the official magazine of the
3039M Junior League of Washington
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SPRING 2018 WHATâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S INSIDE
Meet Tycely Williams New Members Reflect Redefining Diversity and Inclusion
A Bold Future
elcome to the Spring 2018 issue of 3039M! What a wonderful year of celebrations we’ve had. When we began our 105th year, we set out to celebrate our League, our members, our community, and our bright future. This issue of 3039M does not disappoint! This issue is quite the walk down memory lane of the last year with many highlights of the great work of our members and highlights from recent events. Our League. This issue includes a great recap of our Women’s Leadership Breakfast, with some wonderful lessons from our featured speakers. We also highlight the important steps that we are taking as a League to affirm our commitment to diversity and inclusion. Our members. Throughout this issue, you’ll see the power of diversity in action through features on our members: Transfers who bring new and different perspectives to our League; leaders in the League sharing their journeys; and a story on our Membership Outreach Committee, which has the daunting task of finding ways to connect our large, 2,300-member team. Our community. There are several articles highlighting the wonderful contributions that our members make everyday in our community. The work of the Reading is Fundamental (RIF), Community Training, and Horton’s Kids Committees is celebrated throughout this issue. And finally, our future. It looks so bright we should all be wearing sunglasses! I am so thrilled to see the feature article introducing our next President, Tycely Williams. Tycely has been a true partner with me this year and I am so excited to celebrate our annual gavel pass tradition and welcome her into this role at our Annual Reception on May 24. It has been such an honor to serve as our President during our 105th anniversary. I look forward to celebrating many more milestones in the future alongside each of you.
hough the Junior League of Washington’s (JLW) 105th anniversary is coming to a close, we can review our celebratory year, and look forward to the future, in this issue of 3039M. We started this year focused on our membership and history. Our Fall issue included a fantastic article about Sustainers Emeriti, JLW members who are more than 80 years old. We were thrilled that one featured Sustainer Emeritus, Page Boteler, attended our Fall Magazine Drop Party at Hawthorne as the guest of honor. The theme of spotlighting our members continues in this new issue and we also pay tribute to our phenomenal community partners, which we deeply appreciate. Mary Beets’ article about Horton’s Kids explores how the committee ensures that children and volunteer tutors thrive. Suzanne Doud Galli’s article on Reading is Fundamental (RIF) examines the Junior League’s almost 50 year history with the organization. In Jacqueline Bauer’s article, “Finding a New Home Sweet Home with the Junior League of Washington,” we get to know some of our Transfer Members and learn more about their previous Leagues. Bonnie Louque’s article, “Bringing Members Together,” gives us a glimpse of how the Membership Outreach Committee ensures that all members, regardless of placements or membership level, have the opportunity to get to know each other. And, in “All for One and One for All” and “Faces of JLW,” Maryam Hatcher, Brittany Higdon, and Erin Williams discuss JLW’s commitment to an inclusive and diverse membership. Those brief glimpses are just a taste of what’s to come in this issue! It has truly been an honor and privilege to serve as the Chair of the Magazine Committee this year. I am so grateful for Stacy Tsakeris’ continued support, for our incredible Vice Chairs, Maryam Hatcher, Alex Sarp, and Rebecca Prybell, and for Sadie Cornelius’ willingness to always step in, above and beyond what is necessary, to share her awesome talents as a graphic designer.
AIMEE PICARD SOLLER President, 2017-2018, Junior League of Washington
PHOENIX ARIANA VICTORIA RICKS Editor
Our cover features Tycely Williams, as photographed by Philip Bermingham.
IN THIS ISSUE
IN EVERY ISSUE
IN THIS ISSUE 12 JLW’s 105 Acts of Service
IC Letters BC Dates to Remember
MEMBER SPOTLIGHT 13 New Members Reflect on
2 Relationship with Reading Is
Fundamental: Nearly 50 Years in the Making
26 Teleworking Helps Us Stay Connected 28 Hidden Treasures in the
18 Meet Tycely Williams, JLW
Slide with Reading All-Stars
5 Deck the Halls 6 Kendra Scott Gives Back to the
Transforming Women in Washington, DC
A Look at the Membership Outreach Committee
20 Finding Confidence on Your Bookshelf
10 Successful Tutoring: JLW’s Horton’s
Kids Committee Helps Students and Volunteers Thrive
30 Treating People Well: Q&A with
19 Bringing Members Together:
8 Community Training Committee:
and JLW Embrace Greater Diversity and Inclusion
Q&A WITH LEA BERMAN
ABOUT OUR LEAGUE
Junior League of Washington
25 All for One and One for All: AJLI
14 Faces of JLW 16 Finding a New Home Sweet Home
with the Junior League of Washington
3 Diamonds & Desserts 4 Saving Students from Summer
Their First Year
22 Capturing A Moment 23 Summer in the City 24 Esprit Events Encourage
LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT 32 Finding Your Team at the Women’s Leadership Breakfast
35 Get On Board Graduates Go Above
MAGAZINE COMMITTEE Phoenix Ricks Chair Stacy Tsakeris Rising Chair Maryam Hatcher Rebecca Prybell Alex Sarp Vice Chairs
Jacqueline Bauer Mary Beets Jamela Black Mary Castleman Sadie Cornelius Suzanne Doud Galli Stephanie Gajda
Katelin Hatfield Brittany Higdon Bonnie Louque Ashley Nelsen Elizabeth Petrun Sayers Melissa Richards
Holly Roberts Elizabeth Shipp Erin Williams Mini Placements Taylor Thesing Margaret Lawrynowicz Nicole Grant
facebook.com/jlwdc @JLWDC jrleaguewdc
Junior League of Washington jlwdc.blogspot.com @JLWDC
Members are encouraged to tag the League’s accounts when posting photos from JLW events. As with all social media sharing, please use #JLWvol as the main hashtag.
MEMBERS OF THE BOARD President Aimee Picard Soller
Treasurer Frazier Schulman
President-Elect Tycely Williams
Vice Treasurer Molly Boyl Fromm
Secretary Courtney Mesmer
Communications & Public Relations Marta Hernandez
Youth & Family Community Placements Sarah Berg
Adult Community Placements Kate Tyrrell
Cultural Community Placements Jennifer Lackey
Community Affairs Lauren Wilk
Membership Development Anna Pugh
Strategic Planning Sara McGanity
New Membership Jessica Taylor White
Sustainers Carol Der Garry
Nominating Genevieve Moreland
Ways & Means Joy Shepard
RELATIONSHIP WITH READING IS FUNDAMENTAL:
NEARLY 50 YEARS IN THE MAKING By Suzanne Doud Galli
n 1966, Margaret McNamara founded the nonprofit Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) with the mission of making reading a fun and beneficial part of everyday life. McNamara, a former teacher, realized that many of her students did not have any books of their own. She proposed that freedom of choice and pride in ownership would motivate the children to read. Such were the guiding principles for RIF in 1966. Today, the organization’s work has expanded beyond literacy by engaging communities to give children the fundamentals for success. The relationship between RIF and the Junior League began when our sisters across the river, the Junior League of Northern Virginia (JLNV), established a RIF program in 1972 in Alexandria. Although the Northern Virginia chapter of RIF has expanded beyond JLNV, it was the initial $30,000 grant from JLNV that propelled the RIF project from mere vision to reality. RIF of NOVA operates now in Arlington, Fairfax, and Prince William Counties. Annually, more than 22,000 children participate and receive nearly 40,000 new books. As the primary foci of the Junior League of Washington (JLW) are the complex issues of literacy in the greater metropolitan area of the District of Columbia, it is no surprise that JLW has teamed up with RIF. JLW has provided funding for RIF through a three-year targeted grant to support DC’s homeless youth. In addition to bringing books, literacy resources, and activities to children and families served by the Coalition for the Homeless and Kia’s Place, volunteers from both organizations will be working together toward the shared goal of instilling a love of reading
League members and Reading Is Fundamental staff members pose for a photo after an event. From top left: Reading Is Fundamental staff member Kathryn Ross with League members Joy Shepard, Kim Tuomey, Jessica Jones, and Phoenix Ricks. From bottom left: Reading is Fundamental staff member Jennifer Moone with League members Laura Zehr, Ellen Locke, Amber Huffman, and Sara McGanity.
Sara McGanity reads to children at a Reading Is Fundamental event.
Joy Shepard (left) and Jessica Jones (right) assist children in selecting books at a Reading Is Fundamental event.
in children. JLW will also host biannual family literacy events featuring book distributions, literacy activities, a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) craft station, and reading aloud by JLW volunteers. RIF has been a past recipient of JLW targeted grants, and JLW partnered with RIF in 2012, our centennial year. This effort resulted in the donation of 100,000 books to children in the District that year alone, and between 3,000-5,000 books each year since. The success of the program proved that uniting literacy
advocates makes a difference for children in DC. Through the efforts of dedicated volunteers throughout metropolitan Washington area, McNamara’s dreams of motivating children have been sustained. One of the many ways JLW devotes its resources to improving literacy is by promoting the importance of reading aloud to children and by providing literary resources to children in Washington, DC. Aligning with our community partner RIF has allowed JLW to take great strides in making a significant impact on literacy.
DIAMONDS & DESSERTS By Brittany Higdon
o kick off this year’s Tossed & Found season, the Junior League of Washington (JLW) hosted its annual event, Diamonds & Desserts, at JLW Headquarters on February 12. Special to this year’s event was the 105 Dresses campaign, spearheaded by JLW’s 105th Celebration Committee. Diamonds & Desserts attendees brought their gently used formal gowns to be donated to a Baltimore-based charity, the Priceless Gown Project, which provides high school students from low-income areas in DC and Maryland with dresses to wear to their school proms. In honor of JLW’s 105th anniversary, the event set a goal of collecting 105 dresses to donate. “We were excited to be able to incorporate this campaign into our event this year,” said Tossed & Found Co-Chair Sara Hatfield. “We were surprised that 30 minutes into the event, we exceeded our goal and collected more than 105 dresses throughout the evening.” The Priceless Gown Project, which was founded in 2004 by Becky Bovaird Davis, meets a need in the Baltimore and DC communities. According to a 2015 survey by Visa, Inc., the average high school senior spends $919 on prom. This is prohibitively expensive for millions of teens right in our own backyard. In DC alone, approximately 25 percent of children live below the poverty line, which makes purchases like prom dresses out of the question. “I have been so touched by the outpouring of the women who wanted to give dresses,” said Tossed & Found Co-Chair Jennifer Valentine. “One Junior League member [Bridget Shea Westfall] collected more than 30 dresses from her neighbors.” Representatives of The Priceless Gown Project, Catonya Lester and Katrina Brooks, attended Diamonds & Desserts to explain how their mission works. Each spring, girls from Baltimore and DC come to their “boutique-style” show and are paired with a personal shopper. Dresses are organized by color and size, and the girls get to choose a dress, meet with a “glam guru” for beauty tips, and take an etiquette class. “We want them to not only look like a lady, but act like a lady,” Lester explained. Each participant is also entered into a drawing for prizes for her prom, including a limo ride. JLW President Aimee Picard Soller made closing remarks at Diamonds & Desserts. “The 105 Dresses Initiative and Tossed & Found partnership is a testament to the continued creativity and leadership of women in this League,” she said. “What seemed like a difficult decision more than 25 years ago to close our thrift store and create a successful fundraiser has shown how JLW can grow and evolve throughout the years. It has been great to meet a new partner in the Priceless Gown Project, and I am confident their volunteer list will grow.”
