Did you know that Sustaining Members make up almost 60% of The Junior League of Omaha’s total membership of 682 members? Sustainers are the true backbone of our organization, providing support in a variety of ways. Whether it is offering advice and guidance to the Board, financially supporting a fundraiser, or training a group of members on a professional or personal skill, Sustainer support is an integral piece of JLO’s ongoing success.
One of the strategic priorities going into the 2020-2021 League year is to provide additional quality opportunities for Sustaining members to connect with the organization and with each other. We know this membership group is looking for unique and varying ways to engage, including through mentoring, community service, socials, providing guidance and advice, and training.
Sustainers spoke… and we listened! The Junior League of Omaha has formed a NEW group to prioritize these efforts. The Sustainer Engagement Committee (SEC) will sit on the Management Team and be responsible for planning and implementing engagement opportunities. The committee leaders will collaborate closely with the president and Management Team to bridge the gap between New and Active Members and Sustainers. Current Board Member-at-Large Lisa Buckentine was selected this month to serve as chair for 2020-2021. Lisa is excited for next year and says, “We have so many wonderful Sustainers looking to engage more with our Active and New Members. I believe that this committee can provide opportunities for more Sustainers to share their thoughts, talents and time with the League!”
Stay tuned for more exciting news about Sustainer engagement!
Learn more about Ashley Rich, Corresponding Secretary
Ashley is originally from Milwaukee, WI, and moved to Omaha 12 years ago. She joined the League a few years after moving here, because she has always had an interest in volunteering and was looking for a way to meet new friends.
Rich’s and her husband Brandon have been married for six years and together for 14. Growing up, Ashley competed in pageants and met Brandon 16 years ago because of it. They became friends as they both worked for the pageant and dated long distance while they finished college before Ashley moved to Omaha.
Being active is one of Ashley’s passions. She teaches Pure Barre classes and also loves indoor cycling and running. She has run seven half marathons and one full marathon.
Traveling is one of Ashley and her husband’s favorite things to do. Their favorite place to travel to is St. Maarten, but some of their favorite things that they have done on vacation were attending the French Open in Paris and hiking in Cinque Terre.
Besides Ashley and her husband, they have a three year-old son named Preston who loves swimming, reading and playing with trains. Back in November they welcomed their second baby boy, Fordham Haskell. On the weekends you can find they playing at the park or museum. They also have two maltipoos, Giavanna and Madison.
Roses are red, Violets are blue, February was busy, And lots of fun, too!
As I mentioned last month, the League has many resolutions and goals for 2020. The Strategic Task Force, led by President-Elect Katie Triplett, met in February to finalize the draft of the 2020-2023 Strategic Plan. We are very excited about the new things coming for our League! Once the plan is approved, we will be sure to share it with all of our members.
Restructuring took place in February, thanks to the help of Placement Chair Jen Teusink. We have many exciting placements for Active Members next year! We are also excited to announce the approval of the Sustainer Engagement Committee, which will gear up this spring and provide opportunities for Sustainers all year long. This committee will sit on the Management Team and will be chaired by current Member-at-Large Lisa Buckentine.
A huge thank you goes to Corresponding Secretary Ashley Rich for the support during this busy time of year as we begin to wrap up 2019-2020 and prepare for 2020-2021. If you have not yet paid your dues, or want to learn more about your membership options, please reach out directly to Ashley at email@example.com. She can also assist you with payment options and payment plans as well.
Speaking of membership options, New Member recruitment is up and running! We hope you will consider spreading the word to any potential New Members! Informational sessions will take place this spring. New Member Committee Vice Chair Courtney Kastalic is eager to welcome another group of amazing leaders to our community. If you have someone you would like us to connect with, please send her name to firstname.lastname@example.org!
In hopes to communicate with our growing membership, President-Elect Katie Triplett and I will be hosting informal conversations this spring as well. Please join us at one of the following “Convo’s with Katie and Kerri” to provide feedback, bring suggestions and ask questions. RSVP on Digital Cheetah: Thursday, March 26 – 5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m., HQ and Tuesday, April 14 – post GMM, Field Club of Omaha. As we move out of the cold month of February and into the (hopefully) warmer spring weather, don’t forget to set aside your donations for Bargain Bash from spring cleaning! The committee would greatly appreciate marking the bags/boxes of items as specifically as possible.
The Junior League of Omaha wrapped up the year and the decade with the announcement of an exciting new focus area: hunger and access to healthy foods. On December 2, the Board of Directors decided on this focus area after assessing criteria including membership interest, opportunity in the community to make an impact, sustainability, variety of volunteer opportunities and potential barriers.
The decision comes as a result of a tireless process led by the Community Research and Development (CRaD) committee. They assessed needs in the Omaha metro in three different areas: hunger and access to healthy foods, abuse of women and children and opportunity youth.
The CRaD committee worked to set up and host around 30 service learning opportunities in these three areas between June and November. Members completed the service learning opportunities and provided valuable feedback which was compiled by the committee. This feedback was critical in making a decision on a new focus area.
