3039M Spring 2020 Edition

Page 1

the official magazine of the

3039M Junior League of Washington

3039 M STREET, NW, WASHINGTON, DC 20007 | 202.337.2001 | WWW.JLW.ORG


A Tribute to Holiday Shops Getting to Know the Strategic Advisory Board We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby. But There’s Still Work to be Done

: t h g i r B & y rr Me rating Celeb hops S y a Holid


LETTERS The 107th year of service in the Junior League of Washington has been nothing short of inspiring. From community projects, to training events, our Readers2Leaders campaign, to our work advancing JLW’s fund development strategy, I’ve seen our more than 2,300 members truly shine. The spring issue of our 3039 M Magazine highlights many of the wonderful things our members have done these past several months advancing our mission and making connections within our internal community and with our community partners. I write this letter as I wrap the fifth week my family and I have “quarantined” at home due to COVID-19. These past several weeks have tested our community, our League, and our members in ways we never could have imagined. However, throughout my many conversations on the pandemic’s impact on the lives of our members, our operations, and our community partners, I’ve been inspired time and time again by the persistence, commitment to our mission, and compassion of Junior Leaguers. Many of the articles in this magazine were penned before COVID-19 really hit our homes, but they still showcase how much our League has done and can do to improve our community and develop our potential and the potential of others, while doing so. On behalf of the 2019-2020 Board of Directors, I thank you for your commitment and support of the Junior League of Washington, and most of all, your commitment to our mission. You inspire me and you inspire each other. Yours in service, CARLY MITCHELL JLW President 2019-2020

Our cover features photos from recent and past Holiday Shops events.

When we started planning this edition of 3039M months ago, we knew we wanted to focus on Holiday Shops. It had an incredible 61 year run! The friendships, memories, and holiday cheer spread through the decades are invaluable. We really just wanted to pause and reflect on this event’s legacy. Then COVID-19 hit and disrupted so much in our daily lives. There are so many things we all wish we could do right now: travel, hug our friends and family, go out to eat…the list goes on. It’s a really tough time for all of us, but I hope you will join me in looking for the positive in these dark days. And I think you’ll find that right here in these pages. This is the perfect time to pause and reflect on the Junior League of Washington’s (JLW) legacy: on all that our dedicated members have been able to accomplish and the work we can look forward to in the future. In our Holiday Shops feature, you can read about the event’s evolution through the decades as well as the happy memories of its former chairs. Our feature on the history of diversity in our league reminds us of the progress we have been able to make… and the work that still needs to be done. Finally, the feature on JLW Sustainers reminds us that true growth comes with an understanding and profound respect for our legacy. I hope you’ll join me in reminiscing about our league and the wonderful things we can accomplish when we work together. MARY GRACE MCCORMICK Editor





IC Letters

19 Getting to Know the

Strategic Advisory Board

BC Dates to Remember

20 Honoring our Sustainers:

COMMUNITY IMPACT 02 CFLS: The Individual Impact of a JLW Community Partner

05 Julie Clements Aims High with Higher Achievement Program

07 Meet the Community

Training Committee — JLW’s “Best Kept Secret”


The Foundation for a Bright JLW Future

22 “Everyone is Capable of Leadership!”

24 The Important Role

of Sponsors in JLW’s Member Recruitment Process

26 A Night at the Nutcracker

Mary Grace McCormick Chair Danielle Muenzfeld Vice Chair for Editing Elizabeth Petrun Sayers Vice Chair for Photography and Graphics Sarah Valerio Vice Chair for Advertising Kristen Archer Melissa DeLiso Molly DiGiammarino Nicole Dortch Elizabeth Fleischer Katelin Hatfield

Renunda Lee Hannah McCracken Holly Roberts Jessica Sanchez Secondary Placements Heather Mandelkehr Mini Placements Ashley Neubaum Bailey Oedewaldt Jessica Gandy Katrina Umstead Neelie Kibler Ramona Johnson

with JLW

10 We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby.

But There’s Still Work to be Done.

27 The Diversity &

Inclusion Toolkit


Junior League of Washington

14 Merry and Bright:

A Tribute to Holiday Shops



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 Carly Mitchell

Treasurer Amy Shuart Gingrich

President-Elect Jessica Taylor White

Vice Treasurer Marta Hernandez

Secretary Kimberly Price

Communications & PR Tara Andersen

Youth & Family Community Placements Carolyn Lowry

Adult Community Placements Colleen (Colli) McKiernan

Cultural Community Placements Deena Smith

Community Affairs Alison Ottenbreit

Membership Development Chloe Taylor New Membership Katherine Rodriguez Nominating Carrie Meadows

Strategic Planning Bridget Shea Westfall Sustainers Sarah Carey Ways & Means Sara McGanity






n April 5, 2017, Taneka walked out the doors of the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women, released from prison on a felony drug trafficking charge. Taneka had to give up custody of her two daughters, who were placed into foster care. Having lost her freedom and her children, she was close to losing hope as well. In July 2017, Taneka came to Junior League of Washington (JLW) partner Community Family Life Services (CFLS). JLW’s CFLS Committee plans and participates in Connections Night events on two Thursday evenings each month with CFLS residents. At each event, volunteers provide dinner and lead skilled learning activities for the adult women and their children. “I was with FAIR Girls, and I was incarcerated when I heard about the [CFLS] program,” says Taneka. (FAIR Girls, a nonprofit based in Washington, DC, provides services that help at-risk youth and young adults escape situations involving intimate partner violence, sexual assault, and human sex trafficking. They provide life-skills workshops to allow each participant to leave the program prepared to live independently.) Taneka says FAIR Girls met with her while she was in prison; as she prepared for release, FAIR created a plan for her. “When I got out, they set up all the things I needed to do pretty quickly. They knew I was dealing with the transition and figuring out what to do about the girls.” Part of that plan was to introduce Taneka to April Shepherd, Domestic Violence and Reentry Case Manager at CFLS.


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Sarah Valerio

CFLS helps families move beyond poverty and homelessness. It also helps formerly incarcerated women get back on their feet in a world that can be unforgiving, unaccommodating, and difficult to navigate with a deck that is frequently stacked against them. “When I got here, I was a little iffy about my situation,” says Taneka of her initial encounter with CFLS. “I wasn’t sure how housing would work. They told me about the program and how they could help. Me just getting out of prison—I was listening but it sounded too good to be true. I didn’t know how far they would go for me.” “When I met [Taneka], she was very closed; really had some trust issues and barriers. She came from a feeling of no trust and didn’t know what our system had to offer or what resources were available,” says Shepherd, who serves as the case manager for Taneka and all of the other women with whom CFLS works. Shepherd came to CFLS in January 2017; six months later she met Taneka. “Me [sic] and Taneka built a relationship— not client-to-client but as women; ‘I want to support you,’” says Shepherd. “I really didn’t care for the program when I first heard about it,” admits Taneka. But, she says, “They kept in contact. They were really consistent. They assured me anything I needed, they would provide it for me fully. They really had my back. I was with FAIR Girls for so long, I couldn’t see no one but them [sic]. Coming to CFLS, I felt like I was abandoning them and all they’ve done for me with my trial and my lawyers; but, to be honest, it was just like a graduation. I moved out of that program and just

came straight here. They literally picked up where FAIR Girls left off. It was a very smooth transition. “When I got into housing it was kind of surreal,” Taneka adds. “I still didn’t have my children. I was just getting situated with probation.” Taneka says that CFLS helped her with everything: accessing food, applying for government assistance, having her ID transferred from Maryland to Washington, DC, and helping her register and get into programs for school. “CFLS was advocating for me on so many levels, it was ridiculous. They helped me do everything.” Taneka’ first year in the program was focused on getting her back on her feet. “It was about me because I was just coming home,” she says. “We were still concerned about my kids, but we had to focus on me being situated enough that my kids could be able to come home. CFLS took trips with me all the way to Somerset County on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The first year, they helped me get myself together completely. They helped me look for a job. They got me in a job training program. They got me back into school and even in the little workshops; the parenting program, the JLW program, all the programs have helped me in some tiny way to help me be a better person. “After they got me situated, then they focused on my kids.” When Taneka was arrested, her two daughters went to live with their father. While she was going through her trial and period of incarceration, they were taken by Child Protective Services and placed into the foster care system. “It made things crazy


