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Advocacy In Action

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Contributors Jenay Weekly Kasi Brown Barbara Boudreaux Kameron Patrick Jennifer Mims Renae Carsten Andrea Holland Paje Resner Katie Koupal Maddie Williams Johnna Brumley Briana Jackson Ashley Watson Elise Mitchell

from the

editors. W

e are thrilled to bring you this issue of Capital Impact! I hope that you enjoy this as much as we have enjoyed putting it together. You will find great resources on advocay and leadership throughout this edition. We cannot wait for you to read it!

Editorial Board Jennifer Sourk Jennifer Mims Maura Gathers Laura Vaughn Amanda Vogelsburg Jamie Mueller Brie Parks Pam Koupal Marsha Sheahan Vickie Hawver


Bailee Carpetner & Maddie Williams






Vice President Communications Council Katie Koupal Content Liaison Jennifer Mims Assistant Editor Maddie Williams Editor Bailee Carpenter





Editorial Team



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Serving as the President of the Junior League of Topeka over the past two years has been a humbling and captivating experience. I have had the pleasure of gaining many lifelong friends with a similar passion for volunteerism and civic leadership while also leaving an impact on the Topeka community. I am not sure there are many other organizations that can provide such an experience for women in our community.

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As a member of the Junior League of Topeka, we are all advocates for our community and the people who live here. Over more than 80 years in our community, this mission has been fulfilled through projects that have been developed or funded by the League, which continues to provide services to those in need. This year, the Junior League has dug even deeper into our community needs in order to pursue our focus as we move forward with our Issue Based Community Impact program. By selecting an issue for the Junior League to focus on, our members advocate for change by providing education, impactful volunteering opportunities, and collaboration with community partners. Junior League continues its commitment to address our community’s most urgent needs with meaningful and relevant programs and initiatives that not only improve lives, but also change the way people think.

This legacy of community service and preparing generations of women for a lifetime of civic leadership has left an incredible, positive impact on our community as our work has been demonstrated through educating, volunteering and action. At the end of the day, advocacy work does not have to be political or partisan, but it can be a united force to promote change in our community. Jennifer Sourk, 2016-2018 President




Board of Directors

Jennifer Sourk

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Angie Haggard

Katie Koupal

Erin Aldridge





Community Impact

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Sustainer Spotlight

Vicki Schmidt

By Jenay Weekly

1. What made you decide to run for public office?

5. How do you balance your role as a senator and as a pharmacist?

I never really had plans to run for office.  However, working as a pharmacist, I found errors in the Kansas Medical Assistance Program.  Those errors were costing the state millions of dollars.  I began advocating for reform in that program.  Through that experience, I realized I could bring my expertise as a pharmacist to the legislature and have a positive impact on policy.

I am fortunate that my work as a pharmacist is flexible and allows me the opportunity to serve in the Kansas Senate. My schedule is challenging at times, but everybody has a tough schedule. It’s about showing up and doing the job. 6. What is the best advice you’ve ever received from a mentor?

2. What skills did Junior League provide you that are helpful to your role in public office? The Junior League gave me an incredible amount of training. I learned how to be a board member, parliamentary procedure, time management, organizational skills, fundraising, how to work with others and so much more! The Junior League also taught me how to advocate and sent me to training in Washington DC. That experience has allowed me to stand up for my constituents and the things I believe in!

Sen. Bob Dole once told me that “your work matters.” We may never meet the people we helped through our efforts but each of our legacies is that we made a difference. 7. What is the most rewarding part of your job? The most rewarding part of my job as a senator is helping people.  It’s what drew me to become a pharmacist and it’s what keeps me fighting when people play politics with issues that have a real impact on people’s lives.

3. What made you decide to join Junior League?

8. What advice would you give young women voters?

I joined the Junior League shortly after moving to Topeka. Fortunately someone asked me! I wanted to become more involved in the community and the Junior League gave me that chance.

Engage in the process.  Many women don’t take the opportunity to get involved in politics and wait to be asked rather than taking the initiative.  Women have a unique perspective on solving problems and addressing issues.  It’s important that we be involved in discussion of the policy that guides our communities.

4. If elected Kansas insurance commissioner, what will your top priority be for Kansans? My top priority will be serving Kansans.  I am spending time visiting with Kansans about their concerns with insurance.  Those concerns will shape my priorities as Insurance Commissioner and help me make positive changes in the department that benefit Kansans access and experience with insurance.


9. As a sustainer, how do you continue to be involved and support Junior League? I have had the opportunity to work at some sales at the East Topeka Community Center and continue to enjoy networking with my fellow Junior Leaguers!

