Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Get in with the New Placements


Trying to decide where to volunteer next year? The Junior League of Washington (JLW) has 46 placements that give back in a variety of ways – through direct work in the community, through fundraising, and through League programs that help cultivate and develop our volunteers.

In 2017-2018 – our 105th anniversary year – JLW will have four new volunteer opportunities: 105th Celebration Committee, Member Communications, Washington School for Girls, and The Reading Connection.

Read on to learn about what each of these committees will do, and don’t forget to participate in this year’s placement fair – running from May 1-26.

105th Celebration Committee

The Junior League of Washington is getting ready to thrive in 105! 2017-2018 marks our 105th anniversary, and we will celebrate throughout the League year. The Celebration Committee is a special anniversary year committee that will be responsible for coordinating a year of celebration and recognition of JLW, our members today, and our bright future. The committee will be managing communications campaigns throughout the year, as well as a birthday party in the fall and a day of service in the spring – so members involved with specific events will be busier around those dates. If you are dedicated to JLW and passionate about celebrating the fantastic work we do, don’t miss out on this placement – because it probably won't be available again until our 110th. If you have additional questions, please contact Erin Buechel Wieczorek.

Member Communications Committee

Be a connector and join the Member Communications Committee! New for the 2017-2018 year, this in-League placement addresses how JLW communicates with its members to share news of events, Membership Credit opportunities, League information, and other important news. It's perfect for someone who wants a smaller, more intimate committee (4-6 women, plus the chair) and the flexibility to do work on your own time. You'll also get to know JLW well because you'll work with all committees and councils to help communicate their opportunities and activities to members. Potential volunteers should have solid communications skills, flexibility, and creativity. The monthly time commitment is around 4-8 hours with monthly meetings. Additional questions can be direct to Jennifer Lim.

The Reading Connection Committee

JLW is pleased to announce our newest partnership with The Reading Connection (TRC). In the 2017-2018 League year, we will be volunteering with TRC’s Read-Aloud program, which inspires children (and volunteers) through the power of reading aloud and a love of great books. This program trains and deploys community volunteers to serve children living in shelters and other housing complexes – situations where parents are likely to be too stressed to read for the fun of it. At each Read-Aloud, JLW volunteers will read quality, age-appropriate books to the children, encouraging engagement and interest, then coordinate activities and conversations based on the theme of the books. Every child selects a book to keep after every weekly session – because when kids enjoy a book, they’ll want more. Volunteers will be expected to plan and attend one Read-Aloud session per month with a team of four to five of your JLW peers. For more information about this placement, contact Christina Prevalsky.

Washington School for Girls Committee

Let’s hear it for the girls! Another new community placement for the upcoming year is at the Washington School for Girls – which is currently the recipient of a multi-year, targeted grant. This committee will work on literacy skills with girls grades 3-8 during their Saturday School Program (9:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.). Volunteers will have the opportunity to help improve literacy in the DC ward that needs the most help. The girls are bright and eager to learn, and many don’t have much opportunity to work with an adult one-on-one regularly. Potential volunteers should be comfortable around kids of all ages and different socioeconomic levels as well as have the ability to generate excitement and motivate children to learn. WSG is in Anacostia; the location is easy to find and offers free parking. If you have additional questions, please contact Jennie Kronthal.




Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Celebrating Women’s History Month at NMWA

On Sunday, March 12, the Junior League of Washington’s (JLW) Esprit and National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) Committees teamed up to celebrate Women’s History Month by co-hosting a museum tour and brunch. NMWA is the “only major museum in the world solely dedicate to recognizing women’s creative contributions,” according to the museum’s website – an ideal place to celebrate the contributions of women throughout history, as well as the powerful band of women who make up the Junior League of Washington.

The tours were led by two JLW docents, Sarah Bryant, NMWA Committee chair, and Jamela “Jam” Black. Attendees viewed pieces by Lavinia Fontana’s Portrait of a Noblewoman (1580), Amy Sherald’s It Made Sense… Mostly in Her Mind (2011), and many other great works in the NMWA collection. NMWA features pieces that span generations, styles, nationalities, and subjects, with more than 100 works by women from the 16th century to the modern era on display.

Bethany Poteat, a NMWA Committee member, attended the event and said, "Our docent (Jam) structured the tour around the theme 'something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue' and encouraged us to look at seemingly unrelated works from a different perspective. I loved hearing what thoughts and references the pieces evoked for different people."

