What’s in a Junior League of Nashville EVP Role? Allie Reed shares her insights

posted on

Our League — Junior League of Nashville (“JLN”) — is comprised of over 1,400 women who work together to grow the talent of our members and truly work together to understand and solve problems currently facing our local community through volunteer projects and grants.

As an organization almost entirely comprised of volunteer leaders (with the exception of our Executive Director and our Membership & Development Services Coordinator), it’s extremely important to have members in Leadership who are executing on our vision to make our volunteer force more effective and improve the experience.

One of these treasured positions is our Executive Vice President (“EVP”). The EVP position is unique in that it plays a role both in governance and management. Our EVP supports the Management Team (which is made up of the Council VPs), as well as all committee chairs. EVPs work across the entire league to ensure we are all aligned to execute on our plan for the year.

The EVP also sits on the Board of Directors, which means she gets to be a part of more long-term, strategic discussions in addition to serving as a representative of the Management Team and Council chairs. In order to make sure the league is executing on its strategic plan, the President and EVP work closely together throughout the year. The role requires a significant time commitment and requires having a broad understanding of how the League works.

Allison “Allie” Reed currently serves as Junior League of Nashville’s 2019-2020 Executive Vice President. Allie moved to Nashville 16 years ago to attend Vanderbilt University, and loved it so much she decided to build her life here. Professionally, she’s held many titles, but the role is always the same – identify the big problems, then figure out how to work with broad teams to address them. “I firmly believe that everything is figure-out-able and love a challenge”. Allie and her husband Sam and celebrated their 10th anniversary in October and are the proud parents to Alexander (6 months) and their dog, Lily, who is..still adapting to her new little brother. 

With a new baby, full time job as the Director of Corporate Development at Tivity Health, and senior leadership position in JLN, Allie truly embodies the JLN spirit with great leadership skills and a can-do attitude. Below Allie has shared some of her favorite memories of JLN, what it takes to be a leader (and thus contributor) to our League and some personal stories. Allie plays such a vital role in our League and we can’t thank her enough for taking on the herculean responsibility of EVP.

Allie Reed with her husband, Sam, and their son, Alexander.

Q: How did you hear about, and what inspired you to join the Junior League of Nashville?

Allie: Before joining the JLN, I was working for a consulting company that required 100% travel. This was not very sustainable personally, or professionally. After finding a more “normal” job that kept me home in Nashville (and allowed me to have more personal time), I was looking for a way to become more active in my community, and just as importantly, make friends. JLN has introduced me to some of the most accomplished, creative, kind, and engaged women and I am proud to be a member!

Q: What is the role of a JLN EVP? How do you feel this changes year over year and what are you hoping to accomplish before the end of your term? How do EVPs get elected?

Allie: The EVP is responsible for working with the VPs and committee chairs to ensure that our year is successful. Each year, the EVP might bring a slightly different approach to what this could look like, but our role as a coach, problem-solver, and sounding board stays the same. By the end of the year, as a team, we will have executed successful fundraisers, completed meaningful community outreach, and continued to develop the potential of our members through unique training opportunities and experiences.

EVPs are “elected” by submitting an application to serve. The Nominating Committee oversees this process, conducts interviews, and then presents a leadership slate that the membership votes on (you may remember doing this at the November GMM).

Merchandise: Selling JLN swag before a GMM

Q: What has been the most rewarding part of being EVP?

Allie: Hands down, getting to know more women in the League. I will never stop being inspired by how league members pour themselves into our mission of developing the potential of women. You can see that in the work we do for our community partners, the way we support our membership through training opportunities and leadership development, and how we take care of one another.

As a personal example, my son was born prematurely the morning after the July Joint Council meeting. Women in the league visited me in the hospital, brought me and my husband meals, and helped keep us going during a very scary time. Alex was in the NICU at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt for 24 days, and it made me so proud to be a part of an organization that helped establish the home that became MCJCHV (and I never tire of pointing out the JLN sign in the lobby!). 