“I am overwhelmed by the excitement and enthusiasm surrounding this partnership,” said Sarah Hudson, Chair of the 105th Celebration Committee. “There was audible excitement around the room as Catonya and Katrina described their project, and many members came up to me to say that they have wanted an opportunity like this for years. In order to capitalize on that momentum, we were able to discuss further partnership opportunities, including opportunities for JLW members to volunteer at the event where many of their dresses will be donated to local students for prom.” A grand total of 155 dresses was collected at Diamonds & Desserts for the Priceless Gown Project. The ability to adapt and grow throughout the years has enabled Tossed & Found to respond to countless needs within the community, and JLW is thrilled to be able to provide for those in need in this new way.
Diamonds & Desserts featured custom League desserts.
JLW members wrote notes to the recipients of their donated dresses as part of the Priceless Gown Project.
Diamonds & Desserts attendees check out the donations for the Priceless Gown Project.
SAVING STUDENTS FROM SUMMER SLIDE WITH READING ALL-STARS
By Rebecca Prybell
ummertime is full of fun for most kids; however, it is also a time when the progress of the school year can start to slip. One of the League’s community partners, 826DC, has made it a priority to combat the summer slide by providing continuous services throughout the summer to help keep students on track. 826DC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting students with their creative and expository writing skills. League members volunteer with a program called Reading All-Stars, a partnership between 826DC and Harriet Tubman Elementary School in Columbia Heights. Reading All-Stars, with the help of League volunteers, provides students with weekly, intensive, one-on-one reading and literacy support on Saturday mornings. Erin Ward, Vice Chair of the Reading All-Stars Committee, said, “I find my time with Reading All-Stars is extremely well-spent.” She said the work the volunteers do each Saturday clearly aligns with the literacy focus of the League and provides significant benefits to the community. The summer session with Reading All-Stars is nearly identical to the sessions throughout the school year. Kalli Krumpos, a coordinator of Reading All-Stars, said the summer sessions tend to be smaller, which makes them a great time for new volunteers to try out the program and learn before the school year begins again. The summer program in 2017 ran for four weeks and was hosted at 826DC’s facilities. Ward said it is nice to reconnect with the students over the summer and noted that she missed volunteering during the summer. Even if it is only for a few touchpoints, Erin noted the summer session helps foster a love of learning and reading with the students. “Studies show that children who read over the summer gain reading skills, but those that do not often ‘slide’ backward in their skills,” Kalli said. “The backward slide in reading skills is estimated to be approximately two months, or 22 percent of the school year, which means teachers needs to re-teach that material the following school year instead of moving on to new information.” Kalli also said that students from low-income households without access to books are the most at-risk group. Reading All-Stars
also paired the summer session reading goals with the DC Public Library’s summer reading promotions, which allowed the students to receive additional incentives like free books for completing their reading goals. The DC Public Library’s summer reading program also ensures that students are aware of their local libraries and the resources available to them. Julia Whitelock, Reading All-Stars Committee Chair, said that League members can volunteer with Reading All-Stars whether they are on the committee or not. Volunteers who work with DC Public School students must obtain a DC Public Schools clearance in advance of volunteering. 826DC will likely be hosting a summer session in 2018 and welcomes any new volunteers who are interested in the program to participate. The Reading All-Stars Committee does not train volunteers specifically for the summer sessions, but Julia reported that 826DC would likely provide a 30-minute training in advance of the first Saturday session as long as they receive some notice ahead of time from the League member. Erin participated in training through the League’s Reading All-Stars Committee and directly with 826DC. She found both trainings to be helpful and specifically enjoyed learning more about strategies to keep the students engaged during the reading sessions.
Irene Ripley reads to a student at Tubman Elementary as part of her mini placement with the Reading All-Stars.
DECK THE HALLS
he 59th annual Holiday Shops was a fundraising success in part due to the location, the use of technology, the vendors, attendees, and the Junior League of Washingtonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s (JLW) members. The auction raised $32,000, and the raffle brought in more than $18,000. Add that total with vendor sales, the gross amount raised was approximately $211,000. Because of the reputation of Dock5 at Union Market as a space that curates artists and attracts a large audience, it was a highly desired location for Holiday Shop vendors. The volume of vendor applications was so high this year that the committee had to take the unusual steps of closing the process early so as not to surpass capacity. Dock5 also continues to drive foot traffic to Holiday Shops. This year, there were 86 vendors, 2,569 paid attendees (compared to 1,362 last year), and
By Ashley Nelsen
weekend sales increased 30 percent from last year. At the grand opening of Holiday Shops, which was called A Winter Wonderland, guests had a first look at vendor merchandise and were able to bid on auction items. The flexibility for the League to cater with food and drink from local restaurants and distilleries made the event unique, supported local businesses, and helped keep costs down, making A Winter Wonderland even more profitable for the League. The Holiday Shops Committee looks forward to celebrating its 60th year in 2018. Kelly Jones, current Holiday Shops Co-Chair, says next year we can plan to see the successes from this past year, with some tweaks to make the 60th annual Holiday Shops an even more elegant and fun affair that celebrates the spirit of our volunteers, more local vendors, and special acknowledgments highlighting the history of commitment from the League.
The 2017 JLW Holiday Shops Committee poses for a photo after a Holiday Shops event.
Santa Claus was at Holiday Shops for photos with guests and their dogs.
Children were invited to have their picture taken with Santa Claus at Holiday Shops.
KENDRA SCOTT GIVES BACK TO THE JUNIOR LEAGUE OF WASHINGTON By Sadie Cornelius
endra Scott has built her growing luxury jewelry empire based on three core values of family, philanthropy, and fashion. In 2017 alone, Kendra Scott hosted 10,000 events at more than 70 stores across the U.S. resulting in
$4 million in contributions through the Kendra Gives Back initiative. Her passion for giving back to local communities, investing in those who are in need, and empowering women through entrepreneurship aligns with the Junior League of Washingtonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s (JLW)
mission. Kendra Scott designer statement pieces are popular with Junior League members who want to look stylish while at work, volunteering, and attending fundraisers. When Kendraâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s highly anticipated Georgetown store opened its doors in
Shoppers and JLW members browsing Kendra Scott items at the JLW Shops! Kendra Scott Grand Opening event. (Photo Credit: Madison Short)
fall 2017, just down the street from JLW Headquarters, it was a perfect opportunity to join forces for a good cause. Hosted by JLW’s Marketplace Committee, the Grand Opening celebration took place on Saturday, January 27. It featured a live watercoloring by Michelle Woolford, free calligraphy by Erica Natal on gold or silver coasters with a minimum purchase of $75, Kendra Scott acrylic trays for those who spent $150 or more, bites from Barcelona Wine Bar, champagne, cupcakes, and macarons, with 20 percent of all proceeds benefiting JLW. In addition to the fun activities, food, and beverages to entice members to shop, former Marketplace Committee Chair Sara
Lott says that this year the committee has a goal of having a community partner come to each event to raise awareness of their organization while further incentivizing purchases. For this event, Marketplace invited Jennie Kronthal, Chair of the Washington School for Girls (WSG) Committee, to speak about the school and say a few words about how vital JLW is to their success as both a provider of volunteers and financial resources through a JLW Targeted Grant. “We have been planning this for months, so we’re excited it’s finally here,” Lott said. The event even drew attention from Kendra Scott’s corporate office, and Hillary Hayes, Kendra Scott’s Field Events Lead, came to Washington, DC, from their
headquarters in Austin, TX, for the occasion. “Kendra loves to see photos and hear first-hand about all the work that’s being done around the country,“ Hayes said. “We can only do so much on our own so we rely heavily on the stores to help through organizations like yours.” All the efforts paid off in a big way with $2,385 raised in just three hours. As hundreds left the event with their signature yellow bags, they can now wear their new baubles with pride, knowing that it supported JLW and its community partners. This is something that would not have been possible without Kendra’s vision, as well as the creativity and resourcefulness of the JLW Marketplace Committee.
Washington Girls School Committee Chair Jennie Kronthal (left), Marketplace Rising Chair Chi Chi Marcus (center) and former Marketplace Chair Sarah Lott (right) at the JLW Shops! Kendra Scott Grand Opening event. (Photo Credit: Madison Short)
Former Marketplace Chair Sara Lott (left), committee member Sarah Morris (center), and Rising Chair Chi Chi Marcus (right) at the JLW Shops! Kendra Scott Grand Opening event.
Shoppers browsing Kendra Scott items at the JLW Shops! Kendra Scott Grand Opening event. (Photo Credit: Madison Short)
COMMUNITY TRAINING COMMITTEE:
TRANSFORMING WOMEN IN WASHINGTON, DC
By Melissa Richards
ne way that the Junior League of Washington (JLW) impacts the local area is through our Community Training Committee. Formed in 1992, the founding members of the committee wanted to embody the goal of developing JLW members into trained volunteers while providing professional and life skill resources to women in need. The committee provides valuable training at various locations throughout the city. The Community Training Committee frequently works with New Endeavors by Women (NEW), a nonprofit that provides homeless women and their families with housing and employment resources to reach their short- and long-term goals. Each day, Amarachi Onyima, the Education Employment Resources Coordinator at New Endeavors, is busy advocating for women. New Endeavors helps women find employment and housing, enroll in trade certificate programs, write resumes, conduct mock interviews and English language courses, and clothe women for the workplace. Onyima was initially drawn to this work as an undergraduate pre-med major interested in mental health. She became drawn to behavioral health working in nursing and group homes. Moving into graduate school, Onyima knew that she wanted to study rehabilitation counseling, specifically helping people reach vocational goals, which makes New Endeavors a perfect fit for her. The most satisfying thing Onyima has experienced is seeing women move into good housing and employment situations. “I’ve had a lot of people tell me that the training they are getting here is really helping them,” she said. “Everyone here has a story – they may feel discouraged or demoralized for being homeless. I enjoy increasing their confidence – seeing that transformation in their hearts is really rewarding to me.” JLW members visit New Endeavors once a month. When developing the curriculum for a training session, Winnie Lau, Community Training Committee Chair, explained that the committee hopes to offer a few key messages that are digestible and reasonable given the women’s time and resources. In addition, Lau and the other committee members aim to provide information that will help with the women’s short-term and long-term success. For example, a course
on nutrition may include some information about how to choose healthy foods with recipes to make meals in their own kitchen once they move out of New Endeavors. JLW is always adjusting training topics based on the needs of the women at New Endeavors. Recently, Onyima administered a survey to the women so that they could express their training needs. The women indicated that they wanted to learn more about nutrition and exercise, aging gracefully, self-esteem, effective communication, public speaking, and stress management, which have now been incorporated into the 2017-2018 curriculum. Onyima sees an impact of the JLW trainings at New Endeavors, reporting that they help the women “expand their horizons and
integrate it into their own routine.” For example, some women said they were having problems finding jobs since they had not worked in a while. JLW gave a training on the benefits of volunteering, and it made the women realize that volunteering can help bolster their resumes. In addition to training sessions, JLW made an especially helpful contribution to New Endeavors by purchasing three new computers using JLW’s Fridge Fund. Before these new computers arrived, the computers at New Endeavors were in poor working order. As an alternative, the women used Onyima’s computer or went to the library, which posed challenges when women had to do work on the computer after the library had closed. With these new computers, the women at New Endeavors can conduct job searches, respond to emails promptly, work on resumes and job applications, complete assignments on the computer if they are in school, or use websites that can improve various skills, such as English language training. This spring, a new initiative, Women’s Day, is planned. The day will offer sessions on art, health, mindfulness, poetry, meditation, and yoga. Onyima said, “We want to have a day where we celebrate overcoming obstacles and embrace our women as a whole in mind, body, and spirit.” JLW members from all committees will provide training in these areas, offering a great outlet for community impact.