Attendees pose for a photo in NMWA’s great hall before the start of the tour.
Photo Credit: Elizabeth Keys, JLW President
After the tour, attendees enjoyed brunch at Momofuku and continued the conversation on women artists. They also discussed the artists and works featured on “See For Yourself” cards, packets that comprise a self-guided tour. JLW and NMWA volunteers help put the packets together.

Attendees at brunch pose with “See For Yourself” cards and discuss women artists and works they viewed on the tour.
Photo Credit: Jackie Frederick-Maturo

Attendees had a wonderful time learning about women artists and their accomplishments. You can join the conversation too! Join the initiative started by NMWA, use #5WomenArtists on social media and share photos of works by your favorite women artists.

NMWA incorporated as a private, nonprofit museum in 1981, opening its doors to the public in its current location on New York Avenue in 1987. JLW has been associated with NMWA since 1982; today, women from the League serve as visitor experience volunteers, staffing the Information Desk, leading Conversation Pieces, and supporting the museum at a variety of events. 


Monday, March 27, 2017

New Member Kelsey Sullivan Lives Out Our Literacy Focus in Her Mini Placement and Community Experience


Junior League of Washington (JLW) New Member Kelsey Sullivan served in the community for both her mini placement and community experience, gaining eye-opening experiences during her provisional year. Read on to find out all about Kelsey’s experiences in her mini placement and in her community experience.

“I've had the pleasure of completing a wonderful community experience as well as an unforgettable mini placement. For my community experience, I volunteered with the DC Books to Prisons Project, and for my mini placement, I volunteered with the Washington School for Girls (WSG) four Saturday mornings over the course of a few months.

“At the DC Books to Prisons Project, I read letters sent to the organization directly from incarcerated men and women from around the country and responded by picking out and sending books to them I thought they would like. Their letters spoke about their interests, aspirations, and favorite authors and genres, and we worked to carefully select literature, self-help books, and even textbooks that would cater to their requests. It was a very moving experience, because when we think of the criminal justice system in the United States, we think of the millions and millions of Americans who are behind bars. This experience allowed me to get to know a few of these Americans personally. It made an issue that is so vast and at times seems helpless very accessible and personal. I was nervous about my choices, because I didn't want them to be disappointed by the books they would receive. I wrote little notes back wishing them happy reading, and I do hope that they all enjoyed the pieces I picked out for them.

“At the Washington School for Girls, I had the pleasure of working with and socializing with underprivileged girls in grades 3-8. We ate breakfast with them, played some ice-breaker games, and then spent the rest of the time helping them with homework and various assignments. My favorite part of this opportunity was knowing that I was helping these girls solve problems and appreciate the learning process, and hopefully, along the way, acting as a role model for them. Despite coming from families and communities with few resources, these girls are happy, smart, confident young women with bright futures, thanks to WSG. 

“I think I was most inspired by the JLW leader of the WSG partnership. Her passion for WSG and the work the school is doing was incredibly inspiring. While we volunteers spent our time tutoring the little girls, JLW’s relationship manager [Jennie Kronthal] spent her Saturday mornings teaching a girl’s mom how to read. This was so moving, because her work truly was contributing to JLW's mission of literacy promotion. Teaching a mother how to read will not only empower her to read, but it will allow her to teach her children and grandchildren how to read, and the gift of reading will be passed on through generations to come. Improving one person's literacy can have implications that reach far beyond that one individual. [Jennie] really inspired me to think about the ways that I can contribute to society, and to JLW, in my own future as a member. This was definitely a ‘mission moment.’

“I joined JLW because I wanted to be connected with opportunities to volunteer, and I must say, it has exceeded my expectations. I have volunteered more in the last four to five months than I have in the last four to five years of my life here in DC. Additionally, I have made some great friends so far, which I honestly didn't expect. I knew I'd meet some lovely young women with similar goals and aspirations as me, but I didn't really expect to meet young women with whom I would click so fast – that has been a wonderful bonus to my JLW experience so far.

“I am sincerely looking forward to becoming a full member and joining different committees. This has been a great experience, and I have encouraged many, many friends and acquaintances to consider joining JLW. I am so excited about the coming years of good friendships, leadership experiences and most importantly, opportunities to give back to those around me who are in need.”

Thank you for sharing your experiences, Kelsey! Now, it’s your turn. What have been some of your favorite JLW experiences volunteering in our community?


