3039 M League Year 2021-2022 Annual Edition

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the official magazine of the

3039M Junior League of Washington

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


d n u o F & Tossed 2021 – 202 WHAT’S INSIDE

Tossed & Found Turns 30! Continuing to Center Our Community: Staying Connected as a Sustainer Hosting Tips & Tricks

The Nancy Taylor Bubes Group #1 Small Team in the Capital Region

Whether you are selling, buying, or leasing,

our team is here for you.

202.386.7813 I www.theNTBgroup.com I @the.ntb.group


As the Junior League of Washington (JLW)’s 109th year closes, I’m reflecting on all we’ve accomplished this year and focusing on our bright future! Thanks to our dedicated members, the 2021-2022 JLW year was a memorable one. Despite the uncertainty and changing conditions presented by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, our members once again showed their resiliency, rising to each challenge to support our members and the DC community in a meaningful way. I’m grateful for our members’ efforts in ensuring the League’s Mission was fulfilled. This year’s edition of 3039M celebrates those efforts, and highlights the ways in which we all came together. Our theme Centering Our Community was at the heart of everything we accomplished – and after more than a year of being remote, engaging members was a priority. Finding ways to bring everyone together was a big part of our Mission, especially once we were able to re-engage in person. Together we’ve found new ways to support our long-standing community partners, which created more impact for them and JLW. We also engaged new community partners and built bridges to other community organizations through our Community Roundtables. We built upon what we learned from our Community Assistance Fund last year, and these grants, in amounts up to $5,000 each for urgent, basic needs, are now a part of our regular grants portfolio, allowing us to connect and support more members and organizations in our community. Our in-League and fundraising placements have brought our members together in virtual, hybrid, and in person formats to reach members where they are, and expand their programming to offer a robust selection of trainings, speakers, and fellowship activities to learn and grow. The Strategic Sustainability Council (SSC) focused on strategies to further our Mission. The board tasked the SSC with developing infrastructure and investing in the advancement of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging within our JLW community, which is one prong of the JLW Strategic Plan 2027. The new strategic plan begins with the 2022-2023 year, and sets forth goals for building belonging, building community capacity, building for change, and building our brand and relationships. This issue will highlight the new plan and how JLW will set it in motion. Lastly, our new focus area, in effect on June 1, will expand our work and community impact. There’s so much to come in the next few years, and I’m excited to see how JLW grows! Our members are the center of our JLW community, and I know that the sky’s the limit of what JLW members can achieve. It’s been my honor to serve as JLW President. I’m so thankful I had the opportunity this spring to meet so many of our members at events and volunteer opportunities. I’ll be forever grateful to all of you for your trust and support in granting me the opportunity. On behalf of the 2021-2022 Board of Directors, our leaders, and staff, thank you for all you’ve done this year to build upon our strong foundation and set JLW up for a successful future! In service, AMANDA WALKE 2021-2022 JLW President

The 109th year of JLW was focused on Centering our Community. This year, our resilient League members and community partners continued to plan and execute programming amidst the ever-changing public health landscape. Thanks to their dedication and creativity, JLW and community members were able to come together through a mix of in person, virtual, and hybrid events. By meeting people where they were, League members and community partners were able to remain engaged and connected. In this issue of 3039M, we’ll celebrate and look back at 30 years of Tossed & Found, toast to the second annual Season of Giving, and look ahead with the next strategic plan, Impact 2027. Readers will learn more about why women continue to stay centered in our community as sustainers and how JLW members have applied their League experiences to the professional arenas of their lives. This issue also highlights JLW’s efforts to advance its diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) work. Readers will get an insight into various traditional and new events and gain a number of tips and tricks to hone their hostessing skills as we head into the summer season. In interviewing women for the articles that you’ll read in this edition, I was continually struck by the power of community and the grace and grit of our members. The past two years have not been easy. Despite numerous challenges, these JLW women found ways to pivot to bring critical programming to community members and League partners. Additionally, we are all grateful for our leaders and their ability to harness the energy and creativity to bring us all together. I thank all of those people who have shared their story in this issue and those who have worked tirelessly to bring these stories to life. It’s an honor to help capture the spirit of the League during this time. As you read through this issue, I hope that you will take a moment to reflect on all that we’ve accomplished as a community this year and to toast to all that is to come. Yours in Service, DANIELLE MUENZFELD Editor


Joanna Persio Vice Chair, Advertising

Katelin Hatfield Rising Chair

Maggie Jo Buchanan

Erika Burnett Vice Chair, Editing Cassandre Durocher Vice Chair, Photography

Evangeline Clapp Laura Collins Kertisha Dixon

Elizabeth Nelson Bailey Oedewaldt Robyn Rudish-Laning Katharine Shadlock Meredith Shields Rachel Wanke

LeaAnn Kutz






01 Letters

10 Tossed & Found Turns 30!


16 Continuing to Center Our

05 Centering Our Community

Through Community Grants

06 Making Spirits Bright Through the Bright Beginnings Wishlist

28 Building Bridges and Shaping JLW’s Future

Community: Staying Connected as a Sustainer

04 Community Outreach

Committee Connects JLW with Local Thought Leaders

27 Pedaling Through the Pandemic



30 Hosting Tips and Tricks

19 Another Year of Pivots Leads

32 Sharing Some Sweetness: Sustainer

to Exciting New Events for Kitchen Tour

Cookie and Recipe Exchange

34 JLW’s Mission in Action

20 Together at Last: Holiday

36 “A Lot of Joy”: Elizabeth Keys

Celebrations Bring the JLW Community Together

07 Dressed for Success 08 Stocking Up for Seniors

Continues to Lead

24 Centering Our Community: JLW’s

09 Spotlight on Sarah Wise and Historic Alexandria Docents

2022 MLK Weekend of Service

BC Award Recipients

26 A Place for Everyone: JLW Expands DEIB Resources

Cover images courtesy of District Cooper

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.


Junior League of Washington


MEMBERS OF THE BOARD President Amanda Walke

Vice Treasurer Rachel Volkmann

President-Elect Katherine Rodriguez

Communications & PR Brittany SmithShimer

Secretary Kelly Hunter Treasurer Jennifer Belair


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Community Affairs Sheila Archambault Helke

Adult Community Placements Emily Jordan Cultural Community Placements Kristin Longwood Youth & Family Community Placements Alexis Olive

Membership Development Jacqueline FrederickMaturo New Membership Laisha Dougherty Nominating Adrianne James

Strategic Sustainability Lauren Niles Whalen Sustainers Gretchen Ehle Ways & Means Charlyn Stanberry


The Junior League of Washington would like to honor and celebrate

the 50–Year and Emerita Members of 2020, 2021, and 2022. Louvette Aspiotis Jane Battle Priscilla Beam Patricia Beatty Jean Bissey Susan Calvert Ellen Calvin Jan Campbell Barbara Cherry Diane Cummins Ann Czerner Sondra Deeble Elizabeth Dietel Marta Dunetz Alice Ellington Shirley Elliott Leslie Fitch Jeremy FitzGerald Margaret Graves Maureen Gustafson Claudia Hamblen Sally Harper Barbara Hayes Shannon Hobbs Catherine Hotvedt Roxane Hughes Margaret Keriakos Helen Mazzuca Harriett McCune Barbara McGraw

Barbara Muir Marnie Nicholson Elizabeth Nottingham Martha Oberle Linda Olson Lynn Parsons Jania Peter Mary Raether Judith Robinson Christine Rollins Cynthia Scherr Anne Sexton Ellen Spencer Christine Springer Anne Stewart Elinor Talmadge Louisa Watson Nancy Welker Patricia Winn Silberman We would like to thank each of these members for her lifetime commitment to service in our community. These devoted women represent the heart of our mission and the best of our membership.




hen the Junior League of Washington (JLW) formed the Community Outreach Committee, its original intent was to create a home for and bring together multiple initiatives that didn’t belong to any specific committee. The Community Outreach Committee is charged with working with community partners and the broader nonprofit ecosystem, but focuses heavily on education. It serves as a permanent place to convene nonprofit leaders, help them to build their skills, discover new approaches, and create new areas of interest. In 2019, the Community Outreach Committee decided to focus the existing Roundtable series on aspects of nonprofit management and to serve as a way for thought leaders to identify avenues of opportunity for different issue areas, allow nonprofit leaders to network and skill-build, and identify avenues where JLW can help. Following the series that took place throughout this past year, the two main needs identified by community partners were: how to increase the focus on diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) at the leadership level, and how to better implement ethical storytelling into client outreach materials. Despite working on DEIB issues very broadly last League year, the Committee used this opportunity to keep the momentum going by creating two sessions on client-centered work and finding ways thought leaders could engage their clients. An example that came out of the sessions included engaging veterans in an art program and finding ways to involve them in aspects such as fundraising, marketing, etc., and how that engagement can help nonprofits get more donors by using the resources they already have. The term ethical storytelling refers to the practice of centering the stories around the positive outcome that the organization is


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creating. This involves promoting stories that use the client’s voice to tell you what their successes are, rather than imagining what their successes are. This League year, the focus remained on creating stories paired with data collection — the data collection aspect allows leaders to give a business case argument for why DEIB should be at the center of the organization’s work. At the board level, the Committee wanted to highlight how different organizations were creating space for people of diverse backgrounds and how that has impacted their communities. While the sessions have been a success so far, in order to keep repeat attendees happy and engaged, the Committee tries to have the sessions build on each other. The Committee also uses its considerable reach in the nonprofit world to provide a great high-level view of what is ahead in the industry and create resources for what’s missing. Session attendees have been happy with the speakers and programming thus far. This is evidenced by the glowing testimonials from attendees: “Another outstanding roundtable! I learned quite a lot and picked up several action items I can incorporate into my work in the Volunteer Engagement Office of Catholic Charities. You facilitating this and other excellent roundtable presentations for the non-profit community is a wonderful service of the JLW. Thank you.” – Margaret O’Neill, Director of Volunteer Engagement, Catholic Charities

