Throughout the year, I have heard many Past-Presidents say, “Your year of presidency will be unforgettable.” Although I knew this would be true, I do not know if I could have fully grasped what they meant until this moment.
My late father is the reason I joined the Junior League of New Orleans (JLNO). I was interested but uncertain if I could make the time commitments. Those were the days of thrift shop and headquarter shifts, after all. Nevertheless, my dad convinced me this may be an amazing opportunity to give back to the community. I don’t think either of us realized the impact the League would eventually make in my life.
So joining the League it would be. I did have many acquaintances who were members, but none of my close friends were involved. I jumped in, completed my provisional year, went on to be pre-placed for Kitchen Tour … and forgot to go through placement for my second active year.
So with placement week having passed (and these were the days of manual placement — where a committee went through everyone’s placement preferences and manually placed members one-by-one) and with few placements being left, I was put on the Thrift Shop Committee. I was not stoked. But I attended the committee meetings, met the Chairwomen and slowly made some great friends, including a woman who is now one of my best friends.
From Thrift Shop to Diaper Bank to Bridal Boutique, I kept learning more about the League, making many new friends and understanding the community impact of JLNO. I was excited to become Vice Chair and then Chair of Touch a Truck. I knew the financial prospects this fundraiser could provide. I was having fun and planned to just keep trucking along — I was clueless the Board of Directors would ever be something in my future.
Both invitations for Board positions made me question my ability to commit the time needed for those roles — and both times I thought of my father. He was right. I was making a difference, working with inspiring, like-minded women and making friends. Therefore, both times I responded, “Yes.” All the women I sat next to at the Board table have become my best friends. Consistent wisdom, patience and an unwavering dedication to the League’s mission and focus areas have been their hallmark. Through the years, these ladies have been phenomenal.
The training throughout my active tenure prepared me for the most intimidating decision I have had to make yet — selling my business which my grandfather started over 50 years ago. I can say with complete certainty I would not have been able to sell the business, or even consider it, without the years of developing my own potential through my League experience.
My final and biggest thank you goes to the Junior League of New Orleans. The League has provided me with best friends, training and confidence through its ability to grow individuals beyond their own expectations. Thank you to the hard work of so many ladies now and over the past 96 years who made the League what it is. Thank you for allowing me to benefit from it so greatly.
Thank you, JLNO.