Saturday, March 25, 2017

Get On Board Enabled Me to Get on a Board (and Stay There)


By: Laura Lieberman

One of my favorite things about the Junior League of Washington is that it has helped me develop skills that have allowed me to enhance my usefulness in the areas in which I volunteer, allowing me to take my involvement to “the next level.” For example, my first-year community experience participation with Iona Senior Services led me to be the Meals on Wheels coordinator for my church. But another major example that stands out for me is participating in Get On Board.

When the first Get On Board class was announced in spring 2015, I’d just been recently nominated to serve on the board of directors for the Lee-Fendall House Museum and Garden. The Executive Director, John Christiansen, had nominated me because he believed that my volunteer experience (the museum is my Historic Alexandria Docents placement) would provide insight for the board’s governance. I was pretty nervous about this, so I thought taking the Get On Board classes would help.

And they did! My nomination to the board was approved right about the same time as the first Get On Board class, so the timing was perfect. Through the span of four lessons, I was exposed to a lot of important information, such as a board member’s responsibilities, optimal relationships between the board and the executive director, what documents a board member should access and familiarize herself with, and how to identify problems within an organization’s board.

The material taught was all useful, but learning the proper role of a board member in a tight-knit organization has proved to be particularly helpful for my own situation. The Lee-Fendall operates on a small scale—small staff, small group of volunteers, and small board. Because I’m also a volunteer, it can be easy for these roles to overlap. However, learning how to keep my involvement in these two positions separate from the beginning has been a good way to enjoy being engaged without overstepping boundaries.

The course was also a good way to learn more about nonprofit governance generally. Coming out of the sessions, I felt much more knowledgeable about the structure of both nonprofit board and staff. Additionally, I definitely recommend the program for anyone who is on (or is considering) the Targeted Grants and Volunteer Resources Committee—learning about the elements of a stable organization can be helpful when reviewing grant application documents.


Saturday, March 18, 2017

Celebrating 25 Years of Fabulous Finds!


The Junior League of Washington (JLW) will host its 25th annual Tossed & Found rummage sale on March 25 and 26, 2017, in Crystal City, Virginia. One of the Junior League of Washington’s largest fundraisers, Tossed & Found provides DC-area families and community groups with quality, gently used household goods at bargain prices.


“The Junior League of Washington is looking forward to opening the doors of our Tossed & Found rummage sale for the 25th year running. We welcome not only savvy shoppers, but also members of our community in need of bargain household goods and clothing to help them get back on their feet,” said JLW President Elizabeth Keys. “Since 1993, Tossed & Found has been a fundraiser that directly connects our members to our mission by improving our community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. In celebrating Tossed & Found’s silver anniversary, we are celebrating 25 years of being able to continue promoting voluntarism and giving back to our community.”

Support Tossed & Found through the following ways in 2017:

Buy Community Cash Cards – The concept is simple. You donate to Tossed & Found’s Community Cash Card program, and we give a $40 gift certificate for the sale to a JLW community partner, neighbor in need, or a charity or church of your choice. These gift certificates allow women, men, and children, often dealing with homelessness, extreme poverty, or crisis situations, to shop the sale and get much-needed items, like pots and pans, furniture, clothing, and baby items.

Attend Our EventsThis year’s sale will take place at 2200 Crystal Drive, 6th Floor in Arlington, Virginia – space generously provided in partnership with Vornado/Charles E. Smith and the Crystal City Business Improvement District. The rummage sale is free and open to the public.

Hoops & High Heels Preview Night
March 24, 2017
7 p.m.
The 25th Annual Tossed & Found Rummage Sale
March 25, 2017        March 26, 2017
9 a.m. – 4 p.m.        9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Invite Your Friends - All of our events are open to the public – show your friends and family one of the many ways JLW supports the DC area.

Work a Shift – Come have fun with the committee as we sort, organize, and set up for our events. Get to know some new people and earn a membership credit.


Over the past quarter-century, Tossed & Found has raised over $2.1 million cumulatively; in 2016, the sale raised more than $150,000. Proceeds from the sale are used to advance the League’s mission. JLW focuses its financial and volunteer resources on the issues of literacy – adult, child, and cultural – and works with a diverse group of community partners, including Horton’s Kids, the National Museum for Women in the Arts, Iona Senior Services, and N Street Village.