Time To Vote

October 22, 2018 Early voting begins

By Johnna Brumley

In 2018, all statewide offices in Kansas, the Kansas House of Representatives, and each of the four Kansas congressional districts are up for election. As you prepare to cast your ballot, please be aware that in order to vote in Kansas you must be 18 years of age or older, a U.S. citizen and a resident of Kansas. Kansas does not have a length of residency requirement but you must be registered to vote 21 days before an election. There are hundreds of places where you may register to vote. They include: county election offices, the office of the secretary of state and Many banks, libraries, grocery stores, city offices and county fairs provide forms for you to register to vote. If you are registering for the first time in Kansas, you must submit a document demonstrating you are a U.S. citizen. If you have moved, changed your name or party affiliation you will use this form to update your voter registration information. Important Dates for the Primary Election

November 2, 2018 Deadline to request an absentee ballot November 6, 2018 General election day Deadline to return an absentee ballot For more information, please see the Shawnee County Election Office.



July 17, 2018Â Last day to register to vote before the primary election


July 31, 2018 Early voting begins August 3, 2018 Deadline to request an absentee ballot August 7, 2018 Primary election day Deadline to return an absentee ballot Important Dates for the General Election

October 16, 2018 Last day to register to vote before the general election 9


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The Power of the Question:

Get Better Results By Saying Less and Asking More This article was originally published by Elise Mitchell on Have you ever had a light-bulb moment? An ah-ha thought? An epiphany? Those amazing moments often start at the same place: A question. Good leaders have good ideas. But great leaders ask the questions that produce invaluable thinking in others. Helping others find their own insights Discovering your own insights is an empowering experience. When you think things through to find answers, it increases your confidence, energizes you as you “see” solutions, and allows you to establish a track record of solving problems and overcoming challenges. We know through neuroscience research that not only is having an insight incredibly invigorating, but we are much more committed to taking action when we see a solution tied to our ideas. As leaders, too often we rely on telling rather than asking. In our eagerness to solve a problem or get something done, we jump straight to saying what we think others need to hear. The only problem is, it’s our thinking and our ideas. And maybe none of theirs. The best leaders understand this. They don’t give their team all the answers. Instead, they lead by questioning and teach their team how to come up with viable, actionable solutions on their own as much as possible. This is the essence of the coaching style of leadership and a far more rewarding way to lead, both for yourself and others. Why lead-by-questioning works Think about a time when a team member hit a roadblock. Your first instinct is to suggest a solution, which is not a bad thing, and, on the surface, seems the most efficient thing to do. But by handing them the solutions, you: • Cheat them out of a learning and development opportunity; • Miss out on fresh thinking they could bring to the table; and • Create added stress and pressure on yourself by trying to be the problem-solver. (NOTE: Some leaders like being the hero, but that’s often not the best use of your time and abilities.) Instead, by asking the right questions, you can help this team member find a good solution herself. At the same time, she will have the chance to learn from it, she may offer an entirely different idea that works better, and she may also leave your office skipping down the hall. Not only will she benefit, but you will, too. • You build your team into better critical and strategic thinkers and more capable problem-solvers. • You free up your time to focus on bigger issues rather than solving problems for others. • As your team performs at a higher level, you become a “multiplying leader” – someone who gets exponentially more done by working with and through others rather than relying on your own strengths. • People want to work for you because you are an empowering leader, not a controlling one. • You foster loyalty because people appreciate that you let them figure things out for themselves. 10

Asking the right questions So how can you implement a lead-by-questioning style? First, you avoid the wrong questions —questions that can be answered with one word (yes or no), that focus on the problem, or that tend to make others defensive. Would anyone on your team respond positively to questions like this: • Why are you behind schedule? • What’s the problem with this project? • Who isn’t keeping up? • Don’t you know any better than that? • Wouldn’t you agree … ? • How could this have happened? The best questions empower others by: • Getting them to think more deeply about an issue • Inspiring them to come up with unique ideas • Enabling them to create new connections in their head they couldn’t make before • Encouraging them to see potential in any situation • Promoting a growth mindset — “we can figure this out” – rather than a fixed mindset – “we’ve done all we can” • Helping them focus on the solution, not the problem • Encouraging them to trust their own instincts Some examples of empowering questions include: • What options are coming to your mind? • What does success look like? • How will a solution make our client/customer feel? • What gaps do you see in your thinking? • What’s your gut instinct here? • What will it take to get there? • What is a good next step? • How do you feel about the resources you have in place? • How can I help you from here? Establishing a lead-by-questioning culture The more you ask great questions, the more you will foster a culture that values this approach and that others will emulate. Get things rolling by asking your team learning-focused questions during team meetings. For example, after a project has wrapped up, try asking: • What was particularly effective about this team? • What could be “even better if”? • What did we learn from a disappointment? How can we apply that in the future? • How could we improve upon our work flow? Encourage your team to try lead-by-questioning in their circle of influence, too. Share the list of empowering questions above with them. In your one-on-ones, ask them about the types of questions they are asking and how that is changing the results they are getting. Helping your people think for themselves ultimately helps everyone perform better. They grow and flourish in their roles, and you gain more time and space to focus on big-picture issues. You become an empowering leader whose success is exponential and whose influence is scalable. Remember – you don’t have to have the answer when you ask the question. Neither do they! But by getting others thinking, good answers will come. 11