“Thank you for opening today’s roundtable to GOB [JLW’s Get on Board program] alumni, it was absolutely fantastic and so insightful! Dana was a great speaker and very knowledgeable.” – Carissa Cyran, JLW member And speakers alike: “There is a misconception I see sometimes that diversifying your Board means sacrificing fundraising potential - and this could not be farther from the case. Every organization I have been a part of, when they’ve worked to diversify their Board in a real, honest, and careful manner, has actually seen their fundraising ability improve dramatically. People from every background, culture, and identity will make gifts, be generous, help expand your community, and offer their passion for your mission in many other ways too.” – Matt Boyer, College Tracks “It’s critical that we shift from thinking about just ‘diversity’ and focus on using an equity lens. With a lens of equity we can more authentically make difficult decisions that advance our mission. One example of this is doubling down on budget items that are critical to achieving equity-- such as providing transportation for our students and investing in our teachers. Without this focus, it’s tempting to look at your budget and eliminate the most expensive line items, but doing so can be counterproductive from an equity and mission attainment perspective” – Mike DiMarco, Horizons Greater Washington “Never forget that just because there is a black man at the table he is not there to be “the black perspective.” Everyone you invite to your board table should be invited for a variety of reasons centered on a passion for your mission, a skills set that can help your organization grow and a unique and valuable perspective.” – Reginald Grant, Generation Hope This is just the beginning for the Roundtable program — a program that has proved itself to be a great place for conversation in the nonprofit sector, a hub for connecting for thought leaders, and a way to help the broader community. •




unior League of Washington (JLW) members make tremendous contributions annually to organizational fundraising efforts, allowing the League to have a vibrant philanthropic presence in the Washington, DC community. In turn, the Targeted Grants & Volunteer Resources Committee (TGVRC) manages and allots those contributions to create volunteer placement opportunities and award JLW grants to community service organizations. With outstanding leadership from Chair Courtney Davis, the 2021-2022 TGVRC awarded seven $2,000 Opportunity Grants to the following deserving organizations. IMAGINATION LIBRARY OF MONTGOMERY COUNTY Organization Mission: As a local affiliate of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, the Imagination Library of Montgomery County works to improve early childhood literacy and foster child/caregiver bonding by providing one book per month for free to children from birth to age five in select zip codes. Grant Use: The organization plans to provide 951 books to children in select zip codes of Montgomery County who are enrolled in the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. JUBILEE JUMPSTART Organization Mission: Jubilee Jumpstart works to prepare young children (newborns through age five) from low-income families for success in school and life through dual-language, evidence-based care, and early education programs that are focused on their social and emotional well-being, in partnership with families, educators, and the community. Grant Use: It intends to provide 432 books for 72 children participating in the Family Literacy Program in order to build and replenish the at-home libraries of these children for the benefit of their whole family. LOCAL MOTION PROJECT Organization Mission: Local Motion Project brings people together in dynamic, collective movement experiences that

Kertisha Dixon affect personal growth and social change by engaging with people through education, participation, and observation. Grant Use: With its grant, Local Motion Project will provide for the production and distribution of 10 creative movement videos for children ages three to five. These videos weave elements of dance (body, action, space, time, and energy) with early literacy skills including letter recognition, print motivation, print awareness, vocabulary development, and phonological awareness. Each video is an age-appropriate length of five to 10 minutes and offers teachers the chance to reinforce key concepts throughout the day. This Opportunity Grant also provides a professional development workshop for Alexandria City Public Schools teaching staff. THE SPITFIRE CLUB (TSC) Organization Mission: TSC works to build an inclusive community around diverse, girl-positive books to enhance participants’ literacy and social-emotional skills, bolstered by small group reading support, home library building, and caregiver engagement in reading for pre-K through fifth grade girls. Grant Use: TSC will use its grant to fund 20% of the pilot of TSC’s Parent/Child Reading Workshops for 400 children, including books for home libraries, activity materials, and workshop facilitators for 30 sessions. BRIDGES TO INDEPENDENCE (BRIDGES) Organization Mission: Bridges’ goal is to lead individuals and families out of homelessness and into stable and independent futures. Bridges’ vision of breaking intergenerational cycles of poverty is carried out by supportive service offerings focused on workforce development and assists families in obtaining jobs offering a livable wage, acquiring certifications, and/or furthering their education. Bridges’ employment managers provide individualized support and work with families on many levels including resume support, interviewing prep, sharing job leads, and more. Grant Use: Bridges’ funds will go towards supporting a portion of families’ employ-

ment needs, including obtaining technology and professional clothing, gift cards for transportation to job interviews or training, and enrollment for employment training, certifications, and ESL classes. FRIENDS OF GUEST HOUSE, INC. (GUEST HOUSE) Organization Mission: Guest House provides formerly incarcerated women the structure, supervision, support, and assistance they need to move beyond who they were to become who they want to be. Since 1974, Guest House has served as the only prison-to-community residential re-entry program in Northern Virginia. Guest House’s overarching goal is to increase the number of formerly incarcerated women who successfully re-enter their communities by addressing the key areas that influence their path to successful re-entry. Grant Use: Guest House intends to purchase equipment needed to ensure full participation in the Workforce and Life Development program by all Guest House clients. MY SISTER’S PLACE (MSP) Organization Mission: MSP shelters, supports, and empowers survivors of domestic violence and their children while providing leadership and education to build a supportive community. Participants work with case managers to identify areas in which they desire additional support to gain full independence. MSP also helps participants identify individual barriers impacting long-term stability and provide or connect them with supportive services. Grant Use: MSP will support shelter clients by providing access to individual or group workforce development sessions to 28 individuals with the goal of gaining employment, placement into a job-training program, or placement into an educational program. This grant will also support 30 transitional housing clients as they participate in the permanent housing program RISE, which includes case management and budgeting classes to support their progress towards self-sufficiency. •






he Junior League of Washington (JLW) established Bright Beginnings (BB) in 1990. For more than 30 years, BB has helped thousands of children and their families experiencing housing instability by providing them with quality care, education, and support during times of hardship and transition. In 2014, Bright Beginnings pioneered the first home-based program in the country with the sole focus of supporting families impacted by the trauma of homelessness. In 2018, BB built a state-of-the-art learning center in Washington, DC’s Ward 8. This learning center gives parents peaceof-mind in knowing that their children are safe, learning, and growing every day. While the 2021 holiday season brought hope for some and uncertainty for others, JLW volunteers worked to spread holiday cheer and give back to the community. One of the ways in which they did this was through partnering with BB to sponsor children through a “holiday wishlist.” Each child’s wishlist included a full outfit, winter coat, underwear/diapers, pajamas, and a pair of shoes. Planning for the wishlist began during the dog days of summer. For the 2021 drive, BB and JLW started the process in August “by first addressing what worked well in past years, changes that needed to be made, and the best way to communicate with our [BB] parents” shares Jamie Holloway, BB Family Service Manager. For the 2021 holiday wishlist, the JLW BB Committee created an online sign-up list. Through the wonders of social media, JLW members, friends, and families could participate at any level, buying one item or fulfilling an entire wishlist. In previous years, individual donors would sponsor an entire child’s wishlist. This change allowed “members to feel like they could


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afford to participate and be involved, and secondly, to be sensitive to the financial challenges that the Pandemic has put on many households across the District and throughout the country” explains Heather Lawrie, Co-Chair of the BB wishlist drive. Donors brought or shipped their items to JLW Headquarters where JLW volunteers received and sorted the items in person over the course of a few days. Lawrie explained that coming together in person for these activities was especially rewarding because “for the first time since the Pandemic started, we were able to be together and get to meet all the women we’d worked with for months.” As a new member of JLW, Kayla Walter was excited to work with Bright Beginnings. For her, “the holiday drive is just one example of why service and the work we do with JLW is so important. I’m glad that we were able to secure all of the items requested on the wishlist and to be able to transport all of the items to the center. It’s good to know that the parents were just as excited to receive the items, as we were to give them.” JLW volunteers then brought the donations to BB where the items were distributed to the children’s parents. “Over 500 items were donated so it was no easy feat! [. . .] So many of our donors were generous and provided more than what was

asked for, so we also donated those items to Bright Beginnings,” says Margaret Faso, BB Committee Chair. The donations were distributed to each child in BB Center-Based and Home-Based Programs. Holloway explains that “Each year Junior League works diligently with Bright Beginnings to ensure our children have a great Christmas. […] Parents were elated and thankful for every donation. I continue to hear feedback from our families that BB, in partnership with compassionate organizations like the Junior League, are their biggest source of support.” •




an one black dress worn for five short days create awareness about issues that affect others for a lifetime?” The little black dress is an iconic and versatile wardrobe staple for women globally — first introduced by designer Coco Chanel and made famous over the decades by style icons like Audrey Hepburn, Princess Diana, and Beyoncé. Today, this dress has become a key piece in the professional wardrobes of women across the globe. In 2014, the Junior League of London decided to harness the power of the little black dress to create a poverty awareness campaign: the Little Black Dress Initiative (LBDI). Since then, more than 80 leagues have replicated the LBDI, including the Junior League of Washington (JLW).

PARTNERING TO DONATE PROFESSIONAL WEAR To kick off its second year participating in the campaign, JLW partnered with A Wider Circle (AWC) to bring the LBDI closer to the Washington, DC area community and support AWC’s holistic approach to ending poverty. One of AWC’s larger efforts is the Professional Development Center, which provides free professional clothing for job seekers to wear while interviewing and on the job. From blazers to dresses to shoes and accessories, AWC’s team of personal shoppers help ensure each patron coming through is dressed for success and ready to make a great first impression. Coupled with the support of JLW, and the tremendous fundraising and advocacy work from League members, AWC is hitting the mark by serving more than 3,000 individuals each year with a showroom it deems to be, “better than Bloomingdales and nicer than Nordstrom!” Through coordination with AWC, this year JLW was able to open the Loughborough House as a donation center, with League members volunteering their time to collect, sort, and organize pick up for the professional wear donations. However, the work doesn’t just stop with little black dresses. Yearround, JLW members are committed to working alongside the compassionate individuals at AWC to further fuel their positive impact on our community and move closer toward ending poverty.

JLW's Little Black Dress Initiative What is the Little Black Dress Initiative? LBDI volunteers, called advocates, wear the same black dress or outfit for five consecutive days to serve as a visual symbol of the restrictions poverty places on individuals and families. These volunteers engage with friends, family, and their social media audiences to raise money and awareness.