For a complete list of events and more information on JLW’s Tossed & Found, please visit www.jlw.org/TossedandFound. And to get a sneak peek at some of the fabulous finds from this year’s sale and learn a little more about the history of the sale, visit our Facebook event.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

New Member Tess Terrible Experiences Passionate Strategic Planning


The Strategic Planning Committee focuses on the long-term goals of the Junior League of Washington (JLW) and develops and maintains the League’s Strategic Plan. Tess Terrible, a New Member, experienced the passion and knowledge that goes into our strategic planning in her mini placement – an 8-10-hour sample of what it’s like to be an active JLW member for our New Members.

When asked about her experience with the committee, Tess said, “Walking into the Strategic Planning Committee meeting, I did not know what to expect. I knew I would be surrounded by some of the most experienced minds in the Junior League of Washington, so I was fairly nervous. I chose this mini placement because I wanted an opportunity to learn more about the League, leadership within the League and, perhaps, become more comfortable speaking my mind. I am an introvert, but I aspire to be a leader in my industry, and I knew I wanted more experience

“I couldn’t have picked a better time to join this committee. In my first meeting, I learned the committee was tasked to draft the League’s next five-year plan. My first meeting, I hardly spoke. I took some notes and listened to the conversation; the depth of knowledge and insightfulness of these women was truly inspiring. Conversation was civil, but these women don’t hold back. They are passionate about the League and the direction it goes, and they bring a wealth of experience to ensure that JLW continues to grow and improve the lives of women in the Washington, DC, area.”

We asked Tess about what she enjoys most about being a part of JLW, and she said, “I do not have a legacy of Junior League women in my family; I learned about the Junior League through the women in my professional life. These are women of outstanding character, grace, and ambition. What I love most about being a New Member is being part of this circle of elite women. I feel like I have a sea of advisors who constantly inspire me and seek to elevate me as I go forward in my career. In parallel, I truly feel like I am working to better the lives of other women in the Washington, DC, community who need it most. It is a cycle of mentorship and improving and inspiring women to reach their greatest heights that I am completely honored to be part of.”

We’d love to hear about your experiences in JLW! Share what you love about being a member in the comments.


Monday, February 27, 2017

New Member Etta Hulcher Has a Backstage Pass in Her Community Experience


The Junior League of Washington focuses on literacy as our primary outreach, and JLW volunteers donate their time and talents in myriad ways to organizations like Iona Senior Services, Calvary Women’s Services, Bright Beginnings, National Museum of Women in the Arts, and the Folger Shakespeare Library. These community experiences serve to not only extend a hand into the DC community, but to empower our members as well.  JLW prides itself on building well-rounded leaders and positive role models.

Etta Hulcher, a JLW New Member, experienced the Folger Shakespeare Library Committee’s work through their efforts to help the theatre put on “Sense and Sensibility.” The Folger Shakespeare Library, located on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, is home to the world’s largest and finest collection of Shakespeare materials and two major collections of other rare Renaissance books, manuscripts, and works of art.

The Folger is known for its wide array of scholarly and public programs. These include plays, concerts, literary readings, family activities, and exhibitions, as well as numerous K-12 and college programs for students and teachers.
Folger Committee members usher for a wide variety of performances, including plays, poetry readings, PEN/Faulkner readings, and "Words on Will" lectures about Shakespeare. The committee also volunteers for the annual Shakespeare's birthday celebration at the Folger, which includes a number of games and activities for children and families.
When asked for a peek into her community experience with the Folger Theatre, Etta said, “My New Member community experience was at the Folger Theatre. Luckily, I found out from a new member email that the theatre had extended their showing of ‘Sense and Sensibility’ and needed volunteers! We helped organize programs prior to the show, helped guests to their seats, and helped with concessions. It was particularly exciting to learn that the volunteers are the face of the theatre and truly make the experience for most guests. It was really nice to be able to help make someone else’s evening that much more memorable and special with a positive experience. Not to mention I got to see the extended showing of ‘Sense and Sensibility.’ What a treat! The show was absolutely fantastic and hilarious. I would love to have another opportunity much like that one.”

Etta’s exciting experience is typical of the JLW’s community experiences and volunteer opportunities.  As Junior League volunteers, it is satisfying to know that we can enrich the lives of others while also enriching ourselves.

