Transferring to the Junior League of Nashville? Here’s what other transfers have to say

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While the Association of Junior Leagues Junior League International, Inc. might be based in New York, we have more than 140,000 women in 291 League chapters all over the US, Canada, England and Mexico. We may focus our volunteerism on local community issues, but we have a global impact through our various chapters. 

In a more global world, Junior League members are finding themselves moving to explore new cities, new job opportunities and to find adventure. One amazing component of the Junior League is that you can transfer your membership to another League and continue your involvement, leadership, and impact in a community.

Over the last three years, the Junior League of Nashville has had an average of 75 transfer members every year. Joining a Junior League chapter in your new city can be such an exciting way to plug into a city, grow your leadership, and make long-lasting friendships.

Personally, I joined the Junior League via the Junior League of Mid-Peninsula-Palo Alto. Beyond joining an organization with a great reputation, long history of massive community impact and network, I was excited at the idea that I could continue my volunteerism with Junior League no matter where my life or career took me. My godsister has been part of four different Junior Leagues (Louisville, Chicago, San Francisco & Palo Alto) – following her through different jobs, grad school, and beyond. Without meaning to, I followed in her footsteps by transferring to the Junior League of San Francisco and then the Junior League of Nashville once I moved here. I couldn’t imagine a better way to meet new people and understand local community struggles better than joining a new Junior League chapter.

Is there a League where you’re moving? Check it out on the AJLI website

However, all Leagues operate differently to meet the needs of their community as well as their membership, so we spoke to four other transfers to offer advice if you’re considering transferring to the Junior League of Nashville. 

Amanda Watkins, Active: 10 Years (4 years in JLN), Transfer from the Junior League of Birmingham

Q: What advice would you give to someone who is transfering to JLN?

A: Jump in with both feet! After transferring multiple times in my League experience, I can honestly say that what you put into the League directly affects what you receive from it. 

Q: How did you get more involved in JLN? 

A: I knew from prior League experience that the best way to get to know a League is through an in-League placement. It’s always fascinating to me to see exactly how it works “behind the scenes” and meet the women who drive the effort. Working on an in-League committee guarantees you that look inside and provides a great way to meet and get to know women on a deeper level. In my prior League, I served on the MARCOM and Training committees. I knew here in Nashville I wanted to experience something a bit different so I chose placements in the Development and Operations council. I have never been disappointed in a placement!

Q: Being a chair within JLN, what do you recommend for transfers who may want to get more involved in Leadership? A: Self-nominating and speaking up is so important! If you have any interest in a position or type of committee involvement (even just an inkling) then speak up! I have found in a League the size of Nashville there are so many wonderful women who are all capable of amazing things. It is very difficult for the nominating committee, Management Team or Board to read all of our minds. 🤪 Tell someone about the thoughts you have, even if they are little, because they can always connect you with women to talk things through. I ended up in my current placement because I said to someone: “I want to be involved and I want to do something different. Something that will stretch me a bit.” The chain of events that followed connected me with several people and after conversations with each of them, I had my choice between 3 positions on very different committees. 

Q: Which committees do you recommend transfers participate in if they’d like to understand more about JLN? 

A: Again, I think any in-League committee will give you a glimpse into the working parts of our League. You will realize that it is driven by awesome women who are passionate about the League and the work we are doing. It’s an impressive operation, especially considering it’s mostly driven by our volunteer hours. 

Q: What’s been your favorite memory at JLN? 

A: My favorite memory was Spring Soiree at War Memorial Auditorium in 2018. It was my first placement within the Fund Development committee and I learned a lot! I had never been in a fund development committee so learning about the work behind Spring Soiree was eye opening and awesome. Celebrating that night after our hard work was so fun!

Q: What’s a must-attend event JLN does that you’d recommend transfers attend? 

A: As a transfer, many of the large events in our League can be overwhelming. Take the opportunity to attend smaller events. Affinity groups, in home meetings, socials, and social times prior to General Membership Meetings! Let someone know you are a transfer. It is truly the easiest way to start a conversation. They will want to know where from, what brought you here, and more. Let them know what you loved about your prior League so you can find something similar. Or let them know if you are looking for a change of pace so you can find something totally different!

