99 Reasons Why Junior League Membership Matters

Reasons 1- 10 Reasons 11-20 Reasons 21-30 Reasons 31-40 Reasons 41-50 Reasons 51-60 Reasons 61-70 Reasons 71-80 Reasons 81-90 Reasons 91-99

Reason #1: Training

Membership Matters, our theme of the year announced last week, can mean so many different things. We are an organization made up of remarkable individuals and we each have our own “why” we continue to be part of JLN. During this 99th year, I plan to highlight 99 reasons why JLN membership matters. These will be featured in no particular order (although I could say that reason number 1 is perhaps our most impactful).

Number 1: Training. As a training organization, we prioritize helping our members learn and grow. To that end, I wanted to highlight the resources and events (featured below and on social media) to help educate our members about racial justice, that have been compiled with the help of our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council These resources are the beginning of important conversations and trainings in the coming League year. Stay tuned for future Tuesday News editions and our social media channels about future opportunities for training in all forms.

Reason #2: Connection

When I walked out of my office in early March, I had no idea that three months later, I would still be working from home. Working from home is a thing that some people love but not this extrovert! I find myself really missing my in-person connection with other humans during this time. “I can see your legs!” is not a phase I ever thought I would say with excitement but I sure did, during a drive-by birthday parade, shout this out to a friend of mine. A whole person – there in front of me (from a safe 6’ feet of distance of course), instead of a Zoom image!

This time of distance makes me really appreciate another reason why Membership Matters…..

Number 2: Connection. Whether it be your committee, at social events, or during a training – JLN officers so many ways to form connections with other women. Even though we aren’t together “in-person” at this time, I encourage you to stay connected in all the virtual ways possible. Everyone should be hearing from her committee or project chair soon for a beginning of year check-in, so make sure you establish that connection. Engage in some of our virtual opportunities – like the trainings and book clubs highlighted below. As Vicki Clark, trainer extraordinaire, said during our Zoom Council training last week, Junior League is a relational organization. Establish those relationships, those connections now and stay connected with our amazing group of members.

Reason #3: International Women’s Movement 

125,000. That number means something to each of us even if we don’t realize it. Is it the number of Zoom calls we’ve had in the last three months?  Maybe. (But that’s not what I mean this time.) 125,000 – the number of members in 290 communities in 4 countries that comprise the Association of Junior Leagues International. Junior League of Nashville is part of the association which makes each one of us part of my next “why membership matters”:

Number 3: An International Women’s Movement. With a 119-year history, AJLI has evolved into one of the oldest, largest, and most effective women’s volunteer organizations in the world. Being part of an international women’s movement means we are not only working to change the lives of women and the community here in Nashville but we are working collectively to make the world a better place. As a member of JLN, you also have access to all the resources and benefits AJLI has to offer. I encourage you to check out their website (link to www.ajli.org) and learn more. In addition to providing League-specific resources, there is also an array of personal and professional development resources including an array of online training. I especially recommend checking out the Online Learning section. (Note, use your JLN login information to access the member side of AJLI’s website). There is a whole library of resources and archived webinars in this section that can help each of us develop our own potential…which in turn moves this international movement forward.  Thanks for being part of the movement!

Reason #4: JLN By Design

We’ve had several Admissions meetings recently (one more coming up on July 8 if you know of interested women) and I’ve found myself highlighting to each group of prospective members how different the last 18 years of my life have been since I joined JLN. Eighteen years ago, I was three years out of college, working in downtown Nashville as a conference planner, and living with a college friend – enjoying all that young adulthood had to offer in the early 2000’s. My career, life, and family look very different now, but what is one thing that has remained constant throughout those 18 years with the League? The ability to make it what I want/need at any different stage of my life.

Reason 4: JLN By Design. Krystal Clark, past president in our 2017-2018 year, summed this up so well with the theme “JLN By Design.” (With the complimentary #myjln hashtag too…still in use today – tag us!) The idea that you can design a League experience you love, have the ability to own your own experience, and take responsibility for your own experience is really remarkable. Each year, you can adapt your experience as your life ebbs and flows – one year, maybe you sign up for a placement that is already in your skill set so it’s an easier lift on your to-do list. The next, you might choose to go to every training possible to learn new skills because you have more time in your schedule. Yes, we have some requirements that help each of us stay accountable to our individual commitment, but we have the opportunity each year to think about how we want to develop, what skills we want to learn, and what opportunities or direct service we want to do. Our members get to continually choose what their paths look like – that’s quite a benefit – and design their own personalized women’s development experience!

Reason #5: Support-We’re All in this Together

Last night, we had a virtual training that featured Tracy Kornet, News4 Anchor. The training, “Speaking on Camera 101,” was helpful and so relevant for the webcam world we are living in right now. She gave great advice about all the different aspects of being on camera – pacing, filler words, presence, and beyond. I took some good notes (and find myself sitting with a little better posture this morning – one of her tips). But the biggest takeaway for me was when she shared the below advice.  I’ve listened to the recording to make sure I captured her words correctly – she spoke so beautifully to my next reason why JLN Membership Matters:

Reason 5: Support – We’re all in this Together. To quote Tracy: “That’s why you all are in Junior League. To build your skills, to gain confidence, to network with people, and to truly believe that we are all in this together. And there is enough pie for everyone. There is enough success for every single one of you watching out there, there is enough success to go around, for you to be your best self and for you to offer help and show love to everybody around you whenever you possibly can.” Tracy continued, “There is nothing better than having women to cheer you on and not trying to cut you down and steal your pie.” It’s so important to support each other and remember they’re not taking your success from you.  There is enough for you all of you to do your thing and do what you’re meant to be doing on this planet with your purpose and the gifts that you have been given individually.”

We are all in this together so I encourage each of us this week to think about the support you can give to and receive from other members this year. What purpose and gifts are we living out to show love and support to those around us?

Reason #6: Leadership

Any woman who chooses to be in the Junior League is choosing a role of leadership in our community. As John Quincy Adams once said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.” That sounds like the definition of a Junior League member to me! There are opportunities within our organization that provide additional focus and deeper training by serving in formal leadership roles. I want to highlight some of those as my next reason Membership Matters:

Reason 6: Leadership
These formal leadership roles include the Board of Directors, Management Team, Nominating Committee, and our Council (committee and project chairs, provisional and transfer advisors). I’m so grateful for these groups of women who said yes to a role that provides experiential training on leadership – whether it be a small committee or large. Skills learned through our leadership range from how to run an effective meeting to conflict resolution and beyond. Learning by doing is so effective and JLN provides those opportunities!

I asked each of our Team 99 leaders listed above to share their reason why JLN Membership Matters and to help you get to know individual leaders a little better, I’m sharing a couple today.

Elizabeth Wood, Recording Secretary – “Membership Matters to me because Junior League women have contributed so much to my life, I’m honored to be able to give back to other members through leadership.”

Claudia Byers, Active Director – “JLN membership matters to me because I want a comfortable place to continue to grow my potential as a leader, both personally and professionally.”

Where can your leadership journey in JLN take you?  Lead on!

Reason #7: Influential Voices

One of the banks in my hometown would always send any customers who were recognized in the local newspaper a congratulatory note with a clipping. I’ve always thought it was a nice acknowledgment. To this day, I love seeing friends and colleagues highlighted in the local news.

Our members are doing amazing work and are often recognized publicly for it, which leads me to my next reason membership matters:

Part of our Vision 22 Statement that guides our work is that by 2022, JLN will be known as…an influential voice in a dynamic and growing city. Recent examples of this are members recently recognized by the Nashville Business Journal. 

Congratulations to Carmen April-Washington, Brenda Gadd and Lane Conger Maples (Women of Influence), and Johari Mathews (40 Under 40)!

They join a long list of members who have been on these lists for their contributions to the Nashville community. Being part of an organization where influential voices can come together and make a bigger impact on the community makes JLN a special place.

How will you use your influential voice to better our community this year?

Reason #8: Featured Placement of the Week

This week, I am introducing a new part to our series “99 Reasons Why Membership Matters” and that is “Featured Placement of the Week.” Throughout the year, I will highlight each of our placement opportunities because each one, in and of itself, provides a reason why membership in this organization matters. This week, I’ll start with our Advocacy Committee.

The Advocacy Committee works to keep our membership informed and educated on important issues that impact our organization. This includes issues related to each of us as individuals using our own voices (note the information about our upcoming primary election below) and issues that impact women or our current focus areas (human trafficking and literacy). The women serving on the committee this year include: Agnes Bartek, Laura Blum, JS Bolton (Chair), Mallory Dunavan, Supriya Kanal, Olivia McKown, Coco Pannell, Tanya Washington, and Christian Williams (Chair-Elect).

I’ve thought a lot about the words “advocate” or “advocacy” in recent weeks, even beyond the work that our Advocacy Committee is doing. What causes do I personally support with my time, my actions, and my dollars? What education do I need to be a better advocate? I’m understanding the differences between advocate, ally, and activist and what my role should be. I’m looking forward to seeing all the ways our organization can be an advocate through the work of these women and ways I can in turn be a stronger advocate myself.

Reason #9: Training Committee 

My daughter attends a Metro Nashville elementary school and started 2nd grade today (virtually). The delivery of content looks different right now but the educational subjects are similar to what I had in second grade – ELA (English Language Arts), Math, Science, Social Studies. As she starts this new learning adventure, it makes me think about how much I’ve always loved to learn. I truly subscribe to the idea of being a lifelong learner who seeks to regularly acquire new skills and capabilities even after my formal education.

This week’s featured placement of the week is tasked with helping us all be lifelong learners – one of the biggest benefits of membership in this organization – and that is our Training Committee.

Whether virtual or in-person, this group of women regularly finds a variety of topics that appeal to any member to compliment whatever lifelong learning path she is on.  The next few offerings (highlighted below) range from being healthy at home, financial confidence, to women’s suffrage! The women serving on the committee this year include:  Emmy Banks (Chair), Narja McElroy, Heather Mufarreh, Jamie Murphy, Brittany Pinheiro, Karen Riddell (Chair-Elect), and Ashley Stephens. 

Be on the lookout for more great programming from this committee this year. Where will your lifelong learning journey take you this League year?

Reason #10: Planting Trees (Metaphorically speaking, of course.)