Impact By The Numbers WHEN? October 18-22, 2021 WHO? 57 Participants WHAT? $25,220.52 Raised

Where do the funds go? All donations raised through the LBDI go towards the Community Assistance Fund (CAF) and JLW programming and initiatives designed to support the Washington, DC Community.

Want to learn more?

LBDI IN A PANDEMIC A key part of the initiative is wearing the same little black dress for five days in a row, often with a pin reading “Ask me about my dress” to spark a conversation and open a dialogue among colleagues, friends, and strangers. However, in a world that has become increasingly digital, it has made some of these face-to-face interactions difficult and taken away some of the opportunity for spontaneous advocacy. Through tenacity and social media savviness, JLW was able to successfully pull off the event and advocate for those stricken by poverty in the community raising nearly $25,000 in just five days. For Marcela Aguirre, JLW member, “Participating in the Little Black Dress Initiative was a great way to not only bring awareness to those in my network

Visit: https://www.jlw.org/little-black-dress/ Email: littleblackdress@jlw.org

about poverty and its effects on women but also raise money to support JLW’s community grants. It was encouraging to have my friends and family get involved in these efforts — whether by contributing money or asking questions about the LBDI or the stats I shared on social media and email. It was a great experience, and I hope other JLW members get involved in this initiative in the future.” •






or more than 30 years, the Junior League of Washington (JLW) has partnered with Iona Senior Services — a premier aging organization that has been a staple of the Washington, DC area since 1975. Year-round, League members volunteer their time to ensure thousands of aging neighbors have access to food, but the work goes beyond the meal delivery. For many impacted by Iona’s work, the time spent with League members is a positive part of their day. Iona deliveries allow Washington, DC, community members of all ages to interact and form new perspectives. “We’re really trying to give the seniors the most impactful care we can by working on external efforts,” says Maria Moussa, Iona Senior Services Committee Chair. This past year, JLW hosted Iona’s senior leadership for a roundtable discussion to deepen the understanding of Iona’s mission and gain further insight into how Iona directly helps seniors. Community members who have benefited from Iona’s services joined the meeting to provide firsthand accounts of how they’ve been impacted by the services. “The Heart of Iona [roundtable] tour really drove the importance of Iona’s mission and we want to ensure we do all that we can,” explained Moussa. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Iona and the seniors it served were especially impacted by the restrictions put into place by the DC government. Efforts to help mitigate the spread of the virus made volunteering difficult, especially when much of JLW’s work with Iona was in person. However, League members have always risen to meet a challenge, so, in an effort to both continue serving Iona and keep with city guidelines, JLW started a pantry


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stocking initiative. This allowed Iona’s work to continue while keeping everyone involved healthy and safe. Instead of delivering meals, JLW pivoted to purchasing items for the Iona pantry. All shopping was ordered via Amazon and delivered to Iona’s Tenleytown location in NW, DC. While certainly more limited than previous Maria Moussa and her husband, Chris Saleh, deliver meals for Iona seniors years in JLW’s long partnership with Iona, there have been some opportunities cheer of League members. JLW also dofor League members to volunteer in nated gift cards to retailers, such as Giant person and new initiatives, such as pantry and CVS, allowing Iona and the seniors it stocking, have allowed JLW to still serves to purchase their most needed items continue making an impact. and resources. Over the holidays, League members With the new year kicked off and were also able to assist with food delivery already flying by, JLW is looking toward on Thanksgiving and Christmas. With new ways to show appreciation for Iona’s many families still not gathering in person seniors — including holiday themed to keep loved ones safe, it meant so much cards to spread some love for those who for Iona’s seniors to receive warm meals have given so much vibrancy and life to accompanied by the smiling faces and our community. •





very year, the members of the Historic Alexandria Docents (HAD) Committee give their time to support the historic properties in Alexandria, VA through volunteering at special events and training for and giving tours. Like many committees of the Junior League of Washington (JLW), COVID-19 created an impetus for change within the Committee over the past two years. However, despite shutdowns or capacity restrictions, committee members, like 2021-2022 Rising Chair Sarah Wise, innovated and found ways to still assist the community through HAD. This League year, she spent her time volunteering at the Lee-Fendall House, a historic house museum and garden in Alexandria. When she was unable to go in person, Wise used her talents in graphic design to join Lee-Fendall House’s project redesigning its trivia night logo. Staff members at Carlyle House Historic Park and the Lee-Fendall House Museum hosted bi-weekly trivia nights throughout the summer in the beautiful gardens of the Lee-Fendall House. Participants tested their knowledge on everything from pop culture to history. In the summer of 2021, she led walking tours throughout Old Town Alexandria. As the Delta variant surged in the area, being outside allowed guests and docents alike to follow COVID-19 protocols and respect social distancing. Once Lee-Fendall House was able to open its doors safely for inside tours, Wise volunteered to greet guests as they arrived at various events. One such event she volunteered for in June 2021 highlighted the history of Alexandria’s Black residents, which led participants on a scavenger hunt throughout various historical sites in Old Town Alexandria. Participants competed for prizes that

Rachel Wanke could be used for a sweet treat at a nearby favorite, Goody’s Frozen Treats. In September 2021, Wise joined her fellow Historic Alexandria Docents committee members in assisting with a COVID-friendly cocktail event series in the gardens of historical locations around Old Town Alexandria. Members of the HAD Committee helped set up tasting stations and assisted wait staff throughout the evening. Wise loves volunteering with the committee because she gets to tell stories of the people who lived in Old Town Alexandria and helped to shape the community in an accessible way to both locals and visitors. Guests also share stories and fun history facts with her as well. Behind each property is a passionate

Sarah Wise, Rising Chair, HAD team continuously educating themselves and making history accessible and engaging for the community. •

Summer 2021 tour of the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum




Tossed & Found TURNS 30!


Katelin Hatfield and Danielle Muenzfeld with special thanks to Bailey Oedewaldt

or thirty years, one of the largest and most beloved annual fundraisers of the Junior League of Washington (JLW), the Tossed & Found rummage sale, has provided bargain prices on high-quality, gently-used merchandise to Washington, DC area individuals, families, and community groups. Since its inception, proceeds from the sale have been distributed across the organization in order to advance the League’s Mission.

BORNE OUT OF NECESSITY The origins of Tossed & Found are tangentially linked to another long-standing JLW tradition, the Junior League Shop. The Junior


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League Shop, which opened in 1929, was one of the League’s first retail efforts, selling clothing and housewares and using the profits to give back to the community. Located in the Georgetown section of Washington, DC, the Junior League Shop kept its doors open for the next 60 years, but faced many economic setbacks in the late 80s and early 90s as both rental prices and operating costs continued to steadily increase.


In an attempt to save the Shop, JLW formed the “JL Shop Task Force” and throughout the 1991-1992 League year, it worked to provide the League with both long and short-term recommendations. However, after the JL Shop netted a loss of $18,000 at the end of that League year, it was clear that the Shop had reached a breaking point. Despite the Task Force’s efforts to mitigate losses, it was clear that with the current economic climate, there needed to be League-wide changes. The concept of a rummage sale was initially proposed as a new revenue stream for the League after a tough few years of fundraising. As stated in archival documents from the time, “in spite of rigorous cost-cutting, it costs more to do business now, than it did in 1985.” To compound rising costs and bolster what had been already raised, the League explored other revenue streams including producing the JLW Cookbook as well as the rummage sale. Modeled after the Junior League of San Diego, which raised $100,000 with a rummage sale of its own, the initial mission

of the JLW event was “1) to provide the public with an opportunity to purchase quality used goods at affordable prices; 2) to generate revenues to fund JLW projects while educating the community about our League; and, 3) promote and enhance camaraderie among JLW members.” As a vital part of making sure there was enough inventory for the event, each member of the League was required to donate $100 worth of goods to the sale. A pricing list was provided to members in order for them to know the value of what they were donating. This practice continues today. One difference, however, is that originally, members were required to label and price their own goods. The inaugural Tossed & Found, or JLW Rummage Sale as it was initially called, was held May 21-23, 1993 at the Falls Church Civic Center. Kicking off the weekend was a cocktail party on the first night. Referred to as “preview night,” the party served as a chance for members and their guests to have their first crack at the sale. The weekend as a whole was a tremendous success for the League, bringing in more than $17,000 in fundraiser income. While income from Tossed & Found has since been distributed across many of the League’s efforts over the years, Bright Beginnings was the beneficiary of many of the proceeds from the initial sale. “The sale was successful in its ability to serve not only JLW members and their guests, but also members of our community at large and our JLW community placements. In addition, The Sale provided JLW Photo of The Junior League Shop which was located at 3066 M Street, NW

Tossed & Found shopping success!





& Found rummage sale should become part of the bevvy of fundraisers that JLW hosted annually. However, in order to slate a committee chair and make it official, the event had to be included on a special ballot in winter of 1993 and voted on by membership. Learning from some of the challenges of the initial sale, changes to the event as stated on the Ballot included: - Each active member must donate $50 worth of durable goods and clothing, with no more than the equivalent of $10.00 in adult clothing. (This requirement is reduced from the $100.00 which was approved for last year’s event). - In the event that a member does not have $50.00 in goods, that member must work with the Quota Chairman of the Rummage Sale Committee to arrange to co-op with other members, or to provide other assistance, perhaps volunteering time or money. - The pricing list developed and printed for last year’s event will be used again in order to maximize the consistency of procedure and policy. The Ballot passed with the majority of JLW Membership in support, Tossed & Found was approved to become an official JLW event, and the rest as they say, is history.

GROWING AND GOING GREEN members with valuable training in holding such a fundraiser, the Provisional class gained experience in putting on the preview night party, and JLW members who attended the

Cookbooks ready for a new kitchen


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event enjoyed themselves tremendously,” according to a statement on a ballot sheet. With the success of the initial event, it became clear to the League that the Tossed

Over the years, the event has been held in locations throughout the Washington, DC area in paid and generously donated space. Caren Forsten, 2001-2002 Tossed & Found CoChair recalls that, “Each year the chairs had to find a developer who would let us use the space for free for three to four months. Heat and bathrooms (let alone clean bathrooms) weren’t always part of the deal.” In the years from 2008-2010, Tossed & Found shifted from donating unsold goods to Goodwill toward a community focused model in which it began recycling the clothes and goods back into the community. A component was added to Tossed & Found whereby the Committee worked with a number of local charities and invited representatives to come through after the sale to pick up the specific pieces they needed.


