Maximize Your League Experience with Mentorship

Brunch 5K. Project Hope Pack. The Jumble Shop. And multiple cookbooks including 2018’s A Century of Serving: A Centennial Cookbook Celebration. Some projects and events, past and present, are what the Junior League of Omaha is known for around the community.

Others quietly inspire within the League, like Mentorship, which during the 2020-2021 League year celebrates eight years of engaging and retaining current members by fostering relationships between Active Members with 1-2 years in the League and those with three or more.

Mentorship is a “unique way to make connections with others in the League,” said Sustainer Lizzy Darling, who was a mentee for one year and a mentor for three. “As someone newer to JLO, it was an awesome way to build relationships with more seasoned members who could offer guidance on League involvement. Everyone involved in Mentorship seems to be eager to get to know one another, help and raise each other up. It’s an incredible program.”

Want to be a part of it? Complete this registration and profile form by August 21 to get paired with a mentor or mentee.

“I believe that Mentorship strengthens the League,” said Lakelyn Hogan, a former Mentorship Chair and current Mentorship Committee Sustainer Advisor. “It allows members to form new connections and it gives newer members a chance to connect with someone who is more seasoned.”

Lakelyn and a former mentee Allison Kousaie enjoying happy hour at Timber in Countryside Village.

The Mentorship program is for first- and second-year Active Members (mentees) who are paired with a mentor who is a minimum three-year Active Member based on common interests.

“The most rewarding part of Mentorship for me was getting to meet women that I normally would not have encountered during my time in JLO,” Lakelyn said. “I was always paired with great mentors and mentees. Because of that, I have made a lot of good friends through the program.”

Matches are made in the fall and introduced at Mentorship’s kick-off where they undergo a brief training to discuss the program expectations.

“You have nothing to lose and everything to gain,” Lizzy said. “If you enjoy socializing with your peers, getting brunch or a glass of wine, playing a round of golf or doing a craft project, you will love being part of this program. The matching process is quite intricate and impressive. There is a lot of thought that goes into making a good connection between you and your match. Participate in this program to make the most of your League experience.”

The Mentorship Committee pairs together a mentor and mentee(s) to help facilitate social interactions outside of the normal League engagements and offer a special 1:1 or 2:1 connection. Through the program, participants can gain a deeper understanding of the League, find opportunities to network and form new friendships.

“By far the relationships” are the most rewarding part, Lizzy said.

“Make the most of your match,” she said. “Try to connect often, even if only by email. Everyone is busy. Agree what amount of time you can give and then be responsive. Everyone in the match has something to learn and to impart.”

Mentorship requires only a commitment for the League year, but many find themselves coming back year after year.

“I’ve been involved with Mentorship for seven years,” Lakelyn said. “I was involved from the very beginning. It has been my favorite part of my League experience.”

To learn more about the Mentorship Program, read these frequently asked questions.

Mentorship Chair Allison Zach can be reached at Mentorship@JLOmaha.org.

Snapshots from Mentorship

President’s Perspective – July 2020

Dear Junior League of Omaha members,

As I write this month’s President’s Perspective, I’m acutely aware we are all feeling the weight of the global pandemic, the deaths of Black Americans across the country and the economic downturn. In the wake of such significant events, it can be challenging to identify how we can help individually and as an organization. While the start of this League year certainly looks different, I’m confident we will continue to thrive and be a force for positive change in the Omaha community. While I’ve chosen to highlight this month the work JLO is doing in our community and advancing equity, diversity and inclusion, I know all of our members are giving back to our organization, to Omaha and to each other. Thank you for your service and leadership during these difficult times.

As a reminder, JLO’s COVID-19 Summer Operational Guidelines can be found here

Community Impact

For the first time in three years, our League has a new program aligned with our community impact focus area, hunger and access to healthy foods. Despite the social distancing required by the COVID-19 pandemic, our Food Access Committee led by Chair Shannon Lang has been passionate about providing engagement opportunities to members. Throughout June and July, JLO volunteers have been working outdoors in Together’s new community gardens planting, weeding and watering. Together aims to prevent and end homelessness in Omaha. Their case managers utilize tools to either rapidly rehouse or keep a household in their home.