“The CRaD team has been working diligently all year to ensure that education and volunteer opportunities were available for members to learn and participate in with the three focus areas. The focus area and research teams have collaborated with local organizations to envision future strategic goals and programming for years to come. We are grateful to have such passionate women involved in this process and for the participation and feedback from all of our membership,” said Emily Barr,| Junior League of Omaha Community Research and Development Chair.
Building on the impact made over the last 100 years, the Junior League of Omaha is entering this new decade with an exciting area of focus and renewed commitment to voluntarism.
I have decided to change up the formatting of the letter this month. Ultimately, my message is that I am extremely thankful for the Junior League and each and every one of our members. Being a member of Omaha’s chapter has brought me wonderful experiences in the community and within our League. It has also introduced me to so many wonderful volunteers, leaders and friends, like you! Thank you for all you do for the League and our community. We are extremely lucky to have you as a member.
I am . . .
THE 100 YEARS of HISTORY – The Junior League of Omaha has a rich history and continues to evolve as we learn more and grow. Dominique Morgan engaged 18 participants on November 9, in identifying their “why” for being involved in Diversity and Inclusion work, experiencing a deeper understanding of intersectionality, and assessing their power, influence and access.
HEADQUARTERS – Our newly renovated space is almost one year old and I can’t imagine our growing League without it! It is a central zone for members, a gathering space for productivity and learning and a place where so many positive relationships have developed. The renovation that took place last year was able to provide us with two meeting spaces that are often both being used. Thank you for helping keep our “HQ” such a professional and welcoming place to be.
AWESOME SUSTAINERS – Including our November GMM guest speaker, Wendy Moore. Wendy discussed her experiences with CASA as well as her experience as a foster parent, raising nieces and a nephew. Sustiners, we hope you join us for the holiday social in December! It will take place December 10 at Champions, from 6-8:00 p.m. You can RSVP at email@example.com
NEW MEMBERS – Our growing population of New Members is exciting to see each year. The New Members had planned to join Board and Management for Friendsgiving this month; however, the Omaha weather got in our way! We look forward to seeing as many New Members as possible at the holiday social in December!
KNOWLEDGE – I am blown away by the amount of knowledge in our League members. We are lucky to have such an intelligent, hard-working, dedicated and enthusiastic members. Not to mention kindness! Thank you for taking the theme this year and throwing kindness like confetti. Continue to show appreciation to those around you as we move into the busy holiday season!
FOUNDATION – We are so grateful for the Foundation. President Cathi Arnold attended our October GMM and presented us with a check for $14,000…their largest donation to date! Thank you to all of the members of the Foundation and all those that contribute to the Foundation.
UNLIMITED OPPORTUNITY – I am always fascinated by the various opportunities the League has to offer! A plethora of training and social events are on the calendar in addition to book clubs and affinity groups. As we move into the second semester of our League year, I encourage all members to look at how you might get involved with the League!
LEAGUE FOCUS & IMPACT – The Community Research and Development Committee has spent the last year researching our three focus areas. The Board of Directors will determine the next focus area with the help of all the data collected throughout this League year and communicate that to everyone in December. The three focus areas have all been identified as needs in Omaha and I am certain the Junior League of Omaha will have great impact regardless of what focus area we start with.
The 100th anniversary of the Junior League of Omaha is upon us, and the League has planned two events to mark this special occasion. The 100th Anniversary Celebratory Luncheon was held on March 15, at the Marriott Downtown at the Capitol District, and the 100th Anniversary Annual Meeting & Cocktail Reception will be on May 3, at the Joslyn Art Museum. These two events are truly “A Celebration of the Junior League of Omaha’s Past, Present and Future.”
Bethany Banister and Patricia Stillmock are the co-chairs of the 100th Anniversary committee, and they have been creating and executing the plans that surround the festivities for nearly three years. When asked how the history of the League influenced their preparations, they responded, “The team of historians and our committee did an amazing job looking into the history of the League, and it inspired all aspects of our planning.” The Joslyn Art Museum, for example, not only has historical connections to the Junior League, but the architecture of the building dates back to around the same time as the Junior League of Omaha’s establishment.
A great deal of time has been spent on making the 100th anniversary celebrations special, and this includes research into the past, as well as interviews with Sustainers and past members of the League. In addition to studying the records at Junior League of Omaha headquarters, the committee has worked with the Omaha World-Herald, the Durham Museum, and the Douglas County Historical Society to locate anecdotes, photos, and stories from the past. Sustainers have been generous with sharing their archives, and Banister and Stillmock agreed that these interactions have been “the most fun and rewarding part of this journey.”
Highlights from the luncheon include guest speaker, Yesterday’s Lady, Sue McLain, who shared the history of the little black dress. A ten thousand dollar gift was made to The Rose Theater, an organization with whom the Junior League of Omaha has a strong history. And lastly, the anniversary video debuted an interview with the oldest living Junior League of Omaha Past President, who also attended the event!
As we enjoy these special events, we remember the theme: A Celebration of the Junior League of Omaha’s Past, Present and Future. Bethany and Patricia hope that the “League continues to be a strong organization that teaches women how to be great volunteers while making great friendships.”
