Before Joining a Guild: Ask Yourself These Questions

A guild is an association of people for mutual aid or the pursuit of a common goal. Most nonprofit organizations have a guild made up of volunteers who support the organization through volunteering, fundraising and generating awareness for the organization. Each organization’s guild has their own set of rules, terms and responsibilities. Chances are, if you are the type of person who performs well in the professional world or is a strong community volunteer you may be approached to join a guild. It is an honor to be thought of and invited. Guilds and board are fantastic ways to support organizations within your community and become a more well-rounded individual through service and development. But before you join, consider asking a few questions. We asked League members and one of our sustainers to suggests questions.
League member Katie Triplett looks to understand if joining a guild is going to result in a mutually beneficial relationship for both her and the organization. “In many cases the guild position is just like a job, you want to ensure it’s the right fit for both the potential member and the guild,” says Katie.
  • Does my skill set match what the guild is looking for in their members?
  • Will my experiences be of benefit to the guild?
Because each guild is different, you’ll find that some groups are very structured with clear roles and responsibilities while others are organized in a more casual fashion.  It’s helpful to know this before making a decision.
  • What is the organizational structure of the guild?
Defining clear expectations before joining a guild is also important. “I like to ensure I’m am working alongside a group of volunteers who all are on the same page in terms of commitment of time and resources,” says Katie.
  • What is the level of engagement of guild members and what will the expectations be?
League member Angela Kros Cutler also focuses on logistics before she commits to adding something to her already busy schedule. She is interested in understanding expectations but also the requirements for the position.
  • Do I have time to contribute at the level that is expected with my other obligations to family/work/organizations?
  • Will there be program volunteer opportunities?
  • Is the guild expected to fundraise?
  • Is there a fun/social aspect?
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Sustaining member of the League, Kate Schafer, asks direct questions about financial commitment of the organization and philosophical questions of herself when evaluating her involvement. “Ask specifically about the financial requirements. Some guilds ask for more than others and there’s nothing wrong with considering your budget. In terms of being passionate, there are so many guilds you can join, don’t join a guild if you don’t believe in the cause,” says Kate.
  • How much should I expect to contribute financially by paying dues, making donations, funding events?
  • Am I passionate about this organization or cause?
  • Will I enjoy the work this organization is doing?
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And you have several offers on the table, League member Ashley Hall offers advise about widening your circle. “Sometimes if I’m split between two choices, I may choose the one where I’ll get to work with a whole new group of amazing people and learn from them,” says Ashley.

15 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Starting Your Own Business

15 Questions to Ask Yourself before Starting a Business

The Junior League of Omaha is proud of its many members who are successful business owners.

15 Questions to Ask Yourself - Starting a Business

These women serve as great role models and networking connections to our community’s future entrepreneurs, and are always willing to support the League. We asked business owners in the League, “What are the most important questions to ask yourself before starting a business?,” and they provided us with great food for thought.

Self Discovery

  1. Do I love what I do?
  2. Is my business idea really just a hobby?
  3. Is there a need for my product or service?
  4. Am I willing to fail to learn?
  5. Can I be patient with growth and success?
  6. Do I believe in my business?


  1. Do I have a business plan?
  2. Does the business plan accurately detail how the business will make money?
  3. Do I want a business partner and go solo?
  4. Do I need start-up money? If so, where do I get?

“Do you have plenty of money to start with? You can definitely do it on a budget but you want to make sure not to skip certain steps because you don’t have the start up cash.  Find investors, look in to small business loans, etc.  You never want to start in the red – it will lead to always needing to catch up,” says Chaley Chandler, Junior League of Omaha president-elect and local clothing boutique owner.

  1. What type of legal work, state filings do I need to complete?
  2. Do you have an accountant and an attorney?

“The first year I was in business, I did all my own book keeping.  However, I realized very quickly that that was not what I should spend my time on.  Same with an attorney – it just makes it easier if you already have someone lined up and that you trust,” says Chaley.

