Wednesday, November 12, 2014

First Year in the Junior League

The summer of 2006 was my first real introduction to Washington, DC.  When I was younger
my family and I had made a few visits to see the sites, but it was not until my junior year of
college that I decided I wanted to work and live in the city.  That summer, my friends and I spent
many hot summer days in Georgetown, popping into shops and running around Georgetown
University and M Street. It was on those trips walking around the city, that I decided I wanted to
make a greater impact. I did not just want to live in D.C.; I wanted to be an active member of the

I reached out to a friend who was in the Junior League of Washington (JLW) and went to the
first social meeting. I remember feeling a sense of community from the beginning.  Everyone
was so welcoming and genuinely friendly. My first year in JLW was one of the best; I enjoyed
the variety of activities in which we participated. From working at the Martin Luther King Jr.
Memorial Library to setting up a dozen Christmas trees for the Holiday Shops, there was always
a flurry of excitement and connection. During my first year, I moved to a new area of the city.
The JLW neighborhood group embraced me and introduced me to my new surroundings.  We
met at many local eateries and coffee shops, and I have fond memories of sharing laughs and
experiences with my new neighbors and JLW members.

From cheering on the Nationals at baseball games, to volunteering at the National Book Festival,
I had a wonderful time and more importantly, I felt part of the city. I learned so much as a result
of joining the Junior League, from how to navigate public transportation to what members of our
community needed in support. It was a great introduction to the city that I now feel is my second

I met one of my best friends Susan Schreiber through the JLW (pictured below). We had so much fun working  together on the Centennial Committee and we bonded over so many experiences in and outside of league work. Susan moved to Oregon last year to pursue her Ph.D. in Psychology and has
joined the Junior League of Portland but we still talk about league events and are connected
cross-country through our league work.  Looking back, I am so grateful that I made the decision
to join the JLW. I have meet new people that are now some of my closest friends and I feel
connected to the city in a way I would never have imagined possible.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

“Getting to Know the JLW” Open Houses

The Junior League of Washington kicked off our recruitment season over the last few weeks by hosting two “Getting to Know the JLW” Open Houses, with women from across the greater DC community meeting Active and Sustaining members of the League.

Women interested in joining the Junior League of Washington gathered with League members for great conversation and light refreshments at the Loughborough House on September 21st and October 4th. Not only did women interested in joining get to meet other members, but they had the opportunity to ask a wide range of questions regarding our League work while also connecting with Sponsors who will assist them during the application process.

Member Recruitment will host three more “Getting to Know the JLW” Open Houses in the coming weeks.  Women interested in being apart of the 2015-2016 New Member Class should consider signing up to attend a Member Recruitment event!

Photo 1: President Jennifer Hemingway and President-Elect Cameron Gilreath (Shown with Member Recruitment Chairs Sarah Meyer Walsh and Erin Miller) showed their support of the JLW recruitment efforts and the October 4th “Getting to Know the JLW” Open House

Photo 2: Member Recruitment committee members, Mandy Asgeirsson and Katherine Rodriguez, prep the Loughborough Room for the October 4th “Getting to Know the JLW” Open House

Friday, September 19, 2014

Book Club Kick-Off Event to Feature Author Judy Bachrach

Author Judy Bachrach—an investigative journalist, noted author and Vanity Fair magazine contributing editor—will join the Membership Outreach Committee as one of the featured authors at this year’s JLW Book Club Kick-Off event on September 23 at 6:30 p.m.

Bachrach’s latest book Glimpsing Heaven, The Stories and Science of Life After Death, (National Geographic Books) hit shelves earlier this month and already is on No. 1 on three lists. Bachrach collected real-life accounts of people’s glimpses with death only to come back to life, and spends hours interviewing doctors, nurses and scientists to garner professional opinions. It promises to be an interesting read, redefining the meaning of both life and death
If spirituality isn’t your genre, Bachrach’s writing is diverse to say the least. Her last book, Tina and Harry Come to America, is a biography of Tina Brown (former editor of Vanity Fair, the New Yorker and Talk) and her husband, Harry, a former president of Random House. She also has written articles featuring celebrities including Carrie Underwood, Jessica Alba, Goldie Hawn and fashion designer Giorgio Armani. Bachrach currently works as a contributing editor for Vanity Fair and is a regular book critic for The Weekly Standard.

Bachrach will answer questions about her works, as well as her philanthropic ventures in our community, including her “Ask Judy” online forum, which offers advices to relatives of the terminally ill; knowledge she has gained over years as a hospice volunteer.

