Tag Archives: Mah Jongg

Member Spotlight: Wendy Poppenhagen


I am originally from the west coast (Nevada > California > Oregon > California) then moved to the east coast (Wellesley~Boston suburb) 20 years ago. I was fortunate to have one year (2004-2005) in Paris with my family for an incredible life experience. #movesalot

Basic family stats:
I have been married to Jeff for almost 25 years. He is a retired portfolio manager and a gin drinker (He told me to write that…He’s also very funny! šŸ˜) Jeff and I have two girls. Lauren is 21 and a senior at Occidental College. She is a collegiate swimmer and will be graduating in May. Lindsay is 19 and a freshman at Tulane University. She is pursuing an architectural degree and currently in the middle of rush. I also have a really cute dog who I love tons. Fibber is a 10 year old Havanese. #lovemyfamily

Current/previous occupation:
I previously worked in Public Relations for a San Francisco non-profit. When I moved to Boston, I was pregnant with my second child and decided to become a stay-at-home mom. I also feel like I was a professional volunteer because I have chaired, co-chaired and volunteered for so many fundraisers and events over the years. #nowineedajob

The biggest lesson I have learned through my iGnite experience…

I don’t think I have a lesson, but I have a gift. The biggest gift iGnite has given me is the wonderful community. I was scared to move and start all over in a new city especially at my age. I no longer have any children at home, I am not in college, and I am not currently working. These factors make it so much easier to make new friends/community. I loved my friends and community in Boston, and I had a huge void to fill. The women I have met in iGnite have been so nice, kind, interesting, extremely inclusive and really fun to workout with. I am now playing Mah-Jongg with a group of incredible ladies because of a connection in iGnite. NEVER, EVER did I dream I would be learning and playing Mah-Jongg. Guess what? I love it! I have ben filled with genuine gratitude about finding a community so soon after moving to Austin. Thank you, iGnite. #grateful

I am mostĀ inspiredĀ by…
My husband, Jeff, inspires me all the time. He loves his family, super loyal, very smart, disciplined and is a….out of the box kind of thinker. He pushes me to look at the world, problems, relationships, etc. differently than I do. I always don’t agree with his perspective, but I love that I can be consistently challenged. He helps me to learn new things, empathize and have a more open mind. I think that is very cool! #thankyouJP

My celebrity look-alike…
I have been told by many people that I look like Princess Kate Middleton. #lovehertiaraandclothes

Something people may not know about me…
I am the fifth great-grandchild of Davey Crockett. #kingofthewildfrontier

Have you noticed the hashtags? Another thing you may not know about me is that I have been journaling on Instagram each day since we left Massachusetts. I post a daily picture (for one year) with hashtags describing my day. It is a bit silly and fun. I really wanted to remember experiencing Austin for the first time and photos are a great way of doing that. My daily post pushes me to discover my new city and all its adventures. When the year is done, I will get a book (or several) printed.

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Member Spotlight: Leslie McConnico

iGniter of Ā 7.5 years
I am a true native Austinite, born and raised as we say. I have lived here almost all of my life with the exception of some college and for a short time in Houston. I love the city and it just keeps getting better.
Family Life:
I have been married to Steve for 22 years. Steve has two “boys”, Kit (33) and Andrew (30). Andrew is married to a wonderful woman, Caitlin, and they live in Seattle. Andrew is a landscape architect with a commercial firm, and Caitlin is in Public Health. Kit lives in Austin and does sports announcing for college games and professional soccer teams. He also has a radio show on The Horn. Steve and I have a daughter, Callie, who is a junior at Hamilton College in upstate New York. We have lots of fun together, but I’m not sure if and when I’ll get her back to Austin!
Work life:
I retired from Stuart Title Guaranty Company soon after marrying Steve. I was the Director of Communications for their national office. With two boys at home, managing their activities, and becoming pregnant 4 months after getting married, we decided it was best for our family.
Biggest lesson learned through my iGnite experience:
I can do more than I think I can. It is so good to have positive reinforcements and cheering coaches. They have made me better at some things and pushed me to a new level. I also enjoy the women of the group–who knew exercising could be so much fun and rewarding!
Best adviceĀ given:
“The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination.” -Don Williams Jr. (American Novelist and Poet, b. 1968) I really have to try and keep this in my head. I am such a planner, which can be a very good thing, but I forget to take everything in and enjoy the moment and the journey.
What I like to do in my free time:
I love to read and travel. Those are my hobbies with a little Mah Jongg thrown in. I think I caught the travel bug from my mother! We are going to the Amazon for 9 days in June.
My favorite color is:
Orange. My daughter says its because when I attended Camp Waldemar I was a Comanche, and their color is orange. There might be something to this, but I am drawn to the color in clothes, fruits, shoes and nature. It makes me happy.