the Director of Records Management in the Office of the Vice President. Roxann quotes “I enjoy my work and work family.” Whether it’s a jazzercise class, a PEO chapter meeting, or attending an Eastern Washington University event, Roxann is active in her community. 

To make a difference like Roxann, consider being a table captain at this year’s luncheon.