Bachrach is one of four female, Washington, D.C.-based authors who will attend the Book Club Kick-Off, which will be hosted at JLW Headquarters in the Loughborough Room. Other authors include Monica Barnett, Amie Parnes, and Sarah Pekkannen. The event will also include food, beverages, book sales benefitting the League and plenty of time to mingle with other women participating in this year’s book clubs. If you’re interested in attending the Book Club Kick-off event, please RSVP here.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Author Sarah Pekkanen One of Many to Speak at JLW Book Club

Summer may be winding down, but that book you can’t put down doesn’t have to be packed away with your shorts and sandals. International bestselling author Sarah Pekkanen writes those books. Pekkanen’s women’s fiction—or “chick lit”—genre of books are guaranteed to be a good read year round.

Her latest book, Catching Air, is the fifth of her published works. Hoda Kotb of the Today Show said she was “flying through the pages” and People magazine remarked, “Pekkanen's wry voice and engaging characters keeps things fresh.” Other works by Pekkanen include These Girls, Skipping a Beat, The Opposite of Me and The Best of Us. Her next novel is due out in spring 2015.
As a mom of three boys she says she has penned at least half of one of her books inside of Chuck E. Cheese, literally, and got her start at the ripe age of 10. She also has worked as an on-air correspondent for e! Entertainment Network and for multiple metro area newspapers covering the Capitol Hill beat and as a freelance writer.

Pekkanen will answer questions from JLW members as one of the four female, Washington, D.C.-based authors at the Book Club Kick-Off, which will be hosted at JLW Headquarters in the Loughborough Room on September 23 at 6:30 p.m. Other authors include Judy Bachrach, Monica Barnett and Amie Parnes. The event will also include food, beverages, book sales benefitting the League and plenty of time to mingle with other women participating in this year’s book clubs. If you’re interested in attending the Book Club Kick-off event, please RSVP here. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Membership Outreach Committee is proud to host author Amie Parnes at the annual JLW Book Club Kick-off event, Tuesday, September 23, at 6:30 p.m. Parnes covers the Obama administration as the White House correspondent for The Hill newspaper, a D.C.-centric publication.

As a 10-year veteran of political journalism, Parnes has traveled extensively with Politicians we all love to love or love to hate…or at the very least, would love to hear about. The list includes those affiliated with the Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John McCain presidential campaigns during the 2008 presidential race. She also appears frequently on MSNBC and has been featured on CNN and Fox News, as well as various other recognizable networks.

In 2014 Parnes took politics to pen, publishing HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton, along with co-author Jeffrey Allen. The political biography offers readers a rare look inside the Clinton political powerhouse while demonstrating how Clinton fundamentally transformed the U.S. Department of State using the force of her fame and following, and her unparalleled knowledge. It also provides an in-depth look at Clintons personal relationships and how the power of Washington works.

Parnes will answer questions from JLW members as one of the four female, Washington, D.C.-based authors at the Book Club Kick-Off, which will be hosted at JLW Headquarters in the Loughborough Room. Other authors include Judy Bachrach, Monica Barnett and Sarah Pekkannen. The event will also include food, beverages, book sales benefitting the league and plenty of time to mingle with other women participating in this year’s book clubs. If you’re interested in attending the Book Club Kick-off event, please RSVP here.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Book Club Kickoff: Spotlight on Author Monica Barnett

Who is better equipped to write about the power of style than someone with eleven years of experience in personal styling and image consulting? Monica Barnett, a JLW member herself, has worked with everyone from political elites, business executives and professional athletes, and created an online style resource, “Blueprint for Style,” – and now she is coming to JLW to share her wisdom!

Barnett will be attending the upcoming Book Club Kick-off event to discuss her book and experience writing for print and online. Without Saying A Word: The Silent Power of Style inspires professional women to “build their personal style signature in a more thoughtful manner.” The book is a helpful, fun read on how to not lose your own personal style in an office setting, while still conveying the upmost professionalism.

Barnett will answer questions from JLW members as one of the four female, Washington, D.C.-based authors at the Book Club Kick-Off, which will be hosted at JLW Headquarters in the Loughborough Room on September 23 at 6:30 p.m. Other authors include Judy Bachrach, Amie Parnes and Sarah Pekkannen. The event will also include food, beverages, book sales benefitting the League and plenty of time to mingle with other women participating in this year’s book clubs. If you’re interested in attending the book club kick-off event, please RSVP here. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Don’t Miss JLW’s Book Club Kick-Off Event!

The Membership Outreach Committee is excited to launch this year’s book clubs with the most anticipated Book Clubs Kick-off event yet! In the weeks following the National Book Festival, league ladies have been busy filling out the book club’s survey, pondering which genre fits their mood this year—New York Times best sellers? Chick lit? Or perhaps even classics?