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Amarachi Onyima (right), the Education Employment Coordinator at New Endeavors, works with a resident in the computer lab. Computers were purchased for New Endeavors using the JLW’s Fridge Fund.
JLW’S HORTON’S KIDS COMMITTEE HELPS STUDENTS AND VOLUNTEERS THRIVE By Mary Beets
or more than a decade, the Junior League of Washington (JLW) has partnered with Horton Kids, a nonprofit organization that helps around 500 children from grades K-12 in one of DC’s most under-resourced neighborhoods, to provide academic tutoring, preparing students for success in academics, while simultaneously helping them develop skills like determination and patience. What has sustained JLW’s relationship with Horton’s Kids and its students over the years and provided a track record of success? Equipping JLW volunteers with the training, skills, and attitude needed to help Horton’s Kids students learn, grow, and thrive.
VOLUNTEER TRAINING JLW volunteers have three options for tutoring: full-time tutors who help every week during the school year with one child; partner tutors who work in pairs to tutor one child; and floaters who fill in any absences. Because reading remediation is the primary goal of Horton’s Kids, JLW volunteers are equipped with tools and skills that help instill a desire to learn in their tutees and lead them to success. According to Corey Cooke, Horton’s Kids Committee Chair, Horton’s Kids ensures that students and volunteers alike are prepared for the tutoring process. If you are on JLW’s Horton’s Kids Committee as a tutor, “you go to two orientations that Horton’s Kids puts on,” she said. One of these occurs at the beginning of the academic year to prepare volunteers, and another training session takes place in the middle of the year, following up on some other essential techniques. These training sessions empower JLW volunteers with the soft skills, attitudes, and tutoring methods needed to succeed. A big part of the tutoring experience is the attitude you come in with, Horton’s Kids Committee Vice Chair for Communications Anna Schumann said; it is crucial to “check your privilege and manage expectations. A big part of training is showing up and developing rapport.”
JLW members dressed up and interacted with the children during the Halloween festivities at Horton’s Kids.
THE RELATIONSHIP This rapport and relationship between student and tutor is fundamental to the structure of Horton’s Kids. “There is no communication with teachers [of the students]. Horton’s Kids acts as an advocate,” Cooke said.
Since volunteers are not in communication with students’ teachers, tutors must work directly with the students to determine which methods are most appropriate and effective to honing skills. How is this accomplished? According to Schumann, the real success of volunteers and their students must first be measured by the relationship: “Getting good grades is tangential – so much of [success] is behavioral and focusing on being there for the kids. You talk about what the kid wants to talk about. [Grades are] secondary to relationship building.” Cooke went on to say that building relationships with the children is foundational; once that is established, you can begin to see the academic progress: “When we talk about student progress, [when something] clicks with kids, it clicks on all levels – academically, behaviorally, etc. Students who stay with the same tutors are the ones who see progress.”
She and her husband have also built a relationship with her tutee and his siblings outside of Horton’s, taking them on excursions to museums, the swimming pool, and parks. Whitesides believes this sense of closeness and intentionality is vital to the relationship. “It’s important for [kids] to have adults in their life – people who let them be a kid and show them a possible avenue to follow as adults,” she said.
MOTIVATING STUDENTS WHO ARE STRUGGLING It should be no surprise that students need to have the drive and desire to succeed to ultimately be successful. While reading remediation is a primary focus of the Horton’s Kids curriculum, according to Cooke, behavioral remediation is equally important. “[Students need to be] engaged in learning and progress in their studies. [Volunteers need to] help them be aware of education’s value and help instill a love of learning in them.” Essentially, volunteers need to learn what their students’ goals are and keep them engaged to achieve them. In Schumann’s experience, it helped to give her student a tangible role model; her student was very good at math, but struggled with reading. To help motivate her, Schumann gave her student the book Hidden Figures. “The goal was to get her interested enough,” Schumann said, so she inscribed the book with “These women love math, too. Look what they did.”
BIGGEST PIECE OF ADVICE FOR VOLUNTEERS TO REMEMBER
The League’s Horton’s Kids Committee poses for a photo after the Halloween party. While reading remediation may be the primary goal, Horton’s Kids volunteer Brittany Lowrey indicated that it is the relationship with the kids that has kept her coming back to Horton’s Kids since her first placement in 2014: “What I really love is that it’s a great group of kids. I love that they come back year after year. The more time you spend, the more time you get to know them.” And the tailoring of the tutoring experience goes both ways – Lowrey said she has enjoyed the opportunity to share books she enjoyed as when she was young with the boy she tutors. Similarly, Horton’s Kids volunteer Ellen Whitesides has loved building a relationship with one of her tutees: “When we started working together, he was in first grade...he would crawl into my lap, and we would read together. Now he is going into fourth grade, and he knows how to read. The fact that he’s able to make more sense of the homework now because he can read is a wonderful thing.”
Working with children who are struggling academically comes with inherent challenges. Frustration can arise on both sides; students are discouraged by their lack of understanding and volunteers by their inability to effect positive change immediately. According to Cooke, the biggest step in alleviating this frustration is showing up consistently. “People go in and out of these children’s lives. Take the opportunity to show up and not worry about doing something wrong. Showing up is what they need most.” Schumann added that volunteers should also develop expectations with their students, rather than walking in with preconceived ideas. “Recognize that goals you set for yourself wouldn’t necessarily be goals you would set for the kids. Meet them where they are. Celebrate any progress, any little win.” According to Lowrey, it’s important to remember to be patient: “[Volunteers] need to recognize [the relationship with students] won’t happen overnight. [They] may not immediately bond with you. You’re there to help them with homework, which kids don’t always love.” But through patience and taking the time to chat with them, volunteers “slowly recognize [they’re] building a relationship.” Additionally, she says it’s important to be flexible. “Sometimes things don’t go according to plan. You need to remember that you were once that age – maybe make a change and work on something else…understand that things won’t always go according to schedule.”
SPOTLIGHT ON OUR MEMBERS
NEW MEMBERS REFLECT ON THEIR FIRST YEAR
ach year, the Junior League of Washington (JLW) welcomes another group of New Members. After attending an open house session, submitting an interest form, attending a recruitment session, and submitting on online application, members are entered into a lottery. The result is that 250300 women are accepted into JLW every year. The impetus for joining the League varies from member to member. For example, Taylor Thesing was encouraged by a mentor, Sofia Ferber by her mother, and Shewit Woldu by a colleague. When Thesing first moved to Washington, DC, she was accustomed to volunteering through her sorority in college. Joining the League provided an outlet to channel her energy into New Member activities. Alternatively, Ferber wanted to meet like-minded women. “I wanted to be around other women who wanted to prop each other up – women who want success for you,” Ferber said. Woldu noted a similar desire to give back to the city. “I was looking for something structured, volunteer opportunities that are well organized,” she added. Every member’s first year can be distinct. With such large New Member classes, members find different ways to connect with each other. For example, Ferber planned her schedule to complete most of her credits in the first half of the year. “I was able to meet a lot of other girls at our training sessions and events, and jumping right in allowed me to really get to know other new members,” Ferber said. “I connected with other new members in my advisor group,” Thesing said, “And I enjoyed the New Member cookie exchange.” New Members are also introduced to the League through special events and volunteer experiences. “I was so impressed with the National Book Festival,” noted Woldu, while Ferber had a memorable time during a community experience at which she volunteered at a gala in Georgetown and was able to learn more about how JLW is impacting the DC community. After attending several training sessions in her first year, Ferber was able to tell attendees about JLW’s mission. “I think I recruited a few people to Junior League that night!” Ferber said. Thesing said that she has enjoyed attending about one JLW event per month and said she was looking forward to Tossed & Found events in the spring. Thesing, Woldu, and Ferber also had several tips for incoming new members. Thesing suggested “logging into the JLW website often because there are so many events to choose from,” and Ferber
shared that “New Members should complete as many credits as they can and put themselves out there.” Particularly, Woldu recommended that upcoming New Members should be open to a variety of activities – both internal and external League events. “New Members should be open-minded; for example, even if you aren’t connected to your first choice of a mini placement, you will probably still love [the experience],” Woldu said. With so much to offer women during their provisional year, New Members already have a lot to say about their first year in the League. “I’ve already learned a lot this year in terms of what I want to work on in my next year in the League, for instance, signing up for more Development & Training sessions,” Ferber said. Woldu is looking forward to making strides in the DC community, and Thesing notes enthusiasm for contributing to JLW’s events. Ultimately, taking advantage of your first year can launch New Members into their first active year ready to take on new roles and opportunities.
PHOTO CREDIT: CASSIE PANAL
By Elizabeth L. Petrun Sayers
New JLW members volunteered at the NBC4 Telemundo 44 Health & Fitness Expo.
SPOTLIGHT ON OUR MEMBERS
FACES OF JLW By Erin Williams
he Junior League of Washington (JLW) has more than 2,300 members who are dedicated to improving the greater Washington, DC, community. Over the years, JLW has become more diverse and has attracted women from various cultural backgrounds. JLW strives to be inclusive and embrace differences, and encourages women from various walks of life with a passion to serve to join its ranks. According to the 2010 Census, the District of Columbia was 51 percent African American, 38 percent white, 3 percent Asian, and 7 percent Native American or “other.” DC has often been thought of a melting pot of cultures, so it would only make sense that JLW reflect the demographics of the community it serves. I talked to a few women of color about their experiences with JLW. The one common thread that binds them is their love of JLW and its mission.