One of my favorite quotes is one I will always associate with Junior League because it was in this setting that I truly understood the concept of servant leadership. As servant leaders, we focus on others first, rather than our own needs as leaders. We seek to promote the well-being of those around us, which can mean we don’t always accomplish what we planned to or on the timeline we had hoped. The quote I mention solidified this idea in my mind. I’ve heard slight variations of this quote over the years, but the version that we have on a plaque honoring past Presidents outside our Headquarters reads this way:

“The true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit.” – Nelson Henderson

This month, we celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the passing of the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote. There were women’s rights activists like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony whose lifetimes were filled fighting for women’s suffrage and equality. Neither of them were alive to see the ratification of the 19th Amendment – they never got to sit under this ‘tree they planted.’ (Lookout for an AJLI email coming later this week about an event celebrating the 19th Amendment anniversary – more info below.)

When we “plant trees” or work to effect positive community change through the actions of trained volunteers,” we often do not see the work come to fruition.  Just as there was work left to do with voting rights after this point in time 100 years ago.  After all, it wasn’t until the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that Black women gained the right to vote. In our own organization, our work with regard to diversity, equity, and inclusion will continue to plant seeds to help strengthen the future for all women in the Nashville community.

So as we celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the women’s right to vote, I encourage each of you to join me in thinking about our legacy – as an organization, as a community, and as individuals.  What trees are you working to plant now – what cool shade will you not feel because the legacy will grow long after you’ve left the tree?

Reason #11: Ring Your Bell

Today we acknowledge and celebrate the Centennial anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment. Tennessee played a critical role in its passage by being the state that passed the ratification resolution on this day (August 18) in 1920, pushing the threshold of the three-fourths of the states needed for the amendment to become law. When the Tennessee Legislature cast its tie-breaking vote to ratify, cities across the U.S. rang bells in recognition – but Nashville did not. Coinciding with the opening of their “Votes for Women” room in the Main Library, Nashville Public Library began a campaign this summer to “break the historic silence” in Nashville by encouraging individuals to join their “I Ring the Bell” campaign.

Maybe you’ve seen it on social media this summer, but in the campaign you would shoot a selfie-style video, introduce yourself and a cause you’re ringing a bell for and then ring an actual bell! The cause could be anything – “as long as it matters to you, it counts.” As the NPL website states: “…we want this act of community and solidarity to spark a conversation….We want to celebrate women whose resilience and passion have over decades paved the way for women and girls today. We want to inspire even more change for the future of our democracy.”

At noon today, my seven-year-old daughter and I took a break from her virtual schooling for lunch and paused to “ring our bells” 100 times. We found ornaments from our Christmas decorations with bells and repurposed them (see picture). We talked about women. We talked about voting and why it all matters. She summed it up perfectly, “everyone should get a chance to vote their beliefs.”

I couldn’t agree more. I ring my bell today for the future of all women and girls in our community but especially for those of you in this JLN community of women. You are working to make our world a better place through your voices, your actions, your service, and your votes!

Reason #12:  Soirée Virtual Auction Chairs – Megan Grant and Halley Hale

The new theme of in-person events in 2020 should be “Crashed by COVID,” as last spring, we set aside our plans for our annual “Soirée.” Even though we were unable to hold the in-person event last April, I am beyond excited for the creative thinking that is bringing you JLN’s first ever Soirée Virtual Auction this weekend!

One of my favorite parts of our annual event (that necessitates a separate line item in my personal spending budget!), is the silent auction. Knowing that we already had auction items in hand when we cancelled our event, we decided to pivot the focus of this event and go forward with a virtual auction. As many of you know, the net proceeds of our Soirée go directly to our Community Endowment, which is used to support our community partners. So even though we weren’t able to have the larger in-person event, we are able to proceed with this virtual event and still have an opportunity to raise funds that will continue to support our community.

Megan and Halley have been working hard all year to rework our auction to a virtual setting and I am so appreciative of their willingness to pivot and also make sure that the event was still able to happen.  I would also like to extend my sincere gratitude to all members who supported our 2020 event – including the active members on last year’s planning committee, anyone who purchased a ticket or became a patron, and even beyond our membership to our corporate sponsors.

I’m excited for a little bit of “retail therapy” this weekend and hope you will join me to support our League members and our community.

Reason #13: We impact our community (in Childhood Literacy)

A child’s third-grade reading proficiency has a direct impact on his or her long-term chance of success into adulthood. As few as three years ago, data showed that 2 in 3 Nashville third-graders were not reading on grade level.  This is a challenge that our community has struggled with for decades and I’m so proud that JLN has members working on internal programs and alongside community partners to help address this disparity in our community. A collaborative and coordinated effort across multiple community stakeholders can help create a rich literacy environment in our city and I’m glad JLN is part of this important effort.

In honor of National Literacy month, I encourage us all to think about ways we can make an impact this month. If there are children in your life, inspire them to have a September Reading Challenge and read as much as they can. Share an article about why literacy (at any stage) is important. Give yourself a personal challenge to prioritize reading this month. Participate in a literacy-focused event, like our September General Membership Meeting, to learn a little bit more.

Reasons #14 & #15: Membership Matters – Book Em & Pencil committees.

JLN volunteers working with Book’em volunteer throughout the community by reading to classrooms, sorting & stamping books, and providing support for Book’em events throughout the year. This year, our Book’em volunteers have been reading books virtually with their classrooms and are coordinating contactless book distributions. In 2019 Book’em, donated over 117,00 books to students across middle Tennessee.

Members serving with Book’em this year are: McKenzie Beaver, Courtney Bisig, Kerry Dunn, Kaelinn Garner, Lyn Knopf, Hayley Landsberg, Ashley McEachern, Sarah McFarland, and Catherine Pattison (chair).

JLN volunteers working with PENCIL volunteer at their family events. They also support fulfillment of their PENCIL box that provides free supplies to teachers to eliminate barriers to learning, which includes providing free school supplies to teachers. This year’s virtual opportunities will include making food box deliveries for students in need.

Members serving with PENCIL this year are: Chairselle Bryant, Erin Collar (chair), Mary Lauren Hughes, Bethany Jackson, Victoria Lockhart Katz, Elizabeth McLemore, Mary Ostman, Melissa Poole, Kara Tumbleston, Edith Valenzuela, and Teresa Vo.

Thanks to these groups of volunteers for the impact you are making in our community.

Reason #16 & #17 – Preston Taylor Ministries & Book Drive

How are your reading goals coming?  We’re midway through September (not sure how that happened) and we continue our literary journey featuring two more of our literacy focused placements.  This brings us to our next 2 reasons “membership matters” – Reason 16 – Preston Taylor Ministries and Reason 17 – Book Drive.*  

JLN members placed with Preston Taylor Ministries have the opportunity to volunteer weekly with one of PTM’s established programs or with one of several special events hosted for PTM students throughout the year (like Dolls for All).  Virtual engagement opportunities will be the focus for now, which will help provide the students relationships with a caring adult, which is a predictor for success for any youth.

Members providing these relationships to students this year include: Allison Beck, Skyla Colston, Brooke Coplon (chair), Julia Couch, Carly Cylinder, Laura Duncan, Whitney Jones, Kate Kreutziger, Mary Lovell, Brittney McClafferty, Kristin O’Brien, Brianna Powell, Concetta Smith, Courtney Smith, Cacky Tate, Samantha Tate, Alison Templeman (chair), Elizabeth Townsend, and Ashley Travis. 

JLN members placed on the Book Drive committee work to collect new and gently used books from members and the greater Nashville community to distribute to our partners (in conjunction with Book ‘Em). The first Book Drive of the year is happening right now (details are below) and we are especially seeing books that show diverse characters and ages.

Members working on Book Drive committee include:  Catie Barger, Hailey Blank (chair), Kenna Healy, Gen Heskje, Catherine Price, Laura Ramsey, Megan Rodriguez, Thomasa Ross (chair), Brooke Shippee, Lindsay Sproles, Sarah Timaeus, and Samantha Troup.  

Thanks to these groups of volunteers for the work you are doing!

Reason #18 & #19 – McNeilly Center and Youth Villages  

JLN has partnered with the McNeilly Center for more than two decades. The McNeilly Center is now one of Nashville’s largest providers of child care for low-income families, offering infant and toddler care as well as a preschool program. Our volunteers help support the early childhood literacy initiatives within the McNeilly Center for Children curriculum by volunteering in their classroom and supporting literacy events. JLN members volunteering with McNeilly Center include:  Heather Adams (chair), Anna Cragon, Bridgett Garratt, Kristin Sanslow, Lindsey Sexton, Andrea Stilwell, and Memorie White. 

JLN has partnered with Youth Villages for the past 5 years by providing a grant at the beginning of the year that goes towards tutoring the children in their community homes. Youth Villages helps children and families live successfully and is a nationally recognized leader in the field of children’s mental and behavioral health.

JLN members volunteering with Youth Villages include: Kristina Brothers, Sarah Connors, Katie Gray, Sarah McGehee (chair), Michelle Warren, and Anne Zalatoris. 

Reasons #20 & #21 Membership in JLN Matters: Moves & Grooves and Safe Haven Family Shelter. 

Moves & Grooves offers before and aftercare for children around Nashville, as well as hosts an annual summer camp. Moves & Grooves works to enhance academic achievement of children through creative arts programs, including integrating reading and writing with music and movement. Our volunteers will be assisting with their upcoming virtual Halloween event as well as assisting with teaching virtual classes to children who want to learn dance techniques.

Members working with Moves & Grooves this year include:  Tanisha Kizer, Jamie Means, and Carla Smith (chair). 

Safe Haven Family Shelter, a JLN partner for over two decades, works to support, empower, and advocate for families experiencing homelessness. Safe Haven believes that parents and children must be kept together in order to ensure security, success and self-sufficiency. Our members who select a placement with Safe Haven participate in group activities like providing dinners, organizing family activities, and helping with childcare during parenting classes and tutoring.

Members working with Safe Haven this year include: Sonia Boss, Jennifer Camargo, Meredith Capps, Candace Fox (chair), Samantha Knee, Rachael Ledbetter, Sara Lynes, Rebecca Mohr, Ashton Proctor, Brianna Taber, Katie Tait, Megan Williams.

Thanks to all our volunteers working to make a direct impact to improve literacy outcomes in our community!

Reason #22 – Nominating Committee 

Our Nominating Committee serves the important role of identifying and slating our future leaders, ensuring that all slated members of the Board, Management Team, and Nominating Committee will be successful in their roles. The process begins with interested members filling out a Willingness to Serve form, which is open now through October 18. I encourage anyone interested in leadership to consider whether this is the right time for you to commit to the League in this way. I can tell you from personal experience, my League leadership has been some of the most rewarding experiences of my life!

