Redefining what it means to be a Spinster


Lauren Drewniany


Cheers to the new year, Spinsters!


2018 marked the 89th year for the Spinsters of San Francisco. While the organization has evolved over the last 89 years, one thing remains constant - our dedication to bringing together amazing young women in the Bay Area.


Spinsters members gather for a meeting and a phone bank to fundraise for KQED in the early 90s


Before I bring you up to speed on where the organization is going, let’s take a moment to look back on how we got started. The Spinsters of San Francisco came to be on November, 6 1929 with the very first meeting taking place at the de Young house, at 1919 California Street. At that point, the Bachelors of San Francisco had already formed and the young women of the Bay Area were eager to develop an organization of their own.

Since that day, the Spinsters of San Francisco has been a place for young women to come together and support one another socially and professionally while making a positive impact on our community.


On the left, Spinsters members put on a charity benefit fashion show in the 90s. On the right, today’s Spinsters raise funds at our annual Legacy Benefit in the Swig Suite at the Fairmont, San Francisco.


So what exactly is it about Spinsters that has helped this group stay an important and thriving community in the Bay Area for so many years? The best people to speak to that are our new members who joined Spinsters last summer.

When asked why she was interested in becoming a part of Spinsters, Karen Datangel shared,


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I went through a lot personally and professionally within the last year and was looking to get more involved socially and in my community. I love that Spinsters holds so many fun events throughout the year and is also deeply involved in charity work. It was perfect for me because it was the best of both worlds! I simply love surrounding myself with amazing women who love to have fun, but also care about giving back to the world and advancing themselves professionally.

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Karen Datangel is a first year member of Spinsters.


Another new member, Amy Tam, said she was drawn to Spinsters because she was seeking to build a strong community of driven women within the San Francisco Bay Area.


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Since joining Spinsters, I’ve met a lot of amazing, career oriented women.


Amy Tam is a first year member of Spinsters and our talented resident photographer.


For me (Lauren) personally, I joined Spinsters because I wanted to be a part of a group of women who would challenge me and introduce me to new ways of thinking. I am so glad I did! The women I have met in Spinsters continually inspire me with all that they accomplish and their diverse range of interests. I can confidently say I am a more open minded and well-rounded individual because of Spinsters.

With that said, no matter what your interests or goals are, Spinsters has something for you. I believe that is why Spinsters continues to attract so many amazing women throughout the years because everyone can find a way to advance themselves personally, professionally, socially, philanthropically or however else they wish in this organization. Because of this we used our 89th year as an opportunity to refresh our brand to convey who Spinsters are today. Check out a brief video of our journey to our new brand below!


Learn about our journey to SOSF's new visual brand.


Interested in redefining what it means to be a Spinster? Join us at our Prospective New Member Info Session on January 31st. There, you can ask questions and learn more about our membership process.

We cannot wait to embark on our upcoming 90th year as an organization, and we hope you’ll join us in making it Spinsters’ most impactful and unforgettable year yet!

What Spinsters are Thankful for this Year: Good Food and an Inspiring Partnership


Lauren Drewniany

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As we get ready to celebrate Thanksgiving with our friends and loved ones, the Spinsters of San Francisco (SOSF) want to take a moment to share what we are thankful for this year: our nonprofit partner La Cocina.


La Cocina is a nonprofit business incubator working with talented, working class food entrepreneurs who are predominantly women from communities of color and immigrant communities. SOSF could not be more thankful for the opportunity to support a nonprofit that closely aligns with our core value, empowering women. In addition to volunteering at fun-filled La Cocina events and tasting dishes from La Cocina’s chefs, our partnership has also provided a unique opportunity for members of SOSF to grow individually through 1:1 volunteer to entrepreneur matches. Through La Cocina’s 1:1 mentorship volunteering program, Spinsters are able to contribute their professional skills to aspiring food entrepreneurs as they develop their businesses concepts.


As Thanksgiving is often a time to reflect on the past year, we’d like to share some of our favorite moments volunteering with La Cocina.


First up, La Cocina’s annual Street Food Festival. Did you know that each year, 30+ of the Bay Area’s most talented food entrepreneurs gather on one day to showcase the most delicious array of dishes in the largest street food fest in San Francisco? At the festival, Spinsters got the chance to meet and support the talented entrepreneurs La Cocina serves (and try several delicious dishes throughout the day!). The event celebrated and promoted women, immigrant and POC-owned food businesses. Spinsters showed up in full force to volunteer as La Cocina brand ambassadors, soliciting donations and getting our hands dirty in everything from pre-event set-up, to working the bar and breaking down at the end of the event. The chefs’ passion for their food was contagious. And the FOOD! From true southern style fried chicken to nepalese momo dumplings to arabic flatbreads to boozy cheesecake, Spinsters left with hearts (and stomachs) full, grateful to take part in the festival.


Our second volunteer opportunity was at La Cocina’s F&B: Voices from the Kitchen. This event provided a platform for La Cocina Chefs to tell their own stories live on stage alongside some of the food industry’s most beloved and respected writers and chefs. Not only did Spinsters have the chance to listen to incredible stories, but the event also included a roaming cocktail hour that featured delicious bites from the chefs of La Cocina. In addition to acquainting ourselves with the different La Cocina chefs, Spinsters could be found checking in attendees, sharing information on how to become a La Cocina member, and testing out our bartending skills.


