May 19, 2011

Get To Know Our 2011-12 Board of Directors, Part I

By Michelle Hostrup, Communications Committee 2010-11 and 2011-12

My name is Michelle Hostrup and I have been a member of the Junior League of Palo Alto-Mid Peninsula (JLPA-MP) for two years. Over the past month I've had the opportunity to interview each incoming Board member for 2011-2012. The process of talking with these women has been truly inspiring and motivating to be a leader within the League for myself. Over the next few weeks I will be posting articles about each Board member that I interviewed. I hope you follow my blog posts and get to know each of them as I have. But before I kick-off my interview articles, I wanted to provide a little background as to why I joined the League and what I learned from this project.

When I was in the 7th grade my mom and I joined the San Marino Chapter of National Charity League. The experience was one of the most significant of my life. For those who aren't familiar, NCL is similar to the Junior League in that it's an organization for women (mothers and daughters in this case), dedicated to volunteerism and supporting philanthropies. NCL taught me the importance of service and community, but it also helped me to be confident and comfortable in new surroundings. Joining the Junior League was an extension from National Charity League for me, an outlet for me to give back, establish relationships, and continue to develop my character.

This past year I was on the Marketing/Communications Committee. And I am very happy to say that I will remain on the Communications Team next year (2011-12). Summer Brill, the current Web Marketing Assistant Chair/Social Media and incoming Communications VP for 2011-2012, approached me about an interview project, something I'm so glad I said yes to. While the project appeared slightly daunting in writing, it ended up being an incredible experience. As I spoke with each woman, I was inspired by their journey to how they arrived in the position they will take on next year. The women who make up the 2011-2012 JLPA-MP Board of Directors are a truly amazing group of women, all of whom have a many other commitments outside the League but still dedicate endless hours and energy to the JLPA-MP, because the League is that important to them.

The League provides something different to every member. For some it may be additional friends, or a chance to do something different than what you do for a living. For others it might be the development and training opportunities, or volunteer work. For all of the women I interviewed, the JLPA-MP is all that I just mentioned, plus a trajectory for women to become leaders. I am inspired to become a leader in the League, and I hope these articles inspire you as well.

Marfrisa Geronimo Gipner, Administrative VP 2011-12
Within minutes of emailing the incoming Board to introduce my project and request an interview, Marfrisa responded wanting to schedule time to talk. And I thought it was going to be hard tracking down these busy women! Marfrisa has been in the League for four years, and has been double placed the last two years - something I didn't even know people did. We talked on the phone, and after getting the courage to ask her how to pronounce her name properly, we had a great conversation. Her position for next year is Administrative VP, a huge role that includes all the administrative responsibilities you might suspect from the title, but also overseeing the Human Resources function within the League and managing the Gatehouse and The Shop employees. It's a huge operational position, but Marfrisa sees it as an opportunity to focus on the "in house" League responsibilities as opposed to the development and fundraising roles she's had in the past.

In addition to being excited for her leadership position, she's even more eager to work under the leadership of Meaux Costello, our President for 2011-12. After their first meeting Marfrisa was inspired by Meaux's vision and strategic direction. Marfrisa shared with me that she has big shoes to fill herself, taking over the position after two years of Jan Hickman doing a great job. Marfrisa is looking forward to being the voice and liaison for the employees of the Gatehouse and The Shop, two crucial relationships the League depends on for its success and longevity.

Marfrisa is a wife, mother, career-woman, and leader in the community. She joined the League because she is committed to making our community a better one, and is acting that out now. Stepping into this leadership role is important to her because she's gained so much from the League, and now wants to give a lot of that back.

When not working or doing League related things, she continues to be a busy woman. She's currently planning her college reunion! She's also a proud mother, and I've included a picture of her and her daughter so that you'll recognize her and can say hello at the next General Membership meeting.

Stay tuned for the remaining Board member interviews!

If you are interested in learning more about how you can join the League, please visit one of our Prospective Member Open Houses this summer:
Wednesday, June 29th 6:00-8:00pm
Saturday, July 16 10:00am-12:00pm
Wednesday, August 17 6:00-8:00pm
Saturday, August 20 10:00am-12:00pm

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