and hectic. I was still seeing them; it wasn’t like we were apart, apart,” says Taneka. By Taneka’s second year in the CFLS program, she says, “It was basically about getting the kids home. I had a job. I had assistance. I was stable. My mental health was straight. I was very determined.” The process was long and arduous. CFLS “[...] found out it’d be a struggle to get her children back because she needed housing. That was her biggest barrier. If they were to release her children to her with the kind of charge she had, where would she live? It was a process, but CFLS was willing—not knowing what the outcome would be—but hoping it would lead to a success story,” says Shepherd about the barriers formerly incarcerated women face in getting their children back. Child Protective Services will not release children to a legal guardian who does not have stable housing. Yet many housing applications require criminal background checks, credit checks, or proof of income (which requires a job that likely also requires a criminal background check). Finding a consistent residence can prove a monumental task. Without the support of programs like CFLS, many do not know where to start. It is easy to get impeded by a system that does not allow those with criminal records the opportunity to get back on their feet; as a result, many fall back into a prison cycle. Taneka says, “Getting them back was kind of rocky. It was a checklist and meetings. It was lawyers, caseworkers, judges… It was so much to get the girls back home. [CFLS] advocated the whole entire way; going down there with me, taking trips, going to all of the court dates, sitting and listening in and writing letters on my behalf, planning out the next few months to show that this is what we’re gonna do, this is what we’ve done—they literally did everything for me. I couldn’t ask for a better nonprofit organization. “I believe it took about a complete year after my release to get the kids back,” says Taneka. Taneka’s daughters, now 10 and 11, have since been reunited with their mother, living with her for the past year. While the family is happy to be back together—Taneka and CFLS had finally reached the goal toward which they had been working for so long—it wasn’t all smooth sailing. “When they first got home, it was—I wouldn’t say difficult—but it was challenging. I had not had them for three years. Learning your children all over again is different when you weren’t a part of them for so long.” Eventually, the tide began to turn, and the three began to feel like a family again. “After like six months, everything began to be normal like nothing even happened. We got right back where we left off. Those first six months were challenging because they grew up, and their personalities were different. I was trying to find common ground with them and reiterate ‘no matter what the situation, what we’ve gone through, at the end of the day I’m still your

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Archives Committee


The Crowley Company was selected as the digitization vendor and picked up materials for scanning in January.

Materials included all JLW scrapbooks in addition to other documents and items produced before the 1950s.

Archives received the hard drive with the digitized content on March 2. After their review, the physical materials were returned to Loughborough House.

Archives' ultimate goal is to have the scanned items accessible through the cloud with a searchable index function.


Spring 2020

mom.’ The challenges we faced—school, home—it gradually went away, and things started to feel normal. Our relationship now is completely different than when they first came home. We are getting past everything and building new relationships. We’re making new chapters. This journey here, it feels better than any other journey I’ve been on with them. I’m such a different person than I was five years ago; like a completely, totally different person,” states Taneka. “I was very young when I had them. I’m about to be 30. I’m grateful for the little things. I couldn’t see what I see now back then. I’ve always had my mother [sic] instincts, but I couldn’t appreciate them as much as I appreciate them now. That comes from all the therapy sessions I’ve been through; all the things I’ve been through; all these powerful women advocating for me and seeing how much love and support there is out here [sic]. I didn’t see that back then and know this even existed until I got into trouble, until I realized I’m not living right. I’ve gotta change, I’ve gotta do better. As soon as I made that decision to do better, God has blessed me abundantly.” Taneka is enjoying watching her daughters grow. “I see the ‘me’ in them, and it’s weird and exciting,” she says. Taneka is now in her last year with the CFLS three-year housing program, which she describes as “[k]ind of bittersweet.” However, CFLS will continue to offer support to Taneka and other women who graduate from their program while they transition into their own apartments. CFLS aftercare services include helping fund apartments for CFLS graduates for up to one year, welcoming the women who have graduated from the program to therapy services, case management, parenting support, and other programming. “I’ve made relationships with everyone in CFLS. I’ve told my story over and over and over, spoke at meetings and hearings… At this point, it’s no longer a burden on me. I’m relieved it’s all over with. The biggest part of it all was getting the girls back and having them home. I couldn’t ask for anything else. There’s nothing else in this world that I could ask for. “Trust me, it wasn’t easy. I’ve cried many nights, but it made me stronger. I couldn’t have done it without a supportive team. Every time I wanted to give up, there was always someone right there telling me ‘you’ve come this far, you’ve accomplished this.’ Now it’s moving forward and being an actual adult now. That’s the hardest part. I’ve never felt like I’ve had family or friends or people I can trust, and over the past three years I’ve gained more than a case manager or lawyer or counselor; these people have found me and brought me back to the person that I am right now.” As she looks to the future, Taneka says, “I’m happy—genuinely. But there are still certain things I’m still working on. I’ve done so much, it’s just sticking my neck out there and seeing what happens. Definitely taking it one day at a time. “I couldn’t be more grateful. This whole experience has really humbled me in a way I never thought was even possible. Nothing but love and gratitude right here.” •




he Junior League of Washington (JLW) plays an important role for Higher Achievement Program (HAP), a not-for-profit program serving public schools in Baltimore, MD; Pittsburgh, PA; Richmond, VA; and Washington, DC. HAP provides mentorship and academic enrichment to students in under resourced communities. Their programming provides after-school tutoring in the humanities, math, and science; HAP also offers a “Summer Academy at which participating students study mathematics, science, social studies, literature, and art. HAP helps students— known within the program as scholars—apply to public high schools, including magnet programs. JLW supports HAP and its scholars through weekly lessons on a breadth of topics. JLW member Julie Clements brings incredible passion to her volunteer work at HAP. Clements is a science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) mentor who assists scholars with math and science topics. HAP’s curriculum is hands-on, deliberately, to engage scholars and pique their interest in STEM learning. One activity that Clements enjoyed leading with the scholars focused on suspension bridges. To begin the lesson, the HAP scholars watched a video of an engineer describing the variety of cables and towers that comprise a suspension bridge—a successful engineering feat that accommodates hundreds of thousands of cars each day. Clements explained that “[t]he children then used toothpicks, clay, cups, and string to create their own suspension bridge, so we could illustrate

Melissa DeLiso

Julie Clements, Higher Achievement Program committee member, working with the scholars on a hands-on STEM lesson about suspension bridges. the concepts of cables and towers allowing for more weight over a long bridge.” At the end of each lesson, scholars are given an opportunity, titled “Showcase,” in which they present results from one of the hands-on lessons to illustrate a STEM concept to their friends. Scholars’ work is then evaluated by JLW mentors, assessing communication of concepts from the

lesson (for example, constructing their own suspension bridge). Clements was drawn to serve on the HAP Committee because she loves children and wants to “[h]elp close the education gap that’s so profoundly holding back residents living in many underserved parts of Washington, DC .” She also, “sought an opportunity to develop lasting relationships




The Secret Lives OF JLW WOMEN

The Junior League of Washington offers many opportunities for its members to network and forge new friendships. But, how well do we really know our fellow members? Listed below are several talented women who have shared their hidden talents and hobbies or brought to light those of fellow members:


Gabrielle Kaufman plays multiple stringed instruments including guitar and was once featured on an episode of a European version of X-Factor.


Not only has she showcased her writing talents as the former editor of 3039M, but it might surprise fellow members to learn that Phoenix Ricks is also a published young adult author.


If you’re looking for a few laughs, Suzanne Lambert does stand-up comedy and has even won a few competitions.


Taking her talents to the kitchen, Mary Beth Torpey impresses fellow League members with her incredible cheese and charcuterie plate artistry.


World traveler, Whitney Harrison, achieved an interesting travel goal by traveling to all 7 continents before she was 30.

SH E DO ES I T ALL Tirzah Weiskotten is a former Nationals ball girl and Nat Pack member. In her spare time, she writes for the DC Moms Blog and runs an Etsy shop making costumes for kids and cats.