JLW Community Family Life Services Committee Vice Chair Jennifer Albert with her family It is always interesting to learn why women join JLW. Jennifer Albert, Vice Chair of Community Family Life Services (CFLS) Committee, credits her older sister Lily as her “Junior League influencer.” In 2010, Albert was visiting her sister in North Carolina and attended one of the Junior League of Durham and Orange County’s general meetings and was “captivated by their motivation and enthusiasm but also the sense of community that the women created together.” Two years later, Albert joined JLW. When reflecting on her experience, Albert, a first-generation Taiwanese-American who was raised in Charlotte, NC, says, “I do not believe that being a person of the minority has made my experience any different in either a positive or negative way. I have found that my ideas, my motivations, and my successes are more complex than the color of my skin or shape of my face but are shaped by my fortunate life experiences and education. When volunteering at our community partner, CFLS, there is an apparent difference in color from the participants we serve, but I have seen over the years volunteers of all colors connect with them
at all varying levels regardless of color. I am grateful that I am able to say I volunteer with a very good mix of ethnicities and races at CFLS and in JLW.” For Phoenix Ricks, Chair of the Magazine Committee, JLW was very familiar as she practically grew up in the League. Her mother joined the League because of a specific call for diversity when Phoenix was around eight years old, and her mother’s excitement about her placements and League friends left JLW 3039M Magazine Chair a positive impression on Ricks. In Phoenix Ricks an interview about her experience with JLW, she reflects, “I remember going to events at [my mom’s] first placement, which was a women’s shelter for victims of domestic violence. I was allowed to sit with the kids while JLW members facilitated a kids’ playtime in one room and activities for their mothers in another space.” While some ladies are practically “children of the League,” other members, like LaTonya Clark, learn of JLW through outreach and marketing efforts. Clark’s first encounter with JLW was an advertisement she saw for Holiday Shops (which was formerly known as A Capital Collection) at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel. After attending Holiday Shops and doing some research on the organization, Clark was hooked and joined in 2009. Clark, who is currently on the Nominating Committee, has held several JLW Nominating leadership positions in JLW and met Committee member some of her best friends in the process. LaTonya Clark Clark’s advice to women who think they may be interested in holding a leadership position is to “enjoy your placement, follow up and follow through with assignments, and most importantly have fun. Your commitment and dedication will be noticed, and you will be asked to serve!” Holiday Shops is an effective recruitment tool. Celina Kurani, Vice Chair of Training and Course Sessions on the New Members Committee, grew up attending her hometown Junior League’s version of holiday shops annually. In 2013, Kurani joined JLW because she wanted to get involved in the betterment of her community. She
SPOTLIGHT ON OUR MEMBERS
loves that “JLW has a built-in infrastructure so that I can give my time, money, and energy without having to shoulder the whole load alone, in a way that works with the bandwidth I can give.” With regard to being a minority in JLW, Kurani says, “Sometimes, I look around the room and realize I’m the most ethnic person around the table (and I’m half white). I want to appear approachable, JLW New Members Vice engaged, and visible because I want other Chair Celina Kurani minority women to feel they belong here too, that their contributions and viewpoints will be celebrated in this League. It’s kind of funny, outside of the League, when I mention I’m a member, I very often get the ‘you don’t seem like the type,’ but Junior League needs all types to deliver our mission and we’re a more capable and credible force in DC for it.” For Onika Williams, Leadership Institute Committee volunteer, an invitation to a JLW book club event is where she was introduced to JLW, and she immediately knew JLW was an organization she was interested in joining. Not letting the historical perception of JLW sway her from joining, she recalls: “Historically, the general perception of Junior League JLW Leadership Institute has not been one of an open, accepting Committee member organization. As a woman of color, the Onika Williams ‘historical’ perception of Junior League has not been my experience with JLW at all. I think it is important for JLW to show the community, and even ourselves, that we are a diverse organization made up of educated, multifaceted, women from varying backgrounds with an array of experiences.” Rosalyn Steward, who currently serves on the 105th Celebration Committee, joined JLW in 2015. She heard about JLW from her law school roommate’s mother, who joined when she first moved to DC from Boston. Steward joined JLW because she wanted to volunteer in her community while building relationships with like-minded women. She was also drawn to the League’s professional development opportunities and JLW 105th Celebration Committee member social events. Steward says JLW’s social Rosalyn Steward events “are fantastic and provide a great setting to connect with women that I might not otherwise meet.” The best memories she has of JLW “are the conversations I’ve had with women that I have met. They may have not even known it at the time, but they provided an immense amount of support and encouragement. The ability to engage in an open, honest and authentic
way with my fellow Junior Leaguers is something I value greatly about this organization.” Like Steward, Winnie Lau, Chair of Community Training Committee, was introduced to JLW through a long-time friend who had just finished her new member year. Lau joined in 2011 because she wanted to volunteer JLW Community Training in her community with her friend Chair Winnie Lau and she thought that JLW’s mission to develop women, train leaders, and contribute to the community fit well with her goals. Lau has found the JLW membership to be “very kind and inclusive.” After joining, she noticed that there were relatively few minorities among the membership and she wondered if she belonged. “Then when I became a chair and joined the leadership rank,” she remembers, “I continued to notice how few minorities there were among the leadership crowd. I can imagine that many women wonder about belonging, which I think connects me with the other women in the League. The difference is wondering, not only based on my qualifications and abilities, but also my ethnic and cultural background. Fortunately, I have only felt the camaraderie of the women at JLW, and not my skin color.” For those members who wonder if they belong and are apprehensive about becoming more active in JLW, Lau advises, “Join, participate, speak up, and step up. JLW is a welcoming organization and recognizes leadership among its members.” Esprit Committee Chair Jacqueline ”Jackie” Frederick-Maturo joined JLW in 2014 because she found it difficult to find regular volunteer opportunities in DC. She loves that “JLW not only affords you a wide range of volunteering opportunities, but also trains you properly for your volunteering.” When asked about how her experience as a JLW Esprit Chair Jackie minority may have been different from Frederick-Maturo the majority in JLW, she says, “I don’t think my experience has been very different from the majority of the JLW membership. I have always felt included by the JLW membership and have been afforded many opportunities.” Above all, Frederick-Maturo’s advises members to “invest in the JLW experience. The more you give the JLW, the more you get back!” No matter where you come from or where you’ve been, the common thread that binds JLW members together is our dedication to the League’s mission and our heart for service. While we may look different, our love for and commitment to our community is the same. In the words of Frederick-Maturo, “We’re no longer a ‘ladies who lunch’ League so it’s time our membership reflected that. What a great opportunity to have women of all backgrounds working towards our Mission. We could rule the world!”
SPOTLIGHT ON OUR MEMBERS
FINDING A NEW HOME SWEET HOME WITH THE JUNIOR LEAGUE OF WASHINGTON
efore moving to the Washington, DC area, Chelsey Hochmuth was a member of the Junior League in Albany, New York. Her league was hoping to reach 100 members for its centennial celebration in 2017 – a sizeable difference from the Junior League of Washington’s (JLW) 2,300+ membership. “JLW is so big, but everyone I’ve met has been so warm and welcoming. I’ve met Transfers, New Members, and leadership, and it’s impressive to hear everyone’s journey and what they’re passionate about,” she said. Hochmuth adds that her transfer experience has helped her feel at home in the area. “The transfer year has been so much fun! It’s great to know you’re meeting women who are also new to the area. So, it’s easy to start a conversation and it’s a great excuse to explore new brunch spots together. I’ve enjoyed the JLW 105th Celebration, the Mount Vernon Wine Festival, Holiday Shops, a few [Development & Training sessions], and every social event I can fit on my calendar.” The Junior League of Albany focuses much of their efforts and philanthropy towards issues of hunger, specifically in children. One of Hochmuth’s favorite fundraising events was “Always a Bridesmaid!” – an event held at a bridal salon at which guests wear old bridesmaid dresses and enjoy a fun evening that serves as a general fundraiser for the League.
By Jacqueline Bauer
Chelsey Hochmuth (right) with new JLW friends at the University Club. This year, JLW has 65 new transfer members. “The diverse backgrounds and experiences transfer members bring to JLW make the League that much more special,” says Transfer Committee Chair Catharine Montgomery. “It’s this diversity which provides us with the opportunity to learn techniques from other leagues around the world!” Like Hochmuth, Cindy Zeigler also moved to the DC area from New York, where she was a Sustainer in the New York Junior League (NYJL). “We are a larger-size league much like the Junior League of Washington. We also have a great headquarters housed in a beautiful brownstone on the upper east side of Manhattan.” The NYJL’s mission is to improve the lives of women and children in the city. Top
initiatives include a Community Improvement Project, where the League helps a Manhattan-based organization increase its community impact, as well as the Playground Improvement Project, which has the NYJL helping to renovate a local park. Zeigler has fond memories of her favorite event: “When I first joined the [NYJL], they did an incredible fundraiser called The Golden Tree where the entire JL house was decorated for Christmas and vendors were peppered throughout the house selling jewelry, dresses, and children’s clothes.” She also enjoyed the NYJL’s annual Winter Ball held at the Waldorf Astoria, the Spring House Tour of amazing homes in neighborhoods throughout the city, and the friends she made throughout the years. “The great thing about Junior League is
SPOTLIGHT ON OUR MEMBERS
that no matter where you move or relocate you have a ready set of smart, philanthropic women who want to better their community. Some of my lifelong friends are from the Junior League. I’m still great friends with a woman from my provisional class in 1987.” Megan Goodrich, a transfer member this year from Cleveland, Ohio, is eager to share details about her former league where the main philanthropy is helping children and families. During her new member year, she volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House, and she is already diving into JLW events. “I love meeting new people and doing activities I would never do on my own. I’ve attended a Ghost Tour in Old Town, volunteered at Gadsby’s Tavern, and even had some fun with Georgetown Glow. While at a social in Arlington, I met one of my neighbors! She lives in the building next door, and I consider her my best friend. I never would have met her without Junior League.” Katrina Washington is only a few months into her transfer year, having previously been a member of the Junior League in nearby Richmond, Virginia. She has already reconnected with a fellow transfer member from her former league. “That moment was a true testament that Junior League is more than volunteering in the community; it is also about building lasting relationships.” With a membership of about 500 women, the Junior League of Richmond (JLR) is smaller than JLW. But both leagues share many of the same goals. “The JLR priorities include children and families, with an emphasis on childhood literacy, parental engagement, and healthy families. JLR partners with a host of community organizations ranging from public schools and early childcare centers to food banks and temporary lodging facilities for families in need.” Washington adds that her former league also has operated two thrift stores called The Clothes Rack for 75 years. These serve as JLR’s top fundraiser to support its community programs.
Megan Goodrich (right) and her new JLW friends enjoying Georgetown Glowlights.
Cindy Ziegler (right) with Mary Goldsmith (left) at the Sustainers Holiday Tea in 2017. Cindy and Mary met when they both transferred to JLW.