JLO members have been able to sign up to work with Heart Ministry Center, which provides basic necessities, educational opportunities, health outreach and support to individuals and families in north Omaha and surrounding areas. Volunteers have assisted with food pantry operations, including unloading food in the warehouse, packing pantry boxes and loading boxes into cars. 

There have also been volunteer shifts scheduled with No More Empty Pots, an organization that provides emergency response to urgent community needs for food relief. Each Wednesday, JLO volunteers portion out the prepared meals then package, label and bag them for distribution to the community.

For those members who aren’t yet ready to volunteer in-person, the Food Access Committee organized various Google Meet virtual shifts in June in which volunteers compiled recipes of quick, easy and affordable meals. They then catalogued the recipes by ingredient so that our community partners can quickly find and print them to share with their clients. These recipes have been provided to local pantries, meal services and community-supported agriculture programs for distribution to community members who are unsure on how to utilize various food items.

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

On June 3, 2020, the new Board of Directors issued a public statement in response to the deaths of George Floyd and James Scurlock, and the nation-wide protests against racial inequality. Our organization calls on each member to “…commit to listening and educating ourselves. We must do the work, we must speak out, and we must be visible.” The full statement is available on our website here.

The JLO Diversity & Inclusion Committee has been working hard to bring opportunities for doing the work, speaking out and being visible. May’s “What is My Role in Advancing Racial Equity?” and “Gender Inclusive Language and Practices” prompted members to evaluate their intrinsic racial and gender biases and intentionally begin reframing thought patterns. “Undesign the Redline,” presented by The Union for Contemporary Art on June 25, was a virtual version of the in-person exhibition designed exclusively for JLO members. Sue Stroesser from The Union engaged our members in a dialogue surrounding the history of the redline in Omaha along with how it is currently impacting our community. The recording of “Undesign the Redline” will be available for JLO members soon – stay tuned!

Communications Project Management Chair Jess Winter, who is a school librarian with OPS, recently wrote a post on JLO’s Connections Blog titled “Books are incubators” – Stories Cultivating Empathy. I encourage you to read it here. My family and I are making a conscious effort to expand our family book collection to include works that incorporate diversity. In her post, Jess discusses why it is important to amplify diverse voices and includes resources for adding to your library.

Also in June, D&I Committee Chair Stephanie Kidd and I hosted our first D&I Leadership Roundtable for committee chairs, Council leaders, Management Team and Board. We will continue these roundtables throughout the year to provide our League members the opportunity to ask honest questions and learn from each other. The next D&I Leadership Roundtable will be held on Thursday, July 30, at 7 p.m. Please sign up on Digital Cheetah. Stephanie and I are looking forward to hosting a roundtable for all JLO members early this fall.

Finally, you may have noticed a new standing feature in the weekly Hot Sheet, the D&I Corner. The committee has been using this space to share information, updates and resources related to equity, diversity and inclusion. Some of the weeks will include links to external resources. I encourage you to take advantage of these learning opportunities and send Stephanie and her team any resources you think might be beneficial to share.

Getting to Know You

Each month we will feature a new League leader to get to know in the President’s Perspective. This month I’m sharing a bit about myself.

I grew up in Dallas, TX and my family lives in Rapid City, SD. I’m married to Adam, who grew up in Blair, and we have two cute kiddos: Tommy is four and Vivian is 13 months. I’m a nurse practitioner and oversee risk management and regulatory standards for Methodist Hospital and Women’s Hospital.

I joined Junior League in Minneapolis, MN and was a member in Corpus Christi, TX before moving back to Nebraska. I’ve held various placement in JLO, including Big Red Block Party chair, communications chair and Executive Vice President.

When I’m not spending time with my family or working, I enjoy reading, trying new restaurants and drinking wine. Adam and I also love to travel; our favorite destinations are Hawaii and Napa Valley.

Stay safe and well! Have a wonderful month and thank you for all you do for JLO and for our community.