The Community Cash Card program began in 2008 as the Neighbor in Need cards. The card program is now a hallmark of Tossed & Found. It allows people to purchase cards for use by deserving individuals and charities. Cash Card recipients may then redeem the cards for merchandise at the sale. “The Community Cash program is a huge part of the sale’s real purpose (beyond being a fundraiser) — giving goods back to the community that needs them,” explained Amber Stein, 2009-2010 Tossed & Found Chair. Around this time, the Tossed & Found sale began to secure larger spaces thanks to generous donors. Commensurate with the increase in space, the sale itself grew. With the increase in space, the sale could feature additional categories of goods, to include furniture. Subsequently, volunteers dubbed Mighty Man/Wonder Woman visited JLW members’ homes to pick-up furniture and deliver it to the sale site. According to Stein, the Mighty Man/Wonder Woman pickups led to friendships among those who volunteered for this effort year-over-year. The Tossed & Found sale has continued to adapt to the community’s needs. The theme of the 17th sale in 2009 was “17 and Going Green.” This was the first sale where there was a huge focus on recycling all of the boxes, papers, and hangers from the sale back into the community. Over the years, additional green practices have been introduced, including recycling of clothes that are damaged and cannot be sold or donated. One element of many sale weekends has been “Bag Day,” when shoppers can pay a flat fee and purchase as many items as fit into the bag. Forsten recalls that “Bag Day is interesting because I’ve met so many interesting

JLW members at a Diamonds and Desserts event

people when they buy their bag – the women collecting prom dresses to give to area teens, the family that gets things to round out the people their church supports, and the immigrant families sending quality goods home. After shopping, they tell me what treasures they found – lots of joy!”

EVENTS As was with the first sale, JLW has continued its tradition of hosting a preview night as a kickoff event for Tossed & Found weekend. However, the format of this event has evolved over the years. From approximately 2010-2019, the preview night took the form of the “Hoops & High Heels Preview Night Party.” The party featured a sports theme with March Madness basketball games live on TV, this helped to bring male community members to the event. In 2019, this shifted to “A Quality Occasion.” In addition to a preview night, there have been other sale-related events. This included a denim-themed event, a “Diamonds and Desserts” event, and a Children’s Trunk Show.

TOSSED & FOUND IN THE PANDEMIC ERA In March 2020, just days before preview night, the COVID-19 pandemic caused the cancellation of the 28th Tossed & Found event despite the fact that generous commu-

nity members had donated enough items to fill the 18,000 square foot sale space. Tossed & Found Co-Chairs Kelly Hunter and Katarina Washington, as well as Rising Co-Chairs Madeline Shepherd and Rachel Volkmann, got creative to ensure that the donated goods made it to deserving community members. After receiving an extension of the donated space, the Committee’s leadership reached out to community partners and other nonprofits. JLW, through Hunter, connected with the Association of American Foreign Services Worldwide and made appointments for more than 100 Foreign Service families who were evacuated because of the pandemic to shop the site. These families were able to supplement the limited number of possessions, cash, travel documents, valuables, and clothes that they brought with them during the evacuation. The 29th event, held in March 2021, was entirely virtual. The event kicked off with a Zoom-based A Quality Occasion, which featured the best of Tossed & Found in a new format filled with friendship, community, and good times. Attendees heard taped stories shared from organizations JLW supports with the time, treasure, and talents of our volunteers. This included first-hand accounts about how the canceled 2020 events created new opportunities and allowed JLW to deepen ties with existing community partners. The sale itself included the ability to purchase “buy-it now” quality items that were new or like-new through the Handbid application. Since it was unable to accept rummage, the Committee identified a list of our community partners currently accepting donations of gently used goods and clothing on the Tossed & Found website. These partners included A Wider Circle, Habitat for Humanity Re-Store, So Others Might Eat, Salvation Army, Turning the Page, and Leveling the Playing Field. Thanks to the generous contributions of Tossed & Found sponsors, JLW members, community partners, and shoppers from across the country, the all-virtual Tossed & Found was a success and raised a total of $65,000 to carry out the mission and priorities of JLW. Even in this virtual environment, Tossed & Found continued to find ways to serve the community.




THE 30TH TOSSED & FOUND SALE As in previous years, the 30th sale kicked off with a preview night. A Quality Occasion, the event’s signature opening event, was held at the sale site. Patrons viewed certain auction items in person, and had first access to shop the sale. For the first time, the event featured full catering along with a signature cocktail. The 30th Anniversary Raffle also helped to celebrate this milestone year. Like many other events this League year, Tossed & Found needed to innovate its sale format with COVID-19 still impacting our community. The event, held March 19-20, 2022 in Arlington, VA, had no-cost timed entry tickets, which enabled shoppers a set window in which to shop and check out.

“[I’m] so proud of our committee and the amazing team that we had this year for Tossed & Found. We faced uncertainty with the omicron COVID variant, and the fact that we pulled off the in person sale safely is a huge success for us and the League,” described Amanda Gallen, this year’s Tossed & Found Co-Chair. Following the sale weekend, on March 2627, the Committee offered a free-cycling event, which allowed JLW community partners to get the goods they needed in timed windows. The theme for the 30th Tossed & Found was “A Pearl in the Community.” For Co-Chairs, Gallen and Hannah Alleman, “Tossed & Found fits wonderfully into this theme, because we directly impact the

community through all of our donations through our Community Cash Card program. We also provide great volunteer opportunities for our League community.” When reflecting on the past 30 years of Tossed & Found, it’s important to note that it has not been without its particular challenges. The Committee and its volunteers work tirelessly year after year collecting, sorting, and pricing thousands upon thousands of items in order to put on a successful and lucrative sale. However, as the saying goes, what may have begun as a single grain of sand – an event proposed in the wake of economic difficulties – has over the years become a pearl in the community. One that has never lost its luster at any age. •

A Quality Occasion, March 2022





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Photographing: - Engagements - Weddings - Real estate - Portraits - Events and mor oe in the DMV!





art of the Junior League of Washington (JLW) experience that is not always talked about is the sustainer experience. Sustainers are members that have dedicated at least seven years of active service to JLW. While they could have stopped there, they committed to serve JLW in a new capacity. While there are more than 900 sustainers in JLW, approximately 20-24 of these women serve on the JLW Sustainer Committee. Led by Committee Chair, Gretchen Ehle, they plan activities and set the strategic direction of the committee. “Originally, becoming involved in the League brought me new friends with philanthropy, volunteering and hard work in common. As a sustainer those areas grow and grow... What can be better than that,” expressed Ehle. But why do these dedicated sustainers continue to sustain?

FERNANDA FISHER Fernanda Fisher is a JLW sustainer who also serves on the Sustainer Committee. As an active member, Fisher gained relevant skills applicable to her professional life, including running meetings, organizing people to achieve a goal, finding and utilizing efficiencies, and getting buy-in from various stakeholders. “I wouldn’t be where I am today if not for the many experiences I had through JLW,” said Fisher, reflecting on her early years in the League. Fisher eventually transitioned from active member to sustainer status when her family life took priority – her two small childrens’ schedules kept her busy. Fortunately, this transition allowed her to stay connected to the League without the requirements of being an active member. Since then, Fisher has started her own tutoring company, served as President of the Northern Virginia Alliance League for two years, sits on the Board of Horton’s Kids (a JLW community partner), and currently runs her family foundation. When asked what Fisher would like her League legacy to be, she readily answered “service to others.” Her fondest memories of being an active member include being out in the community, helping others through the various opportunities and partnerships the League has throughout Washington, DC. Although her days as an active member are behind her, Fisher affirms she “will never stop being a JLW member,” which speaks to the lifelong commitment sustainers make to JLW.

WHITNEY GRESPIN For Whitney Grespin, transitioning from active to sustainer status allowed her to grow her professional profile to include expanded overseas field work by giving her increased flexibility while maintaining work-life balance. The decreased commitments required of sustainers also allowed her to balance a number of priorities. Specifically, it allowed Grespin sufficient time to complete her PhD last year and connect with other members of the Colorado Springs Junior League. During her postdoc year, she made friends and contacts outside of her work at the Air Force Academy, whom she never would have crossed paths with otherwise. Remaining a sustainer allows her the option to opt-in to engagement with the League at a less demanding pace, which is a nice balance compared to the inputs she was able to give to the League during her active years.


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Kit Hall joined the Junior League of Washington in 1990 before transferring to the Junior League of Morristown, NJ. There, she served on the Board for more than a decade and ultimately became President for the 2002-2003 League year. After a long and successful time as an active member, Hall transitioned to sustainer and transferred back to JLW in late 2018. Since then, she has remained a member of the Sustainer Committee. Hall credits the League’s training, professional development, and leadership opportunities for giving her the skills she deployed throughout the community. “I didn’t step back from the League as much as I stepped forward to use those skills just as I was trained to do,” explained Hall. As for other ways the League has positively changed her life, Hall shared that she made many of her best friends through the League, which she credits to the bond that is formed when working to “build better communities.” Hall’s experience also shaped her professional experience as she later became a professional fundraiser for 15 years. She applied many of the skills she learned chairing various League fundraising events to her career. Being in the League runs in Hall’s family. Not only is she the daughter of a League member, but her own daughter is now a JLW member.

Tippen (Tippy) Anderson’s connection to the League’s commitment to community service and volunteering is a major reason why her life has been tremendously impacted by JLW. Throughout her many years in the League, she has made great friends and taken advantage of opportunities for work, travel, and reading. Like Hall, Anderson has imparted the importance of the League to her daughter. In fact, it was Anderson’s mother who convinced her to join the League in the first place, saying “you’ll have nice friends, contacts, and do interesting things wherever you go,” according to Anderson. After transferring from the Junior League of Atlanta, Anderson joined the JLW Sustainer Committee and hopes to continue on the committee next year. Although she has only been to one in person JLW event since transferring, she has made the most of her time. When the pandemic started, she joined a yoga challenge organized by the Esprit Committee where she met other members virtually. Anderson’s personal stories serve as a reminder of how impactful the League can be when we “draw near and be present” as she says.