Katrina Washington (center) and Junior League of Richmond members promoting their Touch-a-Truck event. In addition, JLR coordinates some engaging events throughout the year. Washington’s favorites include the large annual Book and Author fundraiser, Galantine’s Brunch (a very popular new event), and an interactive Touch-a-Truck program, which allows children and young-at-heart adults to explore big-rigs, emergency vehicles, and helicopters. Now, Washington is looking forward to becoming involved with the huge number of activities JLW offers. “I love the variety of events,” she said. “It’s like a JLW ice cream store with 31 flavors to appeal to every members taste.”
Katrina Washington (right) with Maha Saad (left) and another JLW member. Both Katrina and Maha transferred to the JLW from Richmond. They reunited when they ran into each other at a JLW event.
MEET TYCELY WILLIAMS, JLW PRESIDENT-ELECT By Erin Williams
f you’ve been to a Junior League of Washington (JLW) event recently, you’ve probably met JLW’s President-Elect, Tycely Williams. In the 20182019 League year, Tycely will hold the distinction of being JLW’s first African-American and woman of color president. She is from Birmingham, Alabama, and was raised by socially conscious parents who instilled in her a love for community and serving others at a very early age. As the oldest of four children, Tycely was tasked with setting a good example for her siblings. She has always carried a compassion and concern for others, which is why she selflessly serves the community with JLW and other organizations. Tycely’s love for service is also evident in her career. She serves as the Vice President of Development for the YWCA USA. Tycely was first introduced to philanthropy at her home church in Alabama. Tycely grew up regularly attending a church that was very active in the community. From feeding the homeless to visiting the incarcerated, Tycely learned at a young age what real servant leadership looks like. Growing up, Tycely noticed the Junior League’s presence in Birmingham. “They were a group of women who were well dressed and well spoken and thought it was important to give back to the community,” she remembers. Although most of the women she saw in the Junior League did not work, they didn’t solely use their money to shop and travel, but also used it to help people in need.” She was fascinated at how the women of the League pooled their resources to help others. Fast forward to 2005, Tycely’s Tri Delta sorority sister suggested they join
JLW together. They had both recently moved to the DC area, so joining JLW seemed like a good way to meet people and become involved in the community. When asked about her fondest memory of JLW, Tycely quickly responded “co-chairing Tossed & Found.” She describes her experience as one of “the most laborious and emotional commitments.” The year she co-chaired the committee, they did not have a space committed to host the sale, and she recalls: “it really taught me the importance of leaning on others.” One of the greatest lessons she took from co-chairing Tossed & Found was that “when you’re in a leadership position whether you have a slated co-chair or not, in life, it is important to have a chosen co-pilot who flies with you. Life can be heavy, so it’s easier to share the burdens,” she says. When talking about her purpose in life, Tycely is very clear that she is called to build bridges and help those who are traditionally disenfranchised whether it is because of race, gender, or some other factor. She strives to help people find commonality and identify the greater good in others. Tycely further explained “as a woman of color, I have a heightened sensitivity to the need to push and press for equality for all.” A self-described “values-driven leader,” Tycely’s vision for her presidency is to work collaboratively with The Association of
JLW President-Elect Tycely Williams Junior Leagues International (AJLI) to roll out the AJLI’s values nationally. The first time I met Tycely – on a corner in Georgetown after leaving a JLW event – I said to Tycely, “You should be the first African-American JLW president.” At the time, she said, “Oh honey no, I have a lot on my plate with Tossed & Found!” which is a testament to her dedication to giving her all in whatever position she finds herself. From our interview and my interactions with Tycely since my new member year in JLW, one thing is clear: she is a self-aware, confident leader who is purposefully poised to carry on the JLW torch and build bridges not only within the League but the community.
FUN FACTS ABOUT TYCELY: • She was named after Emmy award-winning actress, model, and Presidential Medal of Freedom honoree Cicely Tyson. • She has an English Lab named Bess.
• Her favorite DC landmark is the World War II Memorial at night. • True to her Southern roots, her favorite food is fried green tomatoes. • Tycely’s favorite color is timeless, black.
ABOUT OUR LEAGUE
BRINGING MEMBERS TOGETHER:
A LOOK AT THE MEMBERSHIP OUTREACH COMMITTEE
By Bonnie Louque
re you looking for opportunities to get to know Junior League of Washington (JLW) leaders and other members outside of your placement or membership level (New Member, Active, or Sustainer)? Are you interested in strengthening your connection to the League by improving your understanding of our strategic priorities, leadership direction, or cross-cutting initiatives? Consider joining the Membership Outreach committee for one of their League-wide events throughout the year! This includes General Membership Meetings, Bubbly with the Board, Book Clubs, the Day of Service, and the Annual Reception. The mission of Membership Outreach is to increase JLW member engagement, satisfaction, and retention by planning and supporting all-League events. Their focus is to reach across the League and offer members a way to connect with each other, ask questions, get to know leadership, and build relationships that go beyond individual placements. According to Membership Outreach Chair Chloe Taylor, the committee has undergone a transformation over the past three years and has redefined its mission and role in the League. Although it was previously viewed as a “catch-all” for new initiatives and book clubs, it has since focused its efforts on developing a clear purpose and bringing together members for meaningful League-wide events. One of the most notable of these initiatives is the General Membership Meeting (GMM). Held three times during the year (fall, winter, and spring), the GMM is open to all members and is a forum for learning about JLW strategic priorities, Ways and Means, and key upcoming events. The meeting is led by the JLW President, and speakers may include a financial review by the Treasurer, a Headquarters update by the Secretary, committee lead updates for key upcoming events, and more. At the Winter GMM, which was held on January 31 at the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Chinatown, JLW President Aimee Picard Soller opened by welcoming The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc. (AJLI) Board President Carol Scott. Scott shared information about strategic AJLI initiatives, including strong efforts to strengthen diversity and inclusion across the Leagues, encouraged members to look into opportunities to join AJLI on international travel and service projects, and inspired participants to continue finding ways to make a difference in the DC community. For more information on AJLI strategic priorities and other information, please visit www.ajli.org and use your JLW credentials to log in to the site.
Another Membership Outreach event offered twice a year is Bubbly with the Board. Based on feedback received through the Annual Survey, the committee revised the event format this year from a leadership panel to small groups, which gave attendees a chance to interact more directly with JLW leaders. Isabella Demougeot, who is on the Membership Outreach Committee and attended the Winter Bubbly with the Board, shared that it is a “perfect medium for members and the Board to interact, engage, and discuss in a comfortable and informal setting.” The small groups at the winter event discussed three general topics: first, the overall JLW experience, including work-life balance and making friends within the League; second, leadership and Board experiences; and third, the nomination process and becoming a leader. The new format, said Demougeot, “opened the Board up to really share about their experiences in the League, as well as their hopes.” JLW book clubs are always a popular way for members to get to know others across the League. This year, Taylor and her committee tried a new approach to book clubs aimed at simplifying the gatherings and increasing participation. Rather than creating a variety of book clubs segmented by genre or location and led by the members of each small group, Membership Outreach now hosts a single book club meeting three times yearly (December, March, and May) at Headquarters. In line with their mission of cross-league engagement, the committee partnered with the Esprit Committee for its March book, A Wrinkle in Time. In connection with the book club meeting held at Headquarters, Esprit organized a movie outing to round out the experience. This year also marked the second annual Day of Service organized by Membership Outreach after a successful start in spring 2017. In partnership with the 105th Celebration Committee, the Day of Service is another opportunity for members to come together from across the League for a single day of a community action. The event is a great way for members to get engaged in a one-time volunteer opportunity outside of their current in-League or other community placement. At the close of the volunteer year, it is the Membership Outreach Committee that organizes the Annual Reception. Held at JLW Headquarters every May, members from across the League are recognized and receive awards for going above and beyond. The reception also highlights JLW’s grant, scholarship, and poetry contest winners, and features the ceremonial passing of the gavel from the current President to the President-Elect – this year from Soller to Tycely Williams.
ABOUT OUR LEAGUE
FINDING CONFIDENCE ON YOUR BOOKSHELF
re you looking for ways to get your life together? Still searching for a boost of confidence? Curious to figure out why you behave the way you do? If so, pick up Jen Sincero’s book You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life right now. This past fall Junior League of Washington (JLW) book club members met to discuss Sincero’s how-to guide. The book is chock-full of strategies to take control of your life and start thriving. You’ll read
By Taylor Thesing
about themes like fear of failure, feelings of being overwhelmed, and the constant urge to make excuses. The themes are relevant to any audience, at any stage of life, which made this book a dynamic read for the book club. New Member Alex Patterson said, “Everyone found themselves inadvertently relating a quote or chapter to their [own] lives; shaping the discussion to feel as if you fast forwarded from being strangers 15 minutes ago to new friends by the end.” Although the book is dubbed ‘self-help,’ it really doesn’t read as such. Patterson said,
“I’m not typically one to pick up a ‘selfhelp’ book by any means because I tend to find them to be too preachy or repetitive, but I think what makes Sincero’s book worth reading is that she speaks to you like she’s one of your close girlfriends.” It’s an easy, light-hearted read, and Sincero provides honest advice that fosters introspection. By the end, you’re very likely to have a fresher, newer perspective on life. If you love discussing books, JLW book club meeting dates and book selections are announced on the JLW website and in League Lines.
One League book club began in 2012, and the members continue to read together to this day. From back left: Sarah Yacoub, Stephanie Ruiter, Ashley Nelsen. From front left: Beth Kuhnhein, Anna Wiand, Ellen Tallerico, Suzie Sinno, Shaqueta Pierre.
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THRIVE-READY By Holly Roberts
s we celebrate 105 years of the Junior League of Washington (JLW) with the slogan “Thrive in 105,” it seems fitting to take a moment and reflect upon what that really means. According to Merriam Webster, “thrive” has three possible definitions:
Verb \ ‘thriv 1 : to grow vigorously : flourish 2 : to gain in wealth or possessions : prosper 3 : to progress toward or realize a goal despite or because of circumstances
As JLW members, we know that our organization accomplishes mighty things and that we work within our communities to empower others to flourish, prosper, and progress. We are a collective force committed to the goals and mission of the organization, but what about looking at us as individuals? We, as individuals, must thrive in our own daily activities to bring that energy and success into JLW. So, I asked our members what they do to get “thrive-ready” every day, and here are a few of the things they had to say: “I have a planner that I love – checking it the night before keeps me on track. Also, this is a little thing, but I enjoy making a fresh pot of tea every morning. I feel a lot better leaving for work with it.” - Phoenix Ricks, Active Member (5 years) “My best mornings involve a minimum of four cups of coffee and a decent run! I
can take on anything after that!” - Elizabeth Petrun Sayers, Active Member (2 years) “Setting an agenda or to-do list of goals to accomplish; taking a deep breath right when I wake up to reset; and planning the logistics the night before.” - Niki Grant, New Member
WE CAN CHOOSE TO BE READY TO THRIVE EACH AND EVERY DAY, SO LET’S MAKE THAT OUR GOAL. “Getting up early enough to drink tea and watch something to make me laugh!! When I rush out the door, I feel stressed. It helps to leave feeling refreshed.” - Mary Beets, Active Member (3 years) “In the new year, one of my goals was to really start my days off on a positive note. I bought a morning routine journal, which I write in twice a day, that helps me identify ways to improve my life daily. Using a journal has essentially forced me to reflect on my day in a way I never have before, pushing me to question, ‘Will this decision truly make me happy or add value to my life?’ Holding myself accountable in this way each day has made my mornings much more pleasant! Next stop, waking up early
Elizabeth Petrun Sayers says she thrives with lots of coffee and a morning run. enough to go to the gym in the morning!” Brittany Martinez, Active Member (2 years) “I work out to relieve stress. Also doing something (whether it’s going out to lunch, walking the stairs, talking to friends, etc.) to clear my mind.” - Victoria Sheard, Active Member (10 years). While many of the above suggestions may sound familiar, I encourage you to take a moment and think about what makes you “thrive-ready.” As Brittany mentioned, we can choose to be ready to thrive each and every day, so let’s make that our goal. As we celebrate JLW with Thrive in 105, you should join the festivities by celebrating your own thriving achievements.