In gratitude,

Katie Triplett | Junior League of Omaha

President 2020-2022

Undesign the Redline Recap Blog

On June 25, the Junior League of Omaha had the honor of hosting the first virtual tour of The Union for Contemporary Art’s Undesign the Redline exhibit. Led by Susan Stroesser, a volunteer of The Union, and Paige Reitz, deputy director of The Union, our members had the opportunity to learn about the history of the redline in Omaha and the lasting impact that we can see today.

According to The Union, “Beginning in 1936, the neighborhoods of Omaha’s Near North and South sides were systematically segregated from the rest of the city by means of prohibitive and discriminatory home lending practices. In Omaha, and cities across the country, red lines were literally drawn on city maps by the federally-funded Home Owners’ Loan Corporation, identifying predominantly African-American and immigrant communities as “hazardous” and unfit for investment.

Systemic challenges today, like inequalities in housing, education, income, criminal justice and health are far from separate issues. These challenges are rooted in a deep and entangled history of policies, practices and processes that remain unrevealed and misunderstood. As new forces begin to transform cities and towns, decisions about interconnected challenges are therefore often made ‘in the dark.’”

The virtual training enabled League members to have meaningful conversations that encourage us to continue learning and growing as a League. It also provided us with a connection to the communities that we are predominantly serving in our new Hunger and Access to Healthy Foods focus area. Of our five current community partners, all five are in the top ten zip codes of poverty in Omaha, and two of them are in the number two spot. All of these community partners are located in areas that were previously redlined.

Historic Omaha Redlining Map

Below are comments from a few attendee’s experience. “I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to virtually tour the Union for Contemporary Art and learn about structural racism in both its current and historical context within our community. The virtual docents were incredibly knowledgeable in leading discussion and providing relevant resources. These critical conversations are necessary within the Junior League of Omaha, and I am glad that our members are committed to growing and learning. It is clear that we can do better, and experiences like this offer us an opportunity to expand our understanding and better serve our community moving forward.” – Anne Bowen, Placement Chair

“Omaha has a history similar to so many cities of similar size – and lots of our members have no idea how much racism is a part of that history. The Union’s Undesign the Red Line training helped us learn about the intersections between red lining, public school segregation, public transportation, food deserts, and a lack of healthcare facilities in both north and south Omaha. For many of our members, it was the first time these issues had ever been discussed, and the Union does such an incredible job addressing the topics that no matter where you are on the journey, there is something for everyone. I loved how the Q&A at the end allowed of members the chance to share stories and connect their own lived experiences to the content of the exhibit. It was especially helpful to have Paige in the training to provide research in the chat for us as topics came up.” – Stephanie Kidd, Diversity and Inclusion Chair

“The ‘Undesign the Redline’ event was incredibly timely and insightful. This event proactively addressed and educated membership on systemic race issues. The speaker provided a detailed history of segregation and racism within the Omaha community and a few league members shared their personal stories which further demonstrated the persistent nature of the issue. The educational impact of this event is meaningful and it was one of my favorite JLO events as a result!” – Sophia Petrow, Done in a Day Vice Chair

Shannon Lang, Hunger & Access to Healthy Foods Chair

Learning followship through service

By Sarah Antonello, New Member Recruitment Coordinator

Volunteers at No More Empty Pots

During a typical day working at Heart Ministry Center’s (HMC) drive-through food pantry, the cars are ushered through the line as quickly as possible in order to serve as many community members as possible. But on one hot, humid Friday in June, one of the clients asked if she could pray with and for us. Taking that moment to pause in the middle of the frenzy struck me deeply at the time, but the moment has stayed with me in the weeks since. It has been as a reminder of the power of community and the value of serving others. The HMC staff and volunteers frequently tell the pantry clients, “Thank YOU for the opportunity to serve you,” as they drive away; that moment of prayer was the first time when I understood how grateful I was to be able to serve. 