The Junior League Training Committee is halfway through their 2018/2019 event calendar, but far from finished with offering exciting trainings. I recently sat down with Training Chair, Mary Burnett, to recap the events held in the fall and see what exciting events they have coming this spring.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about the Training Committee and the committee’s role in the Junior League?
A: I always go back to the fact that the Junior League is first and foremost a training organization. We like to offer a combination of events that are focused on training women to be leaders in professional and volunteering roles, as well as trainings that offer a chance for League members to learn a fun new skill and network with other League women. This year we’ve already held trainings on financial acumen, parliamentary procedure, Google Drive, CPR/First Aid, cooking classes, mending clothes, and decorating ornaments with kids!
Q: How do you and your committee members come up with the types of training events offered? How many do you try to schedule in a year?
A: We use recommendations from multiple sources. We look at annual survey results, talk with League membership, and at the January General Membership Meeting we actually did live polling to help pick some events to plan for the spring. Since our committee has grown, we try to have each coordinator plan one or two events. This year we will have completed twelve trainings by May!
Q: What events do you have coming up this spring that you’d like our membership to be aware of?
A: We are super excited about the events this spring. Our big finale is going to be our “Margaritas and Mulligans” event on May 19. This will include a mini golf training and then a sign-up for a Nine-Hole Scramble. We are opening up this training to Sustainers as well. Also based on the live polling from the January General Membership Meeting, we are going to do a training on wine (that was by far the most popular choice) and meditation. “Meditation and Mimosas” will be held on March 8 and March 23. Mark your calendars! We also have one more event that we will plan for April that is TBD! So keep your eyes posted on the Hot Sheet and Facebook for updates.
Recruitment for next year’s New Member group begins in February. For more information about joining the Junior League of Omaha, visit https://www.jlomaha.org/join-us/.
This year, the Junior League of Omaha’s Big Red Block Party fundraiser hosted 108 people at the Scott Conference Center. The silent auction was a favorite among attendees with 62 fun, unique packages with a wide range of starting bids, appropriate for all spend levels! Attendees also enjoyed a delicious buffet with rotating, heavy appetizers, two bars, and yard games.
This was the final year for this special event, and Lauren Anderson, the Big Red Block Party Co-Chair, stated, “The most meaningful moment during the event was honoring the previous Chairs and talking about the fundraiser. This event has raised $176,000 for the League over the last nine years, and that deserves to be celebrated.”
Collaboration and communication were two key elements that contributed to Big Red Block Party’s success. As Lauren Anderson, Big Red Block Party Co-Chair, described, “Our committee worked really well together…between our (almost) weekly committee hot sheets and our committee meetings, we were able to efficiently plan our event.” Anderson also credited working with Jen Bartlet, their JLO Sustainer Advisor, and a past Big Red Block Party Chair, as a vital resource who gave both Co-Chair Hunter Taylor and herself additional insight into making the event a success.
When asked if she had any advice for future Junior League of Omaha fundraisers, Anderson responded, “Yes! Create a timeline and stick with it. Check in with your committee, but don’t bombard them with emails. Say thank you. And most importantly, seriously evaluate your event every year to make sure it’s still relevant.” For more information about upcoming Junior League of Omaha events or to become a member, visit our website at http://www.jlomaha.org.
The Junior League of Omaha Foundation hosted the annual Past Presidents and Sustainer Luncheon on a beautiful October day at Champions Run. Kathy Martin, Junior League of Omaha Foundation Board President, welcomed a large group to the luncheon, introducing past Junior League of Omaha Presidents and past Foundation Presidents. Current Junior League of Omaha President Lindsey Tonniges updated the Sustainers on the exciting projects with which the League is currently involved.
The 100th Anniversary Co-Chairs, Patricia Stillmock and Bethany Bannister, spoke on the upcoming events for the centennial celebration of the Junior League of Omaha in 2019. Foundation President Kathy Martin shared, “All the Sustainers are looking forward to attending the March 15th luncheon celebrating our 100th anniversary!” In addition, the Junior League of Omaha Cookbook Co-Chairs, Ashley Rich and Jamie Schneider, were there to promote A Century of Serving: A Centennial Celebration Cookbook.
The New Members kicked off their League year with their first meeting on Aug. 28 at Security National Bank, where the women got to know their core groups and learned about their upcoming year.
September’s New Member Meeting focused on Community Impact. The women enjoyed a football and fall theme with beer and pizza.
The Communications Council presented at the October New Member Meeting with a Halloween theme.
November activities included a social at the Makery and meeting at The Mattress Factory. New Members learned more about the 100th Year Anniversary Celebration and guest Marian Andersen shared her volunteerism background with the New Member Class.
Additionally so far this League year, New Members celebrated and acknowledged the significance of their membership class, complete with a hashtag they chose (#JLOClassOfTheCentury) and a special class logo.
New Member Committee Chair Megan Horn focused on creating a theme and tone of building League relationships and sharing the experiences and community impact opportunities available. The committee has revised the format of the meetings and focused more on providing experiences and helping build connections.
Recruitment for next year’s New Member group begins in February. For more information about joining the Junior League of Omaha, visit https://www.jlomaha.org/join-us/.