We Are All Sparks Waiting to Ignite

By Kasi Brown

Hard work and dedication. Hard work and dedication are two themes that evolved from the Ignite event that took place on Saturday, February 17th at Washburn University. The Ignite event has been in the works since July and it all came to life because of the hard work and dedication of Funding Development Chair, Ashlee Schneider and a committee of hard Junior League Topeka workers to make the event a reality. Intended to spark leadership interest in young females, Ignite was a leadership summit to showcase several of Topeka’s top female leaders. The event was kicked off by keynote speaker, Connie Hall, who encouraged the attending young females to “Find versions of your dreams everyday” and build strong relationships with those around you. She encouraged the audience by saying life can be messy, but there “are no life disqualifications.” With hard work and dedication, “there are no limits.” The Ignite event continued with two rounds of breakout sessions. During the first round of breakout sessions, the young leaders could hear from Andrea Engstrom from Bajillion or Georgianna Wong from Topeka Youth Project. Both Engstrom and Wong encouraged the young women to set goals for the future including making goals for meaningful careers that are fun and fulfilling. Engstrom shared a simple yet impactful message to live your life above the line by showing ownership, accountability, and responsibility. Above the line behavior plus hard work and dedication will open many opportunities for those who set their mind to it.

The young women walked away with words of wisdom, a sense of pride, and a leadership spark waiting to ignite.

The second round of breakout sessions included sessions by Megan Jones with Jones Advisory Group, Emy Blackburn with Jenny Craig, and students from the Washburn Leadership Institute. During Jones’ session, titled, “Gender-Shmender,” she told her own success story to inspire young ladies to break through gender barriers, set goals, and land any career they set their sights on. Blackburn’s session encouraged the young women to live a healthy lifestyle, but not to “over diet” or be too critical of themselves. The Washburn Leadership students encouraged the young women to build strong relationships, find a mentor, be a mentor, and lift others up. The day wrapped up with closing statements from Junior League of Topeka president, Jennifer Sourk and some last minute shopping at the vendor booths. The young women walked away with words of wisdom, a sense of pride, and a leadership spark waiting to ignite.


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Are you interested in learning more about what it means to be a member of Junior League of Topeka? As an organization committed to promoting volunteerism, developing the potential of women, and improving the community, our membership requirements are geared toward achieving that goal! Our members are asked to attend monthly meetings, log volunteers hours in the community, and invest in the organization through annual membership dues. Each of these requirements are focused on furthering the mission of the Junior League in Topeka. Through these commitments, members receive training in leadership, organizational development, community needs assessment, mentoring, advocacy, communications, funding development, strategic planning, negotiation, networking and more. Training, volunteerism, and social events benefit our members and build life-long friendships with others who share the same passion for community.

If you would like to receive more information about membership in the Junior League of Topeka, please email All women 18 and over are welcome and we are excited to meet you!

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Communication Habits Of Strong Leaders By: Barbara Boudreaux

“See me now.” Three words that struck terror in me as I read them on the screen. Nearly ten years have passed since that email from my senior partner at the firm, yet I still remember the fear I had walking down the corridor to his office, terrified that I was about to be fired one week into my first job out of law school. I found him giddy rather than angry and eager to tell me about a large, new deal for the firm. It was the first of hundreds of short, ambiguous emails I would receive and a valuable lesson in the importance of communication.

It Can Wait.

<br >

95% of drivers disapprove of distracted driving, yet 71% use their phone while driving.

Strong leaders must be strong communicators both to and with others. We look for inspiration from political leaders to guide us in prosperity and reassure us in turmoil. Capable leadership in the workplace can make or break team dynamics and determine the success of a business endeavour. Communication approaches vary by industry and audience, however there are common habits strong leaders -- and those who want to become strong leaders -- possess to advance their messages and successfully reach their audiences.