Spring 2020

Scholars working on their model suspension bridge, one of the many hands-on lessons JLW mentors facilitate while volunteering. over time with older children, who I believe are at a critical point in their development.” She hopes to be a resource for learning and an inspiration to the middle school girls with whom she works. Clements noted that she has enjoyed working with HAP leadership this year; for her, one leader in particular personifies the importance of the program. As she noted, “One of the leaders used to be a HAP scholar and was inspired by how the program improved her trajectory and inspired her to do better in school.” Leadership has also done a wonderful job of helping JLW mentors along the way as they work with the scholars. For example, “Mentor Lounges” are held at the conclusion of most sessions to help JLW volunteers address any challenges in teaching the curriculum or enforcing consistent disciplinary action. Clements finds volunteering through JLW very rewarding because she appreciates the long-standing impacts of JLW placements on the community. She enjoys the fact that, through these placements, JLW volunteers can develop lasting relationships in the communities we serve and with other JLW members seeking to make a difference. The HAP Committee continues to perform vital work for Washington, DC. •




ormed in 1992, the Community Training Committee (CTC) serves two aims: to satisfy the Junior League of Washington’s (JLW) goal of training members and to provide women in the community with life skills and professional training. Nearly 30 years later, the Committee’s mission has not changed, though its reach has certainly expanded. According to CTC Chair Alesandra Trilivas, CTC has extended its influence for 2019–2020, providing volunteers to five outside organizations and at least one internal JLW committee. At the beginning of each JLW year, the CTC Chair and Vice Chair “train the trainers.” In other words, CTC leadership prepares its Committee members to deliver effective training in the community, so that “[e]veryone is on the same [page] of what’s appropriate for our community partners,” according to MiMi Spjut, CTC’s Vice Chair. Following the committee training, members form pairs and select topics that support community partner goals and wishes, using ideas from CTC’s extensive database of resources and curricula from previous JLW years. CTC trainers research each topic and update existing materials to incorporate new and relevant information. In preparing a training on public speaking, for example,

JLW CTC volunteer Stephanie Stouffer is pictured leading the training on “Effective Communication” from the Communication Literacy Series at New Endeavors by Women. CTC members incorporated content from a recent TED talk. Trainers also prepare a handout or other tangible item that attendees can take away from the training. “We try to make it fun...not just them sitting and us talking at them,” Spjut said. “Every training has an interactive activity where everyone can try out the skill they are learning.”

As for training topics, “JLW defines literacy in a variety of ways,” Spjut explained, noting, in recent years, CTC has provided trainings that focus on financial literacy, including how to build a budget and how to increase credit scores. In addition to providing training in financial literacy, CTC members execute training on topics related to communications literacy, including public speaking, professional etiquette, interview skills, and conflict resolution. Committee members also ensure that each training is appropriate for the needs of the community partner, which can vary based on the partner’s mission. Some organizations with which CTC works house consumers in long-term residential facilities. As a result, residents can attend several CTC sessions, allowing CTC trainers to form personal relationships. Other community partner have different needs for their residents, which necessitate CTC members adjust their training to ensure consumers’ requirements are met. This year, CTC established a new partnership with Catholic Charities’ Harriet Tubman Women’s Shelter, supporting women in southeast Washington, DC. CTC member Stephanie Stouffer is in her fifth active year with JLW; she has served on CTC since her new member year. Stouffer explained that her experience leading a training on budgeting at Harriet




THE TOPICS WE’RE BRINGING TO THESE COMMUNITIES CAN SEEM SO SIMPLE— HEALTHY EATING, STRESS MANAGEMENT, BUDGETING— BUT THE DEMAND FOR THE DISCUSSIONS WE HAVE HAS ONLY GROWN OVER THE YEARS, AND IT’S BEEN REALLY SPECIAL TO BE PART OF THAT Tubman was “one of the more poignant” moments that she has had while serving on CTC. Unlike the smaller number of participants trained at other organizations, her session at Harriet Tubman was attended by 25 to 30 women eager to learn, discuss the topic, and share their experience with budgeting. “What struck me most about Harriet Tubman, which was different from the other partners we work with, is that the economic status of the women seems more severe. The outlook for securing employment or housing seemed to be more questionable or unstable,” Stouffer said. She further explained, “Talking about budgeting with a population that has very limited or no source of income and is facing a lot of instability in their lives is extremely challenging both logistically and emotionally. It hit me in a way that was different from the other partner organizations.” CTC member Alexis Murray recently gave a training on public speaking at Samaritan Inns, a community partner that provides housing and recovery services to individuals struggling with addiction and who are homeless or are at risk of being homeless. Cecilia Kramer, Director of Development and Communications at Samaritan Inns, says that CTC’s training sessions are incorporated into the organization’s residential post-detox program, where clients may be relatively new to treatment. “Everything that we do is in preparation for them to become independent at some point—getting a job, going back to school, living


Spring 2020


in their own place,” Kramer said. “That’s what we’re moving them towards.” Samaritan Inns offers JLW members a unique training experience. Unlike other community partners, where training audiences are exclusively female, CTC trainers who work with Samaritan Inns engage groups of both men and women. “Having men in the group can be a little challenging, because some of the experiences, stories, and points of reference we automatically use may not resonate in exactly the same way,” Murray said. “However, our role is to carry Junior League’s mission out into the community, especially for those in need, and that includes all parts of the community, not just women.” CTC is working to deepen partnerships with other JLW committees that serve communities with similar demographics to CTC’s current clients. In 2019–2020, CTC will collaborate with the Community Family Life Services (CFLS) Committee to provide self-esteem and business etiquette training to CFLS participants, concluding the series with a “confidence class,” offered by Sephora to nonprofit organizations in the DC area. “This is a great opportunity to reach outside of the Junior League and see how other organizations can benefit,” said CFLS Chair Tashi Brown. She also noted that the partnership between CTC and CFLS allows JLW volunteers to become familiar with how different JLW committees interact with the community. While CTC is a small committee, with approximately 16 or 17 active members and 5 mini-placements, committee members return because of the CTC focus and culture. “We joke that we’re the bestkept secret of the League because we’re so small,” Spjut said. Murray, who joined CTC this year, states that she has learned from more experienced committee members “how to handle difficult situations with grace, compassion, humor, and a positive attitude.” Committee members continually discuss ways to improve materials, make topics stronger and more relevant for each group, and improve their skills and methods as trainers. “The topics we’re bringing to these communities can seem so simple—healthy eating, stress management, budgeting—but the demand for the discussions we have has only grown over the years, and it’s been really special to be part of that,” Stouffer said. “It’s exciting to play a role in JLW’s perception externally and to bring value to the League’s partners, too. We might be a smaller committee and aren’t often in the spotlight, but the work we’re doing is impacting so many lives in our community, which is exactly what I love most about it and what motivates me to continue to be a member.” Trilivas, who explains that she joined CTC for the ability to reach out in the community to more than one location, is excited for the opportunity for the Committee to spread its wings and broaden its reach both inside JLW and in the community. “Our main goal is to provide a safe space for participants at these training sessions to learn and talk about the subject at hand,” Trilivas said. “We are at the disposal of the participants and the partners as we want to give them what they need.” •

Thank You

Honorary Holiday Shops Chair Committee for your generosity

Erinn Gray Julia Fermoile Margaret Barry Kimberly Linson Vicki Fotopoulos Aimee Soller Eleanor Shepard Carrie Vicenta Meadows Cameron Normand Julie Cannistra Carly Mitchell Melissa Bruce Rynnie Cotter Zoe Louise Jackman Molly Fromm Robin Hammer Anne Riser Elyse Braner Shiela Corley Brooke Horiuchi 3039M





ince the first Junior League chapter was founded in 1901, the organization has promoted voluntarism and giving back to the communities in which Leagues are based. However, the composition of women in the League was not always reflective of the communities in which the chapters were formed. With a model that was based upon recruiting debutantes from “good families” and high society, early membership was limited to those who were young, wealthy, single, white, and Christian. While things are vastly different now, at the time of its founding (in 1912), the Junior League of Washington (JLW) was no different from other Leagues throughout the United States. Racial, religious, and socioeconomic diversity were improbable concepts to the League in the early years. But this outlook would not remain. As our nation began to change and integrate following the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s, so too did the Junior League. After the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964, and following local law changes, the JLW policies shifted to allow women of color and women of different faiths to join. While we’ve been unable to determine exactly when these first changes were made, we do know that by the early 1980s, our bylaws included an Admission Policy that required outreach “to all young women, regardless of race, color, religion or national origin, who demonstrate an interest in and commitment to voluntarism.” Despite being legal to join, it would take more time before the voices of several women in the League were heard, pushing the League forward toward a more diverse membership.