Work-Life Integration

  1. Am I ready to dive in with both feet and do WHATEVER needs to be done?

“You need to be prepared to do everything from cleaning the toilets to hiring and firing employees to customer service to cleaning the windows. Just because you want to own a boutique, doesn’t mean that you will only be going on glamorous buying trips – you will be doing literally everything even if you have employees – employees do not own your business and do not notice things that need to be done like you will,” Chaley advises.

Chaley Chandler attends a market event to purchase clothing items for her boutique.
Chaley Chandler attends a market event to purchase clothing items for her boutique.

14. How to manage business and family time?
15. Are you willing to eat, sleep and breathe your business?

“In order for a small business to succeed, you will have to literally live your business – at least for the first few years or usually more.  You need to be prepared for it be all consuming – it will keep you up all night!  There is always, always something to do, something to change and something to think about.  You really have to be all in,” says Chaley.

In addition to Chaley Chandler we would also like to thank Lexie Frahm, Julie Hockney and Melissa Hegarty for their help in compiling this list of questions.

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Why did you join the Junior League?

Connie Spellman and I were sorority sisters in the same pledge class and I have always admired her leadership qualities.  Carol Lowe and I met on Mayor Mike Boyle’s Omaha Bicentennial Committee.  She also was a very impressive board member.  Both women were active in the JLO and I wished I could be a part of it.

Tell us about your family?

My husband Steve is a retired Pathologist from Methodist Hospital.  We have 3 children and 6 grandchildren.  Our oldest daughter is Kristy and her husband is Chip Burkle.  They are Iowa State Grads and live in Altoona IA.  Kristy is an elementary school art teacher and they have 2 boys, Sam 15 and Henri 13.  Our other daughter, Kathy, and her husband Rurik Lubinski live in Parker CO.  Kathy is a math major graduate from NC State in Raleigh NC and is temporarily on leave from Northrop Grumman to be a “stay at home mom”.  They have 2 children Asher 6 and Clara 3.  Our son Peter lives in Omaha.  His wife Rina grew up in Costa Rica and they met there when Peter was on a study abroad program.  He was a Spanish major at U. of Missouri and now works for Iowa Health & Human Services.  They have 2 children Jade 5 and Liam 2.

Kathy, Kristy, Nancy, Steve and Peter
Kathy, Kristy, Nancy, Steve and Peter


We have had 1 cocker spaniel and 2 golden retrievers.  The best was Barley, our last dog, and he was a rescue dog.  The only dog that came back when you called him!


I was born in Sioux City IA but grew up in Lincoln NE


University of Nebraska – with majors in Microbiology and Medical Technology


Alpha Omicron Pi


I worked 5 years at the old Lutheran Hospital as a Medical Technologist, primarily in the Blood Bank.

Much later, I worked for the Archdiocese of Omaha as a co-director of the Children’s Scholarship Fund.

What was your favorite placement and why?

Actually, several were favorites in different ways.  My first placement was working on the Parent Assistance Line.  The training was great when you were a parent of small children.  I enjoyed being the chairman of the Public Affairs committee and a registered lobbyist for the JLO.  The AJLI training as President-Elect of the JLO was awesome and being the President was FUN.

What do you see as one of the biggest turning points in your life?

Marriage to a wonderful husband and children are definite turning points.  Becoming a member of the JLO and all of the training that is available to become better volunteers and leaders in our community is at the top of the list too.

What are your favorite restaurant(s) in Omaha?

Le Voltaire

What other organizations are you affiliated with?

Only Hattie B Monroe Foundation Board and Methodist Hospital Foundation Board now but in the past I have served on the Boards of Family Service (Heartland Family Service), Uta Halee, Camp Fire (Completely Kids), YWCA (Women’s  Center for  Advancement) , Methodist Hospital VIP’s, Friends of Children’s Hospital, Symphony Guild Board, Symphony Deb Ball, Ak-Sar-Ben Women’s Ball committee.