A WIDER CIRCLE Ann and Don Brown Center for Community Service 9159 Brookville Road Silver Spring, MD 20910



IONA 4125 Albemarle Street NW Washington, DC 20016





3418 4th Street SE Washington, DC 20032



TOSSED & FOUND Sale Site 1616 Fort Myer Drive Arlington, VA 22209




























Ward 8 Hub 400-A Atlantic Street SE Washington, DC 20032

134 N Royal Street Alexandria, VA 22314



ANOTHER YEAR OF PIVOTS LEADS TO EXCITING NEW EVENTS FOR KITCHEN TOUR As such, this year, the Committee’s range of events have embraced a theme of cultural sharing and international inspiration including a virtual international cocktail class, a virtual Italian cooking class, a virtual recipe exchange, and finally a pinnacle in person garden party. The year kicked off with the repeat of a wildly successful addition to the 2021 Kitchen Tour Greeting JLW Garden Party attendees. season with a virtual recipe collection. More than 100 recipes April 30, the Kitchen Tour Committee were collected across the League with dishes hosted approximately 200 attendees at spanning from Southern comfort foods JLW’s historic Loughborough House for to Caribbean entrees. Donors received a an elegant taste of springtime around the digital booklet of the compiled recipes for world. The event utilized the League’s ininspiration in their own kitchens. door and outdoor spaces to highlight local On April 7, 2022, there were approxand international cultures through carefully imately 30 attendees for the Commitcurated dining options, musical selections, tee’s virtual event, “A Taste of Italy: an and decor. “We were so excited to welcome Interactive Cooking Class” with Professor League members and friends in person as Francesca Seaman. Seaman led the class in we celebrated our perseverance as a group creating a Campari cocktail, a spring salad, and the diversity that makes this League so and a saffron risotto with asparagus and special!” said Morgan and Barry. • shrimp. This event followed an “Around the World Craft Cocktail Class” in February where approximately 30 members joined Chrissy Sheffey of Charismatic Creations to explore favorite international cocktails and mocktails. While the Committee initially anticipated having an in person tour, Morgan and Barry quickly found homeowners weren’t quite ready to have a few hundred people tour their home, even with COVID-19 precautions. Therefore, in response to a need to pivot from the traditional Kitchen Tour event, the idea to create the 2022 Guests enjoying a sweet treat Kitchen Tour Garden Party was born. On



Photo courtesy of Julianna Dinsmore


or the third year in a row, one of the Junior League of Washington (JLW)’s most anticipated events has been caught in the crux of required change due to the pandemic. This year, that change resulted in an awe-inspiring outcome. The 2022 Kitchen Tour Committee, led by Annie Morgan and Sophie Barry, has embraced not one, but two pivots over the course of the year. Replacing the traditional Kitchen Tour event, this year the Committee met members where they are through a combination of virtual pre-events, a virtual recipe collection, and an in person garden party with an international and multicultural theme. After much debate, the Committee determined that 2022 would have to be another year of change from the typical in person, “kitchen tour” format. However, exactly what the 2022 format would be was a moving target as the world continued to approach in person events with cautious optimism. By remaining flexible and embracing the uncertainty of the moment, the Committee created a successful series of events that engaged women in different ways. “We’ve been finding the energy to go with the flow this year,” says 2021-2022 Co-Chair Annie Morgan. “After this became another year of pivoting, earlier this year Sophie Barry [Co-Chair] and I decided that the most important aspect of the event was for members to feel engaged and excited about the League and Kitchen Tour’s work.” “This year, no matter what the format, we knew that we wanted to center the Kitchen Tour around a theme of cultural sharing and diversity. After all, hosting is a way of bringing people together and exchanging ideas - something that eventually we’ll all be able to do again,” shared 2021-2022 Co-Chair Sophie Barry.

Meredith Shields




hen the Junior League of Washington (JLW) bid farewell to its longstanding Holiday Shops fundraiser in 2019, along with it went the oftanticipated opening night Holiday Party. After COVID-19 dashed hopes of safely gathering League members for an in person celebration in 2020, members were thrilled to reconnect faceto-face this League year to celebrate the 2021 holiday season at JLW Headquarters with a Holiday Cocktail Party. On the evening of December 4, 2021, the halls of the historic Loughborough House were decked with a celebratory vibe. Upon arrival, approximately 200 partygoers made their way through the first floor and up the back patio steps before entering the party – a change from the typical flow of the Loughborough House that Holiday Celebration Committee Co-Chairs, Mandy Asgeirsson and Julie Crump, specifically chose to add to the atmosphere of the night. At the top of the stairs, members and their guests re-entered the House through the second-floor patio, which was tented for the occasion. Inside, the Loughborough Room sparkled and shone with se-


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Joanna Persio

Co-Chairs Mandy Asgeirsson and Julie Crump with their committee members.


quins, feathers, and holiday colors as members and guests showed up in their best “festive cocktail” attire. Attendees sipped on wine and signature cocktails, an Espresso Martini and a Rosemary Citrus Gin Fizz, as they reconnected with old friends and the League community. Republic Restoratives and Total Wine provided a full bar, and attendees were also treated to heavy hors d’oeuvres by Ridgewells Catering. The mood was further set by the gorgeous wreaths, garland, and red and white floral arrangements that Wild Blooms by JLW member Summer Bravo provided throughout the party space, in addition to a striking flower wall adorning the back patio steps. After months with limited opportunities for in person connection, the night was a breath of fresh air for attendees and a welcome change to the isolation many experienced since the COVID-19 pandemic set in. “Champagne never tasted quite so good,” recounted Heidi Reed, echoing the experience of several JLW members. The evening was particularly memorable for Reed as it was her first big night out since welcoming a baby at the beginning of the pandemic. With hopes of hosting a similar in person holiday party at the Loughborough House last year, this year’s Holiday Cocktail Party was bittersweet for JLW’s 2020-2021 President Jessica Taylor White. “I loved seeing the committee’s vision come to life after making the difficult decision last year that the League could only safely host a virtual gathering,” said Taylor White. “[It was] really special to celebrate in person and have members reconnecting in a space we haven’t all been able to use for so long – I hope it is the start of a wonderful new tradition for the League.” Towards the end of the evening, President Amanda Walke, President-Elect Katherine Rodriguez, and others pulled names to select the winners of this year’s holiday raffle, which offered a variety of “Winter in Washington” experiences inspired by the League’s 2021-2022 theme, Centering Our Community. The prizes included an overnight stay with dinner and wine pairing at the iconic Inn at Little Washington, a Washington Nationals prize package, tickets to the Washington National Opera, and a private shopping party at Kendra Scott’s Georgetown shop. In order to build anticipation for the Holiday Cocktail Party, the Holiday Celebration Committee also organized a series of holiday-themed professional photography opportunities to kick off the season. The first of which was a day of outdoor fall photo sessions held at the Navy-Merchant Marine Memorial. Perched on the Mount Vernon Trail and overlooking the Potomac River, the spot selected provided a gorgeous backdrop as members posed for family portraits and even a few pregnancy reveals with the Washington Monument in view. Santa also made a stop at JLW Headquarters for another family photo opportunity, giving lots of little ones the exciting opportunity to meet him in person for the first time!

Jessica Taylor White and Heidi Reed pose for a picture the night of the Holiday Cocktail Party.

Emily Almand and her band of merry elves head out to their photo session.




All the photo sessions, including the third event, a day of professional headshots, were open to members of the public as well as League members, and were a huge hit. Holiday Celebration Committee Vice Chair Jessica Mosley was thrilled to hear that Annapolis League members learned of the photo sessions through JLW’s social media promotion, and welcomed inter-league support for the offerings – including Annapolis member Sarah Stuckey, her husband, and the couple’s adorable pair of beagles. JLW member Emily Almand and her family may have stolen the show, however, when they showed up for their first fall photo session decked out as Santa’s helpers, before returning the next day for a more “traditional” session. All photos were returned to participants in time for holiday card printing. All told, the Holiday Celebration Committee raised more than $60,000 to support the League’s mission through a

combination of photo session, raffle ticket, and Holiday Cocktail Party ticket sales. “[The Committee] aspired to bring a sense of community, joy, and cheer to the League, while providing safe opportunities to participate in activities in person,” expressed Crump regarding this year’s offerings. To all who participated it was clear the Committee succeeded. “For members to come together for a fun and festive night after being apart for so long, [I hope this is] the start of many Holiday Cocktail Parties at JLW Headquarters,” said Asgeirsson reflecting on her experience in executing the Holiday Cocktail Party. In their speech at the event, the event’s Co-Chairs noted their thanks for the efforts of their committee vice-chairs and members, and Ways & Means Council, and Board leadership for their guidance in pulling off the successful season. We can’t wait to see what the Holiday Celebration Committee has in store next year! •

Summer Bravo, Wild Blooms by Summer, stops for a photo in front of the gorgeous floral wall she created for the party.

President Amanda Walke and President-Elect Katherine Rodriguez enjoying the evening with other JLW members.