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CAPTURING A MOMENT By Alex Sarp
was greeted by a cheerful and sophisticated English accent when I called photographer Philip Bermingham for an interview. He grew up in Cheshire, England, near Liverpool, and arrived in Washington, DC in 1978. “Anybody who is anybody will go through DC at some point,” Bermingham told me, although San Francisco was a close contender. While he’s been taking pictures since 1973, his involvement with the Junior League of Washington (JLW) began in 1988 when he was asked to do a portrait session for then-President Vicki Martyak, and he’s been graciously volunteering to take JLW presidents’ portraits ever since. He recalls his involvement beginning with Holiday Shops when he was asked to take children’s photos. “I became a very competent children’s photographer because of the Junior League. I ended up taking 110 children’s photos in one day at the event,” Bermingham said. The A portrait of Philip Bermigham. following year they set up appointments for the photos over a two-day period, so it was much more organized. “You can imagine kids waiting in line, how anxious they can be. You have to be quick and entertain them. I used every trick in the bag,” he said. The proceeds from these sessions were donated back to the League. One of the reasons Bermingham was attracted to the metro area was the vast array of people from all walks of life. “Having the camera and being there is half the battle. No one has the same story,” he said. He recalled when he was moving into his co-op at the Watergate being seated in the same room as renowned opera singer Placido Domingo. At Placido’s suggestion, who also serves as Director of the Washington National Opera, and because of his love for the arts, Bermingham has photographed more than 500 opera singers. “Opera people are some of the greatest people I’ve ever met. They are
entertainers so they know how to present themselves. I didn’t have to coach them.” He also did a private portrait session for United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, which lasted a few hours. “She said, ‘I don’t understand selfies,’” he told me, while admitting that he takes them occasionally. “Digital photography has changed the way we behave. We don’t value the images as much as we used to,” Bermingham said, although that is certainly not keeping him from following his passion. He particularly enjoys creating family albums and will spend the whole day behind the lens trying to capture the perfect light. “I’m so happy where I am right now in business. There’s no intention of retiring.” To learn more about Bermingham and to admire some of his work, visit http://www.philipbermingham.com/.
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SUMMER IN THE CITY By Margaret Lawrynowicz
ummer is a great time to be in DC. The city has dozens of outdoor patios for happy hours and weekend brunches, and our national monuments are always a welcome sight. For those of you who would like to get out there and explore a Esprit hosted a yoga class at the Watergate. little more, we ventured off the well-known (and often touristy) path would rather see a movie, www.dcoutdoorto bring you some fresh ideas for spending films.com lists various venues throughout the summer in our nation’s capital. the city and suburbs playing both classic So grab a couple of your friends from the films and new releases. Just bring a blanket League, and enjoy some of these activities or lawn chair, and settle in! together! Get to the waterfront! The Wharf Get active! DC is consistently ranked recently opened in Southwest, and it is not as one of the best cities in the country for to be missed. In addition to its happening staying healthy and fit. If you like being on waterfront venues, many more are planned the water, try stand-up paddleboarding or to open in the coming months. You can kayaking along the Potomac. Key Bridge also venture further to the National Harbor Boathouse in Georgetown offers rentals in Maryland – consider taking a water taxi and is only a few blocks away from Junior to get there. League of Washington (JLW) Headquarters. Get out of town! If you feel like you just If you prefer yoga or pilates, there are great need to get away from the city for a week(and free!) outdoor classes during the week end, there are plenty of great places to visit in Farragut Square and at City Center – all nearby. You can wander the cobblestone you need is your own mat. Finally, don’t streets of Old Town Alexandria or Annapforget about the dozens of trails in Rock olis, both of which are full of history and Creek park. You can run to the National cozy places to eat and drink. You can head Mall or bike your way up to Maryland – south to Virginia wine country and enjoy you may even spot a couple historic sites some great local vineyards. If you wanted to along the way. make a weekend out of it, you could enjoy Get entertained! There are many oppora hike in the Blue Ridge Mountains or take tunities to enjoy music outside. Jazz In The in the sights on Skyline Drive in ShenandoGarden at Pavilion Café in the National ah National Park. Alternatively, if you head Gallery of Art is often frequented by JLW east from the District, you could stop by St. members. You may also be able to catch Michael’s, Maryland, on the Eastern Shore some of your favorite musicians at Wolf and crack some crab while you relax on the Trap or Merriweather Post Pavilion. If you water in this charming bayfront town.
League members participate in an Esprit fun run around the Lincoln Memorial.
League members participate in an Esprit boxing class at Nuboxx.
Esprit hosted League members for a White House Garden Tour. Most importantly, don’t forget to stay in touch with the League! Whether it’s Esprit events or volunteer opportunities like the Reading All-Stars summer session, there are plenty of ways to stay involved. League Lines will keep you up-to-speed all summer long.
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ESPRIT EVENTS ENCOURAGE CROSS-COMMITTEE AWARENESS
By Katie Hatfield
s previously reported in the Fall 2017 issue of 3039M, In addition to allowing League members to ask questions and the Esprit Committee of the Junior League of Washlearn more about new committees, the happy hours can also serve as ington (JLW) announced they were rolling out some a way to offer cross-committee support of events. For example, at the enhancements to the events they organize in order to February 23 “Get to know…” event Esprit co-hosted with the Bright provide more diverse offerings and fulfill their goal of Beginnings Committee and attendees were encouraged to register for fostering connections between members of the League the Bright Beginnings 5K race on April 28. through social gatherings. The most recent “Get to know…” Esprit event occurred on FebEarly in 2018, the Esprit Committee, in collaboration with JLW’s ruary 26 and spotlighted the Higher Achievement Program (HAP) community placement committees (CPCs), kicked off the next phase Committee. The HAP Committee promotes literacy through mentoof such events by introducing a series of “Get to know…” happy ring local middle school students participating in the HAP program hours. According to Jackie Frederick-Maturo, Esprit Committee as well as supporting local HAP events. Following the happy hour at Chair, the purpose of such events is twofold: to educate members on Bar Louie in Gallery Place, members attended the Love Out Loud out-of-League placements with which they may not have been familpoetry recital to watch HAP finalists showcase their original poems iar previously and to garner new membership for those committees. on love. “Our hope is that with increased exposure and interest, there will “I was thrilled to attend the recent Love Out Loud event; it was a inevitably be an increase in registrations for each of these commitwonderful showcase of Higher Achievement’s ability to help middle tees. Hopefully, Esprit can help the CPCs spread the word about the school students understand and activate their voice. Their poetry was wonderful work they do,” Frederick-Maturo said. personal and powerful,” said HAP Committee Chair, Isabel Yordan. The first of such events took place on January 18 as the Esprit League members interested in attending future “Get to know…” Committee partnered with the Historic Alexandria Docents (HAD) events can look forward to future partnerships with such committees Committee. The event proved to be a success, as 25 women regisas N Street Village, Langley Residential Support Services (LRSS), and tered to mingle over cocktails and classic Southern fare at Jackson20 Horton’s Kids Committees, according to Frederick-Maturo. The last in Old Town Alexandria and learn how the members of HAD one on the books for the 2017-2018 League year is a volunteer shift promote cultural literacy through their volunteer work at various at LRSS on April 24. Though it is through a casual setting, the “Get historic properties and museums throughout Alexandria. to know…” events are more impactful than one would think at first “Our happy hour with Esprit was extremely successful, and we blush. look forward to collaborating on a more regular basis. I think it was a great way to get ladies who normally do more direct League placements, in contact with what a cultural, out of League placement can offer,” said HAD Committee Chair, Melanie Loba. “We are actually having Jackie come speak at our Spring committee meeting to help our ladies tie back into the League and create that stream of communication between both in and out of League placements. Biggest thing is keeping that connection alive and strong,” Loba added, confirming the importance of Attendees of the “Get to know…” Higher Achievement Program Happy Hour pose before heading the lasting impact that these events provide. to the Love Out Loud poetry recitation event.
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ALL FOR ONE AND ONE FOR ALL:
AJLI AND JLW EMBRACE GREATER DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION
By Maryam Hatcher and Brittany Higdon
ncreasing diversity and inclusion is a paramount issue for the Junior League of Washington (JLW) and The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc. (AJLI). In fact, at JLW’s General Membership Meeting on January 31, AJLI President Carol Scott reported that strengthening AJLI’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is AJLI’s number one priority for the 2017-2018 League year. Scott spoke about how to “strengthen our commitment to diversity and inclusion” for the 291 Junior League chapters around the globe. The AJLI’s strategic plan to welcome women of various backgrounds was recently launched with the hopes of full implementation by spring 2018. “Leagues are changing,” Scott explained. Women who want to join Leagues have fewer available hours and different expectations from in generations past. Forty-three percent of millennial adults are nonwhite, which is one of many factors that led the AJLI to adopt their diversity initiative. The Junior Leagues’ commitment to diversity and inclusion reads, “Junior League welcomes all women who value our Mission. We are committed to inclusive environments of diverse individuals, organizations, and communities.” One major step in AJLI’s initiative to increase diversity and inclusion involved the recent addition of a single word to its mission and vision: all. AJLI’s goal is have one hundred percent of Junior Leagues (all 291 across four countries) committed to this objective. JLW has embraced the more inclusive AJLI mission and vision as evidenced by the newly formed JLW Diversity and Inclusion Taskforce, which was established by JLW Board approval at its December 2017 meeting. During the JLW General Membership Meeting, JLW President Aimee Picard Soller explained that diversity and inclusion are included in JLW’s strategic priorities and announced the appointment of Active Emily Rouse and Sustainer Luciana Gray to serve as the co-chairs of the task force. As an initial matter, the task force is assessing the state of diversity and inclusion in JLW and then developing an appropriate action plan. Soller emphasized that the push for diversity and inclusion in the League is more than just a short-term project; it is an ongoing process that will need to be continually propelled forward in the years to come. She believes that as an organization that aims to develop the potential of women, JLW can benefit greatly from the breadth of ideas and perspectives that accom-
JLW President Aimee Picard Soller opens the winter JLW General Membership Meeting.