As members of the Junior League of Omaha, we tend to focus on being leaders in the community. But in my time at Heart Ministry Center and No More Empty Pots, two of the organizations JLO works with on the new focus area of hunger and access to healthy foods, I’ve found myself following others more often than I’m leading them. I have wanted to make suggestions and tweaks to improve efficiencies (that’s what I did in my day job), but what I’ve gotten to do instead is work on listening more than speaking, to strengthen and flex my humility muscles, and to be reminded of the innate humanity inside us all, regardless of the situation we find ourselves in. 

In mid-May my job was downsized as part of the company’s pandemic response. I found myself scared, anxious, angry and lonely during the seemingly-endless stretches of days at home with no one to talk to. When the chance to start volunteering regularly through JLO’s Community Impact programs came up, I was ecstatic. Eagerly I signed up for multiple shifts, expecting this volunteering work to help with my loneliness and boredom, but it has done so much more. 

Volunteers at Heart Ministry

This volunteering work has tested what I thought about myself. It hasn’t always been comfortable – physically or emotionally. But I’m developing a new skill: followship. And while I’m learning to follow, I get to observe those that are learning to lead, providing all of us the opportunity to develop and grow. 

I joined the Junior League so that someone would organize volunteering opportunities for me. It was something I wanted to do, but there were so many causes that I couldn’t pick. As I learn more about food insecurity, I see how it perpetuates historical inequalities, frustrates education efforts, destroys communities and threatens the health and well-being of so many of our neighbors. 

The work JLO is doing with its hunger and access to healthy food focus area is vital to the stability, health and wellbeing of our community. The partner organizations we work with have created robust programs and initiatives fighting to end food insecurity, and we are able to lend our time, energy and sometimes sweat to the cause, exponentially increasing the impact we can have, together.

“Books are incubators” – Stories Cultivating Empathy

“Books are incubators.” Jason Reynolds’ words resonate. I imagine books hatching open worlds, creating images, and stories not only of things we love but questions and conversations. Right now, we need the incubators of stories to cultivate empathy.

Librarians curate book collections, which represent our students, their backgrounds and stories. They are mirrors into their lives and windows into someone else’s life.

Now think of that favorite book as a child or even a current one. Did it mirror your life?  What is it a window into someone else’s life? What is a sliding glass door where you became part of the story? When was the last time you or your family read a book with a character that looked different than you? Or had a religion or an experience that you did not understand?

I ask this because our books lack diversity, creating singular viewpoints of stories. Author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in her Ted Talk explains when she was young, she only saw windows into other people’s lives and didn’t know that her story too could exist in literature. 

When we only hear one continual narrative about a culture, it creates stereotypes and that is the only story we hear. The need for diverse books is to expand the single story and use stories as incubators to begin the work of cultivating empathy and allowing us to have hard, vulnerable conversations.

Below are two incredible lists of sources.

Made with Padlet

Race, Anti-Racist, Equality & Social Justice Resources for all Students, Librarians, Teachers, Families and Communities

Let us curate a bookshelf that amplifies diverse voices!

Jess Winter, 2020-21 Communications Project Management Chair 

Junior League of Omaha Virtual Training

The Junior League of Omaha is a training organization first and foremost. Since we can’t be together IRL, the training committee put together a list of (mostly free) digital resources. While tie-dying sweatsuits and making your own sourdough starter are worthy endeavors, we might be social distancing for a long time. Please comment and share anything you’ve learned or DIY successes during this time! 

Community

Did you know that even before the pandemic, AJLI has tons of resources on their site? To access their library of content available to Members, log in to jlomaha.org. In the top right click on AJLI. This will take you to the AJLI website as a logged-in Junior League member. Beyond COVID-19 resources, you can find past webinars, materials from past AJLI trainings and conferences, self-paced online courses, and more. They’ve also added a bunch of COVID-19 specific resources, such as webinars about serving communities from a distance and leading teams virtually. 

If you want to further your nonprofit knowledge, take a look at nonprofitready.org and join for free. They’ve curated over 500 free online courses, videos, and downloadable guides to support the most common nonprofit jobs including: Fundraising, Grant Writing, Leadership, Governance, Accounting and Finance, Operations, Marketing and Communications, Volunteer Engagement, and Program Management.