Spring 2020

So, what changed? Beyond changing perceptions, minds, and attitudes of members, there were significant structural adjustments needed within the League. For decades of the League’s history, the rules that shaped this organization barred membership to women of color and non-Christian women. Membership was offered by invitation only at this time. Women who were gainfully employed in full-time jobs or whose age fell outside the 18-to-35 window were effectively excluded from the League. Once JLW moved away from an invitation-only membership model, obtaining letters of recommendation remained a barrier to entry. Two of these letters were still required as late as the 1970s. “It was pretty rigid,” recounts Tina Cleland, a sustainer and JLW past president. “You had to have at least two nominations, as I recall, and there was a tea where you were kind of evaluated, and you had to submit a resume. It was very, very selective, I would say. I don’t know how many people they ever turned down, but the sense that you got was that you were being interviewed and you were being evaluated for whether you’d be an appropriate addition to the Junior League.” Limits to the size of the annual new member classes also provided a barrier to entry for several women. “Because the size of the annual provisional class was limited to 50, as I recall, and [active members] had family members and daughters of friends they wanted to bring into the organization, the class got filled up pretty quickly,” explained Cleland. As Cleland recalls, it would not be until the 1980s, under the leadership of JLW

President Charlotte Luskey, that substantial changes were proposed to the JLW Board about sponsorship requirements, size of the provisional class, and intentional incorporation of diversity into the member base to break the cycle of exclusion.

RACIAL DIVERSITY Maria Walker, wife of Bishop John T. Walker (former Bishop of Washington and Dean of the Washington National Cathedral) was the first woman of color to be recruited into the League in the 1980s. In social circles of Washington’s elite, she was a clear choice for membership in the League. But JLW wasn’t yet a welcoming place, and Walker did not maintain her membership for long. Retention was an issue with which the League would struggle for more than a decade before significant action was taken. Change within JLW would first be brought forward from the top. According to the 1988 issue of Potomac Pages (a JLW magazine in the late 20th century), the Association of Junior Leagues International (AJLI), Inc. formed the admissions task force (ATF) in 1987 to “help eradicate any appearance of League judgment or descrimination, and to accommodate the changing roles of women in today’s mobile society” and “seek to remove any barriers real or imagined to women seeking League leadership.” “Each League had their own training program and AJLI gave us material. There were videos, there were training programs, there were things that AJLI developed that would facilitate the opening up of Leagues and opening up of thinking about Leagues,” said Cleland.


Changes pushed from the top could not have come at a better time for JLW. In the late 1980s, women of color represented less than two percent of the total membership in JLW. While there was no explicit rule preventing women of color, or other minority groups, from joining the League by this time, women did not want to join an organization where they did not feel welcome. At the local level, JLW implemented AJLI’s recommendations and formed what was known as the Diversification Committee during the 1988–1989 JLW year. This effort was co-chaired by members Nancy Piness and Sonya Withers. Piness took meaningful action during her tenure on the Committee and formed a three-pronged approach to bring about change: “[To a]ttract members who reflect the racial, ethnic, and religious mix of the community; to establish programs and projects addressing diverse issues; and to develop collaborations and coalitions with diverse organizational partners,” explained Piness in Potomac Pages. Acknowledging that some of the AJLI proposed initiatives came across as tenuous, Piness developed several DCspecific initiatives while serving as co-chair, including: 1. Information-sharing sessions between the League and leaders of Leaguefunded programs to educate “the community about JLW and the breadth of our programs;” 2. Open houses “specifically targeted to members of many minority women’s organizations in the area” (including African American, Mexican American, and Jewish women’s groups to name a few); 3. Creating an “ad hoc sponsorship pool,” which was designed to resolve the challenge of identifying two sponsors or letters of recommendation, previously required by JLW, matching diverse women with sponsors; “It is a reasonable goal, though, for the JLW to represent a cross section of the

JUST BECAUSE INITIATIVES WERE RECOMMENDED, THAT COULD NOT GUARANTEE THAT CHANGE WOULD OCCUR. RATHER, SUCCESS IN DIVERSITY, INCLUSION, AND EQUITY NEEDED TO BE HOLISTIC, NOT THE SOLE RESPONSIBILITY OF ONE BOARD OR COMMITTEE. middle-class women of all backgrounds in this area,” said Piness, at the time. Just because initiatives were recommended, that could not guarantee that change would occur. Rather, success in diversity, inclusion, and equity needed to be holistic, not the sole responsibility of one Board or committee. Muriel Highes, one member of the Nominating Committee in 1988, said in Potomac Pages, “If each committee were assigned a task associated with diversification, then diversification would truly become a League effort.” In addition to the changes that were initiated from outside of the chapter, women inside JLW took significant action to recruit other women of color. It all began with a series of tea parties hosted by a few key members of JLW that started turning the tide. Cleland recalled that, even after participating in the AJLI diversity training, Luskey was not satisfied with the League’s progress. “I was on a community board at the time, and the community board was very mixed in terms of there was a great racial mix [...] so I had made a lot of friends through being on this board who were African American. When Charlotte said ‘Let’s see what we can do,’ I turned to one of my friends on the board [Marie Burbridge], and I said, ‘Hey, could you help me do this, would you help me figure out how we might invite some

African American women to join the Junior League?’ So, she said, ‘Sure! I’d be happy to do that,’” said Cleland. JLW Board members and women interested in diversifying the League came together through teas hosted by Burbridge, Cleland recalls. By agreeing to sponsor attendees who were interested in joining the League, and adhering to AJLI’s passage of a new policy that allowed nominations of new members from volunteer proposers within the League, women were able to circumnavigate one of the larger hurdles inhibiting a more diverse membership. These teas continued to play a pivotal role into the 1990s, expanding the reach of the League to more women of color within the community. Irelene Ricks recalls joining the League not long after attending a tea hosted by Dr. Charlene Drew Jarvis, daughter of renowned medical researcher Charles Drew. “I joined fairly quickly after the tea, and it was a group of about 20 young, professional Black women that she had to her home, and she talked to us about the civic engagement of the League, the history of the League,” recalls Ricks, who was starting her doctoral program and beginning to teach at the time. “There were very few women of color in the League, and it was of critical importance [...] to the clients that we were




serving that they see women who looked like themselves. Because, of course, a lot of the clients are women and their children,” explained Ricks.

RELIGIOUS DIVERSITY Outside of helping to open the doors of the League to more women of color, Cleland also facilitated changes during her presidency in 1985-1986, which helped the League become more inclusive to women of other religious backgrounds, rebranding the Christmas Shops event as A Capital Collection. Advised by the Public Relations Committee that the name change could endanger the brand, Cleland pressed forward, suggesting a change needed to be made, as there were women of other religious backgrounds who were not only paying annual dues, but volunteering their time and effort for an event branded to exclude them. In the end, a change to the name did not damage the brand, and A Capital Collection continued as a successful event for the League.

SOCIOECONOMIC DIVERSITY It took a long time for JLW to break the “white glove” stereotype that pervaded the community. Even as membership began to shift toward being more inclusive of women with diverse backgrounds, there was still bias that favored women who were not working over those who were active in the workforce. At the time, there were extensive requirements for provisional members, which often made membership feel like a full-time job. “This was also a time when many women were not pursuing careers, so the opportunity for substantive involvement in community service where they could use their education, talents, and skills and train to become community leaders was very attractive,” added Cleland. As more women joined the workforce, however, the need for the League to amend its policies to be more inclusive of a wider range of socioeconomic backgrounds became apparent. While, in hindsight, this was an obvious decision, one of the most impactful changes JLW made was to move its commit-


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tee meetings to the evenings in accommodation of work schedules. Ricks recalls another issue that became a rallying point for the majority of her new member class in the late 1990s: requiring a member to use her married name in the Blue Book (which at the time included JLW’s member directory). “It was really funny, because I remember that conversation, and there were some stalwart diehards that were from the sustainers on down that were like, ‘[N]o, this is how it’s always been done.’ So, there was this argument of what if you kept your maiden name and your professional name, and you don’t even use your husband’s name, except maybe on birth records for your children... Then why should you have to put his name in the Blue Book?” Tycely Williams, a sustainer and former JLW President, recalls that, even in 2006, the League was not an easy one to join if you had responsibilities during the day. “There was not a website where you could apply. When I joined the League, you had to literally go to Headquarters and stand in line with your application, or send a courier. You had, like, this line literally down the streets of Georgetown of women or their proxies standing in line to have their applications submitted. It was a very different time and a very different world,” Williams explained. One of the most impactful ways that JLW has leveled the playing field was the institution of the blind lottery system. Removing the vestigial stigma remaining from the former invitation system, JLW has employed a blind lottery system to select its new member classes. Another action taken in recent years, to foster better inclusion of all women, was the creation of a scholarship fund to assist women of all socioeconomic backgrounds with a vehicle through which they could pay their membership dues if there was a need.