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Custom Quilts & More Candice Bennett www.shutdownsewing.com








This year’s Weekend of Service brought together record volunteer participation with both new and established community partners Katharine Shadlock


anuary 14-17, 2022 marked the Junior League of Washington’s (JLW) inaugural Weekend of Service. Hosted by the Done-in-a-Day Committee, the weekend included volunteer events throughout the Washington, DC, metro area in which JLW members participated to celebrate and honor Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy. MLK Jr. Day is observed as “a day on, not a day off” and is the only federal holiday designated as a national Junior League members volunteering with Girls on the Run - DC day of service to encourage all Americans to volunteer to improve their community. events, League participants completed more “We wanted to set up a weekend of than 288 hours of volunteering. events predicated on volunteers all going These service opportunities were very out together at the same time,” commented popular among JLW volunteers and many Aida Latorre, Chair of the Done-in-a-Day had waitlists. The weekend reflected Committee. The Weekend of Service was the theme of JLW’s 109th League year, composed of 12 events of which five were CENTERING OUR COMMUNITY. virtual and seven were in person. Across all During this year, the League focused on


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its members, strengthened relationships with existing partners, and looked toward the future as it formed new relationships with community organizations working within its new focus area. The new focus area in effect for the 2022-2023 League year is “Supporting pathways to opportunity through improved access to education, professional and financial development, and capacity building resources in our community.” Latorre was inspired by the theme of the League year and was especially motivated by the upcoming changes to the League’s Focus Area. She wanted to build a volunteer opportunity highlighting the various ways JLW can support pathways to opportunity. All JLW members were invited to participate in the volunteer opportunities. “We felt inclusivity was essential […]. The pandemic has limited opportunities for


members to get together and participate in volunteer activities […] considering capacity restrictions caused by COVID, we wanted to afford as many opportunities as possible for virtual and in person participation across all member statuses,” Latorre stated. Events for literacy education programming, such as the Everybody Wins Book Talk, focused on early childhood reading comprehension and interpersonal communication. The Book Talk event was geared toward second grade through fifth grade children, encouraging group discussion of favorite books and allowing one-on-one chat with a published author, Lauren Poteat. “As an avid reader and former educator who loves to learn, I am always so humbled and happy whenever I see any child engaged with good books, and to be able to participate,” Poteat commented. “I feel that these are the moments that [Dr. King] dreamed of, a moment where the young and the old, the rich and the poor, no matter race, creed or color, could get together and hang out for an hour, over some really good books. I never cease to be amazed by all of the wonderful events and volunteer opportunities that JLW works so hard to provide for the community and its members,” added Poteat. JLW’s furry friends also volunteered! Stephanie Driscoll and her dog volunteered with PeopleAnimalsLove (PAL). For the event, children were able to read to pets. For Driscoll, “It was so rewarding to see the children reading aloud confidently, and they were so excited to ask

questions about my dog. There’s that old saying – today a reader, tomorrow a leader – and that is how I see those children with PAL. I love that PAL gives children that safe space to read aloud without being corrected or interrupted, and my dog loves the extra attention, even virtually.” Additionally, JLW supported organizations, which included Martha’s Table, Capital Area Food Bank, Girls on the Run - DC, Free Minds Book Club, and the American Red Cross. For Whitney M. Faison of Martha’s Table, “The annual MLK Day of Service exemplifies Martha’s Table’s commitment to working alongside and within the community in partnership with like-minded organizations like JLW.” For Girls on the Run - DC, JLW members helped the nonprofit assess its inventory to see what supplies the organization needed after its previous season and helped the organization be prepared for its upcoming spring season. As expressed by Alex Peffer, Program and Outreach Coordinator, Girls on the Run - DC, “It may not be the most exciting work but it does make such a difference for us because the amount of volunteers provided more than doubled our total staff, so we could do all of this in a timely manner and knowing what we had allows us to save money on ordering supplies, meaning there is more money available for things like scholarships for participants. The volunteers brought a positive energy on a Saturday morning and seemed so excited to have an opportunity to serve the community!”

Junior League Volunteer, Syreeta Mollet, painting with Martha’s Table JLW members too enjoyed the opportunity to engage with the community. “This was a great opportunity to spread the impact of JLW volunteers worldwide and contribute to an important effort. Coming together in this virtual way for a collective weekend of service was truly a representation of our mission of promoting volunteerism and improving communities,” shared Emily Jordan, a JLW Board member and volunteer for the Missing Maps partnership event between JLW and the American Red Cross. JLW came together, “Centering Our Community,” as the League continues, virtually and in person, to support our community partners. •






dvancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) is critical to the Junior League of Washington’s (JLW) Mission “is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers.” To ensure that the League creates an environment that is inclusive and welcoming to all women, the Strategic Sustainability Council’s Innovation and Incubation (I&I) Committee advanced JLW’s DEIB work this year through a coordinated series of training events and the development of educational resources for members. With the help of an Association of Junior Leagues International (AJLI) Innovation Accelerator Grant, the I&I Committee organized three one-hour virtual trainings geared toward members at various stages of their JLW journey (i.e., new members, actives, sustainers, and JLW leaders) to equip them with the tools to promote DEIB both within the League and in the communities served by JLW. Three sessions took place in spring 2022. “We hope that these hour-long trainings level set all JLW members on how to promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, [how to] facilitate an environment of respect both within JLW and in the communities we serve, and how to recognize our unconscious biases to ensure we don’t take them with us in our JLW journey,” said Whitney Hubbard, Chair of the I&I Committee. The committee also worked with JLW’s Development and Training Committee to present DEIB Deep Dive: Working with Individuals with Differing Abilities. Members had the opportunity to hear from experts from Access Living on issues around disability, language, ableism, and how they can promote enhanced accessibility both in and out of the League. Another tool made available to JLW members is a library of resources on a variety of DEIB topics. Interested members can locate this on the JLW website in the Diversity Equity and Inclusion Resources section.


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Robyn Rudish-Laning “We know that there is a lot of work to be done within JLW to ensure DEIB is central in all that we do, from our member experiences, to our procedures and policies, to education and training that our members can bring to their community work and professional lives,” said Lauren Niles Whalen, Director of

the Strategic Sustainability Council, which oversees the I&I Committee. She continued, “This year, much of our work focused on education and training, but we fully intend to continue this work in the coming years and dedicate resources to strengthening this aspect of our organization. It is so important.” •




Danielle Muenzfeld

s the COVID-19 pandemic persists, the Junior League of Washington (JLW) continues to adapt and provide opportunities to “Center Our Community.” Based on safety guidelines and member feedback, the 20212022 Esprit Committee took a hybrid approach and offered both in person and virtual programming in order to strengthen member relationships and provide critical connection points for League members. Over the last two years, many JLW members have joined together to virtually workout through group Peloton cycling rides. By adding the hashtag #JLW to their profiles, riders can see what classes other members are taking and join from the comfort and safety of their homes. JLW members in the same class can even connect with and motivate each other by sending and receiving Peloton “high fives,” a virtual acknowledgement of their effort. This connection

point helps to motivate and keep members accountable in reaching fitness goals. Esprit has organized JLW riders to participate in different themed rides throughout the League year including Motivation Monday, Post-Holiday, and Galentine’s Day rides, with more to come! To date, the #JLW hashtag has 194 members and continues to grow. Meredith Englehart, Esprit Committee volunteer, who has organized a number of rides “loved the idea of hosting an event from home that would get people up and moving.” To Englehart, “the events are extremely motivating - it’s nice to know you’re not riding alone and the folks you’re high-fiving are part of your network.” JLW members have let the Esprit Committee “know that the Peloton events motivate them to prioritize their physical and emotional health. Attendees share how great it is to feel connected to other JLW Peloton riders. And we know the connection Esprit events provide is so important particularly in

Chief financial officer. Caregiver. Eclipse chaser. A life well planned allows you to


a time of increased social isolation,” expresses Dani Rizzo, Esprit Chair. Virtual events enable JLW members to engage with the community no matter where they are – literally and figuratively. “[I’ve] really looked forward to all of the unique and creative ways that JLW has strived to connect members virtually from fun activities such as hand-lettering classes, to these virtual fitness opportunities. It’s definitely helped me to stay connected while keeping my family safe,” explained Prianka Sharma, a JLW member and new mom to a “pandemic baby.” For her like many others, participation in such events has been key to her experience. “Through our programming, whether it’s a virtual fitness class, a neighborhood meet up, or a creative workshop, we are able to not only increase connection and member satisfaction but also directly contribute to delivering on our promise of purposeful member care during a year of continued uncertainty and social isolation,” shares Rizzo. •

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Building Bridges AND SHAPING JLW’S FUTURE Robyn Rudish-Laning


ike many mission-focused organizations, the Junior League of Washington (JLW) develops and follows a forward-looking strategic plan to guide the League’s volunteer efforts over the next five years. This plan informs where JLW devotes its precious resources, time, and talent. It also guides how the League channels its collective impacts to enable the internal JLW community and external greater Washington community. Putting together such an important document doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Though the Board of Directors is ultimately responsible and accountable for each five-year plan, the Strategic Planning Committee worked throughout this League year to gather input from members, donors, and community partners to inform the plan and answer the question: “How can JLW strategically position itself to fulfill our mission in the coming years?” The Committee looked for feedback and suggestions in three different categories: backwards-looking and bottoms-up; topical strategic thinking; and future-thinking and the hypothetical. “Our goal was to develop a strategic plan that integrates the great thinking JLW has had on several topics while also turning an eye to the future and what JLW needs to build to be successful in the ‘uncertain’ future,” said Carly Mitchell, past League President and current Strategic Planning Committee Presidential Appointee who is working with fellow Appointee, Crystal Jezierski, and Strategic Planning Chair, Betsy Bennett, to develop the 2022-2027 JLW Strategic Plan. “From this research, a focus became clear – ‘building bridges for increased impact and connectivity.’” added Jezierski.