  

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Making the Most of Your JLW Mini-Placement: A Conversation with Provisional Member Daria Brunett


The Junior League of Washington’s (JLW) reach extends to more than 20 organizations in the Washington, DC, area and provides many opportunities to volunteer within the community or within the League. When a new member (“Provisional”) joins JLW, she might wonder which placement is the best fit for her – working with a JLW fundraiser, a community partner like Horton’s Kids or N Street Village, or helping with an in-League placement, such as PR or Development & Training. To help narrow down the interests of its provisional members, a mini-placement – an eight to 10-hour commitment with one JLW committee or council – offers a glimpse into a specific volunteer experience within JLW. 

Here, Daria Brunet touches on her experience with Bright Beginnings, a free, full-day child development center specifically designed for preschoolers whose families are in crisis shelters or transitional housing, which JLW helped found. She shares how her short time with the program has already reinforced her decision to join JLW.

Asked for a sneak peek on what Bright Beginnings is all about, Daria referenced her “well-rounded” experience and added what is ahead for the committee:

 The Bright Beginnings Committee has created a very well-rounded mini-placement experience for the provisional members. I have had the opportunity to attend the monthly committee meetings, participate in the Fall Literacy Night in which we read “Go, Go, Grapes!” and helped the children with creating fruit-inspired chef hats, fulfill the Christmas wish list for one of the two-year-old boys in the program, organize and verify the wish list gifts for accuracy and completeness at a committee sorting shift, help transport and unload the wish list gifts from JLW HQ to Bright Beginnings, and fundraise for the Bright Beginnings 5K via the Crowdrise platform. Before the end of the year, I will also be helping out with activities and games at the Bright Beginnings Holiday Party.

What has been your favorite part?

So far, I have most enjoyed the Fall Literacy Night because it allowed me to interact with the children, see the Bright Beginnings teachers in action, and feel the impact and significance of the program.

Did you have any mission moments during your mini-placement?

Yes. At the monthly committee meetings, you can feel the commitment to promoting voluntarism and improving the community served by Bright Beginnings from each woman there. It has been really important for me as a provisional member to see that kind of commitment, and it has reinforced my decision to join JLW, as I joined primarily to obtain stronger ties to the community through volunteering. At the Fall Literacy Night, it was clear to see how JLW’s work at Bright Beginnings is “improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers.” Bright Beginnings is providing high-quality education and services to one of DC’s neediest and most vulnerable populations – homeless children. The importance of this kind of program in the lives of these children cannot be overstated. Not only did JLW found Bright Beginnings, the annual fundraising and on-the-ground presence from JLW’s volunteers provides critical support that sustains Bright Beginnings in the community.

What do you like about being a New Member?

I have truly enjoyed how the New Member year requirements expose you to so many different facets of the League. From the National Book Festival to Holiday Shops to Bright Beginnings to Esprit events with my advisor group, each experience has been unique and fun in its own way.  Also, having just had my first baby in August and being on maternity leave this fall, JLW events have been a great way to get out of the house and spend time with wonderful women doing good for others and the community.

Thanks to Daria for showcasing her experience! JLW provisional members – we’d love for you to share yours! Our committees give members the opportunity to engage with the community, and one another, in life-changing ways.


Saturday, February 4, 2017

Who’s Behind Who’s News?


Junior League of Washington (JLW) Sustainer Lee-Lee Prina has been the face of beloved member column Who’s News since the 1980s. Through the decades, she has announced countless life events for fellow League members and has seen it all! We wanted to peek behind the curtain and learn more about Lee-Lee and how she’s seen JLW evolve from her vantage point.

Who's News is our very own Page 6! How do you collect news and updates?

Most of the news comes in "over the transom" (that is, by email sent to whosnews@jlw.org). And our current JLW president Elizabeth Keys is very diligent about sending me scoops! Occasionally, I read something elsewhere about a member and then attribute the news to the other publication and quote from it! In the "olden days," people would call me; I would also make cold calls to members to see if they had any news.

Tell us a little more about yourself – how long have you been in the League? What brought you to the DC area?

I have been in JLW since about 1980 and became a Sustainer around 1996. While I was never a committee chair or council director, I was elected to the Nominating Committee twice! (Editor’s note: Now, being a chair is a prerequisite for serving on Nominating.)

I was born and bred in DC (not suburbs!) and am an only child. My late dad was a news reporter here, and my mother is a retired freelance writer (and former JLW member!). I have lived in the Washington area all of my life except for a couple of out-of-town internships and four years in New Orleans at Tulane University. Now my husband and I live in Bethesda, near Glen Echo.