Our members serving on the Nominating Committee this year include: Dana Bybee, Jennifer Colquitt, Ashley Corley, Maggie DeVier, Meredith Eason, Elisa Goodrich (chair), Megan Kelly, Claire Martin (sustainer adviser), Allie Reed, Maleah Stephens (chair-elect), and Ashley Wood.   

Reason #23 – Your Individual Voice is Valued 

Another part of our JLN Vision 2022 states that we have a “shared commitment to a mutually beneficial membership experience.” The words “shared” and “mutually beneficial” represent a two-way conversation. This two-way conversation can happen in a variety of ways; one-on-one interaction, committee or project meetings, or from official surveys, like the Membership Survey rolled out last week (see below). We would love to hear from each member – about your overall satisfaction with the League right now, your views on our diversity and inclusion efforts, member requirements, communications, and more. Your Team 99 Leadership team will review this information and share with Team 100 leadership as well so that we can continue to provide that “mutually beneficial” membership experience. We also plan to share the information with our membership as well, so that we can all work together to hold ourselves accountable for the efforts we are making.

Reason #24 – Sponsorship & Donations Chairs

As a nonprofit, we rely on the generous support of grants, corporate partners, and other organizations to help bring our mission into action in our community (click here to see our current list of League sponsors!). Our Sponsorship & Donations chairs provide expertise and guidance to our League development efforts as well as serve as a clearinghouse for all asks in the community. They also work closely with our staff and committee chairs to ensure that all donor benefits are met so that we can continue to have successful donor stewardship each year. The team also looks for new funding streams from grants to opportunities like our new partnership with Minted.

Thanks to these members who continue to help our development efforts in support of our mission: Elizabeth Labella and Lauren Petrovich.

Reason #25 – Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Events Committee

We continue to look at the ways we live out our commitment to Diversity and Inclusion: “The Junior League welcomes all women who value our mission. We are committed to inclusive environments of diverse individuals, organizations, and communities.” This year, we transitioned our Diversity & Inclusion Task Force into a standalone Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion council, which helps to further embed our DEI work into the League structure.  There are several focus areas on this council that each look at DEI work with a specific lens.  Our next reason membership matters is our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Events Committee.

The members of this committee plan and execute events that are specifically designed to move forward the League’s DEI initiatives, as well as provide engagement opportunities for all members of our League. This weekend, our first Women of Color brunch is taking place (event information below) and I am excited about this opportunity to connect with other members and provide community within our organization. More DEI events will be planned in the future, so be on the lookout for ways to stay connected.

Members serving this year on the DEI Events Committee are: Michelle Arnold, Kellee Hill, Lily Leffler, Brittany Middlebrooks, Dana Mitchell, and Keila Sherrell (chair).  

Reason #26 – [It] Never goes out of style 

This was a year none of us expected. Our world and our lives have been filled with uncertainty for months and it has taken and continues to take a toll on each of us. At a recent AJLI virtual conference, I heard this year’s Mary Harriman Award Chief Justice Cheri Beasley winner say, “volunteerism and service never go out of style” and I was invigorated by her sentiment. No matter what is going on with our personal lives, professional lives, the community, or the world around us, what we are doing by choosing to be members in Junior League is this week’s reason.

To recognize the ongoing commitment that each of you as one of our 1,445 individual members make to keep volunteerism and service alive in our community (even during such uncertain times as these), we’re going to have a “Member November.” We want to celebrate, engage with, and reinvigorate you / your commitment to this organization.  Thank you for your continued dedication, especially when so much can feel uncertain.  This century-old movement we are part of is long-lasting and you are making a difference every day.

I celebrate each of you. And thank you for keeping our mission alive.

Reason #27 – Provisional Leaders

The first year of anything is an exciting experience. I think back to some firsts I’ve had (my first year in college, first year of being a mom, etc.) and there is always so much to learn, share, and grow in those “first years.” What really made a difference in my new experiences was the people who came before me and helped me get adjusted. In college, I remember asking things like, “where is the dining hall again?” I counted on my Orientation Leaders to guide me through those early days on a brand-new campus. As a new mom, having other mom friends that I could call and ask, “is this normal?” was equally reassuring.

The first year in Junior League is the same. It’s full of excitement, growth, learning, and unknowns. We work hard every year to put a great team in place to provide the support needed to our newest members. These advisors and chairs serve the vital role of welcoming our provisional members and serving as mentors, guides, and friends.

The women serving as our provisional advisors and leadership this year are:  Emmy Banks, Sam Bell (chair), Sarita Bhat, Niki Brewer (chair), Emily Carroll (chair-elect), Samantha Chandler, Murphie Clem, Kelsey Freeland, Britney Gannon (chair), Taylor Gee, Antricia Gordon, Mary Harrell, Nicole Jeffery, Catherine Johnson, Kara Kelly, Tiffany Kling (chair-elect), Rachel Lemons (chair-elect), Cami McCant, Jasmine Morgan, Priscilla Ramer, Lauren Schmidlen, Hannah Stone, Catherine Street (chair-elect), and Elle Zhang. 

Reason #28 – Transfer Committee 

One big advantage of being a part of this international women’s organization is that you can connect to a group of like-minded women if you find yourself moving to another city. Nashville is just one of 290 communities with a League presence. Creating connections in a new community and a new League can be helpful for a member’s transition to a new location. The group of members who help create these connections in JLN and our community is our next reason why membership matters.

This committee is the first point of contact for new members and aims to regularly touch base with new transfer members as they arrive in Nashville. In addition to highlighting the Transfer Committee, we want to officially welcome this year’s transfers to the League as well! We are so glad that you are now a part of our JLN community and your membership matters! The list of women who have transferred to JLN so far this year can be found here.

Members serving on the Transfer Committee this year include: Rachel Ailor, Courtney Allen, Kimmy Burdette, Nicole Ceccacci, Pruitt Coffey, Renee Conaway, Beth Coop (chair), Ashley Dean, Abby Gordon, Rachael Ivie, Brittany Lavalle, Taylor Little, Lauren Melder, Mary Mitchell, Lauren Poe, Laurie Read (chair), Kristen Shell, Abbi Sigler, and Erika Slapar.

In addition, a special shout out to Karen Godley and Caryl Hippler Johnson who spearhead our Sustainer Transfer efforts.

Reason #29 – Attitude of Gratitude – Opportunities for “Thanks” & “Giving” 

Later this week, I get to celebrate my favorite holiday – Thanksgiving. As I shared with our sustainers in their monthly newsletter, Thanksgiving, for me, has changed in meaning as the years have gone by. Growing up, Thanksgiving was all about food and fun. Every year, extended family descended on our house, filling it with cousins, stories, laughter…and lots of delicious food! (Coming from a long line of excellent cooks is a great bonus on a food-focused celebration!)

The food and the fun are still part of my annual tradition, but as the years have gone by, I find myself focusing even more on the true feelings associated with the day – the “thanks” & the “giving.”  And Junior League is an organization that for me, has provided me with so much to be thankful for.

I am thankful to be a part of this organization of women who seek to develop their own potential and make our community a better place. I’m thankful that while our stories all differ, we are woven together in a fabric of support. When life is unexpected, I’m thankful to know that I can reach out to a fellow member to find support and understanding.

I strive every day to give to this organization, with both my talents and my treasure. Our work continues, even though it looks and feels different this year. Ways we can serve and give this year are challenging, especially for those active, transfer, and provisional members who normally would have more human connection from our organization. Our giving this year may come more in the form of understanding, patience, or creative thinking than in hours served, but I encourage you to find a way that you can keep that giving spirit alive right now.

As the end of this year approaches, I encourage you to join me in focusing on gratitude; be full of both thanks & giving.

Reason #30 & #31 – Annual Fund Committee & Sustainer Services Committee 

Our annual fund directly supports the work of the League – from internal priorities like trainings and our mentorship program to public-facing events like Members in Motion and All Booked Up. Gifts can be made at any time of year and go directly to help our everyday work.

Members serving on our Annual Fund Committee are: Susan Gleiser (chair) and Kirsten Jacobsen (chair-elect).  

Sustaining members have a unique relationship with the League as they truly can “choose their own adventure.” Our Sustainer Services committee works to create meaningful ways throughout the year to keep sustainers connected to JLN. From signature events like this year’s Fall Festival in October to our annual Sustainer Luncheon, this committee continually looks for ways to engage with our sustainers (our largest membership group!).

Members serving on Sustainer Services are: Leigh Anne Ervin, Tattie Grace Ferebee, Ellen Frazer (chair), Hunter Hart, Annedrea Morreale, Kaylee Osland, Taylor Rew (chair), and Connie Richardson Deidiker.  

Thanks to the efforts of both of these groups of women for the continued work they do for our League!

Happy December and don’t miss your opportunity to support JLN on #GivingTuesday

Reason #32 – Membership Experience Committee and Reason #33 – Members in Motion Committee

Our Membership Experience Committee plans social and networking events that offers ways to connect along shared interests. Whether through a cooking class, a workout class like our upcoming Title Boxing opportunity, or in the spirit of giving through the Secret Santa exchange planned recently, the creative ideas this group comes up with provide that extra opportunity to get to know other JLN members.

Members of the Membership Experience Committee this year are: Caroline Altshuler, Brittany Bergbower, Alicia Caldwell, Kristin Clark (chair-elect), Allison Cunningham, Jenna Eggleton, Katie Good, Caroline Howell, Teena Jones, Kelly Markert, Laura Milton, Emerald Mitchell, Libby Moore, Tanya Morton, Elaine Naughton, Ansley Page (chair), Kaitlin Parham (chair), Grace Shelton, Kim Ann Snodgrass, Anne Louise Spangler, Jordan Wedel, Lily Wheeler, Tasha Young.

Our Members in Motion Committee, in non-Covid times, plans dedicated days of service where members can unite in a single day to give back to our community. In a wonderful pivot, this team hosted a panel last night of several local organizations that talked through how COVID-19 is affecting them, how we can still help, and what kinds of skills they look for from volunteers. It was a great night of learning and we look forward to when we can have our traditional Members in Motion days again in the future!

Members serving on Members in Motion Committee are: Annie Bavis, Margaret Brooke (chair), Clara Chandler, Angie Ciklin, Jeanne Marie Evans, and Kate Senkier.  

Thanks to these volunteers for the way they give back to the organization and to our community!