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“From my first introduction to the Spinsters volunteer network, I knew we were in for an exciting year ahead. Every Spinster I’ve met has been full of energy, kindness and an eagerness to make her community a better place. La Cocina is grateful for the opportunity to leverage the support of this talented group of women in service of greater equity and economic opportunity for everyone,” says La Cocina’s Development and Communications Manager, Jessica Mataka.

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Spinsters volunteers with Jessica Mataka


Coming up next, Spinsters and La Cocina will put on our elf hats to take on the holidays by assembling La Cocina’s holiday gift boxes and helping run their annual Tamalada, a tamale making class where guests leave with tamales to bring home to share with their families over the holidays. Interested in purchasing a La Cocina Gift Box for a loved one? Check out their gift box options ranging from $35-$100 on their online store. 100% of your purchase supports the growth of immigrant and women-owned businesses.

We can’t wait to see all that is in store for our partnership in 2019 (like our upcoming Legacy Benefit fundraiser for La Cocina at the Fairmont on February 23rd!) and we look forward to sharing those moments with you.

Wishing you and yours a very happy and healthy holiday season from all the women of Spinsters of San Francisco.


Psst, interested in supporting La Cocina? Get involved by signing up to become a member, purchasing a La Cocina gift box for friends and family over the holidays or signing up to volunteer 1:1 with a La Cocina business owner!

A Look into Spinsters’ Professional Development: Book Club and Skill-Building Workshops


Alexandra Casas


As Spinsters of San Francisco (SOSF) has been around for almost 90 years, the role of women in the workplace has transformed. In addition to being a women’s philanthropic and social organization, Spinsters have embraced a focus on professional development to support members’ ever-growing careers.  SOSF has traditionally been an organization where members can volunteer and raise funds for important grantee-partners in our San Francisco community as well as create lifelong friendships. With this new professional development pillar added to the organization, members have a more formal place to share ideas with other driven, successful women and build skills to help them meet their goals.

To support this initiative, SOSF created a Professional Development Committee, co-chaired by Claire Callahan and Marisa Corona, to organize a quarterly book club and skill building workshop series for members to participate in throughout the year. The Committee focuses on topics that are relevant across professional fields such as public speaking, work-life balance, mindfulness and creative problem solving.


Quarterly Book Club


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“To live the lives we truly want and deserve, and not just the lives we settle for, we need a Third Metric, a third measure of success that goes beyond the two metrics of money and power, and consists of four pillars: well-being, wisdom, wonder, and giving.”

— Arianna Huffington, Thrive


On February 1, 2018 the Professional Development Committee hosted a book club meeting featuring Arianna Huffington’s Thrive. Arianna’s book is a personal account of the publishing giant’s journey towards finding a new metric for success that goes beyond money and power and prioritizes health, learning, amazement and community. Spinsters had an engaging discussion about how to embrace career highs and lows, align careers with values, and prioritize self-care.


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“The small group setting allowed us to get personal. I loved how every story about the highs and lows of life-career integration resonated with everyone in the room.”

— SOSF Member, Alexandra Casas


In April, the book club reconvened to discuss Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All by Tom and David Kelley. Claire Callahan, a second year member, was struck by how often people misunderstand creativity and its importance in problem solving.  “I truly enjoyed talking with fellow Spinsters in the early to mid stages of their careers to explore what creativity actually is, and how we can all embrace it in our work, whether you work in a stereotypical creative field or a more analytical one. Through our discussion, it became clear that whether you worked in social media or finance, creativity plays an important role in the work you do, and there are things you can do to build creativity like any other skill.”

Later this year, the Professional Development Book Club will discuss Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office: Unconscious Mistakes Women Make that Sabotage their Careers by Lois P. Frankel. The Committee looks forward to an engaging discussion about the challenges women face in the workplace and how to overcome them.


Workshop Series


In Spinsters, we believe in learning from one another.  Fourth year Spinster, Kelsey Luoma, led the Public Speaking Workshop on February 6, 2018. Public speaking can often be a daunting experience, but Kelsey broke down how to make it a breeze! Pulling from her experiences training executives on effective communication at Decker Communications, Kelsey shared important concepts and tools to strengthen members’ public speaking skills. She emphasized the importance of using pauses and gestures to punctuate speech, and encouraged workshop attendees to practice public speaking often to gain confidence and self awareness.

Spinsters then paired up for several activities in engaging audiences and being effective listeners. Members also shared their challenges and gave each other advice from their different professional backgrounds, ranging from speaking on panels to removing qualifiers from our speech, to how best to prepare for a successful presentation. Listening to other members’ reflections was inspiring to watch. Each member brought valuable experience and advice to each other across a spectra of careers and experience.

Later this Spring, the Committee will host two additional skill building workshops. The next workshop will be on May 12th on Mindfulness to help members mindfully connect to their work, their teams, and achieve their long-term goals. The final workshop of the year will be a two night SQL training on queries hosted at Google.

Interested in learning more about our professional development work? Learn more about becoming a member below.