I’m starting this monthly “Diary of a President” to give members new insight into what goes on throughout the year. I hope it provides a glimpse of all the working pieces within the League and the effort it takes for JLN to continue operating year after year, which is a success because of members like you.
– Taryn Anderson, JLN President (2022-2023)
We’ve made it two months and the League is still standing! I take that as a win! I joke about that a lot, but as the newest President to hold this position for a single year, it’s something I think about quite often. The League’s legacy is much larger than most realize, and making sure I do everything I can to not hinder that legacy is something that sits heavy on my mind each day.
JLN is run almost entirely by volunteers, and each member plays a vital role in the League’s continued success. Everyone sitting on a committee helps, plans, and implements programs for our members and/or partners. Our chairs are like project managers who help guide the direction of our programs. Our VPs are the managers, helping support each of the chairs, and our EVP is our COO of the League.
Working with leaders to make sure each member feels valued, heard, and respected is a tough job and sometimes support gets lost in the busywork that we do. The fact that the League is still standing means each of our members is still standing. That is a win!
A lot of this month has been busy with AJLI. As most people know, JLN is a member of the Association of Junior Leagues International. As President, I act as a “delegate” or representative of Nashville, so any work generated by AJLI needs to be brought to the Nashville League for discussion and implementation. This month I’ve been working on the upcoming financial discussions, the new mission rollout, the collective impact process, and connecting with other Junior League presidents to discuss the work being conducted by their leagues.
July was also full of new member info sessions. The Member Recruitment committee put on four meetings over the summer and recruited 59 new provisional members in 5 weeks, bringing our new provisional class to 195 people! They did a truly incredible job, and I can’t wait to see what kind of admission engagement we get in the Spring!
I know there is a lot of conversation every year around recruiting members and making sure people renew their dues. Maintaining membership is crucial to supporting the operations of the League, supporting our community, and to continue developing the pipeline of potential chairs, VPs, EVPs, and Presidents. Our provisional chairs and advisors have started their planning, and I’m sending them love as they welcome and support a larger class than originally expected.
I continued to annoy JS Bolton (VP of Community) as she and the Needs of Nashville (NON) group continue their work. They are planning to present potential focus areas to the Board by September, so they really have one month left to gather information and gauge from membership where we will spend our time in the community moving forward. I’ve had to keep “tabs” on the research so I could plan accordingly for the August GMM as well as the timeline for the rest of the year.
Bless the event logistics team! They have been so patient waiting until I had a better timeline and plan for the upcoming GMMs due to the changing schedule and needs of NON. NON will present two major votes to the membership this year, so their deadlines and timelines have to be prioritized as we choose when to offer in home and afternoon meetings, etc. Luckily, we have worked it out and can now solidify the GMMs for the rest of the year.
The Board has multiple priorities this year, so to make sure we get to them all, we’ve created board working groups. Many of the groups have started collaborating already, so we’ve had a number of kick off meetings and a lot more research happening behind the scenes.
Another big part of being President is assisting in the transition and education of the upcoming Leadership team. It is important that Jade (President-Elect) and Ashley (EVP-Elect) know exactly what is going on this year so they can be ready to go next year. Kathryn and I forced Jade and Ashley to go to dinner with us (ok, they were fully willing) so we could continue cultivating camaraderie and building respect and trust between the four of us. I think this type of relationship building is important at every single level of leadership, and it’s why the elect positions are so vital.
That’s July in a nutshell. There are so many other things going on but that’s what I can remember at this time. The days are starting to run together!
Rooted in flexibility,
Originally published in the August 2, 2022 Tuesday News
What was I thinking!! (I’m obviously joking.) I just wrapped up my time with Leadership Nashville, and what an experience that was. I have been in the music industry bubble for so long that it was lovely to meet with other leaders within the city. Their businesses and non-profits face a lot of the same issues Junior League does, but it exposed me to areas I was unfamiliar with and areas in which Nashville is struggling. My journey to civic leadership has been slow and steady but my time in Leadership Nashville, in addition to my journey in the League, really gave me a motivating kick in the behind to think about things differently.
I didn’t know what to expect stepping into the President’s shoes. Having served as EVP and Treasurer, as well as other in-league positions, I thought I knew about all the work the League carries out; over the last six months or so, the curtains have been opened. I have an even greater respect for the women who served in this role before me, and I would honestly encourage every member to consider it. It is much more than I ever thought, in the best way.
This year, our theme is “Rooted in… JLN.” “Rooted” because each of us comes to the League for a reason, then I believe we grow during our time here, developing new branches and new reasons to stay. We learn, we grow, and the League is a part of our development. As we begin year 101, we are starting work that will take root and grow into the changes JLN will create for the Nashville community in future years.
So, what’s been going on in my first 30 days as President?
Mondays begin with a morning Zoom call with Jade Sampson (President-Elect) and Amy Smotherman (Managing Director). During these calls, we talk about the business of the League and the projects the staff is working on.
Tuesdays are JLN days. At the first Board of Directors meeting, we passed the budget (woohoo!), went through the board’s governance priorities, and reviewed our responsibilities to the League. People often think being on a board is a good resume builder (it is), but the seat holds a lot of responsibility as well as legal obligations to the organization. As board members, we are legally required to make sure we are fulfilling the duties of care, loyalty and obedience.
We have a lot of work as a board this year to set up year 102 right! A few of our governance priorities are:
- Updating the financial policies and standing rules
- Finding new focus areas
- Finding new community partners
- Reviewing membership requirements
- Looking at the future of fundraising
Since the year just started, there are many moving pieces and some things have already set out the path for what the year will look like. The Needs of Nashville (NON) and Grants Committees have a heavy lift this year, so our League’s work and timeline in the months ahead will revolve around their needs. Our number one goal in June was to ensure they are supported and comfortable with their timeline.
A lot of the first month is initial planning and getting dates on the calendar for meetings with the Board of Trustees, Vanderbilt, and AJLI planned conversations, meeting with folks to make sure everyone is on the same page, and in my case, getting caught up!
The most important thing I’ve been doing this month is working with Kathryn Goggins (EVP). Kathryn and I met a few times before we stepped into these roles, have been meeting regularly before this year ramped up, and communicate at least daily. We’ve tried to make sure we both understand the roles we each play, and we laid out our desired flow of communication/work. Most importantly, we understand to check in with each other and work through challenges as a team. Kathryn has worked hard to set her VPs up with support and open communication and is an exemplary leader.
I believe we are creating a fantastic foundation to make sure this year is successful and that each of the VPs, chairs, committees, and members feel supported. After two years of COVID, it’s been really energizing and fun to see everyone back in person.
So, that’s June in a nutshell.
Rooted in gratitude,
Originally published in the July 5, 2022 Tuesday News