September 2020 President’s Perspective

Dear Junior League of Omaha members,

Happy September! Every day, I’m amazed by how agile and optimistic our members have been as we all adjust to a new normal during the COVID-19 pandemic. Case in point: we are holding our first-ever virtual General Membership Meeting this month on Tuesday, September 15 at 6:30 p.m. via Zoom. I’m excited to bring you an incredible speaker, licensed mental health practitioner and counselor Nicole Crawford, who will be presenting on “Locating Yourself in the Midst of Chaos.” She will give members practical tips and guidance on how to pursue mindfulness and wellness during these unusual times. Be sure to sign up on Digital Cheetah for the Zoom log-in details.

Junior League of Omaha members have been responding to present needs, carefully coordinating community impact programming and adapting our engagement opportunities to accommodate our members. We are also thinking about our future, crafting initiatives to ensure the long-term sustainability and success of the organization. Despite the current state of our world, JLO women understand we need to continue to plan for what lies ahead.

This brings me to the topic of this month’s letter: the future. Our 2020-2023 Strategic Plan calls for JLO to execute on four main strategic goals related to community engagement, member experience, financial sustainability and League growth and visibility. You can view the entire strategic plan here. This three-year plan will help focus our efforts and steer our (rather large) ship in the right direction.

But how else can we ensure our organization is being set up for success? What does success even look like? No one person or group can define how best to move JLO forward. I’m asking for your help, as Junior League of Omaha members. We want to know how we can curate programming to meet your needs and preferences. 

Fundraising Research
The newly-revamped Fund Development Committee, led by Chair Madeline Haas and Vice Chair Amanda Horn, has been starting to pull together ideas for a new fundraiser. In addition to our current fundraising initiatives, we are hoping to diversify our efforts and stand up a long-term, signature League event.

We are hoping each and every JLO member can take a few minutes over the next month and take our Special Event Fundraiser Research Questionnaire. It should take no more than 10 minutes to complete. The results of this survey will truly shape the next fundraising event, so your input is important!

A special thank you to Fund Development Sustainer Advisor Mikaela Borecky for her leadership and guidance to this committee. As the Senior Director of Fund Development for the Greater Omaha Chamber, her contributions have already proved invaluable during this process.

Bylaws, Policies and Procedures
The Governance Documents Special Committee has been hard at work since the spring reviewing and drafting proposed amendments and revisions for the JLO Bylaws, standing rules and policies. Using AJLI’s Bylaws Template Toolkit, this group has taken on the challenge of streamlining our various governance documents, aligning with the most current Nebraska statutes and ensuring there is no duplication or conflict. Led by Executive Vice President-Elect Alysia Radicia, the group has completed a rough version of the newly-proposed Bylaws and has moved into “policy land.”

Over the next few months, you’ll begin to see opportunities to review and provide feedback on these ever-so-important documents. We will send out the Bylaws revisions in a rough draft format in the Hot Sheet, and then will hold various in-person and virtual sessions to answer any questions you may have and hear your thoughts on the proposed changes.

If you have any immediate suggestions for what you think should be included or changed in our governance documents, please email me directly.

Thank you to registered Parliamentarian and JLO Sustainer Lori Bucholz who has been helping our special committee. Her knowledge of and experience with parliamentary procedure has been incredibly helpful as we move through this complex and nuanced process.

Diversity & Inclusion Multi-Year Plan
Another important planning initiative we are undertaking is that of the D&I Multi-Year Plan. Under the League Growth and Visibility goal in JLO’s Strategic Plan, there are two objectives that speak to integrating D&I into our League:

  • Objective 4.1: By 2021, the League will implement an intentional membership recruitment strategy, working to ensure the New Member classes increasingly reflect the lived experiences of those we serve.
  • Objective 4.2: By 2022, the League will establish an inclusive environment through integration of equity, diversity and inclusion principles into organizational operations and culture.

To ensure we are staying on track, even during these unusual times, a small task force is working with the D&I Committee to compose a multi-year plan that will guide efforts to achieve the goals set forth in the strategic plan.

Do you have an idea about how JLO should strategically embed D&I into our operations? If so, email the D&I Committee

You Go, Girl!
Finally, this isn’t technically a future-related initiative, but it’s so exciting I needed to give it a shout-out! Corresponding Secretary Jillian Humphries has initiated a recognition campaign called “You Go, Girl!”

The Board of Directors would like to know more about what amazing things our members are doing! Do you know a member who has celebrated a milestone? Been recognized for an award? Added a little one to their family? Been an outstanding volunteer? If you know someone who deserves some praise, please complete this form. We will coordinate a special kudos, recognition, or show of support for her.

Stay safe and well! Have a great September, and thank you for all you do for JLO and for our community.

In gratitude,