Reason #34 – Hamilton Funds

Every year, JLN receives a bequest from the will of Charles Baker Hamilton, in memory of his mother, Mary Ann Pierce Hamilton, with the designation that the funds “help enlighten the hearts of the ‘inmates’ at Christmastime…” (Note: inmates was used to describe the children who were patients at the JLN founded “Home for Crippled Children.”) These funds are used each year to purchase gifts for patients at Monroe Carell, Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in addition to other current partner agencies.  This year, $35,326 was distributed to a total of 13 partner agencies thanks to the philanthropic generosity of the Hamilton Family.

Reason #35 -Grants Committee

Our Grants Committee is tasked with evaluating the applications from our partners for both the Hamilton grant. They also oversee our annual “Invitation to Collaborate”, which allows for volunteer and funding applications to find partner agencies to work towards the achievement of our defined community outcomes.

Members volunteering on this year’s committee are: Amy Blount, Katherine Bryan, Jennifer Konyn (chair-elect), Andrea Marus, Allison Stansberry, Claire Surratt Francis, and Zaia Thombre (chair). 

I’ve always been fond of the phrase, “to gladden (or enlighten) hearts” and am always so excited to hear about the ways our Hamilton fund legacy can make a true and direct impact on children in our community at this time of year.  I hope you are able to find a way to “gladden hearts” as 2020 draws to a close as well.

Reason #36 – Junior League Home

At the time of our founding in the early 1920’s, our first philanthropic project was the Junior League Home for Crippled Children. This was born from relationships between our earliest members and Nashville’s first orthopedic surgeons, who helped identify the need for care of children dealing with polio, spinal injuries, and other orthopedic problems. The original JLN Home was a free-standing, volunteer-run hospital for nearly 50 years. In 1970 JLN joined forces more formally with Vanderbilt and moved the Home into what is now Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. The work of our founding members has evolved throughout the years, as services of the home and the definition of the “crippled child” have adapted to modern times, but always with the mission of improving the lives of children in our community. This nearly 100-year-old legacy continues with an ongoing partnership of both volunteers and philanthropy with MCJCHV.

Reason #37 – MCJCHV

In non-COVID times, our members serving as volunteers with Children’s Hospital are placed within the hospital in settings like playrooms, bedside visits, bingo night and movie night. This year, COVID has no doubt impacted the way that our volunteers can interact with patients but traditions like our weekly bingo night continue in a virtual setting, maintaining the safety of the patients and our volunteers.

Thanks to our members currently serving at MCJCHV during this unique time:  Lauren Ellegood, Katie Feldhaus Jackson (chair), Jenny Hamilton, Jordanne Keith, Julia Lin, Katherine Miller (chair-elect), Gena Moran, Lauren Portice, Nicole Ramirez, Elle Sargent, Andrea Stilgenbauer, Gabrielle Walker, and Ashley Warrington. 

Reason #38 – Opportunity to Give

2020 has been an unexpected year for all of us, and our beloved city is reeling from a series of disasters, including a deadly tornado, a derecho, the pandemic, and a horrific bombing that rocked downtown on Christmas morning.

We have reached out to all members who reside downtown and encourage anyone who has been personally impacted in any way to reach out to the League so we can assist. It’s Nashville’s way – figuring out how to lift each other amid tragedy. It’s where taglines like #nashvillestrong are born.

Almost as quickly as the news updates came in, we began hearing information about ways to help impacted neighbors and businesses.

And the thing about this is, it’s not unusual. We are Nashville strong because we might volunteer to help a neighbor clean up debris in the aftermath of a tornado. We can drop off groceries for a friend that is in quarantine after a COVID exposure. We can actively listen to someone’s story and seek to understand (e.g. a person of color sharing her personal experiences with racism). These things are small but meaningful steps that we can take to help our community come out stronger.

To me, it’s also reason #38 why Membership Matters – the Opportunity to Give with Both Time and Treasure to this organization and our city.

As 2020 draws to a close in a few days, I want to challenge each of us to think about ways to be stronger together. Sometimes, we are going to be the one who is in a position to help others.  Think about what you can do to help another JLN member, a friend, or a neighbor. Sometimes, we will be the one who needs help. Don’t be afraid to speak up when you need help – sometimes it’s the bravest thing we can do.

As we usher in 2021, let’s embrace the “new normal” with love, acceptance, tolerance, and strength. With this collective goal, we can be #nashvillestrong and #jlnstrong.

Good things are coming in 2021, including two upcoming opportunities in January you do not want to miss:

  1. Cyntoia Brown Long, a trafficking survivor and author, will be speaking at our General Membership Meeting on January 19 as part of Human Trafficking Awareness month.
  2. Our inagurual Women’s Summit is January 30, and there are only a few days left for the early-bird pricing deadline.

I hope the New Year brings renewal of excitement, engagement, and purpose for all of us as members of the Junior League of Nashville.

Reason #39 – We impact our community (in Human Trafficking) 

January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month and as one of the League’s primary focus areas, we as an organization seek to challenge the threat of human trafficking in Middle Tennessee. This month of awareness and education kicks off the new year and is this week’s “reason membership matters”: We impact our community (in Human Trafficking)

Human Trafficking is the exploitation of humans for purposes such as sexual and labor servitude. It is also known as modern-day slavery. JLN works through strategic alliances in our community to support programs that promote prevention and provide services for survivors of human trafficking. Working in partnership with seven community partners, we seek to provide educational opportunities to help raise awareness of the issue and promote ways trafficking can be prevented. We also work to increase access to programs that can prevent an increase in the number of victims and to assist survivors begin recovery.

This month, you will have opportunities to learn more about this problem in our community and what we can continue to do as an organization. The first opportunity is next Tuesday and we are thrilled for our January keynote speaker, Cyntoia Brown Long (details below).  As the month goes, we will highlight the individual JLN groups who are working to educate and take action!  I encourage you to join me on the month-long journey to learn how you can do more as well.

Reason #40 – End Slavery Tennessee: Direct Services for Survivors, #41 – Monroe Harding, and #42 – Renewal House

End Slavery Tennessee provides specialized case management and comprehensive aftercare for human trafficking survivors and tactically addresses the problem of human trafficking through advocacy, prevention and training of front-line professionals. The JLN Direct Services committee focuses on spending time with Human Trafficking survivors, while also providing survivors with things such as gardening supplies or holiday-themed items.

Members serving on the ESTN Direct Services committee are: Katherine Anderson, Emily Byrd, Colleen Daniels, Courtney Grissom, Kelsie Lancaster, Kaitlin Lane, Anna Lanier (chair), Annie McKibben, Chelsea McQueen, Caroline Millican, Caroline Mitchell, Maureen Neugent, Jane Owen Robbins, Teirra Sharpe-West, Erika Slapar, Heather Sloss, and Jackie Zukowski.

Monroe Harding provides resources for Homes, Healing, and Opportunity, what they call the “H20” that is vital to helping young people succeed. Their Youth Connections Resource Center helps young people “aging out” of care find academic support, financial literacy, workforce development, and learn life skills. JL volunteers assist in the MH office, lead small groups for life skills classes, and participate as mentors to support foster youth. Volunteers also assist with special events including foster care events, parents’ nights out, and provide meals for youth after their connection classes.

Our volunteers paired with Monroe Harding this year are: JS Bolton (chair), Danielle Clement, Heather Cohen, Hunter Cross, Danielle DeMarco, Catherine Grace, Devyn Hanly, and Tinsley Hastings.

Renewal House is a new placement this year, but not new to JLN as we helped found the organization in 1996. Renewal House provides specialized addiction treatment to women and their children and is the only recovery facility in Middle TN that provides a community for mothers with addictions and their children. JLN volunteers assist with providing meals and community with the women throughout the year, as well as assist with other activities. In non-COVID times they provided childcare while mother s are in mandatory program activities.

JLN volunteers placed at Renewal House this year are: Gabrielle Bley, Katherine Daniels, Allison Drumgoole, Brooke Huffsmith, Courtney McLawhorn, Leigh Sutherland, Kristen Webb (chair), and Megan Whitt.

Reason #43 – Human Trafficking Public Awareness Committee, #44 – EPIC Girl, #45 – Sexual Assault Center, #46 – You Have the Power 

Continuing our focus on human trafficking this month, we hope that will join us tonight for our featured speaker – Cyntoia Brown-Long. (More spots available!) We’re highlighting the committee partner that made tonight’s speaker possible, as well as the partner agencies this committee works with in this week’s reasons why membership matters:

The Human Trafficking Public Awareness Committee provides skilled volunteers to educate the community on human trafficking in our city.  These women work to become fully trained JLN volunteers and in turn, train our membership and the greater Nashville community on the dangers of Human Trafficking and how they can help combat this crime in our city.

Members serving on this committee are:  Melanie Davenport (chair-elect), Genevieve Freeman, Toi Gorham (chair), Lacy Herron, Cathryn Joly, Madison Moscow, Elizabeth Rodrigues, Sarah Thetford, Michelle Vasallo, and Carla Williams. 

This committee is also working with three of our partner agencies:

EPIC Girl works to help at-risk girls recognize their vulnerabilities in their history, educate them on potential negative consequences of these issues, and give them opportunities to connect with resources.  They work collaboratively with juvenile probation/court, detention, fosters care agencies, at-risk youth programs and the Department of Children’s Services.  JLN partners with Epic Girl by providing mentorship and education materials to help raise awareness of human trafficking.

Sexual Assault Center provides healing for children, adults, and families affected by sexual assault and works to end sexual violence through counseling, education, and advocacy. JLN partners with SAC by providing presentations for their Stewards of Children program, distributing informational materials, addressing public policy/legislature needs, and working with their medical accompaniment volunteer program.

You Have the Power’s mission is to empower those victimized by crime through education, advocacy, and understanding. YHTP works to raise awareness about crime and justice issues through victim advocacy, community education programs, brochures, and documentaries.  JLN partners on educational opportunities and materials, including helping YHTP translate the “Human Trafficking Resource Guide” into different languages.

Thanks to these women and I hope to see many of you tonight to raise your own awareness of Human Trafficking.

Reason #47 – Oasis Center and #48 – Women’s Summit

It’s a big week for JLN! We are in the final days of Human Trafficking Awareness Month AND this Saturday, we are hosting our inaugural RiseUp! Women’s Summit (final chance to register below). Our two “membership matters” reasons this week – one highlighting an opportunity within our organization and one with a partner agency – represent the multitude of ways you can choose to develop your own potential in JLN.

Oasis Center (our final Human Trafficking partner agency feature of the month) provides a wide range of opportunities that reflect the diverse needs of youth and their families, from crisis intervention to youth leadership and community engagement to college and career access. JLN volunteers may work with the Oasis Center Emergency shelter which supports youth ages 13-17 who are dealing with issues personally, at home or at school or by cooking meals and organizing game nights.