Association of Junior Leagues International Board President Carol Scott shares inspiration and insight at the JLW Winter General Membership Meeting.
Inspirational words presented by the Association of Junior Leagues International Board President Carol Scott at the JLW Winter General Membership Meeting.
pany diversity. She added that combining that diversity with the welcoming effect of inclusion would mean bringing those diverse ideas and perspectives into the fold of the organization. That is surely an idea we can all stand by.
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TELEWORKING HELPS US STAY CONNECTED By Elizabeth L. Petrun Sayers
t is no secret that the Junior League of Washington (JLW) members are busy. Have you ever wondered how some people seem to balance their schedules to work full time, show up to chaperone a school activity, or take a once-in-a-lifetime trip at the same time? Chances are a telework policy is behind all of that flexibility! Teleworking typically refers to work that is performed in any location other than a traditional office or facility. After a recent 14-month working sabbatical in Honolulu, I wanted to learn more about how other League members benefit from telework.
Meredith Lopez and her husband Thomas attend his graduation from the Wharton School in Philadelphia. Teleworking is not new. The federal government started to pilot teleworking in 1991, and by 1992, the U.S. Department of Transportation estimated that there were about two million teleworkers. In 2016, Gallup found that 43 percent of employed Americans spent at least some time working
remotely. That percentage includes some of our very own JLW members. Meredith Lopez not only teleworked a few days per work week, but moved full time to Philadelphia. She relocated with her husband Thomas for two years while he earned his MBA at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. Lopez, a Manager for Corporate Relations with IREX, didn’t want to leave her job in Washington, DC, but she said, “The support network at Wharton was great, and other spouses of students also worked remotely.” She also joined the Junior League initially in Philadelphia, and then transferred to Washington, DC. “I also appreciated that if I was volunteering, I had flexibility in my schedule so that I could make events I may have missed otherwise due to logistics,” she said. Stephanie Benedetti lives in Washington, DC, but her employer is based in New Orleans. As a Vice President of Sales and Marketing for a disability employment nonprofit, she spends most of her time at home but travels to Louisiana about once a month. “I have a busy schedule, and love being able to pick up and drop off my daughter at daycare,” she said. Benedetti also finds time for other nonprofit consulting and manages her duties as New Member Co-Chair this year for JLW. However, even with more Americans working remotely than ever before, some companies have recently made headlines for calling their teleworkers back into the office. Major reasons include reuniting workers to improve innovation, communication, or culture. “Being isolated from
Meredith Lopez and her husband Thomas enjoy the Wharton School’s “prom!” in Philadelphia. your co-workers can be tough, in addition to working outside of normal hours, not to mention the distractions,” shared Benedetti. Lopez noticed that for her, taking steps such as “being on video with your team as much as you can” can help improve communication while working out of the office. Teleworking policies can make a big difference in opportunities for members. In some instances, it saves time, money, and helps alleviate employee stress. “I would
Stephanie Benedetti and her daughter, Ella, at the beach in North Carolina.
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do it again,” says Lopez, who is now back in her Washington, DC, office full time. Lopez also plans to visit Europe soon, and Benedetti is looking forward to an extended stay in Hawai’i on the island of Kauai in summer 2018 for her husband Rob’s job along with their daughter, Ella. If you’re thinking about teleworking, Lopez suggests “try it a few days a week
and see how it feels.” As more companies expand teleworking policies, consider if the perk could be useful to you. While some workers are required to be onsite or prefer to physically separate their work and living spaces, others may stand to improve their working efficiency, save time and money, decrease their stress levels, and ideally, devote more time to JLW. Stephanie Benedetti, her husband, Rob, and their daughter, Ella, enjoy the beach in Cherry Grove Beach, North Carolina.
Elizabeth Petrun Sayers and her husband, Eric, enjoy the sunset at Ala Moana Beach Park, Hawaii.
Elizabeth Petrun Sayers races with her team in Na Wahine O Ke Kai, from Molokai to Oahu.
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HIDDEN TREASURES IN THE LOUGHBOROUGH HOUSE
ost of us pop into the Junior League of Washington’s (JLW) Loughborough House at least a few times during the year to attend meetings and enjoy events. The lobby area and main meeting rooms tend to be the most frequent destinations for members, but the historic house has a number of hidden treasures you might pass by without even noticing. Building Beautification Committee Chair Elizabeth Keys took us on a house tour from the very bottom of the building to the tip-top floors – pointing out some fun facts to keep in mind during your next visit. “Urban legend is that part of a creek runs under the building. I am not sure if it is true because you can’t see it, but that could be why it is damp and humid in the basement,” Keys explained as we descended a small staircase to the Loughborough House basement. JLW committees use the basement to store items for events and programing. In the basement, you can see rolls of those popular “I Love to Read” stickers most recently spotted at the National Book Festival. Similar to our own basements and home storage areas, the goal is to keep boxes organized and clutter to a minimum by only storing what will be needed again in the future. After heading back up the stairs during our tour, we returned to the first floor to walk down a hallway featuring the pictures of generations of JLW presidents (Keys herself served as President last year). The
By Jacqueline Bauer
A stroll through the first floor hallway offers a glimpse of JLW history with the pictures of many of the League’s past presidents.
The house features an elevator that is located in the first floor kitchen and exits on the second floor in the Loughborough Room.
The Loughborough Room features tools necessary for hosting meetings and presentations. The League’s mission is featured on the wall. rooms along this hallway are where most of our League meetings take place. The next time you are inside one of these rooms waiting for the agenda to begin, check out the artwork on the walls. Those hung with small plaques at the bottom were framed as part of our centennial celebration
during the 2012-2013 League year. In the Georgetown Room, you can see one of the highlights from the Centennial Frame Project – it is the photo on the far wall showing JLW members volunteering in 1928, about 15 years after JLW’s founding.
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The Georgetown Room was named for our headquarters location, but some of our meeting rooms are actually named after generous benefactors. The Vicki Love Martyak Room is a one such example. It honors the memory of Martyak, who served as president for the 1988-1989 JLW year. During her presidency, JLW raised $360,000 and received additional grant money to start Bright Beginnings, a child development center for homeless children. Martyak passed away unexpectedly in 1996 at age 50. Her husband and friends raised money to have a room named for her during the League’s most recent renovations in 1998. The first floor also features a few hidden treasures: For members trying to squeeze in a some quick business or correspondence before a meeting, there is a small work area with a copy machine, computer, and stack of stationery and thank-you cards. For new JLW mothers, there is a larger “hidden” bathroom with a changing table, which is big enough to fit a stroller or car seat. New moms will also be glad to know about a cozy room with blinds right next door to the bathroom. It can be used for very small meetings but is also optimal for private nursing or pumping moments. For smaller committee meetings, there is also one of our newest meeting rooms, the Potomac Room, featuring a small round table to seat six people. The framed square piece of funky retro-style monkey wall paper used to line the Loughborough bathrooms but was replaced during renovations in the 1990s. In addition, there is a small kitchen fully-equipped with assorted glasses, silverware and plates, a dishwasher, microwave and a soft drink vending machine, which is stocked by our members and works on the honor system. Near the kitchen, tucked away inconspicuously, there is a small elevator that connects directly into the Loughborough room on the second floor. During the tour, Keys mentioned that the elevator is mainly for visitors using wheelchairs
The second floor features two parlors with views overlooking Georgetown’s M Street. or strollers as opposed to hauling items upstairs for meetings. Once upstairs in the Loughborough room, you will notice some renovations focused on adding new technology to the building. The room has a moving podium, AV connections, and a screen/projector which can be configured for almost any type of presentation. In this room, we are also reminded of our mission, which is beautifully displayed on the wall. Around the corner is our second larger kitchen with an oven, two dishwashers and a doorway to one of our outdoor patios. Keys reminds JLW members that the patio can be reserved for meetings and events, providing a nice alternative to indoor rooms when the weather is comfortable. A stroll through the second floor would not be complete without visiting the two parlors, which are separated by pocket-doors and overlook Georgetown’s busy M Street. These are used for meetings, receptions, community partner agreement signing, past presidents’ teas, and other social events. The walls are decorated with a series of beautiful reproduction Audubon floral and bird prints from the 1920s and 1930s, which are gifts from Sustainer Janet Kenworthy. “This is probably my favorite thing in this room,” Keys says as she points to an elaborate silver serving tray donated in
Lining many of the walls of the Loughborough House are reproductions of Audubon floral and bird prints. The prints were gifts to the League from Sustainer Janet Kenworthy. 1963 by past JLW presidents from 19131963 in honor of JLW’s 50th anniversary. “I use it any time I have the chance!” Junior Leaguers are not the only ones calling the Loughborough House home. There are actually three apartments on the upper floors. Residents enter from the street the same way as we do and use the stairs to the left of our reception area. At the very top of the Loughborough House sits an attic that serves as another storage location. Boxes include holiday decor and power strips used for Holiday Shops, supplies and clipboards for Tossed & Found, and some additional items requiring a non-humid storing atmosphere. The Loughborough House was built in the early 1800s and was gifted to JLW in 1960. It gives us a wonderful venue for meetings and also the opportunity to explore and enjoy renovations, gifts and donations to the JLW, and special lesser known nooks and crannies.
Q&A WITH LEA BERMAN
TREATING PEOPLE WELL:
Q&A WITH LEA BERMAN By Phoenix Ricks
he Junior League of Washington (JLW) hosted a discussion with Lea Berman, former White House Social Secretary and author of the new book on civility and social courtesy Treating People Well. JLW’s Sustainers and Esprit Committee teamed up to organize this sold-out event that brought women from all across the League together. After the event, we had the opportunity to ask some of our burning questions about her career, new book, and that Instagram account we all love, America’s Table. What were your first days like working in the White House? And what is your best memory of working in the White House? Mrs. [Laura] Bush’s Social Secretary, Catherine Fenton, was so welcoming; it was a life lesson in kindness, and we are still good friends. Mrs. Bush wanted us to overlap, so I could learn the ropes. Not every Social Secretary is afforded that period of time. Catherine was at the height of the busiest season and had to plan an inauguration, yet she took the time to show me the files of every event she had planned over the previous four years, and she personally walked me around the building to meet everyone on staff. In January, Friends of the Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ) Library Library members hosted you and Jeremy Bernard for a discussion about your book. During that talk, you mentioned being very shy as a child. Do you think being a shy child has helped you in this career? I think it did help tremendously, because when you feel like an outsider, you’re very motivated to make other people feel welcome and like they belong. It helps people get over the jitters of being there. If I hadn’t been that way as a kid, I wouldn’t sense those things now. I had always considered it a character flaw that I was so shy. It was a challenge. Your Instagram, America’s Table, is absolutely dreamy. We have a number of bloggers and photographers who I know would love to chat with you. What kind of camera do you use, and how do you plan your posts? I do everything usually a month in advance. When I first started writing the blog, I didn’t understand how much content was needed, so I was posting something new everyday, which was exhausting.