SETBACKS ALONG THE WAY While Ricks attests that she does not recall a past that was too “fraught with tension and discomfort,” the path to diversity and

inclusion has not been without its challenges or setbacks. When trying to recruit diverse women from the DC community, JLW realized it was competing against other nonprofits for the same population. Years of insular and restrictive membership allowed other organizations to form and attract potential JLW members. African-American sororities—such as Delta Sigma Theta and Alpha Kappa Alpha (both founded at Howard University), Jack and Jill of America, and The Links offered women of color in our community opportunities for voluntarism, philanthropy, and friendship, not unlike those offered by the League, but with a greater chance of seeing similar faces. Eventually, JLW found more success by working with these nonprofits, rather than recruiting from them, as many women were members of both organizations. Outside of competition for members, one of the biggest issues that impacted the future of a vibrant and diverse League came from within the JLW itself. Not long after we began actively recruiting women of color to join, retention issues began to plague the League. “It was after I joined the League and after we were celebrating our collective accomplishment in slating the first woman of color to lead the organization and I began to meet people who were no longer members of the League but I would meet them within the community and they would say ‘Oh, I was a member of the League in the ‘90s,’ or ‘Oh, I joined the League in the late ‘80s.’ But none of these women that I met or knew had maintained their membership,” recounted Williams. Why were so many women dropping out before they completed their provisional year or shortly thereafter? While Ricks remembers no outright hostility towards herself or fellow members, at the time, what did pervade was a sense of social apathy. Lack of awareness and action from less conscientious members fostered a feeling of unwelcomeness towards women of color in new provisional classes. Imagine: you’ve joined an organization that you are aware doesn’t have that many women who look like you and/or share the


same experiences as you. Breaking the ice and initiating social contact in those situations can feel daunting—especially if few of the women whom you contact reciprocate your outreach. “There is a real difference, on a personal level, between facilitating diversity and just allowing it,” reported Carla Curtis, a member of the League in the late ‘80s, to Potomac Pages. Thus began the journey to make the League a more inclusive place, not just a more diverse place. JLW could not expect to simply recruit women of color, of different faiths, or coming from different socioeconomic groups, and hope that everyone would feel welcome. The League needed to become an encouraging environment for those with different perspectives, not stop the effort once they had diversified the candidate pool.

HOW FAR HAVE WE COME? After decades of change and adaptation, the League welcomed Tycely Williams as its first African American president in the 2018–2019 JLW year. JLW also adopted a Diversity & Inclusion statement in the 20172018 year. Williams was instrumental in bringing the conversation of diversity and inclusion to the forefront of our League’s efforts. “There was [previously] something that we rolled out called an ‘outreach statement;’ around that time was the first time that I recall hearing us speak to what has now evolved to become focused on diversity and inclusion,” explained Williams. When asked about the rationale behind the outreach statement, Williams spoke about the message JLW wanted to send. “[...W]e were trying to proactively speak to our willingness to acknowledge the needs within the communities that we were serving, and we were trying to send a signal around adaptability. [...W]e were going into underserved communities and speaking to our desire to leverage our mission in order to be a trusted source in these communities and in order to partner with the community to address unmet needs.” Currently, 26 percent of JLW members are women of color and 80 percent of JLW

THE WOMEN OF JLW ARE EXTRAORDINARY. THEY HAVE BEEN ON THE CUTTING EDGE OF IDENTIFYING SOME OF THE MOST PRESSING NEEDS OF THEIR DAY. women are employed full-time, according to a recent AJLI demographic survey of membership; many of whom have served or are currently serving in leadership positions. For the 2020–2021 League year, JLW will welcome its second African American president, Jessica Taylor White.

SO, WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? It’s clear that the League has come a long way to shed its “white glove” stereotype; when it comes to diversity, inclusion, and equity, however, our work will never be done. Cleland recommends that, to continue evolving, the League would be wise to avoid complacency and continue supporting social justice issues that affect our community. Internally, Ricks believes that a critical pathway for inclusivity is to broaden access to leadership. Having diverse women in leadership positions not only provides role models for other women joining the League, but encourages others to seek opportunities to serve. Ricks notes, “It’s important that you have that [diverse leadership], so that new members can see that there is an opportunity for leadership even if they aren’t really thinking about it at that moment. It’s just that role modeling is always so important.” Cleland notes, “Everybody educates each other. This is what happens when you’re working hand in hand with people, you’re educating each other. And so people from different backgrounds who are going out to serve the homeless or to even work at the National Gallery, they bring their life experience and their life story to that work and we’re all

so much richer for being able to interact with people and reacting to what we’re seeing, and interacting with what we’re seeing and experiencing by having multiple perspectives brought to bear. It’s just exactly where we should be as an organization.” Diversity, inclusion, and equity are ongoing conversations as our world view continues to change. Conversations at the Board level, according to Williams, include considerations on how best to extend JLW’s reach to include those within the Gallaudet community or those who don’t speak English as a first language, as examples. Work of JLW’s Innovation & Incubation Committee continues to focus on diversity, inclusion, and equity within our League. The League has championed the rights of those less fortunate in the past and will continue to do so. Throughout the course of its 106-year history, however, the JLW has finally reached a level of understanding that we, as an organization, stand stronger together than we do isolated or apart. “The women of JLW are extraordinary. They have been on the cutting edge of identifying some of the most pressing needs of their day. They have founded breakthrough community organizations, such as Bright Beginnings and Leadership [Greater] Washington, strengthened a multitude of programs, organizations, and new initiatives for the underserved, raised the visibility of serious issues like illiteracy, homelessness, and so much more. Credit for each of these achievements goes to those with fresh eyes trained on the changing world. There is no such thing as being done,” stated Cleland. •






F 14

or the past 61 years, the Junior League of Washington (JLW) has been the gracious hostess of a sparkly, tree-filled, joyous tradition. Residents and guests of the nation’s capital have paraded

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through a variety of venues over the years where JLW volunteers have greeted them, helped them find gifts for loved ones, taken pictures of families for the perfect holiday cards, and ultimately spread the joy of the season a little farther. Holiday Shops Committee volunteers have worked

for decades to find the best location, secure interesting vendors, and offer lovely treats for the season. The historical significance of this event merits recognition. As Sarah Carey, Sustainer Committee Chair, mentioned in her remarks at the Sustainers’ Grand



Holiday Brunch in December 2019, President Eisenhower was in office in 1959 when the first committee chairs came together to plan the inaugural event. During that time, a loaf of bread cost 20 cents and both Hawaii and Alaska became states. Throughout its 61 years, the event has withstood peacetime and wartime, technological advancements, national disasters, stock market crashes, space exploration, and hundreds of other events and achievements that have brought us to today...the end of the Holiday Shops era. Though it changed its name many times over the years, memories of the event remain strong among JLW members throughout the decades. Julia Fermoile, a former event chair, laughingly recalled a year where a cash register broke. She was dressed up for the event and she had difficulty carrying the cash register to a back room in her skirt, matching top, and heels. Fermoile said that those kinds of memories were her favorite, “When

the event was done and winding down, and you were able to think about all the laughing and the money raised and the lessons learned—you could think about all the things you had planned that didn’t go as planned and how you would say to your committee, ‘it’s okay, no one knows it was supposed to be like that!’” Margaret Barry, former event chair, also recalls memories of the event. She described fond sentiments of soup vendors, who were kind enough to keep the committee full while they worked, and how the purchases she made at those events serve as memorabilia in her home to this day. Barry also described the legacy of the Holiday Shops saying, “I think it was a fantastic demonstration of the power of JLW and its volunteers. The majority of the proceeds went back into the community, and it was this organization of women demonstrating—through Holiday Shops— the Junior League’s commitment to the District of Columbia.”