Members volunteering with Oasis are: Alicia Caldwell, Marshall Early, Sarah Beth Ford, Britney Gannon (chair), Annica González, Brittany Lavalle, Kim Macdonald, Courtney McEwen, McKenna Mitchell, Renee Shipley, Marybeth Snodgrass, Kyla Stripling, Elizabeth Wolfe, and Caroline Workman. 

Our inaugural RiseUp! Women’s Summit is happening this Saturday. Offering a dedicated opportunity to develop your potential, this committee researched, planned, and will soon execute this day-long event featuring a variety of inspirational speakers to further professional, personal, and community leadership. This includes, but is not limited to inviting speakers, creating an agenda, coordinating the technology, and so much more. This committee makes sure that every aspect (from attendees and marketing to sponsors and giveaways) of this event is a success.

Women serving on our inaugural committee are:  Liza Ambrose, Carmen April-Washington (chair), Leanne Binkley, Hillary Blackburn, Elaine Ruth Boe, Kristy Brink (chair), Andrea Clancy, Pruitt Coffey, Jessica Dykes, Eva Gasiorowska, Colleen Gilligan, Taylor Guardino, Allison Hough, Ashlan Jackson, Joslyn Jackson, Morgan Lankford, Veronica Lucena, Johari Matthews, Sarah McGehee, Victoria Mehren, Katelyn Merry, Jasmine Morgan, Sissy Peters, Allison Plattsmier, Anastasia Quarles, Jamie Rokus, Maysoon Sayyad, Kimberly Veirs, Amanda Watkins, and Ashley Wood. 

Thanks to these members for all the ways they contribute to JLN!

Reason #49 – Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion 

As found on the AJLI DEI webpage: “The founder of The Junior League, Mary Harriman, believed that we all bear the responsibility to learn about the world around us in order to be more effective in our desire to improve it. That we should really try to understand the “why” behind something, not just superficially give it lip service.

As we strive within our organization to live up to our commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, we honor and celebrate the struggles, the history and the leaders of our multifaceted world.”

Our commitment states that: “The Junior League welcomes all women who value our mission. We are committed to inclusive environments of diverse individuals, organizations, and communities.”
Embracing diversity of all kinds and being an inclusive organization are critical to the future of this organization. A diverse membership is reflective of the community in which we live and we are collectively strengthened by a variety of talents, skills, perspectives and life experiences.

There are a wide range of social identifiers that every single member brings with her to JLN. We are working on a strategic plan that will further solidify and incorporate the work that we are doing to further our organizational goals related to DEI. This work will include clearly defined goals and objectives in the DEI area that allow us to better track our progress.

Part of our work this year includes being deliberate in our recognition and celebration of what makes us unique as individuals. To that end, we kicked off our month-long celebration of Black History Month yesterday on social media.  We have programming coming up this month that will celebrate the role African-Americans have played in Nashville and our League.

Each of us has a role to play as we work to be a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization. I invite you to check out AJLI resources and be on the lookout for additional resources and conversation from JLN in the future.

Reason #50 – Paragon Awards, #51 – Awards & Recognition Chair, and #52 Management Team 

We sent out a call for nominations last Friday for our annual Paragon Awards. These awards are JLN’s highest honors, given annually to an active, a sustainer, and a member of the Nashville community, who lead by example living out the mission and values of our organization.  Such good work happens in this organization every year, and we ask you to help us recognize those who have truly lived our mission. More information about each award and the form to nominate can be found here.

Our Awards and Recognition Chair this year is Ansley Tillett.  This position is dedicated to recognizing our members.  She helps nominate, strategize, and write award applications throughout the year.  This includes awards for AJLI such as Rising Star and the Mary Harriman Awards, JLN awards, or awards local to Nashville like the Athena Award. She also contributes to member recognition throughout the year (like this year’s “Member November” shout-outs).

Our Management Team leads and oversees the committees of the League.  The Management team is made up of the Executive Vice President, Executive Vice President-Elect, our six Vice Presidents, and the Treasurer-Elect. Each council is led by a Vice President who serves in a senior leadership role for the League and provides support, training, and advising to the committee chairs working on her council.

Members serving on our Management Team this year are:  Adria DeLaune (VP-Development), Cara Deese (EVP-Elect), Lakishia Harris (VP-DEI), Jessica Hopson (VP-Marcom), Nina Kumar (VP-Community), Kathryn McNabb (VP-Membership), Michaela Morrison (Treasurer-Elect), Jenna Watson (EVP), and Samantha Yeargin (VP-Operations). 

Thanks to all these members for your work and making sure we remember to focus on the highlights of our efforts!

Reason #53 – Member Event Logistics, #54 – New Member Recruitment (formerly Admissions), #55 – Placement Matching

It may go without saying that it takes a lot of behind the scenes work to run an organization like JLN.  Much of that work is happening in the form of in-League committees. At this time of year, we are still executing the plans for this League year, but we are beginning to look forward and plan for next year.  Today’s reasons “membership matters” are committees that highlight the work that is still happening this year and preparations for next.

The Member Event Logistics committee oversees our monthly General Membership Meetings.  In non-COVID times, this event planning team handles everything from room and food setup to attendance tracking. In current times, Zoom expertise has definitely been a skillset of this team, as well as assisting with meeting preparations and giveaways.

Members serving this year on Member Event Logistics are:  Aimée Allen, Emily Brinser, Nisha Desai, Mia Gray, Kate Kirby, Kathryn Little (chair), Christine Murray, Tamara Norwood, Laine Striegel, Ashley Travis, and Laura Allison Woods.  

Our New Member Recruitment (formerly Admissions) committee is another event team that executes our new member interest meetings each spring, as well as helps ensure a smooth process for prospective members as they begin their provisional year.

The first of our New Member Interest meetings is next Tuesday, February 23.  Please pass along the meeting information to any women you know who would value our mission and invite them to join our membership!  

Members serving on New Member Recruitment are: Elisha Blackman, Sarah Duggan, Megan Kiepert, Lauren Lavery, Marlee Lawhorn, Kathyrn Little (chair), Ansley Page (chair-elect), Lauren Rosenberg, and Jackie Seco.  

JLN is rolling out a new tool this spring- the placement matching tool.  This tool streamlines the placement process by matching a member’s development goals and interests with placements that help an individual most directly meet those goals.  Our Placement Matching Committee has been working this year to input all the information needed for 500+ active members to sign up for a placement later this spring.

Members serving on Placement Matching are: Erin Clements, Ophelia Doe, Katie Hasty, Ashley Hesseldahl-Harbin (chair), and Laurel Riley.  

Thank you to all these women for their work!

Reason #56 – PIVOT, #57 – Recycling Chair, and #58 – Done in a Day Committee 

At this point, you’ve no doubt heard the official theme of our 99th year: “Membership Matters.” Those of us familiar with the TV show “Friends,” remember the scene of Ross, Rachel, and Chandler moving a couch into Ross’s apartment.  Ross yells, “PIVOT” repeatedly as they attempt to make hairpin turns up the stairs.  This funny scene represents the unofficial theme of the year, “PIVOT.” During these times, pivot is a word that can feel overused, but to me, it really does represent a unique talent we need as an organization to stay relevant in our community, even in non-pandemic times.  We must be willing to adapt to new circumstances, adjust our plans, and rethink how we do things. We need to be willing to Practice Innovative Volunteering as One Team, and I’m so proud of the efforts we’ve made to PIVOT this year especially.

One way we respond to a changing need is to create a volunteer position that helps address a specific problem.  That was the case last spring when we created the Recycling Chair position to help us improve JLN’s recycling efforts.  Jennifer Caywood agreed to spearhead these efforts – and then a global pandemic has kept our building closed for going on a year. In the absence of major recycling efforts, Jennifer was willing to pitch in on whatever project needed help.  She executed the creation and distribution of the JLN masks that all members received in late December.  (If you didn’t receive yours, let us know!)

In non-Covid times, our Done in a Day Committee provides manpower to other organizations across our community in one-day, direct service opportunities. It introduces our volunteers to an array of non-profits in the community while providing flexible scheduling.  Since COVID has limited how we can interact in-person, this committee has also pivoted to drive-through options, writing cards to nursing home residents, and helping deliver items from our own JLN HQ to members!

Members serving on the committee this year include: Mattye Adams, Jamie Arnett (chair-elect), Heather Beshore, Meghan Blackwell, Steph Brenton, Kim Carthen, Kaitlin Chesak, Camille Cohen, Chelsea Curtis, Melissa Cyperski, Samantha Dwyer, Kassi Ellsworth, Alyn Federle, Maddie French, Brie Golden, Keiana Hastings, Julie James, Sarah Lesson, Caroly Lloyd (chair), Chelsea Moser, Alex Murray, Katlin Pendleton, Ali Phillips, Alesia Pruitt, Elizabeth Randall (chair-elect), Meg Rechner, Maysoon Sayyad, Becky Shanklin, Rebecca Sundwall, Sara Whitaker, Heather Wickham (chair), Kara Wilhite, and Chrisanthi Zotos.  

All of us are pivoting this year in some way. Thanks to these volunteers who are finding new ways to serve our community!

Reason #59 – Tell Your Story, #60 – Public Relations Committee, #61 – Online Communications Chair 

March is Women’s History Month – a focused month dedicated to highlighting women’s contributions to history, culture, and society. It’s also a chance for us to think about how we tell the story of our organization’s contributions to the world around us. As a subtheme to Women’s History Month, I’m introducing “MARCOM March,” to take us on a journey around the “membership matters reasons” focused on our marketing and communications efforts.  To start us off, this week’s reasons are:

 How do you Tell Your JLN Story? When someone asks you what the Junior League is, what do you tell them? How do you describe the work our organization does or what contributions we make to our community? As we discussed earlier in the year with reason #4 “JLN By Design,” we all have the opportunity to create our own journey, but the mission that bonds us together tells the story of voluntarism, women’s development, and improving the community. Later this month, we’re going to have a “JLN Elevator Pitch” training (March 24 – register on the JLN calendar), that will provide an opportunity for us to formally tell our story.

Our Public Relations Committee is vital to getting the JLN story out to the public, as this committee coordinates all press releases for our organization. They help manage communication between JLN and the outside world,  working to build and maintain relationships with other organizations, media outlets, and other partners to help promote JLN work.

Members of the Public Relations Committee this year include:   Brittany Adamiak, Danielle Clement, Mandi Kane, and Morgan Weinstock.  