We may be heading to different destinations, but we are all on this road together. Take the pledge to never drive distracted because IT CAN WAIT. <br >

To learn more, visit

<br >

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Communicate with Control. Keep emotions in control and express anger and frustration in healthy ways. Strong leaders find their voice and understand that while grammar and eloquence are important, being clear, thoughtful, and engaged outweighs technical jargon and corporate speak.

Be Aware. Replace “I” language with “we” language to work towards collaborative solutions. Strong leaders are conscious of the impression they create. They have an awareness of their tone and body language and look for non-verbal cues as they communicate to adapt to their audience.

Listen Actively. Be ready to listen with an open mind and let others express their views. Strong leaders know they can hear solutions by asking questions they do not know the answers to and giving undivided attention to the speaker.

Be Honest. Honesty builds trust and allows others to feel safe to communicate their views. Develop and convey a plan, provide updates -- be they positive or negative -- and follow through on promises. This transparency enriches communication and enhances a leader’s credibility.

Build a Connection. In an inter-connected world, it is easy for a leader to hide behind a computer, close an office door, or send an email rather than speak directly. Strong leaders understand the value of face-time and visibility. They walk the floor of the office or meet with constituents to show they are engaged. Effective communication is not simply words spoken or written. Strong leaders evaluate their communication approaches and customize their message to the audience. Ultimately this communication is the key to inspire and gain the trust of their audience. Replace your “See me now” with “Come over when you have a moment” and you and your audience can communicate on the same wavelength.



Advocacy in Action:

How Junior League and other non-profits make their voices heard Volunteering, easy! Advocacy, no thanks – I’m not a lawyer, I don’t understand the process, I hate politics, I’m not comfortable….. By: Paje Resner

Junior League is committed to making a direct impact in the communities in which our members live, work and serve. In recent years, a priority has been made on training members to not only be volunteers but advocates. Each League decides on the issue area where members concentrate their volunteer and advocacy efforts and, although the options are endless, many focus on improving the health and welfare of children in their respective communities. When the request for volunteers goes out, members are quick to act. The reasoning is simple, volunteering is fun, interactive and rewarding. It introduces you to new people, experiences and participants see a direct result of their work. Volunteering feels and looks good! Advocacy is a whole other story. Advocacy is daunting for most who feel unprepared, uneducated and uneasy about getting involved. While volunteering produces immediate, tangible results – advocacy can be time consuming, frustrating and the impact of your work is not immediate. So how do organizations like Junior League train, equip and motivate its members to be advocates? First, make sure your membership, including the leaders of your organization, are educated on the importance of the issue and supportive of the effort. Be sure to gather input from members so they have ownership of the issue and feel empowered to advocate. You don’t have to be an attorney, lobbyist or powerful businessperson to be an effective advocate, but you do have to be informed and motivated to make an impact. Finally, members should know exactly what your organization wishes to achieve through advocacy; be informed of the various branches and levels of government; and identify influential elected officials who can help or hurt the efforts of the organization. Once the first step has been taken to get your organization on the road to advocacy comes step two - making your organization and its membership heard. Step two is an essential part of building the long-term credibility of your organization with key influencers. At this point, your organization should begin to meet with elected officials and other decision makers to begin the relationship building process and raise awareness of your organization and issue. As you become more active in the advocacy and policy making arena it is important that those advocating recognize the importance of credibility. If you are not sure of an answer, admit it. Promise to look into the question, do so, and follow-up with providing the answer in a timely manner. Also, consider partnering with other organizations who have similar priorities and goals. There is true power in numbers, especially if you partner with an organization with more experience and visibility. In the past few months, Junior League of Topeka moved from step one to step two of the advocacy process. On March 8, we partnered with the Junior League of Wichita for a ‘Day on the Hill’ in the Kansas Statehouse. The intent of the day was simple: to raise awareness of Junior League, build relationships with key legislators and receive briefings on child welfare issues with the Kansas Department of Health & Environment (KDHE) and Kansas Department of Children & Family Services (DCF) 16

