Junior League Legacies
Shining a Light on Our Past Leading Ladies
Anne McDonald Milling
JLNO President 1977-78
Anne McDonald Milling’s parents instilled in her a commitment of giving back as a young child growing up in Monroe, La. and she has dedicated much of her life to bettering New Orleans in bold ways, including projects few others wanted to tackle.
Anne’s service to the community includes being one of the first volunteers to work with AIDS patients in the 80’s, when many were afraid to have contact with anyone infected. Anne calls that experience the most meaningful hands-on volunteer work she’s ever done. “In 1987, when I first went to Project Lazarus as a volunteer, I felt the men and women with AIDS were the lepers of the twentieth century,” Anne recalls. “They were the poorest of the poor and needed our support. Yes, I was aware of the dangers of this illness, but after speaking with numerous doctors and taking a serious training course, I became comfortable with caring for those who were sick and dying at Lazarus. My life was totally enriched and broadened by the years I was there.”
Anne has never shied away from a need, and in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, she was concerned that many national leaders had not visited the Gulf Coast to personally see and truly understand the devastation. Anne decided a little girl power could go a long way in helping New Orleans rebuild, so she founded Women of the Storm to lobby Capitol Hill and help lawmakers “get it.” She had a specific vision for how the group needed to be comprised. “Anyone who knows me is aware that I am a proponent of diversity,” Anne explains. “I intentionally wanted the charter flight to DC be filled with a cross section of our community, a true representation of a rich, diverse New Orleans. We invited Asians, Hispanics, African Americans, women of all ages and backgrounds to go with us. Having women from all walks of life enriched our group tremendously. New friends were made, women understood what other women were enduring by this devastation and the folks in DC were stunned by this impressive group of women!”
Anne joined JLNO in 1966 when she was pregnant with the first of three sons, after completing her undergraduate studies at Newcomb College and her master’s work at Yale University. Her service to the Junior League has multiple highlights, especially in her role as President from 1977-78. That year, JLNO hosted a spirited mayoral debate ahead of the election that ushered Dutch Morial into City Hall. JLNO also broke ground on the Louisiana Nature Center in New Orleans East to introduce children to the Mississippi River Delta and the Louisiana Coastal Zone. Now that center is known as the Audubon Louisiana Nature Center, which is re-opening its doors after a $10 million restoration in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
Today, she and her husband of 53 years enjoy the challenge of keeping up with eight grandchildren. Anne is the recipient of many prestigious community honors, including the Times Picayune Loving Cup, the Project Lazarus' Guardian Angel Award and the Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc. 2012 Mary Harriman Community Leadership Award. She has this advice for young women who want to become impactful leaders: “Follow your passion: whether it be education reform, feeding the hungry, mental illness. To be an effective volunteer or fundraiser, you must honestly in your heart believe in the cause. That is the key. Then just ‘Do it!’ Participate and improve the quality of life for those around you.”
Katherine Kleinpeter Raymond
JLNO President 2014-15
Junior League presidents seem to share several of the same qualities – including vivaciousness, a heart for serving others and a spirit of infectious encouragement. Katherine Kleinpeter Raymond, JLNO President from 2014-15, sets the standard in those departments for the leaders following her.
Katherine, a mother of three and Professor of Practice in Tulane University’s Biomedical Engineering Department, became involved in JLNO through fellow advisors for Chi Omega Fraternity. “It’s not surprising that it was smart, accomplished women who I’m lucky to still call friends that knew the value of a women’s organization that fosters leadership and opportunity for women, as well as philanthropy and support for our community,” Katherine says.
Katherine certainly juggled a full plate, but she found her placements so enjoyable and impactful that she wanted to do more. Despite already serving her community as a JLNO member while balancing an impressive professional career and rewarding family life, Katherine decided to step into the JLNO presidency.
“Through my experiences with JLNO, I’d discovered you can and do ‘figure it out,’” Katherine explains. “Former presidents told me despite the challenges and high expectations placed on you, it is the most rewarding thing they’ve ever done. I’m so glad I believed them, because that is 100 percent true! It is difficult to articulate how much you gain through serving as president: invaluable experience in a myriad of areas, a greater understanding of your own capabilities, the chance to work with city leaders and accomplished colleagues, lifelong friends in New Orleans and across the nation and the knowledge that you are helping to significantly aid your community. I am still so grateful for the opportunity to serve.”
A few of the highlights of Katherine’s term include the advent of the Diaper Bank and the Women’s Entrepreneur (WE) Fellowship, as well as the completion of the new kitchen inside JLNO’s Headquarters, which was featured in House Beautiful Magazine.
Today Katherine continues to raise her family and teach at Tulane, while serving as a board member for Trinity Episcopal School, the Tulane University Women’s Association, and Sci High’s Advanced Technology Advisory Board. She is also this year’s chair for the American Cancer Society’s Belles and Beaus Ball.
One might wonder how Katherine balances it all.
“No one knows the key to doing it all, so I hope answering the balance question doesn’t imply that we should all be superhuman or that I am,” Katherine relates. “Primarily, family comes first. After that, for me, balance is about having fun and enjoying what you do. My friend and mentor Charlotte Cook told me we choose to be involved with what we enjoy. I remind myself that, so rather than see negatives, I appreciate my choice and savor the experience. I don’t keep anything compartmentalized. If it’s engaging, I share it! My kids know about my work and volunteering, and come when they can to both. My friends and colleagues are often committee members with me. When we can all get together, have fun and accomplish meaningful work, it’s a win-win.”
It doesn’t come as a surprise that Katherine’s advice mirrors Anne’s, despite the fact their terms as president are separated by almost four decades. Certain principles stand the test of time. “Go for it! Don’t wonder ‘what if,’” Katherine exclaims. “Give your heart and soul to something you believe in, accept a position out of your comfort-zone, introduce yourself to new people, believe in your ideas. Know that even little things make a difference.”