61 Years of

HOLIDAY SHOPS CHAIRS 1959: Mrs. Clarence Dodge, Jr., Mrs. John W. Gill and Mrs. Stuart W. Martin 1960: Mrs. Clarence Dodge, Jr., Mrs. John W. Gill and Mrs. Stuart W. Martin 1961: Mrs. Avery Faulkner, Mrs. J. Berry Wallace and Mrs. Richard T. West 1962: Mrs. Peter A. Sturtevant and Mrs. J. Berry Wallace 1963: Mrs. Lewis Ellis, Mrs. Peter A. Sturtevant and Mrs. James K. Sullivan 1964: Mrs. William D. Blair, Jr., and Mrs. Calvin H. Cobb, Jr. 1965: Mrs. Richard D. Barrett and Mrs. John O. Hedden 1966: Mrs. George M. Brady and Mrs. Robert W. Dudley 1967: Mrs. William T. Kilbourne, II, and Mrs. William S. Mailliard 1968: Mrs. Charles B. Ewing, Jr., and Mrs. S. Parker Oliphant 1969: Mrs. Jonathan H. Lasley 1970: Mrs. Ralph H. Jefferson 1971: Mrs. James H. B. Clay 1972: Mrs. C. Jackson Ritchie, Jr. 1973: Mrs. John A. Nevius 1974: Mrs. Charles Radigan 1975: Mrs. John F. Forstmann 1976: Mrs. William L. Bryant 1977: Mrs. Richard V. Mattingly, Jr. 1978: Mrs. Stuart S. Dye 1979: Mrs. William Ramsay 1980: Ms. Susan McGregor 1981: Mrs. Daniel F. Collins 1982: Mrs. Reynolds Young 1983: Mrs. Robert Hughes Koehler 1984: Mrs. Joseph J. Martyak 1985: Mrs. Francis Fletcher, Jr. and Mrs. Catherine C. Martens 1986: Mrs. William C. Menke 1987: Mrs. Albert Fluery, Jr. and Mrs. Albert Rosenbaum, III 1988: Ms. Carolyn B. Cumming and Ms. Anne O. Riser 1989: Mrs. Roger T. Scully and Mrs. Edward C. Zigo 1990: Mrs. Eugene J. McAllister and Mrs. Joseph Wysocki 1991: Mrs. Charles E. Beach, Mrs. Anthony J. Lynch and Mrs. William B. Worthy 1992: Mrs. Charles E. Beach 1993: Mrs. Peter Bower and Mrs. Edward Wolynec 1994: Mrs. Timothy M. Fermoile and Mrs. W. Scott Funger 1995: Ms. Julia P. Beatty and Mrs. John Campbell 1996: Ms. Vicki P. Fotopoulos and Mrs. Jay M. Hammer 1997: Ms. Jennifer J. Miller and Mrs. Corey V. Torrence 1998: Ms. Caroline C. Ervin and Ms. Linda DuRoss 1999: Ms. Holly Hamilton Bolger and Ms. Shannon Susan Davis 2000: Ms. Britt Moses and Ms. Michaela Robinson 2001: Ms. Karen D. Groppe and Ms. Christina Fairchild Valis 2002: Ms. Mary Beth Cremer and Ms. Shannon Katherine Graves 2003: Ms. Wendy Collins and Ms. Gari Lister 2004: Ms. Eden Ellis and Ms. Caren Forsten 2005: Ms. Wendy Turner Cumberland and Ms. Laurie Ann Phillips Ryan 2006: Ms. Cameron Gilreath Normand and Ms. Stephanie Leger-Short 2007: Ms. Margaret Barry and Ms. Erinn Micklo Gray 2008: Ms. Shiela Corley and Ms. Mary Moran Miller 2009: Ms. Brooke Horiuchi and Ms. Kimberly Linson 2010: Ms. Aimee Picard Soller and Ms. Sloane Hurst 2011: Ms. Julie Cannistra and Ms. Ashley Summers 2012: Ms. Amy Gurgle Griggs and Ms. Stephanie Jones 2013: Ms. Melissa Bruce and Ms. Kasey Sporck 2014: Ms. Molly Fromm and Ms. Carly Mitchell 2015: Ms. Rynnie Cotter and Ms. Eleanor Shepard 2016: Ms. Elyse Braner and Ms. Carrie Vicenta Meadows 2017: Ms. Brittany Chambers Ajdelsztajn and Ms. Kelly Jones 2018: Ms. Zoe Louise Jackman and Ms. Margaret Pisarczyk 2019: Ms. Berrett Stradford Branaman and Ms. Carolyn Walser


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Indeed, through that commitment, the JLW raised more than $5 million, partnered with more than 1,000 vendors, and clocked more than a quarter of a million volunteer hours in its 61-year run. Reading these impressive stats may leave some wondering what comes next for JLW during the holiday season. Beginning in November of 2020, JLW will launch A Season of Giving. Running through January 1, 2021, the campaign will be a league-wide effort to provide all JLW members with meaningful connections to other members, our community partners, and the greater DC area. Some of the events highlighted during A Season of Giving will be familiar occasions like supporting our community partners’ holiday drives, cookie exchanges, and holiday socials across councils, the longstanding Sustainer Holiday Event, support of Friends of JLW through a Giving Tuesday campaign, and participation in Wreaths Across America at Arlington National Cemetery. The League is also exploring additional community organization partnerships and is excited to announce two new events for members, friends, and family. Esprit will host “A Breakfast with Santa”, featuring Santa’s magical workshop with activities for all ages to en-


Artwork by Painted Palettes featuring the Mayflower Hotel (the original venue of Holiday Shops), used on this year’s Sustainer Holiday Brunch invitation.

First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy visiting the event joy. As a special treat, Kids in the Kitchen will partner with Esprit during the event to help children and parents learn about healthy holiday snacks. Additionally, JLW will host a Holiday Cocktail Party, where a new committee of volunteers will turn the Loughborough Room, patio and parlors into a holiday wonderland featuring hors d’oeuvres, drinks, and a DJ. As the League kicks off its Season of Giving in 2020, we recognize that the best

parts of Holiday Shops were not tied to a single event, but to the combined efforts of every chair, council leader, new member, active member, and sustainer who gave of her time, talents, and resources to make each event a success. When speaking with JLW members about their favorite aspects of Holiday Shops, members cited fun, laughter, leadership, and skill development. Moreover, Committee members

referenced the camaraderie they established each year. As President-Elect Jessica Taylor White told the Washington Post about the close of Holiday Shops, “it’s bittersweet, but it’s also kind of exciting… The promise of something new.” We couldn’t agree more…and when the new comes, the JLW will be ready to greet it with all the skills, memories, and leadership Holiday Shops has given us. •




Thank You! In this scary time of COVID-19, we want to send a special thanks to all doctors, nurses, hospital staff, grocery and food service workers, mail carriers, delivery personnel, and all other essential employees for their tireless efforts. Thank you for serving us so selflessly. We look forward to happier, safer times.


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he Junior League of Washington’s (JLW) Strategic Advisory Board (SAB) was created to provide a platform for systematic engagement with key community leaders and experts, who can provide strategic vision and guidance for the League’s sustainability and success. Current SAB liaison, Charlyn Stanberry, shared that SAB’s industry expertise, insights, and technical recommendations help inform the work of the League’s president, president-elect, and Board of Directors. These leaders are subsequently equipped to deepen community partnerships for greater leverage and impact in developing the potential of women, training volunteers, and improving the Washington, DC, community in a meaningful and strategic way. Members of the SAB offer insight on innovations in community engagement, financial sustainability, and women’s empowerment; perceived risks and opportunities in the League’s framework and engagement areas; and new development and training mechanisms. Collectively, their skill sets help the League remain a strong voice in the community. The SAB is currently composed of five members:

eghan Ogilvie 1 M

CEO, Dog Tag Inc.

2 L inda Mathes

CEO, American Red Cross - National Capital Region

Angie Reese-Hawkins CEO, YMCA of Metropolitan Washington

Doug Duncan CEO, Leadership Greater Washington

Linda Mathes CEO, American Red CrossNational Capital Region

Meghan Ogilvie CEO, Dog Tag Inc.