Approximately 25 ladies represented the Junior League of Topeka and Junior League of Wichita. Senator Vicki Schmidt (R-Topeka), Representative Brenda Dietrich (R-Topeka) and Representative Brenda Landwehr (R-Wichita) had a working lunch with the group to discuss the lawmaking process, the importance of advocacy and a variety of child welfare issues under consideration in the Statehouse. House Speaker Ron Ryckman (R-Olathe) spent time with League members discussing the legislative process. At the end of the day, members met with legislators, toured the Statehouse and observed committee meetings. The third step in the advocacy process is just as important as the first two steps. Step three is to maintain the presence of your organization and increase awareness of your issue. There are multiple ways in which it can be done and conveniently provides the opportunity to use the many unique talents of your organization’s membership. During this process, consider calling and writing your elected officials to inform or remind them of your organization’s issue; testify before a committee; build relationships with the staff of elected officials; issue media releases and grant interviews to media outlets; and inform and educate the public with social media posts, newsletters and blog and website postings. At Junior League of Topeka we are excited to take the next steps in increasing awareness of our organization and our desire to improve the welfare of children throughout Topeka and Shawnee County. However, we understand the importance of making sure this is done in a measured and responsible manner. We will continue to train our members to advocate for our organization and the children in the community. Junior League of Topeka will further build relationships with our federal, state and local elected officials. You will see an increased presence of Junior League of Topeka online, with local media outlets and social media. We will improve our efforts to work with other non-profits to address key issues in the community. At the heart of it all, Junior League of Topeka will remain committed to making a direct impact in the communities in which our members live, work and serve. For more information on Junior League of Topeka, please visit


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Junior League Sustainers Continue to Enrich Topeka By Andrea Holland

A “Sustainer”? What’s that? A woman who has been active for at least seven years in the Junior League, or reached the age of 40, may become a sustaining, or non-active, member. By then she has learned invaluable skills which she will use the rest of her life within the Topeka community. The JLT teaches its members how to identify a need in the city, how to meet that need, and then provides trained volunteers to put the plans into action. I can honestly say that Topeka would not be the same place today without the talents and skills of Junior League members, both past and present. Imagine, if you will, a Topeka without these programs or places:

Play area at the Kansas Museum of History

The Children’s Discovery Museum Next to New Sale East Topeka Senior Center

Great Overland Station

TPAC Rescue Mission

Meals on Wheels

Diaper Depot Alcohol and Drug training in Topeka schools


This is only a small list of programs that were created by/or carried out by JLT members over the past decades. Take them all away and Topeka would not be the same place we enjoy today! When a woman joins the Junior League, she does far more than attend dinners and meetings. During her years of service, women are taught invaluable skills such as: How to be a leader Grant -writing Identifying needs within the community and how to meet them by developing a new project Budgeting How to apply for 501C3 tax status Fundraising Networking

Each one of these skills help trains a JLT member to be valuable for any future group to which she might belong. The end of active membership rarely concludes a woman’s involvement within the community. Sustaining members sit on virtually every board of directors in Topeka. They perform with musical and theater groups. Sustainers have been legislators in both the Kansas House and Senate. They chair home tours. Sustainers are active members of various philanthropic, civic and community groups such as Rotary, P.E.O. and Washburn Women’s Alliance. Sustainers are valued volunteers at a myriad of locations around the city. For its unique ability to focus on the needs of our community, and for training volunteers to meet those needs, the Junior League of Topeka should be commended for the many ways it supports our city. The leadership abilities provided by League members of ALL ages will continue to enrich Topeka for decades to come. 19


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Five Ways to Advocate for Your Cause By: Brianna Jackson

1) Your Opinion Matters- It is easy to be discouraged when others who do not share the same viewpoints can belittle your opinion so quickly. Do not allow others to influence you in a negative way. You have to speak up and fight for change if you want something to happen. 2) Do Your Research- In order to advocate well, you are going to have to back up your argument with facts, not just opinions. You have to be the “expert” when it comes to advocating for your cause. Not everyone will agree with your stance on a given issue; therefore, you will have to be ready to respond. 3) Make Your Voice Heard- Find every avenue possible to share your cause and opinion. Take to social mediaorganize an event, write a status update sharing your concerns and stance, and encourage others to get involved. Write to your local elected officials about your concerns. Create a petition and encourage others to sign. 4) Small Gestures Yield Big Results- Change does not happen overnight. Persistence and passion are key to success. Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Do what you can, where you are, with what you have.” 5) Share Your Story- Some of the most powerful advocates are those who have an emotional connection to a given issue. Those testimonials are often the most powerful tools in helping others understand your “why.” Many opinions are emotionally charged, so do your best to appeal to the emotions of the audience you are trying to reach.

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What Type of Leader are You?

By: Barbara Boudreaux

It is said that there is more than one way to cook an egg and in leadership there is certainly more than one way to successfully lead a group. What type of leader do you consider yourself? What type of leader would others consider you? Does leadership style even matter if the end goal is achieved? Let’s delve into the different styles of leadership and ponder what style fits you.

Authoritarian. Total authority and complete power.