Our Online Communications Chair, Carmen Rogge, helps tell our story to the public and to our members through our social media presence. Carmen creates, finalizes, and posts all the content on our Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. If you are on social media, you know that our presence on these platforms is helping get our brand and our work out in the community. Carmen has worked on the creation, scheduling, and monitoring of all our social media accounts this year.

As we celebrate the contributions of women all month, I invite you to join me in celebrating the journey of this organization and think about how you can contribute to JLN’s story moving forward.

Reason #62 – MARCOM Consultants, #63 – Merchandise Chair, and #64 – Shop Save Support

In the second week of Women’s History month, or “MARCOM March”, our journey continues around the League to some of the different groups who help tell the JLN story.

Our MARCOM Consultants are a cross-League group of liaisons, with representation on each council, that help find and funnel information from each council and make sure we are incorporate it into our overall marketing messaging. This team of consultants helps field communication requests for the breadth of JLN events and projects, working closely with each individual council to work on the best way to message the work.

This year’s MARCOM Consultants (and their respective councils) are: Bahar Azhdari (Operations), Sabrina Below (Development), Erika Blackston (Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion), Ashley Foree (Membership), Kaelinn Garner (chair), and Brooke Walker (Community).

Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like JLN merchandise is always something I could use more of! Our Merchandise Chair, Patricia Powell, has worked to help us decide what merchandise items would be the most popular with our members, as well as partnered with our Summit team to develop our new merchandise store! We are planning for this new online, on-demand merchandise store to continue long-term, so make sure to save the link for the next time you need a JLN merch fix!

Shop Save Support gives you an opportunity to support our organization and our community, all through retail therapy!  This committee finds retail partners throughout the Nashville community (and this year, with more online shopping options as well), that offer discounts to card holders during a designated shopping period. This committee builds relationships with businesses in our community, while spreading the JLN message through publicity. Shop Save Support in turn benefits our community through dollars – both by supporting businesses in our community and by using the proceeds of card sales to benefit our community partners.  Card sales are now open (see more information in today’s Tuesday News).

This year’s Shop Save Support committee includes: Polly Douse, Lila Gray, Teena Jones, Leigh Karro, Tameka Lucas, Lizzie McKeand, Jinal Patel, Lauren Petrovich (chair), Sarah Robson,  Nora Snoddy, Sydney Spalding, Haleigh Trew, Katie Vasilopoulos (chair), and Tiffany Wade. 

Let’s continue to think about how we continue to tell both our personal and JLN story!

Reason #65 – Creative Services Chairs, #66 – DEI Communications & Messaging Chair, #67 – Photography Committee

Our Creative Services chairs, Lauren Laumeyer (chair) and Rachel Ebio (chair-elect), help to create a variety of print and web media to promote various League events.  Using graphic design skills, this team helps with development and layout of flyers, invitations, advertisements and more as needed.  One of the highlights of this team’s work this year was the logo for our virtual Silent Auction last fall!

Our Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) Communications & Messaging Chair, Kristy Offitt, partners with our MARCOM team to make sure all our messaging is being looked at through a DEI lens and ensures that it is inclusive.  Part of this effort, for example, is to make sure that our messaging includes a variety of awareness days or months that celebrate a variety of backgrounds.

Our Photography Committee captures photos of any League event that can be used for both internal or external use.  In non-Covid times, this committee is present at events such as Members in Motion days, fundraisers, or even offering free headshots before a membership meeting.  In another example of a pandemic PIVOT, this committee took porch portraits of members and their families, which are also used for member spotlights on social media.

This year’s Photography Committee includes: Hilary Cumbest, Ginger Levinson, Christine Locke (chair), and Cat Wilson.  

Thanks to all of these volunteers as they help tell our JLN story!

Reasons #68 Publications Committee, #69 – Kids in the Kitchen, and #70 – Mentor Program Committee. 

The last of our official MARCOM committees to feature in “MARCOM March” is our Publications Committee. This committee, with leadership from the Vice President of Marketing & Communications, conceptualizes, plans, and creates content for League Link (our JLN magazine), the Report to the Community, and JLN blog articles. This committee has a unique opportunity to educate our readers about the JLN’s events, history, outreach and vision for the future.

Volunteers working on the Publications Committee this year include Dallas Jessup and Mary Olson. 

Our Kids in the Kitchen program is a community-facing program that educates children and parents about healthy eating and physical activity. In lieu of in-person events this year, the committee has worked on a digital cookbook, drive-thru events with virtual demonstrations, as well as healthy eating tips on social media. This initiative is AJLI-wide, as many Leagues work to support children’s health and wellness (which is at the heart of our own 99-year history through our original Home for Crippled Children)!

Members serving on our Kids in the Kitchen committee this year are: Sara Adams, Katie Alexander, Lauren Braun, Alaire Brown (chair-elect), Margaret Taylor Cain, Amy Cooper-Cline, Alex DeBernardi, Mary Faith Gregory, Sarah Haley (chair-elect), Catherine Hawkins, Kristin Howard, Sara Hughart, Chelsea LeBlanc, Tangela Lucas, Ashton Mosterbaugh, Kristen Nunley, Juliann Parker, Lindsey Parrish, Courtney Siefkes, Sydney Stasch (chair), Nicole Throgmorton, Kelsey Voss and Sara Walls. 

Our Mentor Program Committee manages our formal mentoring program, open to members across their JLN journey.  The committee works to pair individual mentor/mentee matches and checks in with them throughout the year. They help members make purposeful connections with each other that may help the individuals personal, professionally, and as JLN members. The programming this year has been online-focused but the committee works to provide starter questions and topics for the pairs to use as they begin their relationships.

Members serving on our Mentor Program Committee are: Samantha Brown, Danielle Dupriest-Streck (chair), Taylor Guardino (chair-elect), Clara Herrick, Kathleen O’Brien, Bernadette Patton, Allison Plattsmier, Morgan Stewart, and Melanie Tomlyn (chair). 

As Women’s History Month and “MARCOM March” wind down, I wanted to recognize a few groups of members that are integral to our history and telling our story, especially as we move closer to our centennial celebration next League year! This week, our “Reasons Membership Matters” include:  

#71 – Legacy Members, #72 – Centennial Advisory Committee, and #73 – Centennial Research & Planning Committee

This League year, we had 3 sustaining members enter the ranks of “legacy” members – having reached a milestone of at least 50 years of JLN membership.  We had another 10 sustaining members celebrate a milestone anniversary of 55, 60, 65, or 75 years of service.  All together, we have 74 current sustainers that have more than 50 years of membership! We want to honor each of these members and thank each for your long-standing service – think about all these women have experienced since 1971 and before!

This year’s Milestone Legacy Members include: 50-year members – Susan Cooney, Carolyn O’Neil, and Eliza Stubblefield, 55-year members – Grace Bathrick, Betty Finucane, Genevieve Fricks, Elizabeth Harwell, and Sue Spickard, 60-year members – Nancy Cawood, Claudia Douglas, and Carole Nelson, and celebrating 75-years of membership – Martha Foreman.  (Patsy DesPrez celebrated her 65th anniversary before passing in October 2020.)  

Turning 100 takes a lot of planning and since our 96th year, we have had a Centennial Advisory Committee, a dedicated group of volunteers who helped think through all that can go into a centennial celebration. This group of women has been working with League Leadership year over year to develop our centennial celebration strategy and plans.

Members of the Centennial Advisory Committee include: Mary Lee Bartlett, Catherine Beemer, Suann Davis, Hadley Doolittle, Caitlin Franklin, Jillian Frist (chair), Fran Hardcastle, Jennifer Hill, Jennifer Hillen, Erin Morrison, Linde Pflaum, Trish Poe, and Jade Sampson. 

Last League year, our Centennial Research and Planning Committee started their work, which is taking place over the course of three years. Last League year, they conducted in-depth research into our history and identified key milestones and events.  This year, they took that research and developed a plan for an entire year’s worth of celebration and next year, they will support the execution of our entire celebration.  It’s going to be a wonderful look back over a remarkable history and you will indeed want to be part of the fun!

Special thanks to these members who are serving on the Centennial Research and Planning Committee this year: Holly Alsip, Reen Baskin, Sam Bell, Paige Biglane, Megan Charalambakis, AnnJeanette Colwell, Eileen Evans, Katie Foley, Megan Grant, Lauren Gwinn, Halley Hale, Margo Kaestner, Julie Kinsland, Anna Myers, Janet Perry, Bethany Rhoten, Marci Solomon, Erika Thomas, Kati Vail, and Jordan Waldron (chair). 

In addition to these active members and the Centennial Advisory Committee, the following sustainers have also participated in the centennial work:  Beth Alexander, Lisa Campbell, Kim Carpenter Drake, Silvia Castaneda-Roddy, Jackie Cavnar, Laura Creekmore, Sonya Hairston, Tricia Hall, Sally Holland, Rachel Hornsby, Mary Catherine McAnulty, Susan Moll, Beth Moore, Melissa Mostellar, Alisa Peters, Amy Pitts, Brooke Reusch, Robin Satyshur, Sally Smallwood, Patti Smallwood, Carrie Stokes, Ellie Wetzel, Gretchen Zimmerman, and Nahed Zehr.  

Each of us has a role in the JLN story – present and future.  My thanks to these women who have been instrumental in our history and telling that story as well.

We’re celebrating a birthday this weekend! JLN officially turns 99 this Saturday, April 10, and I think it’s a happy coincidence that our birthday takes place in National Volunteer Month! Take a moment this weekend to celebrate and acknowledge all the incredible volunteers (including you) this organization has developed over the past 99 years.  And of course, take a moment to “Party Like We’re 99” (Insert Prince’s 1999 song here – the unofficial theme song of the year)!

To kick off April as National Volunteer Month, this week’s reasons membership matters demonstrate a variety of ways that a member can serve the community through JLN : #74 – Promoting Voluntarism, #75 – Legal Risk Chair, #76 – DEI Research Committee, #77 – Project Chair Coordinators

This month, National Volunteer Month, is really all about the heart of our organization – the first tenant of our mission is that we “are an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism. Without volunteers donating their time and passion to the causes they care about, our world would just not be the same. It’s hard to put a value on some things – dedication, selflessness, and time. These are all things that we, as volunteers, contribute. According to the Nonprofit Leadership Center, each year, the Independent Sector gathers data and provides nonprofits a way to calculate the value of volunteer time. In July 2020, the value went up 7% to $27.20! At that rate, our total membership, if we each just volunteered 40 hours of our time in one year… that is over 1.5 million dollars’ worth of time in service to others! Being a volunteer, no matter what form the work takes, provides such a value to our community, in so many ways.