What is your favorite song?

“What a Wonderful World” sung by Louie Armstrong

What is your favorite thing to do on a day off?

Since we are retired, every day is a day off!  In the winter we live in a retirement community in the Phoenix area so I like to golf, quilt, knit, crochet, needlepoint and do counted cross-stitch.

What is your favorite book or the last good book you read?

The last two I have read and really liked are: “God’s Hotel” by Victoria Sweet and “Boys in the Boat” by Daniel James Brown.  I also really like Jan Karron’s Mitford Series books.

What is your favorite all-time movie?

The Sound of Music

What is your favorite television show?

Downton Abbey

What is the most unique or interesting thing about you that most people probably don’t know?

Learning to play the cello has been on my “bucket list” so a couple of years ago, Steve surprised me with a rented cello and lessons with Margaret Lim, who plays with the Omaha Symphony.  It’s harder than it looks!  But I do enjoy it and Margaret is very patient!

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If you could choose anyone, who would you pick as your mentor?

Pete Tulipana, the former CEO of Family Service

What is one of your favorite quotes?

“Don’t sweat the small stuff”

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Why did you join the Junior League? I wanted to work alongside women who were passionate about leadership and become more involved in projects within the Omaha community!

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Tell us about your family? I married Brett on May 30, 2015

Pets: None yet but we’re moving into a house in May and a yellow lab is up for discussion.

Hometown: Bellevue, NE

College: University of Nebraska at Omaha for undergrad and University of Nebraska-Lincoln for grad. school

Sorority: Chi Omega

Job/Business: Outreach and volunteer development manager at Girl Scouts Spirit of Nebraska. I went from a girl member to adult volunteer to joining their staff in 2011.

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Junior League Shop at Children’s Hospital


Junior League members working in the Hospitality Shop at Children’s Memorial Hospital. The League founded the shop in 1948, giving all proceeds to the hospital. In 1956, they turned the shop over to the Friends of Children’s Hospital Guild.

Reprinted with permission from the Omaha World-Herald. This photo was part of the history in the 2006 Toast to Omaha A Cookbook Presented by the Junior League of Omaha.

Omaha Gives – A 24 Hour Celebration of Community!

Spring has sprung! As with each passing season we take time to reflect on the past and to put new (or revised) goals towards the future. Whether it is personal, professional, or both, we look to not only better ourselves but our community. With Omaha Gives coming up May 20th, this is no exception. We are excited to participate this year and we’re asking for your help! We have never hesitated to step up and meet our community needs – through our own projects!

Connecting with Community - Omaha Gives

Book of My Own – collect, sort and distribute new and gently used books to at-risk children ages 0-14.

Project Hope Pack – partner with local child advocacy agencies, homeless shelters, community development agencies and churches that play a role in moving children out of crisis situations. Our Packs include items to cover a 3-5 day transition period, easing trauma and providing some comfort for a child as they move to a safe, yet unfamiliar, environment.

Career Development Series – provide several seminars (per year) which are aimed in helping women, community-wide, learn leadership and management skills to reach their goals.

Done-In-A-Day – a series of concentrated projects that offer volunteers for community-based placements on a short term basis.

Because you believe in the Junior League of Omaha, you make this possible. Your gifts allow our projects to succeed and we couldn’t do it without you. Please consider Junior League during this 24 hour fundraising event, schedule your gift today or donate on May 20th!

Tips for running in high heels

Picture running a race. In heels.

For the participants who sign up for the Junior League of Omaha’s 5th Annual High Heel Dash on May 7th, this is the reality.

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High Heel Dash is a fundraiser with event proceeds set to benefit the League’s community projects: The Career Development Series, Project Hope Pack, Done–in-a-Day, and A Book of My Own.