An autocrat imposes his or her will with no input from others. Followers seeking order and set rules thrive while creative types resent this treatment. This style works well for routine jobs by employees who require close supervision. Practitioners include military commanders, dictators, and parents of young children at bedtime.

Bureaucratic. Management by the books.

Procedure-heavy administrative leadership with little opportunity for flexibility and creativity. Operations are designed to run orderly and leadership hierarchy is based on expertise. Find this style in high risk, repetitive manufacturing plants and government agencies.

Charismatic. The power of personality.

Energetic, passionate leaders create a powerful self-image to draw in others and spur them to action. The approach boosts morale and motivates the team, however it can be devastating to the organization if the leader departs or, convinced of their invincibility, takes on too much risk. One-name powerhouse Oprah embodies this style of leadership.

Laissez-Faire. Hands-off leadership.

Management based on trust by leaders who provide initial guidance and inspiration but have delegated decision making to the group. This style facilitates innovation and autonomy, but it can be unnerving for those who desire direction and supervision. Established fashion designers such as Donna Karan whose vision carries on in the work of others illustrate this leadership style.

Participative/Democratic. Facilitative teamwork.

Engagement of the team in the decision-making process with leaders reserving the right to make the final decision after a group vote. The team is engaged and empowered, although efficiency may be curtailed. Group facilitators in social work settings often employ this practice.

Relationship Oriented. Team satisfaction.

The well-being of the team is emphasized by approachable leaders with the aim that a positive environment creates loyalty and higher productivity. Critics argue emphasizing team happiness detracts from the task at hand. This peoplefocused approach can be found in mentor relationships.

Servant. Service before self-interest.

Leaders of strong ethics who choose to serve first, commit to social justice, and nurture their followers. This empathy is at odds with competitive environments driven by deadlines and financial gain. Mother Teresa and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. embody leaders who were driven by their causes over accolades received. 22

Transformational. Driven to achieve.

Visionary leaders that inspire commitment and intellectual stimulation to drive productivity. These leaders focus on the big picture and delegate downward, relying on communication and personal rapport to engage followers. If not kept in balance, such leaders may take excessive risks or burn out their employees with unrealistic expectations. Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs exemplifies this approach.

Transactional. Extrinsic motivation.

Traditional management approach of a manager supervisor, standards and compliance, and goal setting. External rewards motivate performance while punishments deter unwanted behavior. This direct approach sets clear goals, however followers may feel constrained and discouraged to think independently. Microsoft CEO Bill Gates employs this method. So where do you fall in the leadership web? Does your leadership style change to fit the followers you guide or the setting you are in? Yes there is more than one way to cook an egg. Personally, I prefer mine scrambled—a hodgepodge, fit-the-situation style of leadership. Charismatic for the Parent Teacher Organization, Servant for my Sunday School students, Task-Oriented for the office, and Authoritarian when needed (go to bed, kids!).

Empowering youth in our community to become productive and responsible adults by providing constructive opportunities to prevent high risk behaviors.

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Junior League of Topeka Throughout the year




Back To The Future:

Article originally published on March 8, 2018 by AJLI

Eleanor Roosevelt and The UDHR

This year marks the 70th anniversary of one of the most important documents you may have never heard of. On December 10, 1948, the United Nations proclaimed and adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). As former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon stated, “The extraordinary vision and resolve of the drafters produced a document that, for the first time, articulated the rights and freedoms to which every human being is equally and inalienably entitled.” It is important to remember that point. Human rights were not born with the UDHR. And all of the rights and freedoms spelled out in the UDHR are, sadly, yet to be realized. But it was the first effort to make human rights more than an aspiration; that these rights were to be the baseline standard by which societies would treat men, women and children. No country received immunity from this responsibility. And no time-period would make these rights outdated. But perhaps more importantly, at a time when cultural inflection points and critical challenges pertaining to women are occurring all over the world, it becomes ever more clear that you can see a connective strand between the UDHR of 70 years ago and the realities of today. When we consider the revolutions of #MeToo and Time’s Up—with their acknowledgement that society passively accepted harassment, abuse, and violence against women for far too long—it is clear that a predecessor of these movements is the UDHR. Article 3 of the UDHR clearly states: Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person. And to avoid any confusion, the “everyone” in Article 3 is defined: “without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.” Despite the advancements of the globalized digital economy, the traditional challenge of women achieving commercial opportunities remains a persistent one. The World Bank’s 2017 edition of the Doing Business report outlined several disturbing points: 23 economies impose more procedures for women than men to start a business; 16 economies limit women’s ability to own, use and transfer property; 17 economies do not value a woman’s testimony the same way as a man’s in civil court; and while women make up nearly 50% of the world’s population, they make up less than 41% of the world’s formal workforce. Decades before the dawn of second-wave feminism, the globalized economy, or the 4th Industrial Revolution, the UDHR called for equal pay and equal dignity for working women. Article 23 (2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work. Article 23 (3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.