On September 23, we invite those who filled out the survey to join us for the annual kick-off event, beginning at 6:30 p.m., at JLW headquarters. Attendees will have time to mix and mingle before taking part as an active audience before a panel of renowned local authors including Judy Bachrach, Monica Barnett, Amie Parnes and Sarah Pekkanen. The event will also include food, beverages, book sales benefitting the League and plenty of time to meet with women in your book club of choice.

Forgot to fill out the survey? Don’t worry, RSVP for the Book Club Kick-off Event here and we can place you in a book club at the event.

The very popular JLW Book Clubs are organized by the Membership Outreach committee as a way to bring members together in a social setting based on common reading interests. Interested ladies are placed into groups based on location and genre of their preference determined during the online survey process. In addition to promoting league member connections and friendships, JLW book clubs promote literacy in the League and set a tone for our mission and an example for the larger D.C. community.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Fall Into Fashion: A beauty and fashion event

Shopping for a cause can bring happiness to more than just the buyer of a gift and its recipient. Join the ladies of the Junior League of Washington for a fashion and fun-filled evening as we celebrate the kick-off of the 56th Annual Holiday Shops with an exclusive “Fall Into Fashion” event at Bloomingdale’s Chevy Chase (5300 Western Avenue, Chevy Chase, MD 20815) on Wednesday, October 1. Bloomingdales is conveniently located near the Friendship Heights Red Line Metro.

Channel your inner fashionista, as you sip, snack and shop for the season’s hottest looks. The festivities commence at 6 p.m., and Bloomingdale’s is staying open for an extra hour, until 10 p.m., for their guest shoppers.

Event tickets are $25 in advance ($35 at the door) and not only do attendees receive special savings off their purchases, but 10% of the proceeds will be donated back to the League. Fall into Fashion is also a MEMBERSHIP CREDIT!  Last year, this event helped raised over $8,000 in support of the Junior League of Washington’s mission, and we’re hoping to exceed that number this year!

Product and brand exclusions may apply.  Please see a sales associate for details. We look forward to seeing everyone on October 1st!

Monday, August 18, 2014

A Mid-Summer's Afternoon Potluck

Almost 100 JLW New Members of the JLW 2014-2015 class met their Advisors at the New Member Potluck. As the first official event of the New Member year, New Members, Advisors and Board Members mingled at JLW Headquarters. Begun only seven years ago, the New Member Potluck has become a JLW institution and this year did not disappoint.

Ladies munched on an array of dishes they’d provided while getting to know fellow New Members and Actives alike. Heather Foss, New Member Committee Co-Chair, welcomed attendees followed by a series of introductions from members of the Steering Committee.

New Members were able to get more familiar with Headquarters. The weather was beautiful and everyone was able to enjoy the JLW back patio. Based on this years’ Potluck’s success, this promises to be a strong New Member year!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Not the Same Old National Book Festival

New venue among changes coming to this year’s festival

This year, the 14th Annual Library of Congress National Book Festival will take place on Saturday, August 30, and JLW Members and the public can expect some changes from years past. Whether you are a book lover or someone who would rather just see the movie, this year’s festival has something for you.

Sign up for a volunteer shift today. 

What’s different?

The venue: Sunscreen and ponchos are no longer needed as the festival moves indoors to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. The continued success of the festival – last year’s event brought more than 200,000 attendees to the National Mall – and new National Park Service rules for use of the Mall made the Convention Center the best choice for this year’s festival.

Evening activities: Not a morning person? This year’s festival will go from 10 AM to 10 PM; however, JLW shifts end at 6:30 p.m. Among the new nighttime offerings is “Great Books to Great Movies,” a pavilion with a panel discussion and screenings about film adaptations of the classics.

International Pavilion: Authors from around the world will gather in one place at this year’s National Book Festival.

Culinary Arts Pavilion: Expect cooking demonstrations and talks from author-chefs like Carla Hall, Cathal Armstrong, and Daniel W. Thomas in the new Culinary Arts Pavilion.

Learn more about these changes at

What’s the same?

The focus: Celebrating a lifelong love of reading and promoting literacy remain central to the Festival.

The lineup: An outstanding lineup of award-winning authors will present readings and signings, including Kai Bird, Kate DiCamillo, Francisco Goldman, Alice McDermott, and many others. Find out more about the lineup here:

The volunteers: The Library of Congress counts on JLW to provide outstanding volunteers, and as always, we need your help. Sign up for a shift today to help make this year’s festival the best yet. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Connect with the JLW!