Michael Leslie Amilcar CEO, Cook Ross

Charlyn Stanberry 2019-2020 JLW Strategic Advisory Board Liaison

3 A ngie Reese-Hawkins

CEO, YMCA of Metropolitan Washington

4 Doug Duncan

CEO, Leadership Greater Washington

5 Michael Leslie Amilcar CEO, Cook Ross

One JLW member is appointed by the president each year to serve as a liaison and point of contact between the JLW Board and SAB for meeting requests, event invitations, partnership requests,

and additonal support. Stanberry finds the most rewarding aspect of volunteering with SAB to be “[c]onnecting with community and business leaders who have a sincere interest in the League’s success and donate their time and resources to serve as a brain trust.” The SAB will continue to play an important role in moving JLW forward and providing input from a variety of successful individuals across various backgrounds. SAB’s planning and community engagement are essential to promoting voluntarism in the Washington, DC, community now and for years to come. •







very professional organization has a lifecycle. Intern season on Capitol Hill is infamous in Washington, DC, with a yearly influx of young professionals flocking to the city, who are eager to learn, engage in the community, and make their mark. In contrast, retirement parties laud contributions of those guardians of organizational wisdom and experience, as they transition to a new chapter outside the institution. The goal, of course, is to ensure a seamless transition of knowledge so lessons learned over time live on, despite workforce turnover, keeping the organization’s foundational character steady. The Junior League is not exempt from this type of change. Each year, several hundred new members begin with the Junior League of Washington (JLW), while more experienced members become sustainers. One of the ways that JLW safeguards its traditions and ensures that the next generation of women is equipped to steward the organization forward is through the opportunity for active members to transition to sustainer status. The traditional definition of sustainer may be misleading, as it does not fully represent the experience of JLW sustainers. An active JLW member is eligible to become a sustainer once she completes her new member training and seven years of active service (of which at least two must have been in the Junior League of Washington). Sustainers have no yearly obligations, other than submitting dues


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Jessica Sanchez

The Loughborough House in 1970, the start of the decade when the 50-year sustainers we are honoring this spring became JLW members.

annually; they hold the same privileges of JLW membership as do actives, other than eligibility to vote and hold office (with the exception of the Sustainer Committee Chair, who sits and votes on the Board).

JLW Sustainers have developed a rich community, with its own social fabric, a robust event calendar, and even their own newsletter—the Sustainer Spin. Sustainers frequently engage directly with active members, attending JLW events, supporting


NOT ONLY HAVE THESE SUSTAINERS SAFEGUARDED THE LEAGUE’S MISSION, THEY HAVE FIVE DECADES OF FUN JLW MEMORIES TO SHARE! League fundraisers, and assisting committees or placements with their advice and experience. Sarah Carey, Chair of the Sustainer Committee, explains that the role of sustainers is to “[...] help guide our membership and to honor our history so as not to discount our past as we plan our future as an organization.” One of the primary goals of JLW is to develop the leadership potential of women. So, it is fitting that many sustainers serve as leaders in other charity and civic organizations in the Washington, DC, community after their years of active membership. The benefits of continued membership in the Junior League provide sustainers a lifelong connection to community-minded women and the opportunity to share their experience with the next generation of women leaders. Carey notes, “Our 1,150 active members are shaping the future of our League; our 900 sustainers are the reason that we have a future to shape, and the League is incredibly grateful for [their] commitment and service.” Sustainers make up about 40 percent of the JLW community. There are several distinguished groups of sustainers. The first is 50-year members. Each year, our 50-year members are honored at the JLW Annual Reception; in 2020, 11 women will join the ranks of this esteemed group. Sustainer emerita is a special category recognized by the Association of Junior Leagues International (AJLI), Inc. for those sustainers aged 80 years and older. Eight JLW women will become sustainer emeritae this year. Cumulatively, these women represent more than 1,000 years of Junior League membership and service. They have witnessed many different seasons of the League, thoughtfully guiding JLW as it developed into the robust, successful organization it is today. •

ing r o n o H rs e n i a t us S r u o Celebrating 50 Years of JLW Membership in 2020

Mrs. Charles Tucker Battle, Sr. Mrs. Douglas N. Beatty Mrs. James H. Falk, Sr. Mrs. John Oliver Harper Mrs. Allen Hobbs, Jr. Mrs. Richard C. Hotvedt Mrs. William J. Oberle Mrs. Phillips S. Peter Ms. Lynne L. Riley-Coleman Mrs. David C. Spencer

Celebrating Emerita Status in 2020 Mrs. Robert B. Calvin Mrs. Hugh L. Campbell Mrs. Peter Jerry FitzGerald* Ms. Anne B. Hazel Ms. Roxane H. Hughes Ms. Harriett G. McCune Mrs. R. Kendall Nottingham Mrs. Robert W. Robinson *Also celebrating 50 years of membership






omen’s Leadership Breakfast (WLB) embodies the spirit of the Junior League of Washington (JLW) by celebrating women in their roles as business leaders, entrepreneurs, and community advocates. Women in and outside of the League flock to this event for inspiration and motivation in their individual leadership journeys. The Women’s Leadership Breakfast is always timed to occur on or around International Women’s Day, and this year took place on March 6 at The Hamilton in Washington, DC. This year’s breakfast provided a continuation of 2019’s theme, “Uncover Your Personal Leadership Style,” with speakers Carly Fiorina, Tammy Haddad, Michelle Rice, and Rajshree Agarwal. Through presentations and engaging discussions, attendees learned how to determine which personal attributes are important to defining their leadership mission, goals, and vision. In addition to highlighting ways to navigate opportunities, speakers discussed how to create your brand, amplify your story, and share your expertise by building a network with others. Tammy Haddad, media innovator and President/CEO of Haddad Media, and Michelle Rice, General Manager of TV One, conveyed a powerful message to attendees: we are each our own best advocate. They highlighted the importance of being proactive: to set priorities early on and seek informal mentors who can provide encouragement and guidance along the way. According to Haddad, it is


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JLW President Carly Mitchell greets attendees.

JLW President-Elect Jessica Taylor White with speakers Michelle Rice and Tammy Haddad. also equally important to know who not to surround yourself with. The title of her unwritten book would be “It’s Not Who You Know, It’s Who You Don’t Invite.” Rice also spoke about recognizing the importance of every part of one’s narrative; we can learn as much from our failures as

we can from our successes. Consequently, the title of her unwritten book would be “Failure Is An Option.” Rajshree Agarwal, Rudolph P. Lamone Chair and Professor in Entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business led attendees in an interactive


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Keynote speaker Carly Fiorina with speaker Rajshree Agarwal. session on setting and prioritizing one’s purpose. Her central message focused on the importance of dedicating your life to a larger purpose while finding your personal place in it. Essentially, ask yourself: what do you want to do that is “going to make the world a better place” and is important to you? Finally, attendees heard from featured keynote speaker Carly Fiorina. In addition to being the first female CEO of Fortune 50 company, Fiorina is also the founder and chairwoman of Unlocking Potential, a foundation dedicated to helping build the leadership capacity of nonprofit organizations by providing the tools to build problem-solving skills. Fiorina chose to highlight a very important reminder for all women when she remarked, “Everyone is capable of leadership.” The key is to set your own goals and priorities and stick to them without succumbing to complacency or groupthink. Current JLW President Carly Mitchell led the planning for the Women’s Leadership Breakfast event two years ago and sees it as a fundraiser that can grow significantly in the coming years-- potentially becoming a showcase event of JLW’s mission to develop the potential of women with external audiences and sponsors. WLB will continue as a “special” committee for the 2020-2021 JLW year as we continue to mature its model and position the event for growth. •

Rent the Runway

Rent the Runway (RTR) isn’t just ballgowns anymore! RTR Unlimited is an endless closet for work, weekend, and everyday. RTR Unlimited members can have 4+ styles at home at a time and can swap them for something new whenever they want. Use code RTRXJLW100 for $100 off a 60-day trial of RTR Unlimited. Offer valid through 07/2020.

Stay up to date on all JLW partnerships on the JLW Marketplace at www.jlw.org.






rospective member sponsors are often the first point of contact that prospective members have with the Junior League of Washington (JLW). Sponsors serve as liaisons for women interested in the League to address questions throughout the recruitment process. Frequently, sponsors do more than just answer questions; in addition, they connect prospective members to other JLW members and invite potential League women to JLW events. Many of these relationships grow over time, extending beyond the prospective member process.