Our Legal Risk Team, Meredith Eason (chair-elect) and Tabitha Robinson (chair) are volunteers who help advise the League on internal legal issues, as well as reviewing contracts and agreements for the League. They also assist with special projects as needed; for example, this year, they assisted with the creation of our COVID waiver and Tabitha sat on our inaugural COVID Task Force, to help us think through all the implications of those decisions.

Our DEI Research Committee conducts research on a variety of topics regarding Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to help provide recommendations for JLN’s ongoing diversity work.  The team has been researching best practices from other Junior Leagues, other nonprofits, and the greater Nashville community. They also are working through AJLI resources and helping find tools that we can use to educate our JLN membership.

This year’s DEI Research Committee includes: Kimberly Jemmott (chair), Elka Graham, and Mamie Joyce.

Our Project Chair Coordinators, Taryn Anderson (Human Trafficking) and Camilla Canada (Literacy), oversee work towards each our respective focus areas. They also assist as needed to coordinate work between our 14 agency project chairs and ensure efforts are aligned. They also provide additional support between the Vice President of Community and our Project Chairs.

These volunteer opportunities represent the myriad of skills that you can use as a JLN volunteer. Thanks to each of these women for their contributions to the League!

We continue to celebrate National Volunteer Month and celebrate that it is the time of year to think about how each of our individual journeys with JLN will continue next year. It’s Placement selection time!  For our current and incoming actives, we each decide how we will share our time and talents during our next League year. Each year, we have the opportunity to choose the next step of our journey (that “JLN By Design ” idea). This allows us each to take an annual look at the needs of our organization and our personal commitments outside of the League to find the best match. To that end, this week’s “membership matters reasons” are:

#78 – Placement Committee, #79 – Special Placement, #80 – Take a Break 

The Placement Committee plans, evaluates, and supervises the volunteer positions of our active members, working to maximize membership satisfaction and community involvement.  They work on the Placement catalog (which this year is being incorporated into our new placement matching tool), the placement fair (virtual-style in recent years), as well as serve as placement advisors throughout the placement process.

This year’s volunteers on the Placement Committee are: Kara Allen, Terry Renee’ Browne, Millie Fisher, Maureen Frazier, Lindsay Irving, Alicia Mattachione, Allie Mikels, Rebecca Talley (chair), and Brianne Wells.

Special Placements provide members the opportunity to serve a non-League agency or in a capacity not listed for League agencies, including Board positions with non-League community agencies. There are a limited number of spots available for this option each year; but it is a great way to stay engaged with another non-profit in town and Toni McGee and Margaret Walker are both able to take advantage of this option.

At times, the next step in a journey is to take a pause or step away. In addition to a myriad of opportunities with varying types of challenges and commitments, we also offer our members the chance to Take a Break when needed.  This can come in the form of a Sabbatical or a Leave of Absence, depending on years of service and individual circumstances.  It is a wonderful way to stay connected to the League without the commitment of a placement, like Kayla Counts, Kristen Davis, Jill Heyman, Dana Kim, Gina Mayes, Chaula Mehta, Brooke Paschali, and Lauren Spero are doing this year.

As an organization of women supporting other women, I’m so thankful that each year, we get the opportunity to choose the next step in our adventure.  Whether it be a large commitment, a unique opportunity, or taking a break for a period of time, I encourage each of you to consider what part of our story you will play next year.  It’s going to be an amazing year and I look forward to serving with each of you again!

It’s officially National Volunteer Week and I want to personally salute every single one of you for the time you devote to this organization and as a result, our community. You each represent one of the 1,437 individual ways we impact the greater Nashville area and I am so thankful for each of you! Your unique voice and contributions make this organization stronger and our city a better place to live.

Your individual voice is vital to our success (see Reason #23- Feedback) and this week, I want to take it one step further – our willingness as an organization to not only ask questions about the work we are doing but also measure the impact, and our willingness to change and adapt to best meet both member and community needs.  In this spirit, this week’s “reasons membership matters” are:

#81 – Embrace Evolution, #82 – DEI Data and Statistics Chair, #83 – DEI Policy and Documentation Chair, and #84 – Needs of Nashville Committee

It goes without saying that the lives of women and our city have changed significantly since our founding in 1922.  I continue to be amazed at how much our organization has adapted over the last century.  In fact, I will go so far as to say, it’s one of the reasons we are a centenary organization. We recognize when it’s time to ask hard questions, have difficult conversations, and even change course. One example of how we are doing this is with a new placement evaluation survey that is rolling out with our annual placement process. We also asked in this month’s small group membership meetings for members to share not only one of their highlights of this League year, but also name something that they want to see change or improve in the future.  These are just two of our most recent examples of how we are willing to continually evaluate our actions and impact. We embrace evolution, which allows for us to be a stronger and sustainable organization.

As part of our newly created Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Council, two positions have a particular focus on making sure that we have the data we need to make informed decisions in our DEI work, as well as that our policies and procedures support our commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Elise Russo, as our DEI Data & Statistics Chair, was instrumental in aspects of our member survey, so that we can both begin to collect the data we are missing as well as make decisions on current and future programming based on real information and feedback from our members.  Ariel Kelly, as our DEI Policy and Documentation Chair, has reviewed our current JLN policies and researched best practice policies from vendor selection to member language. This helps us to ensure that our policies and procedures allow for an inclusive experience and that we can make changes for improvement.  Both positions will work closely with our newly hired DEI third-party consultant, Dr. Katrice Albert with Third Eye Consulting Group.  Having Dr. Albert’s expertise in creating a DEI Roadmap is a vital next step in our DEI journey.

Our Needs of Nashville Committee exists to oversee and evaluate the implementation of our community partnerships.  We are working to achieve defined community outcomes, and this committee oversees the effectiveness of our work and partnerships.  The committee prepares progress and outcomes reports, gains a full understanding of the work we do, and gains experience in partnership management and program evaluation.

Members serving on this year’s committee are: Kathryn Anderson, Stephanie Delaney, Sarah Elliott, Ashley Foree (chair-elect), Sarah Halleen (chair), Jordan Luke, Amber Martin, Mary Lu Noah, Becca Remmes, Shelby Shumard, Meredith Taylor, and Millie Wert.

Many thanks to all these women who are stepping up to actively ask questions so that our League provides a more meaningful volunteer experience for all women.

Wrapping up National Volunteer month, I hope you had a chance to reflect on the impact that we, as volunteers, make on our community and the lives of those around us. As highlighted earlier in the month, at the current valued rate of $27.20 per hour – you can estimate that we contribute over 1.5 million dollars’ worth of time in service to others! This week’s “reasons membership matters” continue to highlight the various ways a member can volunteer in JLN:

#85 – All Booked Up, #86 – Community Events Chair, #87 – DEI Education Chair 

All Booked Up is a literacy program designed as fun events to inspire young readers, engaging them through workshops, imagination stations, character meet-and-greets, and more. COVID times caused this group to rework their plans, and in lieu of an in-person event, this group is partnering with Metro schools and other partners to help get donated books into the hands of children who need them.

Women serving on the All Booked Up committee include: Elizabeth Baxley (chair), Sarah DeLisle, Jessie Dravis, Meghan Ellzey, Kara Johnson, Markley Jones, Minor Moore (chair), Megan Parker Peters, Allison Reichenbach, Katey Shea, Pecolia Tubb, Bri Wells, Erin Welther, and Sara Winchell.  

Our Community Events chair, Mary Michael Daunhauer assists with any events put on by the Community Council, which this year included virtual events such as Kids in the Kitchen.  In non-COVID times, this chair coordinates more in-person events that fit in with any of our community impact focus areas.

Our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Education chair, Emeline Dunn works to develop DEI curriculum and other forms of education that can help increase our awareness and continued learning related to all aspects of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, as well as partnering with our Training committee on ideas.

My continued thanks to each of you for your volunteer service that truly does make an impact in our city.

Is anyone else in a small state of disbelief that it’s already May? As we wind down our 99th year this month, I want to introduce “M&M May.” The inspiration is taken from Year 91, when Jillian Frist, past-president in our 2012-2013 year, introduced the theme “Mission Driven – Member Focused” or “M&Ms!” (There were a lot of M&M candies handed out that year as well!) This week, let me share some Member focused “reasons membership matters”:

#88 – Have Your M&Ms, #89, Provisionals, #90 – Transfers, #91 – Ten Year Actives

We all bring a different “why” to this organization – and hopefully you have identified with a number of the 85+ “reasons why membership matters” that we have covered so far!  No matter what your personal  “why” is that keeps you coming back year over year, there are two commonalities that we all share – the belief in this mission and being part of a membership organization.  When you have your M&Ms together, it makes all the difference. Our mission is unique – we promote voluntarism, develop women, and improve our community through trained volunteers.  We also rely on building meaningful relationships with others, unified by a desire to serve other members, so that we can support and enrich lives together.

Each year, we train a new class of first-year members, our provisionals, to be effective volunteers and leaders in our community. Our 133 provisionals completed a year-long, comprehensive training series that teaches these members all about our League structure and community programs. Our class of “Pandemic Provisionals” has weathered a most unique journey this first year, interacting primarily across a screen and having never set foot in our building!  Regardless of the circumstances under which their journey began, we are excited to see where these women take our organization in the future as they begin the next chapter of their membership journey. View the list of our “Pandemic Provisional” class here.

Another group of members that has likely never set foot in our building is our Transfers! One of the perks of being part of an international membership organization is that wherever life takes you, there is likely a League there to welcome you and help you get involved in your new community.  During the past year, we have welcomed 40 women into our active membership and 12 women into our sustaining membership. Relocating to a new city in the midst of a global pandemic cannot have been easy and JLN strives to be a point of familiarity and connection in a new city.  Women who have transferred to JLN this year include: 2020-2021 Transfer Members.

A member can choose to stay active as long as she would like but after a certain number of years, we offer different requirements to those further along in their active journey.  As a Ten Year Active, members are given the opportunity to take a reduction in requirements and can choose to either complete a placement OR to attend membership meetings.  Ten Year actives who have chosen placements were all highlighted with their placements this year, but we also wanted to recognize this committed group of actives who have chosen the meetings route.  Those members include: Sarah Rochford Benfield, Melissa Sidney, and Amanda Wochner.  

As we kick off “M&M May,” I wanted to express my personal appreciation to our newest members and our actives that have committed so many years to our organization!

