At the Order Day in Graz, three new Dames were invested: Michaela Eberspächer, Antonella Malis and Nives Protrka. A warm welcome!
For the Dames, a new chapter began at the Order’s Convention in spring 2022 with the anchoring in the Constitution of the Order of St. George. This was concretised at the Order Day in Graz with the outlining of the future orientation.
The structure of an organisation changes over the years and must always be checked for practicability. An optimisation of the previous structure had become necessary for the community, which in the meantime has grown to 87 Dames.
Therefore, in contrast to the past, there will in future be areas of responsibility based on content and not on region. In this way it will be possible to implement the strategy across all Commanderies and, in the sense of our European mission, to work transnationally.
As is well known, the Order of St. George is a European Order of the House of Habsburg – however, this European aspect has not yet been as clearly recognisable for us Dames as it should be. After its foundation, the Order concentrated more on the Austrian Commanderies, but in the meantime many competent and committed Dames have found their way to other national Commanderies, so that we will integrate them more in the future.
At the head of the Dames is our Protector Eilika von Habsburg. In addition to the President, there will be three Vice-Presidents with roughly defined areas of responsibility, which are very much based on the structure and responsibilities of the Knights.
Our first objective is to raise the profile of the Dames and to distinguish them from comparable organisations and communities. The Dames must define their unique selling point compared to comparable organisations and concretely work out the area, the niche, in which they are active. Only in this way can we present what we stand for in a credible, sustainable and unmistakable way.
Another goal is to win over new Dames who share our values and views – especially in those Commanderies and Delegations where there have been no or only a few women representatives so far. For example, in Hungary, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, but also Italy and some Commanderies in Austria.
Ten thematic areas emerged from the survey conducted in late summer, each of which will be led by a special representative and a deputy. Subsequently, these Dames will put together their own temporary teams to implement the defined tasks.
We do not only want to communicate into the Commanderies, but also take input from them, which is why the positions of Liaison Ladies will continue to exist. Due to the newly elected Commandery affiliations, there will be changes or shifts in this regard.
The filling of all positions should be completed by December at best – we will then share information about all office bearers with you collectively. The Dames entrusted with tasks will meet in January for a closed meeting to set the course and to fill our plans with life.
At this point I would like to thank my vice-presidents, Ulli Günther and Sanela Thun-Hohenstein, for their great commitment!
Transparent communication is a basic prerequisite for us to achieve our goals together. The monthly newsletters are a good supplement to the information found on our website in the internal area.
And communication is always discourse at its best. I would like to thank all those with whom I have had the opportunity for personal discussions in recent weeks. The exchange brings forth many good ideas and food for thought – but above all it shows that we are on the right track, that many Dames feel increasingly addressed again and are interested in our community. Whenever there are questions, please address them openly – if you miss something or better, if you have wishes, ideas and suggestions, we are happy if you share them with us. Finally, I would like to use a quote that could not be more apt: “The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.”
Mag. Gabriela Stimpfl-Abele
President of the Dames of the Order of St. George