Q: What has been the most challenging part of being EVP?

Allie: There are so many moving parts in the league, and it is hard to be as in the details as I would truly like to be. The Management Team (Cara Deese, Kristy Brink, Claudia Byers, Meredith Eason, and Emerald Mitchell) and my incredible EVP-elect, Jenna Watson make it look easy because they are so engaged with their teams. Cara, Kristy, Claudia, Meredith, Emerald, and Jenna, thank you all for everything you do to keep the League moving forward!!

Additionally, I am so grateful to our President, Nahed Zehr, for her support and absolute willingness to jump in when needed!

Q: You oversee the management team (all the Council VPs), what areas have you been focusing on for 2019-2020?

Allie: From a management team perspective, we’ve been focusing on an annual plan that helps ensure we continue the work originally started by our founders, which is developing the potential of women and promoting voluntarism. 

At the Council level, the management team and I have focused very specifically on a few areas: ensuring our committee chairs receive training to develop their financial acumen, broadening everyone’s awareness of how each council operates, and working with each VP and council to establish communication norms so that when something doesn’t go according to plan, we have the skills and relationships to address the issue in a productive manner. I hope that all league members take a moment to recognize that (with the exception of Rebecca and Amy!) we are ALL volunteers and remember to give each other grace if we fall short. I know I need that grace from time to time!  

Q: In what ways do you find yourself utilizing the knowledge and skill sets you’ve learned in JLN at work, and/or in your personal life?

Allie: JLN training has helped me to become a more effective public speaker, which I definitely use at work. I wouldn’t say that it’s helped me conquer my fear of public speaking, but I have gotten a lot more comfortable! Also, the financial training and personality/group dynamics trainings I’ve had access to through Junior League have been incredibly informative and helpful, professionally and personally.

2014 JLN YLC class. You might be able to spy some of our other current JLN leaders- EVP elect Jenna Watson, VP of Community Meredith Eason, and VP-elect Operations Samantha Yeargin, in addition to several other chairs!

Q: You’ve had various placements from mentor/mentee to Renewal House, to chairing Merchandising, Annual Fund, Awards and Recognition, what lead you to want to be the EVP?

Allie: I’ve jumped into placements from different areas and have learned about many of the components that come together to make JLN. I thought EVP would be an exciting placement because I loved the learning aspect of getting to work across so many teams and see the results we can achieve together. I’d like to put in a plug for the Mentor program- it is such a great way to learn from other women in the league and get to understand how we all work together.

Renewal House: Halloween with the kids at Renewal House.

Q: Aside from EVP, what’s been your favorite placement in the League and why?

Allie: Awards and Recognition was a really fun placement because I learned so much about the incredible women in our league. In addition to helping nominees apply for AJLI and other community service awards, it was fun to help women celebrate their accomplishments, both in league, and in life- such as recognizing promotions, degrees earned, new homes purchased, engagements, marriages, and babies!

MARCOM: The 2017-18 MARCOM Team

Q: What advice do you have for any League member considering serving as an EVP in the future?

Allie: If you are interested in serving as EVP, I’d recommend reaching out to a former EVP to learn more about the exciting and challenging nature of the job. You should consider what you are looking for in a placement, and what you enjoy doing. If you like to work closely with and coach others, have strong organization and communication skills, and know how the league functions, this may be the role for you! It also means you’ll be busy every Tuesday night for nearly 2 years (that includes the elect year), so be sure to factor that into your considerations!

Q: Do you have any New Year’s resolutions for 2020?

Allie: My New Year’s resolution, quite simply, is to be kinder to myself.

Q: What book or TV show are you currently obsessed with?

Allie: I have a major obsession with period dramas and was thrilled when season 3 of The Crown was released!

Ops Council: The 2016-17 Operations Team

Think you might want to serve in a board or management position one day? We can’t encourage you enough to chair a committee and seek out opportunities to grow your leadership skills within the League – the opportunities are endless.

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: Alexa L. Barnett, Publications Committee Member ‘19’20