February 08, 2011

Provisionals Start "Working Within the League"

By Caitlin Johnston, Provisional 2010-11

Back in September at our Provisional Retreat our large group of nearly 60 women was divided into small "mentor groups" with an Active Member serving as our mentor to help us navigate through our first year in the League. I joined the League by myself and when I walked into the meeting room at the Menlo Circus Club I was more than intimidated. There were women at my table who were years into their careers, married, and on their second or third child. I was 25, single, only two years into my career, and a bit worried that perhaps I had made the wrong decision and joined the League a bit too early. That all changed when I learned that I would be paired with five other women that were all around my age and who were in similar stages in their lives. It was amazing to have a group of friends from the outset that I could relate to and consult about issues with men, work, housing situations, and what League commitments we still needed to fulfill as a Provisional. As I gathered with my mentor group, our mentor Lauren Case announced that our first task as a mentor group was to plan a Provisional Meeting. I remember thinking to myself "What?? I have been a member of the League for less than two hours now, I have never attended a League meeting, nor do I know anything about setting a meeting agenda." Then it occurred to me that this was exactly why I joined the League. It was to receive training and to develop my skills so that I could become an effective leader in the community, the workplace and in life. It was then that I felt confident in my decision to join the League this year.

In November my mentor group hit the ground running, and we started initial discussions about the Provisional Meeting that we were responsible for planning in January. The theme for the meeting was "Working Within the League" which would serve as an introduction to the various committees within the League. To me this was perhaps the most important meeting because it would help Provisionals have a better understanding of the roles and responsibilities of each committee prior to our decision for placement in the spring. We chose to feature three committees--Communications, Member Resources and Nominating--and a representative or representatives from each committee would have 15 minutes to give an overview of the committee and also give a little plug for why Provisionals should choose their committee over others. We requested a powerpoint presentation from each presenter, which our mentor group reviewed prior to sending it to the PR Committee for final approval.

It doesn't seem like a huge undertaking, but this assignment required a lot of timely correspondence and organization in order to ensure that each speaker was confirmed, briefed and prepared for the evening of our meeting. We were also responsible for organizing a Done-In-A-Meeting Project which would help to support one of the League's community projects and also offer some time for the Provisionals to do a fun activity and mingle. Our project was to cut out eyebrows for children's masks which would help foster children at Fostering Families to express their emotions within a fun and safe environment.

Each member of my mentor group was assigned a task to prepare for the meeting, and we allowed ourselves two months of preparation since our meeting came soon after the holidays. With the support of Jovita Honor, our mentor Lauren Case, and the rest of the Provisional Committee, our meeting turned out to be a great success! We had all of the ingredients of a well-run League meeting, and I felt that as a group we had produced something that we could be proud of. It was clear that our hard work and preparation had paid off, and there was a new degree of confidence among my mentor group that we had achieved our first real League accomplishment and we were ready to be Actives and take our leadership to the next level.

If you would like to learn more about joining the Junior League of Palo Alto-Mid Peninsula, visit our website here.

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