“M&M May” continues as we are rounding out our 99 Reasons Why membership matters! This week, I want to highlight both our largest group of members, as well as two smaller groups that have been integral partners to Team 99 Leadership, as we continue to focus on keeping our members and our mission in the forefront of all our decision-making. This week’s “reasons why Membership Matters” are:

#92 – Sustainers, #93 – League Assets Committee, #94 – Trustees 

Any given year, our sustaining members make up half of our total membership. This year, 766 members have maintained their membership after their active years of service and continue to support this organization with their time, talents, and resources. By definition, to sustain means to maintain, to support, to preserve, or to keep going.  Our sustainers make a commitment year after year to help support and keep our organization moving forward. These women provide history, expertise, experience (from Nashville and beyond) and are vital to the success of this organization. Sustaining is the privilege of JLN membership without the structured requirements – sustainers are truly able to choose how they interact with JLN.  We value the long-standing commitments each of these women make year over year and thank each of you for the continued support you give JLN.

(Now, in full transparency, I haven’t found a good way to list all 766 sustainers names on the website….we’ll work on that!) 

Part way through our League’s 98th year, the Board of Directors asked a team of experts to help take a comprehensive look at our assets, which came about at an opportune time as we are thinking about the next century of our League. The League Assets Committee was seated to help explore questions as League leadership considers the strategic objectives for our next century. Do our assets in their current structure set us up appropriately to meet our long-term goals? This team of sustainers, Board of Trust members, and League leaders worked over the past 18 months to help answer how our assets can serve both the League of today and the League of the future in the best and highest use, related to both financials and our mission and vision.

Members of the committee: Bill DeLoache (current Board of Trust member), Jillian Frist, Jennifer Hill, Sally Holland, Susan Moll, Alice Hudson Pell, Robin Satyshur, Carolyn Schott (JLN Attorney), Will Ed Settle, Amy Smotherman (JLN Managing Director), and Nahed Zehr (immediate past-President).      

We talked earlier this year about the Junior League Home (see reason #36), which was our first philanthropic project. In 1941, an Endowment Trust Fund was established to support the Junior League’s work with children who suffered from polio. This trust continues to fund JLN work in the 21st century and has allowed JLN to make a number of impactful gifts in the community. Between the 1941 Trust, our Operations Endowment, and Anniversary Community Endowment, JLN is fortunate to have well-stewarded resources to support all aspects of our work. Our JLN Trustees are a vital group of experts in the fields of financial management and investments that guide and oversee these funds, while working closely with the Board of Directors. Per our governing documents, the five trustees include 2 League members and 3 non-League members.

We are thankful for the service of our current Trustees: Fran Hardcastle and Robyn Satyshur (our two League members) and Bill DeLoache, John Eason, and Will Ed Settle (our three non-League members). 

As we get closer to the end of the year, I’m finding myself especially thankful for these three groups.  I have called on countless sustainers throughout the years for advice and friendship. Both the Trustees and League Asset Committee have provided invaluable expertise and resources to me as I’ve stewarded this non-profit business this year and I’m so thankful for the service each of them provides to this organization.

With an organization this large, keeping the M&M’s (Mission & Members) moving forward in the same direction requires a clear vision and goals. And since our leadership turns over each year, it’s important to have a deliberate process. As we prepare for the last two weeks of this League year, it’s a natural time to think about closing out the Team 99 role in advancing our M&M’s forward and transition the work to Team 100. We’re highlighting key players in the League’s vision and goals in this week’s “reasons membership matters:”

#95 – Board of Directors, #96 – Assistant to Leadership, #97 – Strategic Planning Group, and #98 – Legacy of Inheritance

Our Board of Directors is tasked with establishing the identity and direction of an organization, ensuring we have the necessary resources, and provides oversight to the work of the organization. Our governing board meets at least monthly and works to advance the mission and vision set out by our predecessors. This year’s Board is one of the most thoughtful, smart, passionate, and talented groups of volunteers that I have ever worked with and I have been so fortunate to serve alongside them this year.

The members who have served you on Team 99 Board of Directors this year include:  Shana Allsmiller (Sustainer Director), Jenny Barker (President-Elect), Claudia Byers (Active Director), Elisa Goodrich (Nominating Chair) Brittany Irby (Active Director), Angela Moretti Goddard (Sustainer Director), Jade Sampson (Active Director), Jeanai Ranero (Treasurer), Jenna Watson (Executive Vice President), and Elizabeth Wood (Recording Secretary).  Cara Deese (Executive VP-Elect) and Amy Smotherman (JLN Managing Director) also serve as ex-officio members.

Hayley Landis has served as our Assistant to Leadership this year and has helped out with any and all administrative needs that our Leadership team has had.  From scheduling meetings to ordering items that are needed, Hayley has been a vital part to keeping the work of Leadership on schedule!

In Year 98, recognizing that we are inching ever closer to the end of our current strategic plan “Vision 2022,” we asked a group of members to help us begin the visioning work that will inform our next strategic plan. This group came together and recommended areas that should be included in the next plan.  With the help of our strategic planning conusltant, Strategy & Leadership, LLC, this group helped put together a bridge plan that will help us as we finish up the last year of VIsion 2022 and introduce our new plan to kickoff our next century!

Thanks to the women who worked on this team: Cara Deese (chair), Kathryn Goggins (chair),  Lakishia Harris, Andreall Moore, Lauren Rowe, Jade Sampson, Kristin Torrey, and Ellie Wetzel-Haley. 

 There’s only so much any one person or team can get done in a year’s time.  That’s why our Legacy of Inheritance is so important.  Team 99’s job was to advance the League and our work, building on the success of Team 98 before us, and in recent weeks have been transitioning and preparing our Team 100 counterparts to build upon the success we have had. Each year is the next chapter in our story and we have done our best to steward the organization forward in this extraordinary year.  On behalf of Team 99 Leadership, we welcome in the Team 100 Leadership and wish them a successful Centennial chapter.  We are here to cheer you on and celebrate all you will accomplish!

Members of the Team 100 Leadership team include:

Jenny Barker (President)
Taryn Anderson (President-Elect)
Cara Deese (Executive Vice President)
Kathryn McNabb (Recording Secretary)
Michaela Morrison (Treasurer)
Maleah Stephens (Nominating Chair)
Claudia Byers (Active Director)
Adria DeLaune (Active Director)
Lakishia Harris (Active Director)
Shana Allsmiller (Sustainer Director)
Tiffany Davis (Sustainer Director)
Kara Apel (Vice President of Community)
Nicole Jeffery (Vice President of MARCOM)
Ellie Lentz (Vice President of Membership)
Andreall Moore (Vice President of DEI)
Katie Myers (Vice President of Operations)
Alice Hudson Pell (Vice President of Development)

Reason #99 – It’s the “Why”

Here we are, at the end of our “M&M May,” which signifies the closing of our 99th League year and our “99 Reasons Why Membership Matters” journey.  This idea was born because I’m a “why” person. I love to understand the context behind things, the background, and the story.  For me, the “why” is the most important thing to understand about those around me; it speaks to one’s motivation and is as individualized as each member. Showcasing these 99 Reasons has been a wonderful celebration of all the differences that makeup our organization in each of you.

We are an organization of over 1400 women and each one of us brings a different “why” and different “reasons” to our organization. One of the things we have to be deliberate about in an organization this large is making sure that we always remember the “why” and that the “why” is not the same for all of us.  We don’t want to get so caught up in the have-tos and to-do’s of the work that we forget about each individual who is making it happen and bringing a unique story with her.

As you move into the next year of your JLN journey, I encourage each of you to always keep the “why” on the forefront of your mind.  Whether you joined our organization to meet new people, learn new skills, or serve the community (to name just a few), don’t forget that while we are tied together by our mission of developing women. The journey we each take to accomplish that is individualized and unique, and an important part of our success as an organization.

At the beginning of the League year, I asked our Team 99 Leadership to share their “Reason Membership Matters.” As I sign off this last note and sign off for the Team 99 Leadership team, I wanted to share their reasons as well; included below.

Membership truly does matter – your membership, your reasons, your story, your “why.” We celebrate your story and I can’t wait to see where your “why” takes our organization in the future.  Thank you for allowing me to share my “why” and allowing you to lead you this year.

All my best,
Sarah Woodall


Team 99 Membership Matters

JLN membership matters to me because of the lifelong friendships I’ve gained, the mentors I’ve had the privilege to learn from and the outstanding training that’s impacted every area of my life.  Shana Allsmiller, Sustainer Director

JLN became a way for to meet new people, serve our community, and hone my skills.  It’s given me more opportunities and connections than I can count.  Jenny Barker, President-Elect

I want a comfortable place to continue to grow my potential as a leader, both personally and professionally.  Claudia Byers, Active Director

It matters because changing and empowering women’s lives to change and empower our community.  Cara Deese, Executive Vice President-Elect

JLN allows me to create meaningful, valuable and impactful experiences for myself and others.  Adria DeLaune, Vice President-Development

When women gather with purpose and passion, amazing things happen!!  Angela Moretti Goddard, Sustainer Director

Membership in JLN matters because it provides women with amazing leadership development and training.  Elisa Goodrich, Nominating Chair

Membership in JLN matters because without our phenomenal members we wouldn’t be an influential voice and change in our city of Nashville.  Lakishia Harris, Vice President-Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

It’s a place where I can grow my skills and meet more like-minded (but also diverse) women.  Jessica Hopson, Vice President – Marketing/Communications

Women are the catalyst for change.  I believe that and so does JLN!  That’s why I’m here.  Brittany Irby, Active Director

Our collective impact and what we can achieve as smart, engaged,  committed women is limitless and far greater than anything we can achieve on our own.  Nina Kumar, Vice President-Community

Networking with a different group of motivated, “get it done” women outside my workplace has been one of the most impactful elements of my adult life.  JLN women stretch me to learn new things and accomplish outside the professional world.  Kathryn McNabb, Vice President-Membership

I can meet a diverse group of women and provide a contribution to the community.  Without these wonderful women, I could not grow as a person and continue to be a better person.  Jeanai Ranero, Treasurer

It is a safe place for me to learn while also contributing to meaningful work in the community. Jade Sampson, Active Director

I can give back to the community, make friends, and develop myself…be the best I can be! Jenna Watson, Executive Vice President

Junior League women have contributed so much to my life I’m honored to be able to give back to other members through leadership.  Elizabeth Wood, Recording Secretary

I saw the example of serving from my family growing up and I can’t imagine not giving back. I want to be with a group of like-minded women to make a difference in the world.  Sarah Woodall, President

The League is where talent and interest and need and opportunity meet and I want to support that work. Samantha Yeargin, Vice President-Operations