I work for Health Affairs, one of the leading health policy journals in the country, as a senior editor. A number of years ago, I cut back to a busy part-time position, so I could help my elderly parents with a variety of things.

How long have you been doing Who's News, and how has it evolved over time?

I have been compiling and writing the "Who's News" column since about 1983 or 1984, I want to say. The column started out under the name of "Loughborough Log" (named after JLW Headquarters, of course) and appeared in JLW's then 2-color magazine called Potomac Pages. It had a good amount of pictures. As I recall, the magazine became too expensive to produce. The column then moved to the former Hotline newsletter, and then to the online League Lines e-newsletter. At some point – though I don’t know why – the column changed to "Who's News," which I believe was copied from the name of a column in the Wall Street Journal.

When the column started back in the 1980s, job "networking" among women seemed a big thing. I have continued to ask people (no matter what news they are reporting) whether they work and, if so, where they work and what they do. That person could be a good contact for another JLW member who is job hunting! :-)

What are some of the most interesting or unique experiences you've had in documenting these updates? Have there been any impressive updates or crazy connections?

Our members are doing all kinds of interesting things! I have corresponded with two people serving as Miss DC. I also talked to a member about her husband, who was one of the hostages in Lebanon during the 1980s. Another member was one of the anchors on NewsChannel 8. 

One thing members should know is "Who's News" does not cover engagements or pregnancies. Although most engagements and pregnancies turn out just fine, it is best to wait until everything is a "fait accompli!”

What do you think your readers enjoy seeing in Who's News?

I would guess that members view it like they do "Class News" in alumnae magazines. They likely want to see what their friends and acquaintances have been doing. Who's News, of course, is not "gossip" per se: We just publish good/happy news!

Monday, January 30, 2017

The True Story of PBS’s “Mercy Street”

By: Hanna Laver, Historic Alexandria Docents Committee

You may have seen PBS's show “Mercy Street,” which is based on events that took place at historic Old Town Alexandria properties where JLW members volunteer. The success of the show, which just returned for its second season on January 22, has turned into a new exhibit at Carlyle House, “Who These Wounded Are: The Extraordinary Stories of the Mansion House Hospital,” and a new set of work for JLW volunteers.

The show depicts life at the Mansion House Hospital in Union-occupied Alexandria, which was located on Carlyle House property. The Mansion House Hotel was built in front of Carlyle House and was seized as a hospital by the Union Army during the Civil War. Carlyle House itself housed doctors and high-ranking Union officers. Most of the hotel/hospital was torn down in the 1970s, but the original section still stands with staff offices located in the basement.

In preparation for the show’s premiere last January, Carlyle House and other historic Alexandria properties added tie-in exhibits and special tours. Previously, guided tours of the house focused on its Colonial and Revolutionary history, but the museum added an exhibit about the “real” Mercy Street, Mansion House Hospital. Volunteer docents attended several training sessions to learn about the hospital, Civil War era medicine, the Green family (who lived in Carlyle House and owned the Mansion House Hotel), and life in Union-occupied Alexandria in order to add to their tours.

In the months since the new exhibit opened and “Mercy Street” premiered, visitation at Carlyle House has increased 75 percent. JLW volunteers help at the property throughout the year both giving tours and assisting during special events. Carlyle’s Historic Site Manager Susan Hellman says she cannot overestimate the value provided by JLW volunteers. “Our JLW docents are some of our best and every single JLW volunteer who helps at our events and programs is amazing. We always know that we will have someone reliable, smart, and willing to do whatever is needed for the success of the museum.”

Stop by and visit JLW volunteers at Carlyle House Tuesday – Saturday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Sunday from 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. Don’t miss the exhibit “Who These Wounded Are: The Extraordinary Stories of the Mansion House Hospital,” which features an interpretation of period hospital rooms and doctor/officer housing, plus stories of nurse Mary Phinney (the main character in “Mercy Street”), through September 17, 2017. Learn more about Carlyle House’s role in “Mercy Street here.