Emily Hagerman, Active: 4 Years (2.5 years in JLN), Transfer from the Junior League of Los Angeles 

Q: What are two big differences you’ve seen between the League’s you’ve been a part of?

A: The two big differences between JLLA and JLN is the organizational structure – the Board, Management teams, and committees are different. JLLA has positions in leadership and programs that don’t exist in JLN and vice-versa. Secondly, because the communities and population are different, the focuses aren’t the same. JLLA puts a lot of emphasis on public policy and training/development.

Q: What advice would you give to someone who is transferring to JLN?

A: Be open! What you put into it, you will get out of it. I’d also say to explore out of your comfort zone and engage with as many different levels of members as possible. Networking in the league is a huge benefit!

Q: How did you get more involved in JLN?

A: I met some of my best friends through the League, so it was very easy for me to stay engaged. My transfer group and other ladies I met would all link up before or after meetings for dinner, happy hours, or attend membership experience events together. In LA, I served in a leadership position, so it was a natural fit to pursue leadership roles within JLN.  Also, it helps that I’m a legacy and my mom was very active and served as President when I was a child!

Q:  Being a chair within JLN, what do you recommend for transfers who may want to get more involved in Leadership?

A: JLN is the safest place to fail! We are a training organization – the purpose is to try new things and explore different positions. It’s not meant to be a one-size fits all organization — it’s a place where we meet our members where they are. It’s also important to be mindful of your own commitments and where you are in your life/career. I think if you analyze the reasons why you joined, focus on those, and the rest will fall into place.  My advice would be to find a placement that works best for you, your job, and family.

Q: Which committees do you recommend transfers participate in if they’d like to understand more about JLN?

A: Membership and Community!

Q: What’s been your favorite memory at JLN?

A: I have too many to count! Spring Soiree in 2018 was one of my favorites! My closets gal pals attended together, and it was also the day I ran the marathon! It was a BIG day! My second favorite was meeting my provisional group for the first time. I loved, loved, loved being a Provisional Advisor.

Q: What’s a must-attend event JLN does that you’d recommend transfers attend? 

A: I’d say a very valuable and rewarding event to attend is the Members in Motion. It’s such a fun day and you really get a first-hand look into all the amazing work we are doing within the Nashville community. It truly encompasses why we do what we do!

Q: Any other advice/thoughts?

A: Welcome and we’re so happy to have you in our league! Most importantly, have fun!

Sonia Jennings Boss, Active: 5 Years (3 years in JLN), Transfer from the Junior League of Murfreesboro

Q: What are two big differences you’ve seen between the League’s you’ve been a part of?

A: JLM is a smaller League so I felt like I knew more people. On the other hand, with JLN, it’s fun to meet new people every time we have an event. 2.  LEADERSHIP! I continue to be impressed at the sheer amount of opportunities for growth. I don’t feel micromanaged, and I feel free to lead ladies to make our event their event.

Q: What advice would you give to someone who is transferring to JLN?  

A: Jump in! I didn’t get what I wanted from the organization until I put myself out there and allowed myself to step out of my comfort zone. And, guess what? It wasn’t scary! I’ve met some incredible women who I now call friends.

Q: How did you get more involved in JLN? 

A: After being on the End Slavery TN committee for a year, I was asked to consider taking a leadership role. I was hesitant, but it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Q: Being a chair within JLN, what do you recommend for transfers who may want to get more involved in Leadership? 

A: I think leadership skills can definitely be learned so participate in all you can to find what you enjoy. When you find an area of JLN that you love, it will never seem like work.

Q: Which committees do you recommend transfers participate in if they’d like to understand more about JLN? 

A: Done in a Day gives you exposure to lots of partner agencies. Also, I think social events are excellent for learning about JLN. I can always strike up a conversation with someone I’ve never met and ask them to tell me more about what they do in the League.

Q: What’s been your favorite memory at JLN?  

A: All Booked Up last year. Our committee worked so hard to make it all come together. A little boy was SO excited to receive so many books that he exclaimed, “This is JUST like Christmas!!!” It made all of the hard work worth it.