League members attend Esprit’s Coffee & Author Talk with Lea Berman. From left: Kara Roney, Rachel Oster, and Jackie Frederick-Maturo with author Lea Berman (seated) Friends who are very involved in social media said I was creating too much content and needed to cut it back to once a week. For the kind of Instagram I have, it works really well. I use a Canon EOS 60D, and a woman who is a food photographer in New York taught me how to use the camera and various props, like poster board, to affect the shading of photos. The photos are so much fun! It is a pure pleasure project. Your website and social media platforms are very engaging. Have you ever considered hosting a show, online or on TV? I would love to do that! I think when you’re willing to make fun of yourself and have genuine, relatable conversations, people respond to that openness. People always tell me that their favorite line on my blog is, “I’m perpetually 10 pounds overweight because I love to cook.” Having worked in event planning for think tanks, political campaigns, private individuals, and at the White House, you have seen a wide range of events and met countless hosts. Given those experiences, what are your top tips for being a good host? Put on your game face. You might not feel like hosting a party that particular day. You may be disappointed in how the event is coming
Q&A WITH LEA BERMAN
together, but you need to be welcoming and sincere. If guests are meeting people who are not happy to see them, they can sense your feelings. Visualize every event before it happens. This includes preparing to do something about potential things that can go wrong. A friend was once planning an event and noticed a lack of parking options. She had been told guests would park in a nearby field. The night before the event there was a massive rainstorm and so guests ended up parking in what slowly became a sinking, muddy field. Noticing the calamity unfolding, the event coordination team called for tow trucks. Guests came back to find their cars neatly lined up instead of covered in mud. What are the most common mistakes you have seen in event coordination?
The cover of Lea Berman’s book “Treating People Well.”
People do not think about parking. You might have valet parking, but if you have 100 cars arriving at the same time, three valet parkers will not be enough, and you have to be aware of where those cars will go. This is particularly true in DC neighborhoods. Hosts should ensure that they have the right quantities and types of food. For instance, if you are hosting a summer cocktail reception, maybe you do not need champagne, but you could serve prosecco or something else that is appropriate for the season. Timing is also key. If you invite people to dinner at a certain time, have the food ready. I have gone to brunches where hosts are just bringing in groceries when guests are arriving. People like to be welcomed by noticing that you prepared for their arrival. What advice do you have for people just starting their careers in event planning?
With such a busy career, how have you found balance? What do you do to decompress and destress? I’m not very good at the balance; it is all or nothing with me. I like working on my blog, cooking, photography, gardening, playing with the dogs. Dogs are very calming. What’s the best piece of advice you have ever been given? My husband gives really good advice. When we were working on this book, I felt a lot of self-imposed pressure. My husband told me that the message of this book, the message of kindness and civility, is not my responsibility alone. What has been the best part of the book tour thus far?
It is important to be flexible and do whatever horrible task needs to be done. Whenever we had interns at the White House, the ones we offered jobs were the ones who did whatever we asked. Not having an attitude about what you will or will not do is key. We hosted an event that involved Mrs. Bush presenting a book to a guest. The book needed to be beautifully wrapped and ribboned, and unfortunately none of us had the time. This one lovely intern spent two days making certain that the book was perfectly wrapped.
I like meeting people who read the book. If I could go to every Junior League, I would love that! Those are my people. People who are interested in the book understand the value of civility and are just trying to increase their skills. The book is really about the little things around the edges of life that make like more pleasant and less stressful. If you do these things, people respond and it makes your own life easier.
FINDING YOUR TEAM AT THE WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP BREAKFAST By: Rebecca Prybell
PHOTO CREDIT: CHANTAL LAVINE PHOTOGRAPHY
n March 8, the Junior League of Washington hosted the Women’s Leadership Breakfast featuring Susan Davis, the president of Susan Davis International, as the keynote speaker. This year marked the first year the League hosted the Women’s Leadership Breakfast as a standalone event; in previous years, the event was hosted in conjunction with Holiday Shops as a luncheon. The planning committee for this year’s breakfast included women from the Membership Development Council and the Ways and Means Council, with special leadership from the LeadKeynote speaker Susan Davis gave advice to a crowd of over 300 guests on how to be effective leaders. ership Institute and Corporate Partnership and Development committees. The event this year aligned with Davis is an icon in the public relations industry and has owned her International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month. own business for many years. “My career was totally built on women The theme for this year’s breakfast is “Find Your Team.” Carly helping me get to where I am today,” said Davis. “When I go to an Mitchell, the Chair of the Leadership Institute Committee, said event, I say I am going in there and I am going to meet two new the theme speaks to one aspect of women’s leadership that can be people who will help me with x. I have a goal, a mission, and my netchallenging. work keeps increasing as a result.” “Women tend to be competitive with other women, and we need Another featured speaker at the Leadership Breakfast was Clare to be more supportive of one another if we are going to succeed Bresnahan, the Executive Director of She Should Run, an organizaindividually and as a group,” said Mitchell. “We hope that the protion created in 2011 with the goal of recruiting and training women gramming and networking opportunities at the breakfast will help to run for public office. Throughout the program, Bresnahan talked every woman reflect on who is on her team and whom she may want about the low number of women in politics. “Women make up 20% to join her team as she pursues her dreams and ambitions – whether of elected officials at every level,” said Bresnahan. “We will not see they be at work, the League, in family roles, in community groups, parity in our life times. If that doesn’t make your blood boil, I’m and all of the areas we play.” going to ask you to wake up.”
PHOTO CREDIT: CHANTAL LAVINE PHOTOGRAPHY Susan Davis, Chairman of Susan Davis International, Wanda Steptoe, Executive Director of New Endeavors by Women, and Clare Bresnahan, Executive Director of She Should Run, spoke about their experiences as women leaders.
Mitchell emphasized that the League hopes that hearing from Bresnahan and about She Should Run might inspire one of the nearly 300 attendees at the Women’s Leadership Breakfast to run for office in the future. “Who knows,” Mitchell said, “maybe we have a future mayor or senator or council representative in the room!” The Women’s Leadership Breakfast also featured the Executive Director of JLW community partner New Endeavors by Women (NEW), Wanda Steptoe. NEW’s mission is to end the cycle of homelessness by providing housing, fostering the development of life skills, and promoting education and employment. The organization is also one of the League’s Community Training Community Partners. Steptoe said that because NEW is a smaller organization, it allows her to have a relationship directly with the people NEW serves. “This is where I can be a leader as well as someone who relates one-on-one with our residents,” said Steptoe. Steptoe said that women who are interested in leadership positions should grow where they are first. “Each step of your journey in your career is in preparation for leadership,” Steptoe said. “Being focused on doing the best where you are and learning as much as possible where you are is important – each step of your career journey is preparation for leadership. Know who you are, and be comfortable and confident in that person.” The League is working hard to create an environment where League members can build the skills and gain the experience they need to enhance their leadership capabilities. “Our members and our fellow community leaders are perfect examples of the strength, skills, creativity, tenacity, entrepreneurship, compassion, dedication – and 100 other things – that women bring to the table in every role that we play,” said Mitchell. “Women have unlimited potential, and it is time to develop and enable that potential such that women can lead, have impact, and better society and themselves.”
She Should Run recently launched a new initiative called 250kby2030, which aims to get 250,000 women running for office by 2030. “The challenge is not that women lack the qualifications or ability to run and lead effectively,” Bresnahan explained. “A key problem is that not enough women are running. We’re working day and night to reach as many women – from all walks of life – so they hear the message that our country needs their leadership.” Bresnahan recommends that women who want to be in a leadership position one day start by looking inward and thinking about why they want to lead, what purpose their leadership will serve, and how they will go about the leadership process. Then, Bresnahan says act as if you are that leader. “My single best advice for women interested in running for office is summed up by ‘be the candidate you want to be, today,’” she said. Finally, Bresnahan says start with baby steps, show up and start to advocate for what you’re passionate about, and do not go at it alone. “There will be hurdles and setbacks,” Bresnahan explained. “This is where a network of peers, mentors, and sponsors can be by your side advising, encouraging, and opening doors. The JLW is a perfect place to start expanding your League members filled The Hamilton on International Women’s Day for the Women’s Leadernetwork.” ship Breakfast.
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GET ON BOARD GRADUATES GO ABOVE AND BEYOND
By Ashley Nelsen
he Junior League of Washington (JLW) currently has 43 members participating in the four-part Get On Board (GOB) training in spring 2018. The GOB training is designed to empower JLW members with the skills needed to serve on a nonprofit board either within JLW or the community. Soon, JLW will have almost 200 graduates of this program. A graduate of GOB last year Jackie Malkes took the training after already serving as a member of JLW’s board of directors in 2015-2016 and a board member for My Sister’s Place (MSP) since 2014. Jackie said the training helped her bring tools to the MSP board, which allowed her to engage, develop, and recruit new board members, expanding MSP’s board from five or six members in 2014 to more than 15 members presently. The MSP board, which boasts other JLW GOB graduates Sarah Miller (spring 2017), Kristen Maddux (spring 2015), and Camille Wheeler (spring 2015), worked to formalize MSP practices such as revising the organization’s charter, bylaws, and fundraising practices. Another benefit of the GOB training is the growing alumni community to which graduates have access to collaborate and learn from their nonprofit experience. Malkes stated that one of the modules in the training was focused on finance and auditing, but she was in need of more guidance around best practices, so she reached out to her fellow GOB graduate and MSP board member Sarah Miller, who has professional experience auditing nonprofits. GOB training is providing JLW members more than the skills needed to be a board member; it is creating a knowledgeable network via its alumnae. There is also a growing number of JLW/GOB allstars, such as Jackie, who are volunteering on nonprofit boards within our community in addition to their JLW placements. For JLW members debating whether to sign up for GOB training, Malkes says in addition to the skills you learn, and access to the alumni network, the training is a wonderful opportunity to complement professional experience.
From left: Camille Wheeler, Sarah Miller, and Jackie Malkes, graduates of JLW’s Get On Board training, participate in a My Sister’s Place board meeting on March 5.
GET ON BOARD BY THE NUMBERS PROGRAM STATS TO DATE: • 145 JLW members have graduated from GOB training as of December 2017 • An estimated 43 members will be attending the Spring 2018 class, bringing us to almost 200 JLW members who are GOB graduates by the end of the 2017-2018 JLW year SPRING 2018 CLASS STATS: • 70% active members • 5% transfer members • 5% sustainer members • 20% new members • 23% of the incoming class participants have held JLW leadership positions • Average JLW tenure is 5 years
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Stephanie White Homes and John Eric Homes with Compass Real Estate
Anh Ninh Photography @anhtography_dc
Celebrate the 60th Annual Holiday Shops 36
November 16-19, 2018 Dock5 at Union Market
3039 M Street, NW Washington, DC 20007
DATES TO REMEMBER
MAY 24 JLW Annual Reception
SEPTEMBER 1 National Book Festival
NOVERMBER 16-18 Holiday Shops