Molly DiGiammarino Beth Breeding, Member Recruitment Committee Chair, often shares the story of how she got connected to JLW through her sponsor, Alison Babb. Babb and Breeding had known each other for a few months and were friends, but not close… yet. After chatting about JLW, Babb offered to sponsor Breeding. The rest is history. Through JLW, they got to know each other better; almost 10 years later, they consider each other very best friends.

BECOME A SPONSOR Serving as a sponsor to a prospective member is one of the most fulfilling ways to earn


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a membership credit and support the future of JLW. Sponsors serve as guides for prospective members, and answer questions about the application process and JLW activities. To earn a membership credit, sponsors participate in a sponsor bootcamp conference call, attend one open house in the fall, and connect with their prospective members at least once during the recruitment process.


1 Each active, transfer, or sustainer member may sponsor up to five prospective members.

2 New members cannot serve as

sponsors during their provisional year (though they are welcome to do so once becoming an active).

3 Eighty-seven women served as

sponsors for the 2018–2019 new member class—nearly twice as many as sponsors as the year prior.

To get involved, learn more, or become a sponsor for the 2020–2021 new member class, please reach out to the Member Recruitment Committee.


EACH MEMBER HAS THE OPPORTUNITY TO IMPACT JLW’S FUTURE BY INVESTING IN THE MEMBER RECRUITMENT PROCESS. BY PULLING FROM OUR DIVERSE NETWORKS OF CONTACTS, WE CAN ALL HELP GROW JLW; IN TURN, WE CAN ENHANCE THE LEAGUE’S ABILITY TO MEET THE NEEDS OF THE COMMUNITY WE CALL HOME. HOW YOU CAN HELP RECRUIT NEW MEMBERS Each member has the opportunity to impact JLW’s future by investing in the member recruitment process. By pulling from our diverse networks of contacts, we can all help grow JLW; in turn, we can enhance the League’s ability to meet the needs of the community we call home. Here are some ideas of how you can recruit new members to JLW: • Share information about joining JLW with friends, family, and colleagues; • Invite at least one person to attend an open house in fall 2020; • Build relationships by serving as a sponsor and attending an open house; • Perfect your JLW elevator pitch—explain why you joined and why you continue to be involved with the League; • Stay up to date on current initiatives, key partners, and events hosted by the League; and • Be an advocate for JLW wherever you go. •






n December 2019, the Esprit Committee hosted a Night at the Nutcracker for Junior League of Washington (JLW) members to enjoy a favorite holiday tradition—the Washington, DC, Nutcracker. For many years, the Washington Ballet has performed an adapted version of this Tchaikovsky classic. The 2019 production was set in historic 1882 Georgetown, with nods to the District of Columbia and Virginia, as well as appearances from familiar faces (such as George Washington, King George III, and other historical figures). Thirty-three JLW members gathered at Warner Theatre for the Nutcracker production and enjoyed VIP treatment, including in-seat snacks and champagne. Sustainers and active members alike were able to mingle and socialize at Old Ebbitt Grill prior to and following the production. Many new friendships were formed over a mutual love for ballet. JLW members who attended shared that it was a great way to get into the holiday spirit and support arts in the local community. Following receipt of such a great turnout and positive feedback, Esprit organized another outing, in partnership with the Folger Committee, for a performance of Nell Gwynn at the Folger Theatre in February. Commissioned by Shakespeare’s Globe, this portrait of one of the first actresses on the English stage earned accolades in London and has been called “an absolute treat” by the New York Times. Folger Theatre extended JLW members an exclusive offer for the show,


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JLW members were treated to in-seat snacks and champagne by the Warner Theatre.

Thirty-three members attended the VIP showing of The Washington, DC, production of the Nutcracker in December.

which included a complimentary drink and access to an exhibition. Once the Nutcracker and Nell Gwynn nights were a success, the Esprit Committee organized an event on the opening night of the Washington Ballet’s production of Swan Lake. Unfortunately, that production has been postponed due to the COVID-19 public health crisis. Mary Kate Gorman, JLW Esprit Committee member, explained that “Esprit is passionate about the arts and is working in partnership with Washington, DC’s Jeté Society to bring our ballet offerings to the next level.” She noted that the JLW

will partner with the Jeté Society in the future. Gorman stated that “We, at Esprit, are so thrilled to be building our ballet community, bringing out the inner dancer in all of our JLW members.” In addition to adult and children’s literacy, JLW programming addresses cultural literacy issues across the region. This includes knowledge of history, performing or experiencing the arts, and building creative expression or visual thinking skills. Attending these performances alongside fellow JLW members fulfills the heart of that focus for both Esprit and JLW. •




ast summer, the Junior League of Washington (JLW) launched its Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) toolkit. This helpful resource was produced by the 2018–2019 Incubation Task Force. It includes guidance on expanding the capacity for D&I as JLW members serve in placements and volunteer within the Washington, DC, community. Developing the toolkit was a recommendation from the 2017–2018 Diversity & Inclusion Task Force; a team of 12 JLW members oversaw its development. “When we listen and celebrate what is both common and different, we become a wiser, more inclusive, and better organization.” This quote, from Pat Wadors (head of human resources at LinkedIn) opens the JLW D&I toolkit’s introduction. Creation of such an important resource for the League began in the same way as Wadors describes in this quote: listening and celebrating the commonalities and differences of JLW members. Last spring, members were invited to participate in a series of interactive discussions focused on engaging the JLW community and shaping the content for the toolkit. Following discussions with JLW members and leadership, the D&I Task Force launched its toolkit, which serves as a compendium of information on a breadth of D&I topics, including guidance on reducing bias, tips on using inclusive language, and methods to demonstrate equity. Although the toolkit

Hannah McCracken

“WHEN WE LISTEN AND CELEBRATE WHAT IS BOTH COMMON AND DIFFERENT, WE BECOME A WISER, MORE INCLUSIVE, AND BETTER ORGANIZATION.” has been published for member use now, the chair of last year’s D&I Task Force (and this year’s Strategic Sustainability Council Director), Bridget Shea Westfall, says the League will eventually apply for a $1,000 Accelerator grant from Association of Junior Leagues International (AJLI), Inc. to refine and expand upon the existing content. Using the grant, JLW would be able to “[...] request a diversity, inclusion and equity expert with volunteering in the community and membership organizations to review.” AJLI’s Accelerator Grants are currently on hold due to COVID-19 Beyond the toolkit, JLW is working to ensure D&I remains at the forefront of our League’s efforts, weaving its importance throughout the member experience. Christina Tunison, Innovation & Incubation’s D&I lead, stated, “[w]e’re currently working to expand resources and provide training to all members to make membership aware

and take steps to create and support a more diverse and inclusive League.” To Westfall, D&I within JLW means, “You are part of the game, not just have sat in the stands [sic]. We want our membership to reflect the diversity of the DMV and also we want our leadership to represent diversity, too. Being a trained community volunteer means that you are an advocate for others in your placement in-League, fundraising, or in the community.” All JLW members play a role in making inclusivity and diversity central to our organization as we live our mission of promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Both Westfall and Tunison suggest there are several ways members can apply learnings from the toolkit to their JLW experience, including undertaking small




ALL JLW MEMBERS PLAY A ROLE IN MAKING INCLUSIVITY AND DIVERSITY CENTRAL TO OUR ORGANIZATION AS WE LIVE OUR MISSION OF PROMOTING VOLUNTARISM, DEVELOPING THE POTENTIAL OF WOMEN, AND IMPROVING COMMUNITIES THROUGH THE EFFECTIVE ACTION AND LEADERSHIP OF TRAINED VOLUNTEERS. steps, like engaging women to whom you may not normally gravitate, remembering peoples’ names, and using a calendar that is culturally sensitive to all members. Additionally, JLW volunteers are encouraged to reflect on the impact of their words, consider other people’s points of view, serve as an advisor or sponsor, and, if you have the means, contribute to scholarships for members experiencing economic challenges. To access the D&I toolkit, navigate to the Resources tab via the JLW member portal. If you have ideas or would like to be involved with future D&I efforts, the Incubation & Innovation Committee welcomes your participation. Additionally, any members who are willing to serve as subject matter experts or facilitators for future efforts are encouraged to contact Innovation & Incubation Committee leaders. For those interested in volunteering or who have thoughts or recommendations for the Committee to consider, email diversity@jlw.org. •


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