A Passionate Remembrance of Ayse Somersan

Reflections on an afternoon spent remembering Ayse Somerson:

“November 11th was a day filled with passionate remembrance of a woman who left a legacy and touched the lives of so many people. For those who were in attendance, the stories of Ayse’s leadership and life served as an opportunity to honor Ayse Somersan, connect with others who were impacted by her passion and presence, and stoke the fires of inspiration. May we all, in our own ways, add to her legacy. My heartfelt gratitude to Ayse’s family for sharing her with us. Thank you to the WRLP/Leadership Wisconsin alumni and former staff who made it a priority to bring us together in Ayse’s memory.”

–Sarah Schlosser, Executive Director, Leadership Wisconsin

“On November 11, we held the Celebrating Ayse Somersan memorial gathering in Madison at the Aldo Leopold Center. I am so thankful for all of the family, friends, colleagues and associates who came to honor and recognize the contributions that Ayse made in all of our lives. We planted a tree in Ayse’s memory to grow and contribute to people’s lives for years to come. It was an inspiring day – and I was so honored to be part of – as it meant that I had the tremendous gift of Ayse in my life. She was a mentor extraordinaire – grounded and worldly – strong and caring – intelligent and tenacious – Her light is with me always! Thank you all for coming and making the event a VERY SPECIAL day of celebrating Ayse!”

–Connie Loden (Group VI), posted to Facebook


“Thank you to EVERYONE who came to the celebration of Ayse Somersan’s being ~ we just posted some photos from the very special day that was made SOOO touching by everyone’s stories and remembrances. https://www.facebook.com/pg/Celebrating-Ayse-Somersan-128661481034437/photos/?tab=album&album_id=199153970651854. Special thanks to the organizing committee for spearheading and coordinating all the moving pieces it took to make such a wonderful event happen!”

–The Somersan Family, posted to Facebook


“It was beyond my wildest expectations ~ it just came together with grace and class and was so very touching and lovely. She was moved, I’m sure, from whatever perch she watched us all from. Connie, for spearheading this whole thing from the very beginning…Leo, thank you for arranging the lovely Tulip Tree…Mary and Gerry for meeting up in person in Milwaukee to think about the photos and program, Gerry for locating all those books and putting them into the hands of people for whom they MEAN something; Sandi, Mary, Nodji, Gerry and others for coordinating that lovely food spread. Steve for kicking off the program as MC;  And whoever thought up Aldo Leopold Center was a genius…She was so fortunate to have had you all as her workfamily…Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”

–Excerpt from a letter written by Zeynep Rena Somersan Turna to the organizing committee


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