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OUR GOAL WAS TO DEVELOP A STRATEGIC PLAN THAT INTEGRATES THE GREAT THINKING JLW HAS HAD ON SEVERAL TOPICS WHILE ALSO TURNING AN EYE TO WHAT JLW NEEDS TO BE SUCCESSFUL IN THE ‘UNCERTAIN’ FUTURE. — CARLY MITCHELL, PAST LEAGUE PRESIDENT The 2022-2027 JLW Strategic Plan was approved by the Board on March 7 and will be implemented for the upcoming 2022-2023 League year. Over the next five years, the League will work to build belonging, community capacity, change, and the League’s brand and relationships – all of which are crucial as the League shifts its focus area. One of the biggest difficulties in proposing and executing a strategic plan for organizations like JLW are annual leadership changes. To help combat that challenge, the Strategic Planning Committee and Board of Directors collaborated to create a high-level roadmap that will identify key initiatives and activities JLW can take to achieve the objectives outlined in the Strategic Plan. This new

Strategic Planning Roadmap will serve as a guide for JLW’s annual planning process and provide a framework for both the incoming Board as well as future Boards to reference as they refine and execute JLW’s forwardlooking strategy. This roadmap will also help the League measure its progress in achieving the plan’s goals and objectives. In other words, the League will have the tools to measure and articulate its impact to current and potential donors, partners, etc. “When I served as President in 20192020, the Board developed a Fund Development strategy and roadmap to help translate the strategy into tactical steps. Crystal, Betsy, and I wanted to help provide a similar bridge from the new Strategic Plan to actions JLW can take to achieve the outlined goals, while also providing an input into JLW’s annual planning process, which Strategic Planning facilitates each year with committee chairs and the Board,” explained Mitchell of the impetus behind the Roadmap. “The Roadmap really came to life by engaging President-Elect, Katherine Rodriguez, and getting the opportunity to develop it with the incoming Board of Directors at their Board Retreat this March. Crystal and I facilitated a brainstorming session with the incoming Board and left so inspired!” The Strategic Planning Roadmap outlines activities JLW can take across the next five years to achieve the themes and objectives outlined in the plan. Activities are broken down by theme and by year, with foundational planning activities starting in the first year and progressing towards implementation in the following years. The Strategic Planning Committee will work with the Board each year to refine and update the Roadmap as progress is made and plans crystalize. •


B E G I N TO B U I L D 2022-2023


Build Belonging: Identify opportunities for improvement and explore connectivity themes coming out of two years of a COVID world Build Community Capacity: Transition to new focus area while exploring opportunities to build community capacity

Build for Change: Operationalize CRM platform and begin knowledge management planning Build Brand & Relationships: Establish foundation for, and develop support materials for, internal and external communications, strategic communications partnerships, and relationships

U N C O V E R O P P O RT U N I T I E S 2023-2024


Build Belonging: Begin implementing nearterm improvement opportunities while laying further groundwork for longer-term flexibility, connectivity, and diversity Build Community Capacity: Develop infrastructure and groundwork to align values, action, and resources to build community capacity

Build for Change: Implement knowledge management platform and evaluate policies to enable agility and process efficiency Build Brand & Relationships: Complete restructure of relevant councils to support brand and relationship initiatives and continue implementation of the same

I M P L E M E N T A N D I M P ROV E 2024-2025 Build Belonging: Deepen connectivity, flexibility and diversity programs and initiatives


Build Community Capacity: Implement and further community building capacity actions internally and in community

Build for Change: Implement policies to increase agility and process efficiency while expanding use of CRM and knowledge management platforms Build Brand & Relationships: Nurture and grow new relationships and assess progress

L E A N I N A N D L I S T E N 2025-2026


Build Belonging: Continuously improve connectivity, flexibility, and diversity initiatives while also looking to define “what is next” to enhance the membership experience and empower members Build Community Capacity: Review and expand programs to align values, action, and resources to build community capacity

Build for Change: Assess additional operational improvements needed to support League agility and efficiency Build Brand & Relationships: Continue to leverage relationships to expand opportunities for impact and external brand-awareness



Build Belonging: Identify strategies and plans to further enhance and empower membership, using our diversity and connectivity as enablers of a meaningful membership experience Build Community Capacity: Review community initiatives and member assessments to refine and develop new plan to support pathways to opportunity


Build for Change: Continuously improve operations while planning for continued sustainability and maturation Build Brand & Relationships: Evaluate impact resulting from these multi-year brand and relationship initiatives for opportunities to build upon and lessons learned

Note: This is a high-level depiction of our Strategic Plan. Members can find the full, detailed roadmap on the JLW website.



Hosting Tips & Tricks Junior League of Washington (JLW) members are beginning to host others at their residences after a two-plus year hiatus. As you plan your next casual cookout or swanky soirée, consider the following tips and tricks from JLW’s fabulous hostesses! “If serving wine, include several bottles of 2-3 varietals, not several different bottles, each different. That way, you’re less likely to run out of a specific type.”

“I always pick a drink that I can batch easily, whether it’s a punch or a pitcher of margaritas. When I’m busy cooking or hosting, it’s better to have a crowd-friendly drink instead of worrying about making individual cocktails!”

— Agatha Tomasik

— Gabrielle Kaufman Amy Royle-Reznikov recommends Ina Garten’s recipes for batch cocktails.

Bethany Coulter’s Tablescape

Elizabeth “Sparling” Wilson’s Spread

“Have a theme and make it fun. Carry out the theme from the invitations to the decorations, food, and drinks. I love my Austin Texas Junior League cookbook.” — Sheri O’Connell


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“Find ways to personalize! Last Thanksgiving, I included a tiny white pumpkin at each setting and wrote a guest name on each with paint pens. My nephew loved his so much that he saved it and hung it as an ornament on the Christmas tree.” For Mother’s Day, I filled the table with vases of flowers. Each vase had a heart on it and was filled with symbolic flowers. For example, my sister-in-law’s mom was named Gladys, so her vase held gladiolas.” — Bethany Coulter

Mary Beth Torpey’s Table

“Having appetizers or grazing snacks ready to go when your guests arrive will ensure no one gets hangry!” — Alex Palmer-Sullivan


“Have a theme – whether simple or complex. Then tailor the little details like creatively displayed name cards at the table or a fun centerpiece display to that theme! Also, it is a good idea to make a list of all of the items to be served from snacks and appetizers through to dessert to ensure that you don’t forget to put something out in all the chaotic fun that is a dinner party!” — Stephanie Driscoll

Elizabeth Conley’s Al Fresco Dining Experience

“Invest in some good linens. A spectacular table setting starts with the cloth you lay on your table. Next add layers with candles, flowers, plants, fruit, etc.” — Elizabeth Conley

Lindsay Jenkins’ Festive Feast

“Watch the width and height of your floral arrangements. You do not want them too close to anything on a serving table, nor too tall so that guests cannot see across the table.” — Lindsay Jenkins 3039M




Cookie and Recipe Exchange attendees


n another year full of ongoing pandemic-related restrictions and uncertainty, in person Junior League of Washington (JLW) events were all the more special. This League year, the Sustainer Committee brought back its Holiday Cookie and Recipe Exchange to spread some holiday cheer! On Sunday, December 20, 2021, 18 sustainer, active, and new members gathered at JLW Headquarters to share their finest festively bagged cookies, homemade refreshments, and friendly conversation. Over cups of hot chocolate and apple cider, attendees chatted about themselves, their favorite parts of being a JLW member, and what compelled them to make their specific recipe. “This was my first opportunity to join a JLW event in person,” said Tippen Anderson, a Sustainer Committee member and transfer formerly from Tennessee. “Although I have attended many Sustainer events virtually, it was great to finally meet people with whom I have communicated with over the last two years.” “It was a marvelous time to get together and celebrate the holiday season with Junior League members, meet new people, and enjoy and take home fabulous desserts,” said Sustainer Committee Vice Chair, Gale Nemec.


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Sweet treats ready to be exchanged The cookie exchange is a long-standing in person event. However, the Sustainer Committee reimagined the event for this year to include a digital recipe book for all sustainers and JLW members to enjoy. JLW members were able to submit recipes to the book, allowing for “virtual participation” in the event. “Some of the recipes . . . were so creative and over the top,” said Natalie Lui Duncan, JLW active member. “It gave me great ideas for future holiday events!” In addition to sharing recipes, many attendees shared the meaning behind their selections. Tippen’s Holiday Hot Fudge Sauce, which pairs perfectly with peppermint ice cream, has been a family favorite Christmas dessert for more than 35 years. Alycia Onowho’s peppermint meringue cookies were inspired by a Parisian Christmas trip. Many others shared recipes that tied to great memories of baking with loved ones as children. For example, Marissa Malta’s snowball Christmas cookies always remind her of Christmas time at her grandmother’s farm as a child. “My grandmother would be in the kitchen making dozens of different cookies and playing Frank Sinatra as we drove up to the house to celebrate Christmas for the week,” said Malta. “The entire week would

be spent with family and friends swapping cookies, laughs, and cheer.” The Sustainer Committee is composed of members who wish to remain more engaged, plan educational and cultural programs, and arrange gatherings and volunteer opportunities which appeal to a diverse range of interests for the more than 900 JLW sustainer members. In addition to its Holiday Cookie Exchange, this year, the Sustainer Committee brought back its neighborhood gatherings, rebranded as “Gather for Good.” Committee members also hosted a tea and tour at the Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens in March and the Spring Sustainer Luncheon in May. The committee will host three signature events for the 2022-2023 League year, including a Fall Luncheon, a winter gathering, and the Spring Luncheon honoring JLW 50-Year and Emerita members. “Sustainers remain the backbone of JLW, supporting members by giving their time, talent, and treasure,” said Gretchen Ehle, Sustainer Committee Chair. “The impact of the sustainers over the last year has been tremendous. I look forward to another year that is filled with new possibilities, sustained engagement, and celebrating JLW’s successes.” Let’s toast to that! •







he Junior League of Washington’s (JLW) mission statement has four main objectives: (1) to promote voluntarism; (2) to develop women; (3) to improve communities with effective action; and (4) to improve communities with volunteer leadership. These objectives are reflected in almost every member of the League in their professional and personal lives. Now, more than ever, our professional and personal, extracurricular and day-to-day lives have been blended together. We hold Zoom business meetings from our bedrooms, while our family members do the same or make cameos in our video calls. The different areas of our lives overlap and work together more seamlessly. Why wouldn’t that apply to our experiences in the League? Four League members share how they have applied their League experiences to the professional arenas of their lives.

PROMOTING VOLUNTARISM Kristen Soltis Anderson appreciates how it feels to be placed in new roles with new goals, whether with the League or on a nationally syndicated television show. Anderson joined the League in 2007 and has served in various positions, most notably on the Strategic Planning Committee and as the Communications & Public Relations Council Director. Professionally, Anderson is the Founding Partner of Echelon Insights, an opinion research and analytics firm. She frequently speaks on emerging public opinion trends on various news platforms.