With the Nebraska primary election around the corner on May 12, and politics on the mind, She Should Run is an excellent resource to get more women elected and involved in policy. Check out their Road to Run 2020 Virtual Series.

Continued Education

Harvard is offering the opportunity to audit select digital courses and webinars. Topics range from science and math to humanities and current events. There’s a webinar on Nonprofit Accounting and Financial Statements that looks like a great intro to nonprofit finances (looking at you, incoming treasurers!). 

Coursera is a collection of digital courses offered by a huge variety of educational institutions and has almost 2,000 free online courses. Some interesting courses we saw: The Arts and Science of Relationships: Understanding Human Needs, through the University of Toronto, Stanford Introduction to Food and Health, and Project Management Principles and Practices Specialization

Udemy is another online learning platform with tons of Free Courses. Take a look at Becoming a Service Leader.

Interested in learning the basics of software development, design, business, photography, or web development? New users get a free month on Lynda.com.

Try Free Fridays at General Assembly. Topics include data, marketing, career development, coding, UX design, and business.

Buddy up and split the cost of the Buy One Share One promotion on Masterclass. Learn Creativity and Leadership with Anna Wintour, Entrepreneurship with Spanx founder, Sara Blakely, and many other courses with masters of their fields.

There are so many free resources for schools out there, but a lot of the content is helpful beyond childhood education.

Money Moves

Sophia Amoruso founded Girlboss a few years ago, and it’s an excellent resource for all things branding and professional development. Given that we’re in SUCH an uncertain time, they’ve rounded up some timely links and articles called Girlboss Guide to Pivoting Like a Pro.

By subscribing to the Ladies Get Paid Institute for Higher Earning, you’ll get an all-access pass to over 30 hours of expert content, with new courses added weekly, designed to help you advance in your career, manage your money and grow your wealth. Try a 30 Day FREE trial with code: 30DAYSFREE

New to investing? Consider joining Ellevest, which guides women through finances to level the playing field. From their site, “86% of Investment Advisors Are Men, With an Average Age of 50+. So the “gender-neutral” investment industry defaults to men’s salaries, career paths, preferences and lifespans. That’s not good enough. So, we’re changing the game.” Even if you don’t want to commit now, follow Ellevest and founder Sallie Krawcheck on Instagram for helpful money tips with women’s interests in mind.

Here are 5 podcasts for professional development and 10 career podcasts for your listening pleasure. We also love Second Life, Women at Work, and Gallup Theme Thursdays.

Arts & Entertainment

Who remembers places? While we can’t travel, we can explore online. Here are 10 Virtual Experiences in the State of Nebraska. Architecture geeks and interior design lovers can enjoy Frank Lloyd Wright Virtual Visits. Joslyn Museum is offering Art From Afar. Check out this virtual tour of the British Library’s virtual exhibit of “Harry Potter: A History of Magic.” Fun fact: the first book came out 23 years ago this coming June.

Take guitar or ukulele lessons. Learn piano. Lin-Manuel Miranda announced free theater classes. Moma is offering free art courses through Coursera as well. If that’s too intense, get out your finest gel pens and enjoy some Manolo Blanik Coloring Sheets.

Mind & Body

Beachbody has a free 14-day trial right now.

Cloud 9 has a free 90-day trial of meditation resources. 

JCC in Omaha is streaming free fitness classes

Some of Todd Smith’s trainers are posting some free at home workouts.

Sanvello is an app offering free premium access during the COVID-19 crisis. You’ll find tools like meditations, mood trackers, and guided journeys to help navigate the complicated world of mental health.

We understand that time is a luxury that not everyone enjoys, and even with potential extra time, not everyone is feeling productive or ambitious right now. That’s okay! No matter what your situation is, however you’re coping, you’re doing the best you can. The training committee just wanted to provide some useful content to our fellow members.

We are in this together.

Sara Huse, Training Coordinator

April – President’s Perspective

In January, I referenced a meme that said: if you were born in the 80s, raised in the 90s and made it to 2020… you have lived in four different decades, two different centuries and two different millenniums… and you’re not even 40 yet. There is another meme floating around that says: I can’t believe I’ve lived in six different decades: 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s, 2020s, MARCH. 
 