Social media allows the JLW to spread its message of promoting literacy and keep its more than 2,000 active members connected. As an important part of the JLW's communication strategy, the JLW uses social media to highlight its impact in the community, showcase special events, and support its community partners. The JLW strives to harness technology across various media platforms to meet our members where they are today. For this League year we'd like to increase our social media presence by encouraging all JLW members to follow the JLW on Facebook and Twitter, tweet, retweet, "like" posts, join our groups, re-pin, and share our blog.

Here's the official JLW Facebook page.

The JLW LinkedIn group for professional networking.

And of course, the JLW Twitter feed.

Check out our Blog as well.

We also have a Pinterest page that we hope to expand this year.

Please join/follow us on social media. Have a great idea for a blog post? Feel free to offer suggestions and contributions by emailing We’d love to hear from you!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Congratulations to JLW Community Partner CFLS!

Congratulations to JLW community partner Community Family Life Services on being named the 2014 non-profit of the year by the DC Chamber of Commerce. 

Community Family Life Services has provided housing, case management, employment counseling, mentoring, youth development, and emergency services to low-income and homeless families since 1969. Since its inception, the organization continues to expand its impact and now services over 1,300 people each year. This year, CFLS was featured in the 2013-2014 Catalogue for Philanthropy-Greater Washington as one of the best community-based non-profits in the Washington region. This distinguished honor is awarded to charities that display the highest degree of excellence in terms of financial sustainability and overall impact in the community.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Sharing Our Story... Strengthening Our Community by Jennifer Hemingway

Women have so many more ways to serve as leaders in their community than in 1912 when JLW opened its doors. I am thankful to the 15 women who answered nominatings call to serve on the JLW board of directors for the coming year.

Cameron Gilreath, President-Elect; Catherine Smith Blakely, Secretary; Brooke Horiuchi,  Treasurer; Kelly Wilson-Pisciotta, Vice Treasurer; Deidra Lemons Johnson, Communications and Public Relations Council Director; C. C. Christakos, Community Affairs Council Director; Kim Tuomey, Adult Community Placements Council Director; Biffy Cathcart, Childrens Community Placements Council Director; Genevieve Moreland, Cultural Community Placements Council Director; Amanda Walke, New Membership Development Council Director; Elizabeth Keys, Membership Development Council Director; Crystal Jezierski, Nominating Chair and Board Member;  Kristen Anderson, Strategic Planning Chair and Board Member; Jan Abraham, Sustainer Chair and Board Member; and Anne Riser, Ways and Means Council Director.

We are fortunate to be joined at the Board table by Maria Estefania, Parliamentarian; Maria Marks, Deputy Parliamentarian; and Katherine Gensler, Recording Secretary.

We are ready to continue the great leadership JLW has enjoyed for more than a century.

During this next year, we will focus on “Sharing Our Story…Strengthening Our Community.” Sharing the story of why we continue our membership will help us connect with each other and find that internal sense of community. As we begin our 102nd year, it is important that we share the story of our work to strengthen our community. Sharing our story will help ensure the financial support necessary for us to expand our reach. 

Early childhood literacy is a component of our focus on literacy that is especially important to me. Some of my first volunteer experiences in the community were at the Umatilla Public Library. I planted bushes with my dad around a restored train caboose that would serve as the childrens reading room and as a middle school student I re-purposed my Halloween costume (a witch that featured green hair) to read “Green Eggs and Ham” to elementary students. Through the Junior League of Washington, Ive developed my potential as a community leader through the refurbishment of two middle school libraries, organization of reading materials for DC Public Librarys Adaptive Services Division, and funding of young poets through a targeted grant to the DC Creative Writing Workshop. Im blessed by the many Junior League friends Ive met along the way.

As a relatively new mom, I have experienced firsthand the benefit of daily reading to my son and taken comfort in the magic of a library story hour. Our public libraries expose children to books at a young age while at the same time giving parents some well needed support and encouragement. My training in the Junior League provided me with the experience needed to serve as Treasurer of District of Columbia Library Foundation Board of Directors, sharing the gift of literacy with District children. It is my hope the League will expand on its governance training this year and develop the next generation of League leaders for service on the JLW board as well as key non-profits in our community.