Finally, while many see slavery as a wicked relic of history, the reality is that it exists today in the form of millions of enslaved women. The International Labor Organization released a report last year finding that women account for more than 70% of the victims of modern slavery in the world, nearly 29 million women. And 99% of modern slaves in the commercial sex industry are women and girls. Article 4 of the UDHR states plainly and clearly: Article 4 No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms. American politician, diplomat, activist and Junior League member Eleanor Roosevelt was instrumental in crafting the UDHR while serving as the first chair of the United Nations Human Rights Commission from 1947 to 1953. Roosevelt is widely recognized as the driving force behind the UDHR, and the UDHR is widely recognized as the enduring legacy of Roosevelt. So, as we witness, contemplate and participate in transforming the words of the UDHR into domestic and global norms, we also should acknowledge that a forerunner of our efforts was a historic document brought to life by one of the earliest and most important members of The Junior League. On International Women’s Day, let us all remember the connective strand between Eleanor Roosevelt, the UDHR, the successes we have seen today and the successes we will engineer tomorrow.


Community Volunteer

Marlou Wegener

On Wednesday, April 18, the Junior League of Topeka named Marlou Wegener the recipient of the 2018 Community Volunteer Award. Wegener is employed with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas as the manager of community relations and the chief operating officer of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas Foundation. “Junior League of Topeka can think of no one more deserving than Marlou to be named as the 2018 Community Volunteer Award recipient,” said Vice President of Leadership Development, Kimberly Sixkiller. “It is past time for her to be acknowledged for her years of service to Topeka and Shawnee County.” Each year, Junior League of Topeka recognizes an individual who has contributed their time, hard work and talents to the community through the Community Volunteer Award. Winners are given a donation to the charity of their choice on behalf of the Junior League of Topeka. Wegener selected the Topeka Civic Theatre as the recipient of the Junior League contribution. Wegener is the appointed chairperson of the Governor’s Council on Fitness and the Attorney General’s Batterer Intervention Advisory Board. She served in leadership roles for several nonprofit organizations’ board of directors, including the YWCA of Northeast Kansas, Easter Seals Capper Foundation and Oral Health Kansas. Wegener is a graduate of the 2010 class of Leadership Kansas, 2016 Oral Health Kansas Dental Champions Leadership Program and 1999 class of Leadership Greater Topeka. She is a member of the Topeka South Rotary and sits on the Topeka Civic Theatre Board of Directors. Marlou has resided in Topeka for 33 years. She is the proud mother of three adult children and “Noni” to four grandsons. When not at work or busy volunteering she enjoys reading, college basketball and the Kansas City Royals. 27


Five Ways

to be an Emotionally Strong Leader By: Jennifer Mims

Think about your three (to five) most inspiring leaders. Don’t limit to industry. Who are the three leaders you admire the most? Now, why do you admire them? Most likely, you will find your admiration of their leadership transcends what they accomplished, and that something about their leadership resonates with you on a deeper, emotional perspective. They have an authenticity to them, and they are emotionally strong leaders. When you study their work, you feel a certain way. An emotionally strong leader will connect with people beyond the technical and intellectual capacity. People will feel the connection, and they will not only be influenced, they can be inspired. This is the space in which people can tap into themselves and produce tremendous work on their own. On the reverse, we know, through countless case studies and meta-data surveys, the biggest detractor that will drive employees away from their work is a negative relationship and association with their leadership Be aware of your own emotions. Much like the Incredible Hulk in a stress-triggered rage state, an emotionally oblivious and undisciplined leader is a terrifying and monstrous impediment to staff morale and productivity. Words and actions matter, and the effect is especially magnified when you are in a position of leadership. Emotionally strong (and intelligent) leaders are aware of their emotional state and avoid speaking and acting from a place of high emotion or anger. When they sense their trigger, they pause to create space for processing and reflection to cool off and think before they respond instead of react. Be perceptive to emotional states of others. Emotionally intelligent and empathic leaders cultivate stronger relationships with their employees because they are aware of the emotional experiences of others and use this awareness for relationship building. Leaders with strong emotional intelligence can position themselves in the perspectives of to whom they are interacting, and when delivering difficult news such as negative feedback or criticism, are able to communicate in the languages and emotional reflection that is beneficial and constructive. They are able to facilitate feedback that is honest, respectful, and compassionate. Listen, listen, and listen some more. Moreover, an emotionally strong and confident leader will listen to understand, not just to quip a rapid-fire response. As a leader, your job is to make decisions on behalf of your team. Yes. But, your job is to make informed decisions, and emotionally strong leaders know and live by the subject matter expertise and experiential knowledge of their teams. Taking listening further, emotionally strong leaders will listen to their customers. And, when they hear something that… sucks… they listen without offense and defensive posturing. They work to fix it. Focus on your controllable Some problems are too big or too far out of your scope for you to solve. When you possess an internal locus of control, you believe you are the architect and builder of your destiny. You take ownership of your stuff. You 28