April is here! These are difficult times and we are trying to meet our members where they are. I understand that some of you are feeling overwhelmed with the new expectations placed on you from a work/home perspective (which now, for most, is the same place!) and I hope you know that the League and our members are here to support you. There are members who are eager for normalcy and looking for more active ways to engage with each other and the community. I encourage you to continue to build relationships with members by checking-in virtually or through old-fashioned snail mail. I also invite you to check out our website for the various ways you can impact the community as a League member and volunteer: Community Outreach
 
A huge “thank you” to our Community Impact Council for gathering these community needs and to our Communications Council for organizing and communicating them with members. We are doing the best we can and making decisions day-by-day in these unprecedented times. I want to continue to encourage each of you to reach out to me and to Board and Management Team members with any questions or concerns you may have. Because the COVID-19 crisis is evolving, so is our decision-making and we appreciate your input.
 
Unfortunately, we do not have a set plan for the future. Like many of you, I am looking forward to learning how our summer and the new League year will look. I know President-Elect Katie Triplett, Executive Vice President-Elect Jessica Sock and incoming Executive Vice President-Elect Alysia Radicia  will continue to monitor the ongoing pandemic and make decisions in the best interest of the health of our members and the community. As soon as there is guidance from the CDC, they will be sure to communicate a plan for the summer. 
 
Despite being at home, and away from each other in-person, we have still all been very busy!
 
The newly formed Sustainer Engagement Committee, led by Lisa Buckentine, recently held their first meeting to discuss plans for 2020-2021 engagement events and ways to recognize and interact with our new and existing Sustainers. Learn more about the Sustainer Engagement Committee and the importance of Sustainers to the Junior League of Omaha in the recent blog post. If you are a Sustainer and want to get more involved right away reach out to sustainerengagement@jlomaha.org.
 
The Diversity and Inclusion Committee, led by Andrea Padilla-Rosas and Stephanie Kidd, is excited to announce a few upcoming events this spring. The book chosen for the spring D&I book club is White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism by Robin Diangelo. The book club will be held via Zoom before the May 12 GMM. Be on the lookout for more details in the Hotsheet.
 
Placement, chaired by Jen Teusink, is working diligently to ensure that all returning members have a placement within the League for 2020-2021. Placements will be communicated with all members by the end of April and you will have an opportunity to begin gearing up with your new committees virtually! 
 
The Nominating Committee presented a fantastic slate to the general membership and it was passed in March. Congratulations to the incoming Board and Management Members! We are lucky to have such talent in our future! You can view the 2020-2021 Board, Management and Nominating Teams here!
 
Although we are not meeting formally for General Membership Meetings, we are distributing information in hopes to keep members informed. The May GMM will consist of a slide deck similar to April with an opportunity to “sign-in” via Google Form. 
 
In addition to the slides and sign-in that you will receive in your email, there will be a virtual meeting opportunity held on May 12, 2020, at 7 p.m. for Active and New Members. We will gather in the same groups as our January Neighborhood Meetings. You will receive information from your facilitator in the upcoming weeks. If you are a Sustainer, and would like to join a virtual Neighborhood Meeting, please reach out to me at president@jlomaha.org! Do not forget to check your digital inbox for the Annual Meeting Program in May to celebrate our members and our year!
 
Although this is not the way we all thought we would end the 2019-2020 year, this experience has reminded me of the amazing women and dedicated leaders we have within our League. The Management Team met yesterday, virtually, for a brainstorming session on how we can continue to end this year on a strong note. Be on the lookout for an email with opportunities for all members to get involved this year. 
 
Thank you to everyone for your patience and support during this pandemic. I know it has not been easy and I look forward to a day, hopefully soon, when we are all together again!
 
Sending healthy, happy and sane wishes your way!
 
Kerri Palmesano
President 
2019-2020

Member Spotlight – Ashley Rich

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. 

President’s Perspective – February 2020

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 secretary@jlomaha.org. 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 join@jlomaha.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.

President Kerri Palmesano

Junior League of Omaha announces new focus area

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.