Women and Men are asked to run a 50-yard dash in heels that must be at least 2 inches high.  The race is open to anyone age 19 or older with those registered in the Boomers & Beyond category being allowed to run in flats.  Dashers can compete as an individual or in a four-person relay team.

Costumes are encouraged and prizes will be awarded in a variety of categories with top awards going to dash winners and creative costumes.  Want to attend with feet firmly in place? Community supporters can purchase a Diva/Dude Doesn’t Dash drink ticket for happy hour only.

The dash will be run at Turner Park, located in the heart of Midtown Crossing. Dashers will have the ability to run in a closed course.  For those who find running a challenge while wearing sneakers, this race can be particularly hazardous. Therefore the High Heel Dash Committee has put together several tips to offer before Thursday:

  1. Wedges offer more stability than stilettos.

  2. Non-slip stickers added to the bottom of shoes can increase traction.

  3. Safety over speed.

  4. Running in a heel can put more pressure on knees – a neoprene sleeve could help decrease pressure on the kneecaps.

  5. Utilize some type of ankle support – whether it’s a wrap or lace up support.

  6. Scan the course – watch for gravel and be aware of where your feet are hitting the ground as you run.

  7. Stretch – focus on your Achilles tendon and hamstrings.

  8. Heels must be at least 2 inches high but we recommend sticking with heels no higher than 2.5 inches.

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If you go:

Junior League of Omaha 5th Annual High Heel Dash will be held at Midtown Crossing on May 7.

Event registration begins at 5:30 PM with the first Dash starting at 6:15 PM.  Immediately following the Dash, an event happy hour will be held at Brix.

Pre-Register at  A t-shirt will be given to the first 75 registrations. Day of registrations will also be available.


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Congratulations to Mary Lynn as a 2015 Junior League of Omaha Sustainer Hall of Fame award winner.

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Tell us about your family?
Husband Dick, two grown children, Todd Reiser and Sally Christensen, 5 grandchildren, Tyler, Nate, Luke Christensen, Caroline and Courtney Reiser

Pets: mixed breed hound, Cisco

Hometown: Lincoln, NE

College: UNL and UNO

Sorority: Alpha Phi

Job/Business: Director, UNO Center for Economic Education

What do you see as one of the biggest turning points in your life?
Serving as JLO President which led me in a entirely new career direction as an administrator at UNO.

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Tell us about your family? Husband, Mike.

Pets: Sage, 6 year old English Setter

Hometown: Mapleton, Iowa

College: Undergrad: Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa, Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine: Iowa State University

Job/Business:  Associate veterinarian at: Animal Clinic of Council Bluffs and Glenwood Veterinary Clinic

What are your favorite restaurant(s) in Omaha? Twisted Fork, M’s Pub, Wheatfield’s

What other organizations are you affiliated with? Rotary Club in Council Bluffs  Continue reading “Connecting with …”

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Why did you join the Junior League? To become more active in the Omaha community and meet new people!

Tell us about your family?  I’m very close to my family! It would be weird if I didn’t talk to them every day. I have one older sister and a 12 year old nephew that I adore!

Pets: One cat named Lucy.

Hometown: Omaha

College: University of Nebraska @ Omaha

Job/Business: Operations Manager at ACCESSbank

What was your favorite placement and why? This is my first active year and I’ve loved my placement as the Distribution Coordinator for Project Hope Pack!  With this role I’ve been able to see the impact that providing backpacks has to the different agencies.  They are always so appreciative and thankful.

What is your favorite thing about living in Omaha?  There is always something fun to do!

What is your favorite song? I love anything by Eric Church.  I’ve lost track of how many of his concerts I’ve been to!

What is your favorite thing to do on a day off? Catch up on reading or watch Netflix.  

What is your favorite season and why? I love everything about fall: football, bonfires, pumpkin carving!

If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go? I’d love to take a month or two off work and just travel and see where I end up.  My list of places I want to visit is very long!

What is one of your favorite quotes? One person can make a difference and everyone should try—John F Kennedy