Q: What’s a must-attend event JLN does that you’d recommend transfers attend?

A: I really enjoy Members in Motion. It’s a great way to give back then enjoy some good food and fellowship with fellow JL members.

Q: Any other advice/thoughts?  

A: Being transparent, I struggled to find my niche in JLN. I thought maybe it was too big for me as I came from a smaller League. Now, I LOVE it. I can’t imagine a better League, and I look forward to getting together with fellow JLN members at every opportunity.

Cara Deese, Active: 5 Active, Transfer from the Junior League of Tampa

Q: What are two big differences you’ve seen between the League’s you’ve been a part of?

A: Nashville is so much more welcoming and inviting. I feel like the southern culture plays into the feel of the membership. JLN is more open to any woman creating their own path for leadership or any JLN career.

Q: What advice would you give to someone who is transferring to JLN?  

A:  Be open. We are in to a bit of everything. Our focus areas include human trafficking, childhood obesity, and childhood literacy. We raise a lot of funds to fully support our community with great fundraisers. Jump in and be open.

Q: How did you get more involved in JLN? 

A: I just jumped. I served on Needs of Nashville and DIAD to really get to know the Nashville community during my first year here. Served at a Project Chair and then just jumped up in the VP of Community. I’ve been fortunate to be with some amazing women that have led the way on past committees and that encourages me to go for it.

Q: Being a chair within JLN, what do you recommend for transfers who may want to get more involved in Leadership? 

A: I would definitely “nerd out” and review the placement guide over and over to find out exactly what a project does within the league. Ask around to others where their favorite placement has been in the past. Talk to the project chairs, management team, and board to see what their jobs entail. I think you need personal skills for sure because if you can’t motivate anyone to work with you, it’ll be a long year. Time management because no one is getting paid for this and you have to be able to manage personal and volunteer without getting stressed. Most importantly have integrity, own your gifts, your mistakes, do what you say, and be committed – it sure makes the JLN world go round a bit more fun when everyone has the best intentions and putting their best foot forward.

Q: Which committees do you recommend transfers participate in if they’d like to understand more about JLN? 

A: I loved Needs of Nashville and Done in a Day because they showed the city and what we are doing within the city. I think going around to committees in different “councils” is helpful to anyone new to the JLN to really show you the bigger picture of who we are. We have so many agencies in the community that we are working with to help women and children that it’s hard to pick one that you won’t fall in love with. Find your needs and match them in the placement guide and with others’ experiences to find your best fit. We generally have the greatest growth when we aren’t where we want to be and still push through.

Q: What’s been your favorite memory at JLN?  

A: All the women that I have met, but my all-time favorite is the experiences that I have had meeting those in law enforcement and boots on the ground fighting human trafficking here in TN. I would never have had those experiences if it wasn’t through the league.

Q: What’s a must-attend event JLN does that you’d recommend transfers attend?

A: I love our Soiree! It’s just such a fun night to get dressed up and bring a friend. It raises money that goes right out to the people we serve, and it’s an excellent way to get other’s interested in being apart of something big.

Q: Any other advice/thoughts?  

A: I look back and see all the great experiences I have had through JLN and all the wonderful women I have met thus far. I am excited about my future and happy to bring anyone along with me!! Jump on the train!!

Any way you look at it, Junior League of Nashville has some great opportunities to grow your personal skills, leadership skills, and new friendships. If you are looking at joining the Junior League of Nashville from another League, we can’t recommend it enough.

Any way you look at it, Junior League of Nashville has some great opportunities to grow your personal skills, leadership skills, and new friendships. If you are looking at joining the Junior League of Nashville from another League, we can’t recommend it enough. 

Thinking about transferring to the JLN? To initiate a transfer, please contact your current League to request a transfer. Once your transfer has been initiated by your current League, you’ll receive transfer information from our Membership Services Coordinator. If you have any questions, please email Rebecca Fitzpatrick, JLN Membership and Development Services Coordinator at rfitzpatrick@jlnashville.org. We can’t wait to have you!

If you would like to work with us on a blog post or are a member with a blog post idea, please email our Publications chair at jlnpublications@gmail.com

Author: Dallas Jessup, Publications Chair ‘19-20