Saturday, January 28, 2017

Leadership Spotlight: Courtney Mesmer


1.   How long have you been in the League?

10 years

2.   Tell us a bit about your first JLW leadership experience. What inspired you to lead?

My first leadership role was actually my first active year. My mini placement during my new member year was on Tossed & Found and I loved it. I spoke with the rising chairs at the sale that year, as well as my advisor and told them both that I would love to have a larger role in the sale next year – not really knowing what that meant at the time. The next thing I knew, I was asked to be part of the Tossed & Found steering committee for the following year, serving as a [subcommittee] co-chair.

3.  Tell us about the other positions you’ve held and what you’ve experienced through the process of developing your leadership in the JLW.

I actually stayed with Tossed & Found for two more years following my year as admin co-chair. The following year, I was asked to be rising chair and then chaired the sale in 2010-2011. After the sale, I stayed on the Ways and Means Council but moved over to Special Events (now the Marketplace Committee), where I was on their steering committee for two years. From there, I went to Nominating and then over to the Membership Development Council, where I’ve been for the past three years; my first year on the council, I was assistant council director and have served as Council Director for the past two years.  

4.  Share an example of how your leadership skills have grown or evolved as a JLW leader.

There has been many! One piece of advice that was given to me when I was starting out in JLW leadership that has really stuck with me over the years was, “the wedding is only as fun as the bride.” So whether you are in a chair, rising chair, steering member, or leading special project within a committee remember your attitude and energy reflects onto others. As a leader, you should be enthusiastic and positive about your role and be committed to delivering your best. This enthusiasm and commitment will rub off on others.

5.    What is the number one piece of advice you would give a JLW woman who is considering a leadership role for the 2017-2018 year?
If you are interested in taking on a leadership role next year, determine what roles you might be interested in and reach out to either the woman currently in the position or the assistant council director or council director of the position. Get their perspective on the position and what skills are needed to be a successful leader in the role. Then either self-nominate or get a friend to nominate you for the position. 

Are you or someone you know interested in JLW leadership? Nominations for assistant council director and committee chair and rising chair positions and willing-to-serve forms are now being accepted (link to nominating form). Be sure to nominate or self-nominate by February 1, 2017! If you have any questions about the nominating process, contact Brooke Horiuchi. Here are links that provide the 2017-2018 Chair descriptions and  ACD descriptions. Find the Nominating form here.


Thursday, January 26, 2017

Leadership Spotlight: Tara Andersen


1.  How long have you been in the League?

Five years

2.  Tell us a bit about your first JLW leadership experience. What inspired you to lead?

I’ve always had a willing-to-serve approach to taking on new opportunities. My first foray into leadership was as rising chair, and then chair, of the Magazine Committee – which was still called Member Communications during my rising year. A friend of mine, who had been in League leadership for a few years and was actually also my committee chair during my first active year, discussed the possibilities of future leadership with me, and it was something I was definitely interested in pursuing. Knowing a bit about the type of work I am in professionally, she nominated me for a role on the Communications Council. I really enjoyed my time on the Magazine Committee because I was able to grow as a leader and learn about so many different facets of the League, while also putting my professional skills to use for an organization I care about!  

3.  Tell us about the other positions you’ve held and what you’ve experienced through the process of developing your leadership in the JLW.

Being a rising chair and chair on Magazine was a two-year commitment. After I completed my year as Magazine chair, I joined the Community Affairs Council as an assistant council director (ACD). This is the role I currently hold. It’s been fascinating to learn more about some of the League’s critical community efforts while working with others in JLW leadership, including chairs on our council, my council director, and other ACDs across the League. 

4.  Share an example of how your leadership skills have grown or evolved as a JLW leader.

Some of the most valuable training that the League has provided me over the last few years is how to work with people who have styles that are very different from my own. This has helped me both as a JLW leader and in my career as well.

5.  What is the number one piece of advice you would give a JLW woman who is considering a leadership role for the 2017-2018 year?

Talk to your chair more about leadership and what it involves, self-nominate, and be open to opportunities outside of your comfort zone. You may not feel 100% equipped right when you say yes, but the League prepares you well. And you’ll develop new skills and an even better understanding of all the great work JLW does to develop the potential of women and to improve our community!

Are you or someone you know interested in JLW leadership? Nominations for assistant council director and committee chair and rising chair positions and willing-to-serve forms are now being accepted (link to nominating form). Be sure to nominate or self-nominate by February 1, 2017! If you have any questions about the nominating process, contact Brooke Horiuchi. Here are links that provide the 2017-2018 Chair descriptions and  ACD descriptions. Find the Nominating form here.