As the 12 inches of snow finally melted away in Durham and Chapel Hill, a trip to Southern California could not come soon enough. As your President-Elect (PE) and President-Elect Elect (PEE — yes, that is a thing), we departed January 25 for the annual Association of Junior Leagues International (AJLI) Winter Leadership Conference. This year’s theme Disrupting Convention challenged us to think outside the box on topics ranging from diversity to community engagement to our own leadership style.
We joined Junior League leaders from across the country (including a great NC contingent, see photo below) for three days of workshops, training and information sharing. We were grouped with attendees preparing for our same roles in leagues of similar size. Being organized this way, gave us three key insights on our League:
- The JLDOC is already disrupting convention. We are one of a handful of leagues that has adopted both the Voice & Choice Membership Model (offering flexibility and choice for our members) and the Issues-based Community Impact Model — the 3-year process that lead to the selection of Access to Healthy Food as our impact area and Farmer Foodshare as our main community partner.
- The JLDOC is diverse. Compared to AJLI’s combined national statistics, our membership is more diverse in race, education and age.
- The JLDOC has an awesome headquarters. Junior Leaguers from across NC have visited the Hill House and they love it! Just so you know, some leagues meet in office buildings – yikes. We should be proud of our HQ and the rich JLDOC history it represents.
More than anything, we gained insight and leadership skills to bring back to the JLDOC to help us continue to fulfill our mission to develop the potential of women, improve our community and promote volunteerism as a whole. We hope to leverage these learnings as we meet new opportunities and challenges in the coming years. Here are our favorites nuggets:
- Focus on being mission-driven, member-centric
- Mean what you say, say what you mean
- Always assume good intent
- If it is your decision to make, make it
We believe if all members following these simple mantras, we will have another 80+ years of impact! We are thrilled to be your incoming leaders for the JLDOC and the AJLI Winter Conference continued to anchor that sentiment. Attending conferences like this one, ODI (Organizational Development Institute) and others are opportunities for our members and we hope you will consider participating. All you need to do is let a current JLDOC leader know you would be interested. If you do not know our Board of Directors, you can see a list here.
Now, whether you’re planning Diamond Ball, organizing Extra Hands, planning the #METOO event, a Provisional, a Sustainer, a board member, a new member — no matter your role, it is important to keep disrupting convention!
Catherine Lunger Jane Yarbrough
President-Elect Vice President, Communications
JLDOC President-Elect Elect