July 31, 2010

Get to Know Our 2010-11 League President Stefanie Bruggeman

By Michelle Hostrup and Summer Brill

Welcome to the 2010-11 League Year!
We are very excited to welcome Stefanie Bruggeman as our League President this year. She introduced herself to the League at large at our General Meeting in May, but we thought it would be fun to ask her a few questions to get to know her on a more personal level. Our first General Meeting is September 15th at 6:15pm, hope to see you there!

Why did you join the League and how long have you been an Active?
I joined the League 13 years ago seeking to make friends and work in the community, pretty much the same reasons many of us join. I can honestly say that during my years as a League member, both those things have been met.

What is your fondest memory from your time in the League?
I worked on the East Palo Alto Charter School Committee as a committee member. I taught a Character Development Class to 12, 7th-grade girls, once a week, for the year. One day, I came ready to teach and noticed that no one was participating. When I asked around, the students told me they had just come out of a state-testing session and everyone's brains were fried. We ended up talking for 45 minutes about anything they wanted to talk about. It was very loose and everyone participated. It was a great learning session. We talked more about developing character in that one class than we had all year long. I learned a lot about the serious issues those girls were dealing with. One girl's dad was in jail, another's brother had just been killed by a gang-shooting and still another was sharing her house with multiple families. It’s a day I always look back on with fondness.

What most surprised you once you joined the League?
I am continually surprised by how much I've learned over the years. I came into the League a working woman. Soon after, kids took over my life and I eventually left the job I had. The League has given me the opportunity to stay current with working trends, and skills. I feel empowered and confident by all that I'm doing and learning. When I'm ready to rejoin the working world, I will be using the skills I've learned through the League.
I'm also surprise by the number of Jr. Leaguers I run into in my daily life and in the strangest places! Where ever I'm at, I'm bound to see someone I've met through the League. I bumped into a college sorority sister, whom I hadn't seen in years, at an Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc. (AJLI) conference this past year. We are everywhere and I love it!

What are you looking forward to this league year?
I'm very excited about the strategic direction AJLI is taking. They have launched a big strategic initiative to ensure that we stay relevant with women's lives today. Angela Espinosa is leading a Strategic Planning task force that will merge AJLI's plan with the needs of our league into one comprehensive Strategic Plan. Look for that report to be published later this year.

What is your favorite vacation destination?
Lake Tahoe! Hand down. I love the ease of being in the mountains. My favorite things to do while I'm there is hike, play on the Lake, and shop at the local boutiques and eating at local restaurants.
What keeps you busy when you're not doing Junior League related activities?
My family. I have three kids, ages 13, 11 and 9. Between their many activities and my husband's travel schedule I end up being the scheduler and chauffeur.
I also like to stay fit and love to run, take a fitness class or do yoga. I've run several half-marathons, and was on a team of 12 women who participated in a relay race that went from Napa to Santa Cruz. I'm always up for a hike at the Dish if anyone is interested!

What is your favorite restaurant on the Peninsula?
With the kids: Fiesta Del Mar II (on Castro in Mt. View), without kids: Bistro Elan (on California Ave in Palo Alto).

What 3 items would you take with you on a deserted island?
My Kindle, my family (maybe . . .) and chocolate.

Read Stefanie's President's message here: http://www.thejuniorleague.org/paloalto/npo.jsp?pg=about3