know your power. You own your successes, and step forward when responsibility is due. People who have a high external locus of control are subject to their environment and higher powers that influence and affect their lives. There is a helplessness and expedition for on whom to lay blame. Of course, no one will be all internal or all external: we all fall somewhere on the spectrum but generally lean toward one end or another. Developing a high internal locus of control has been lined to reduced anxiety, better health, and higher achievement orientation. Know what is within your locus of control, and if you can change something you want to change, do so.

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Don’t be afraid to fail, but learn from your mistakes. Let’s face it, no one particularly likes failure, but few truly great successes were ever achieved without a big back story of failures. It famously took Edison 10,000 tries for a light bulb. History is peppered with counts of failure “It’s failure that gives you the proper perspective on success.” - Ellen DeGeneres As an emotionally strong leader, you will calculate risks, but will not shy away from them, for you know the other side is a lesson, or success. Mistakes are a good thing. Seize the opportunity. You truly fail only when you choose to not act to correct or make a meaningful lesson from the mistake.

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Leadership should be emotional. The questions of whether leaders are made or are natural born are about as old and debated as why the chicken crossed the road or which came first that very same chicken, or its egg. Many great arguments exist for both sides of leadership; however, for those of us who fall short of the natural born leader spectrum, these skill developments will surely help you tap into your emotional awareness and authenticity to lead from position of emotional strength and truth. Humans are highly emotional beings. We all can do this work to become more emotionally strong leaders.



Conflict Resolution By: Kameron Patrick

Conflict in organizations is inevitable. It is unrealistic to expect everyone will always be in agreement. However, when conflict continues unaddressed, it can foster negativity throughout the organization, impacting productivity and teamwork. What starts people escalating is anger, which often stems from hurt feelings or fear. Reactions based from anger occur and suddenly each side feels it is right and is willing to go to battle to prove it. Most of us stop listening to understand as we get angry and start listening in order to argue back. Using conflict resolution strategies in the workplace requires skills – leadership, problem-solving and decision making skills to maintain a stable and healthy environment.

• • • •

If you find yourself involved in the conflict, be genuine. A curt “I’m sorry you feel that way.” is not going to convince anyone you care how the other person is feeling. The ability to stay calm, reframe the issue and view the conflict as an opportunity to solve problems will build relationships. It’s also important to find the common interests that lie within any conflict. Separate the person from the problem and attempt to understand the interests involved with the other party.

How best to achieve goals

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Leaders in the workplace often find themselves dealing with conflict between subordinates. It’s important to get those involved together in the same room. Each party should be given the opportunity to express their side, without interruption. It is vital this process be impartial! Bias, pre-conceived notions and assumptions by leadership (now playing the role of Mediator) need to be “left at the door.” This is also a great way for both sides, including others indirectly involved, to see how the other person perceives the situation. In many cases, those involved will create a solution on their own. However if a compromise cannot be reached, then it’s time for leadership to decide what the course of action is going to be to move forward. Equally as important is the followthrough to ensure that course of action is adhered to by both parties.

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Some people think there are enormous differences in values between older and younger people which contribute to conflict. We hear that younger people are disrespectful of older employees and people in authority. We also hear complaints that older people show no respect for younger talent and ideas. The Center for Creative Leadership’s research has shown that different generations actually have fairly similar values. “Family” ranking highest among all generations. Other shared values included integrity, achievement, love, competence, happiness, self-respect, wisdom, balance, and responsibility. The reality is everyone wants respect— they just don’t define it in the same way.

Conflict develops when people have different outlooks, attitudes, beliefs, work habits, or understanding of the goals they are working toward. Within an organization, conflict can develop from differences in perception of many things, most frequently: •

The roles and responsibilities of staff Division of the work The level of commitment or standard performance expected from each person Available resources

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Conflict triggers strong  emotions and  can lead  to hurt feelings, disappointment, and discomfort. But  when conflict is resolved  in a  healthy way, it increases our understanding of one another, builds trust, and strengthens our relationship bonds.

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