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When she initially started her time with the League, she was drawn to the Strategic Planning Committee because it focused on surveys of membership, similar to her “day job.” Working in the polling and opinion research field, Anderson was comfortable with identifying a certain group of people, determining the information to collect, gathering the information from the individuals, and analyzing the results. During the 2012-2013 League year, JLW’s Board of Directors tasked Anderson with launching a magazine for JLW, which we now know as 3039M. Admittedly, Anderson said that “it forced me outside of my comfort zone. I knew nothing about this part of communication.” But, working with another League member with a publications background, Anderson learned about the different facets of print media. She knew certain objectives of the project, like selecting a publisher or naming the magazine. But, she also knew other guidelines and guardrails would need to be implemented for the magazine’s production and publication, and she was diligent in flushing out what was necessary. Ultimately, 3039M has been a League success and is still published today. Anderson said her experience creating 3039M stretched her in ways that she applied when she decided to establish her own polling company. Already comfortable with starting something from scratch, like she had with 3039M, Anderson was skilled at identifying what information she already knew and where she needed more guidance. For example, she was confident in polling and managing focus groups, but she had to learn various other facets about starting a small business, such as getting a tax identification number, making company hires, renting office space, and opening a business bank account. Using her

volunteer experience, Anderson’s company is now in its eighth year.

DEVELOPING WOMEN Jackie FrederickMaturo is passionate about the development of women. She has been a member of the League for eight years, and she is presently serving on the Board of Directors as Membership Development Council Director. When she started with the League, she admitted that she did not necessarily see herself in future leadership of the organization. Rather, Frederick-Maturo joined the League largely to be connected to volunteer opportunities in the DC metro area and to build relationships. After her second year, Jackie served as Vice Chair of Esprit, a committee that she chaired the following year. Eventually, Jackie served as Ways & Means Assistant Council Director, and now, she is on the Board of Directors. When reflecting on the roles she has served, Frederick-Maturo firmly believes that the League was a safe space for her to develop leadership skills that she would not have necessarily had at the beginning of her career in a professional environment. Her League leadership experience has allowed her to problem solve with different groups of people and resolve conflict among colleagues at a basic level. She has also honed her skills at large-scale event planning. Most profoundly, Frederick-Maturo believes that her time in leadership with the League has built her confidence in “making the ask.” She is presently an Executive


Assistant with Sands Capital in Arlington. She asked her firm to sponsor her and other employees’ membership dues to the League. Because of her, League involvement is regarded as professional development at Sands Capital. Jackie’s success in making this ask made her realize that one simple action or conversation can create a ripple effect that exponentially increases a woman’s or organization’s success in perpetuity. When the League invests in the development of women, the effect on the improvement of their personal and professional lives is endless.

IMPROVING COMMUNITIES WITH EFFECTIVE ACTION Carly Mitchell knows the importance of effective action. As JLW President in 20192020, at the time the COVID-19 pandemic began, she led the League through uncharted territory. And because of her leadership, DC communities as well as League members continue to be served today. In her fifteenth year of membership, Mitchell has held various committee chair positions, including New Member, National Book Festival, and Holiday Shops, among others. She is also a wife, a mother, and a partner in a global consulting firm, Guidehouse. Candidly, Mitchell said that at work, home, or in the League, she gets great satisfaction from bringing order to chaos: “In the craziness, that’s where you’ll find me.” March of 2020 brought precisely that. At that time, she assembled the League’s Emergency Management Team, a team to stay in communication with the Board and League members as new information about COVID-19 and the pandemic became available. Many of the League’s members were furloughed and, as a result, largely in the dark. For many members, the League’s communications

were predominantly where they got information on changes in area safety regulations or school or business closings. Through this experience, Mitchell also learned the value in using her voice. When you are a leader of an organization, your words can carry significant weight and she felt it was important to seek input from the team before voicing her own thoughts. As president, her most valuable skill was setting the tone. Her aim was to blend empathy with decisiveness, which resulted, in part, in providing leniency with dues and other League requirements for the 2019-2020 League year. When taking on more responsibility in each chapter or new role in her life, Mitchell focused on: how can I make this position fit in my life for me, my family and, as an example, for other women. And in each circumstance, that largely entailed putting winning teams in place. In each role, she learned the value of strength in organization. She believes that if you give individuals roles in positions where they can succeed, they will shine. She calls this “Putting aces on bases.” Setting the tone and assembling a team are the effective actions that can be used to improve communities.

IMPROVING COMMUNITIES WITH VOLUNTEER LEADERSHIP Elyse Braner loves running. But, the former high school and college track athlete did not anticipate that “running” might encompass a different meaning: planning, budgeting, and putting on citywide events, in and out of the League. Braner joined the League as a new member in 2007. She spent most of her League tenure on the Holiday Shops Committee, serving as Chair in 2016, and on the Ways & Means Council. When she chaired Holiday Shops, Braner and her Co-Chair decided to move the event’s location to

Union Market. They took the risk, created a budget and plan for the multi-day event, and started the conversation with the necessary parties. The event was ultimately a success. Professionally, Braner is a recruiter for Hunton Andrews Kurth law firm in Washington, DC. She is also the part time Community Manager for Pacers Running, a neighborhood running store and race organizer. In both of her “jobs,” she is responsible for organizing events, including networking socials, community runs, or full-scale races. At Pacers, she started working on the sales floor and eventually was asked to lead weekend community runs for the Logan Circle store location. Braner’s experience chairing Holiday Shops gave her organizing, budgeting, and planning large-scale event skills much sooner than she would have had the opportunity to do with her firm or Pacers. Additionally, it gave her the confidence and skills to go to her managers at both Pacers and her firm and ask for more responsibility. Now, at Pacers, she has a team of two associates and manages a team of community run club leaders. Presently, her focus at Pacers is to build a diverse and inclusive community of runners. She credited League Development & Training events with educating her on diversity and inclusion issues and how to be an advocate for diverse communities and populations. Currently, her team is focused on making the sport available to deaf runners, increasing racial diversity in community runs, promoting the inclusivity of wheelchair runners, and working to partner with the LGBTQ+ community. From the exposure the League has afforded her, Elyse is enriching the DC running community through leadership. * * * Each of these women’s stories is one of many ways the League has enriched their lives and, therefore, the lives of people they interact with daily – personally or professionally. They are stories each of us hold where the greater impact of the League can be seen on an individual level. •






iven the demands of the position, no one could blame an outgoing Junior League of Washington (JLW) President for wanting to take it a bit easy at the end of their year of leadership. But Elizabeth Keys, JLW’s 2016-2017 President and sustainer superstar, told me she knew she “still had something important to give.” Keys now leads a Junior League affinity group with the Association of Junior Leagues International (AJLI) known as POLL – or Presidents of Large Leagues. AJLI’s affinity groups are self-starting, self-managing, and self-governing associations that are formed based on League size and/or location. In addition, there is one group that is for women of color. POLL Leagues are those with 400 or more members. The purpose of the affinity group is to bring together Leagues with similar sizes, demographics, and focus issues so that they can share information and common concerns. This ensures that each League maximizes community impact, and provides a collective voice for members. Keys describes the importance of POLL succinctly: If the country’s largest Leagues aren’t thriving, given the proportion of Junior League members they make up, that means that Junior League as a whole isn’t thriving. “Even if just one large League closes, that is a measurable percentage of membership,” Keys explained. Keys planned the POLL Forum, a gathering of outgoing presidents of large Leagues, which was held in February 2022 in Washington, DC. Nineteen Junior League Presidents, POLL leadership, AJLI Chief Executive Officer Patsy Doerr, and AJLI Board President Bett Williams joined for three days, highlighted by a welcome reception at JLW Headquarters and a tour and happy hour overlooking Washington, DC, at the Tossed & Found site. For most of the women in attendance, it was their first time meeting their fellow presidents in person and was an opportunity for both networking and bonding. For Keys, a woman’s year as a Junior League president “is super intense–and then it just stops.” The forum helps outgoing presidents in attendance figure out “what comes next.” Keys notes the work of a large League president involves managing a significant budget, providing strategic vision, and overseeing the execution of a variety of major POLL Forum attendees


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events. Essentially, everything that goes into running a large nonprofit organization! How the outgoing presidents build that experience into their lives moving forward – and as Keys’s notes, the different “passions” that each president may have discovered along the way – will be individual to each woman. It’s a discussion Keys is well-equipped to help lead. While she didn’t set out to become president when she joined JLW, she describes the position as being the “best placement I ever had” and where she found “a lot of joy.” Even before becoming president, Keys’ JLW resume was already impressive. Her former placements include (but are not limited to!) serving as the Director of the Membership Development Council, Development & Training Committee Chair, Publications Committee Chair, and JLW Treasurer. In the year immediately following her JLW presidency, Keys chaired the Loughborough House Committee and has stayed active in the Sustainer Committee as well. Notably, in addition to her current service on POLL, Keys is also on AJLI’s Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) League Members Workgroup. As a member of the workgroup, Keys helps to advance an organizational culture that values diversity, equity, and inclusion. JLW’s tagline for the year Keys was president was Connecting the Dots: Members and Mission. Given the breadth of Keys’ Junior League experience before becoming president, it was already a fitting theme for JLW to have had under her leadership. But now, given the impact Keys continues to have on Leagues and Junior League members across the country, the theme is perhaps even more apt. •

3039 M Street, NW Washington, DC 20007




Sally Carruthers Spirit of Voluntariam

President’s Award for Excellence in Voluntarism – In League

Erica Anaya Mandy Asgeirsson Alyssa Baran Summer Bravo Kirsten Byerts Amna Choudry Julie Crump Gaybrielle Gant Natalie Hales Melissa Hancock-O’Neil



BETH BREEDING President’s Cup

HANNAH ALLEMAN & AMANDA GALLEN President’s Award for Excellence in Voluntarism – Community Support


Lindsay Jenkins Crystal Jezierski Tiffani Moore Rian Reed Nina Selipsky Karine Semple Pamela Traxel Morgan Whalen Randi Williams

President’s Award for Excellence in Voluntarism – Community Placement

L A U R E N P OT E AT New Member Rising Star

N C H O P I A N W O KO M A Outstanding Volunteer, Transfer

S A R A M CG A N I T Y Outstanding Volunteer, Sustainer

Jan Abraham Hannah Alleman Mikayla Bouchard Lacey Bowman Sarah Carey Julie Crump Raiko Dai

Stephanie Driscoll Katrina Dunn Hannah Grantham Robin Leed Julie Nolan Nancy Piness Randi Williams

SUPPORTER OF JLW Carter Alleman Matthew Bravo

Justin Maturo Jerry Tsao