Your board of directors is excited and prepared for its placement. We are mindful of the rich history of the Junior League that will guide us as we continue to develop our potential as women leaders, promote voluntarism, and improve our community. Thank you for your membership and your commitment to our mission as we begin our 102nd year.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Fun! Fun! Fun!The Junior League of Washington’s Children’s Trunk Show is Saturday, March 8th from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. in Crystal City. Bargain shoppers will love our quality pre-owned children’s clothes, furniture, high chairs, swings, toys, books, and maternity gear. Tons of brand new Lansinoh products too! Our “quality corner” features new children’s items and gently used designer children’s clothes. Fun for the whole family with entertainment, drawings and lite refreshments. Tickets $10; kids are FREE. Cash or check only for purchased merchandise.

Bring an unopened package of disposable diapers or baby wipes with you and receive 1 free drawing ticket.
Proceeds from the sales at Tossed & Found go to support the mission of the Junior League of Washington, including our focus on promoting literacy in the Washington area. For more information, visit

Metro accessible (Crystal City stop - blue/yellow line) and free parking! 251 18th Street, South, 8th Floor, Arlington, VA.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Support the JLW Mission All Year Long!

This past year at the Junior League of Washington, we have all accomplished so much in living out our mission of developing the potential of women, improving our community, and providing trained volunteers.  I hope that you all are as proud of all of the League accomplishments as we are at the Annual Fund.  One great way to continue supporting this mission is through your donation to the Annual Fund. Annual Fund is the League’s way of continuing to raise funds in support of our mission, outside of our dues and events, all year long.   

The great news is that there is still time to make your tax-deductible Annual Fund donation and to celebrate at our March 6th Sippin’ and DIPpin’ event! Our event’s name is a reflection of our commitment to DIP Develop the potential of women, Improve communities and Provide trained volunteers.  Donate $25 or more to earn a Membership Credit and to join us for a fun evening at JLW HQ on March 6th from 6:30-8:00.  This awesome event will include beverages to sip, nibbles to dip, speakers (including our own JLW President Shiela Corley!), and the chance to win raffle prizes. One of the raffle prizes is valued at over $700! RSVP here. Hope to see you all there!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Calling for Diapers! A Quick & Easy Way to Make a Huge Difference.

By Sara Swabb

Image via

Why Diapers?
Many of you are mothers, aunts, nannies, or have simply walked by the diaper aisle at the grocery and understand that the cost of diapers can add up quickly.  Statistics show that a baby needs 10 to 12 diapers a day, costing about $100 to $120 each month.  Parents who cannot afford this expense routinely run out of diapers.

Babies who remain in dirty diapers for prolonged periods experience diaper rash, infections, or other health problems, and typically express their discomfort through crying.  And the pain that a parent feels at not being able to meet their children’s basic needs adds stress and tension to the already difficult task of parenting.

How Can You Help?
To help mitigate this relevant issue in the District, My Sister’s Place (MSP) volunteers are calling on all JLW members and their networks to donate diapers and baby wipes for the children of MSP.  Diapers must be disposable and all sizes (infant, toddler, pull-up) are acceptable.  Just drop off the items at the JLW headquarters in the first floor kitchen by March 15, 2014. 

Think You’re Too Busy to Help?
Sometimes it’s tough to get to the store, purchase the items, and complete the drop off.  If this is the case for you, check out or and get the items shipped straight to JLW headquarters:

Mail these to:
                      ATTN: Jackie Paranzino, My Sister’s Place Chair
                      3039 M Street NW
                      Washington, DC 20007

Still Have Questions?
Feel free to contact Jackie Paranzino, MSP Committee Chair, at

Monday, February 3, 2014

More Fun Than a Day At the Ball Park!

The Community Events Planning Committee spent Saturday, January 11th, at Children’s National Medical Center taking part in a new Kids In The Kitchen event. This was the first event in what will hopefully be a long relationship with Children’s National Medical Center.

Kids in the Kitchen’s goal is to provide children with nutritional literacy and equip them to make smart decisions about food and physical fitness. Saturday’s event took place in the Washington National’s Diabetes Care Complex within the Children’s National facility. The beautiful wing of the hospital added to the excitement of the day, with a replica of the baseball diamond from National’s Park built into the floor.

Young patients were treated to white chefs hats and goodie bags while they roamed from activity station to activity station to collect recipe cards, which fit together to form a healthy eating cook book.

The baseball theme continued throughout the activities starting with Healthy Eating Bingo. After getting three healthy foods in a row, winners received a baseball for a prize. And at the trivia station, children were quizzed about healthy foods in comparison to baseball-themed items. Did you know that a serving of fruits or veggies should be the same size as a baseball? At the face painting table, you could get a baseball painted on or if you were feeling silly, a fake mustache!

JLW will be hosting another, great Kids in the Kitchen event on Saturday, March 1st, at the YMCA National Capital. If you have young children, this event is not to be missed!