May 30, 2011

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

By Michelle Hostrup, Communications Committee 2011-12

This is Part IV of a series introducing our Board of Directors, see our first blog post 5/19/11 for the introduction.

Naomi Chavez Peters, Sustainer Director 2011-12

Naomi Chavez Peters is a Junior League legend. For those who don't know her, she is actually a Sustainer, but will be the Board next year as Sustainer Director. She is a past JLPA-MP President, and the year she was President, Meaux Costello was the League Treasurer. I also learned that the year Naomi chaired the Provisional Committee, Meaux was in her Provisional class.

Naomi was an active League member for about 15 years before she went Sustainer. And although we didn't talk about what she did during those years, I know she made an impact - she has a passion for the Junior League that runs deep. In the upcoming year, she is excited to provide counsel to Meaux, and also excited to provide leadership and development opportunities for members of the League. When she's not working or involved in Sustainer activities, she instructs leadership seminars for the Association of Junior Leagues International (AJLI). I wasn’t kidding when I said she was a Junior League legend!

What struck me the most about Naomi is how strongly she feels that the League has enriched her life. Instead of distancing herself after she became a Sustainer, she stayed heavily involved and is still committed to helping and improving our League. With her experience in leadership training and development, she is a huge resource to the League. In addition to working closely with Meaux next year, her main emphasis will be in continued leadership development for our members. Naomi is very aware of the intelligent, driven, and capable women we have in our League, and has made it a goal to bring out our hidden talents.

Stay tuned for more Board Member interviews!

May 25, 2011

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

By Michelle Hostrup, Communications Committee 2011-12

This is Part III of a series introducing our Board, see Part I on 5/19/11 for the introduction.

Courtney Charney, Fundraising VP 2011-12

Courtney Charney was one of my Provisional Chairs, so I didn't need to interview her to know what a dynamic leader she is. Courtney has held many leadership positions within the League, including Chair/Co Chair of Enrichment, Fundraising, the Spring Gala, League PR, and the Provisional class. Courtney admitted that she'll miss chairing a committee, but is eager for the chance to work with Meaux.

Courtney is slated for Fundraising VP. During a time when fundraising is down for many non-profits across the US, she definitely has her work cut out for her. But she learned a lot of practical techniques from the Home Tour Committee which she plans to apply to her position next year. Specifically, Courtney learned that during a tough economy you have to be creative about spending money. For example, last year the Home Tour partnered with Tiny Prints for all the printed materials at a discounted price. In addition, the Home Tour utilized Sustainer relationships to host the Home Tour cocktail party and even called on League members to make beverage donations. These were all smart decisions that saved the League a lot of money.

During our interview we talked about the importance of raising the consciousness of the League members as it relates to fundraising activities in the current economic environment. "We have to do things differently in order to effectively raise money and give as much as we can back (in grants) to the community." She couldn't share all the details of what she has planned, but I know she has creative, practical and smart ideas for raising money in the year ahead.

Courtney has an extremely busy schedule being a Real Estate Agent. Fortunately she has flexible working hours which allows her to balance her time, plus she's super organized! When it comes to her responsibilities in the League, she told me that she sets guidelines and expectation in advance, that way she can fit everything in (work, the League, life, etc.). Fortunately her husband is a huge supporter of her involvement in the League, especially when he's invited to attend some of the fun social events. And when she's not doing League related activities, you might find her traveling or playing golf (as you can see from her picture above).

I felt a sense of comfort in knowing that Courtney was going to be our Fundraiser VP for next year. She is so passionate about keeping fundraising strong, and focused on how we move forward with fundraising in our ever changing world.

Stay tuned for more Board member interviews!

May 24, 2011

Annual Membership Meeting in Pictures!

by Summer Brill, Social Media Assistant Chair 2010-11

My favorite meeting of the year is always the Annual Membership Meeting in May. That's when we announce our annual grant recipients, welcome our incoming President, honor our Community Projects and celebrate our outstanding members.

The Junior League of Palo Alto-Mid Peninsula distributed a total of $34,000 in grants to Bay Area non-profits including: East Palo Alto Kids Program, Wings Learning Center, Environmental Volunteers, Blossom Birth, Foundation for a College Education, Hope House – Service League of San Mateo, Resource Area for Teachers, RAFT, Youth Community Services, InnVision

Saying good-bye to First Teachers as we launch it back into the community, League members took part in a popular First Teachers exercise illustrating how reading to our children and doing activities with them daily connects the synapses in their growing brains.

We are saying good-bye to our First Teachers community project and welcoming our new community project, Project READ. Stay tuned to future posts with more information on our exciting new project to promote literacy in school-age children.

Celebrating Lisa Malloy (2010-11 Website Chair) for going "Above and Beyond" this year for all her hard work keeping our website fresh, improving website navigation and implementing our new website design. Pictured with fellow Communications members Michelle Hostrup, Kristin Fabos-Livingston (Communications VP 2010-11) and Summer Brill (Social Media Assistant Chair 2010-11).

Congratulations to our 2010-11 President's Cup winner, Eugenie Atherton! (pictured with her family) Eugenie has served our League and led by example for over a decade. She has been an inspiration to each of us, thank you Eugenie! Your impact on our League has been tremendous!

Our outgoing President, Stefanie Bruggeman, incoming President for 2011-12, Meaux Costello and President Elect 2011-12 Rahela Abbas.

May 23, 2011

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

By Michelle Hostrup, Communications Committee 2011-12

This is Part II of a series introducing our 2011-12 Board Members. See Part I on the 5/19/11 blog post.

Sarah Shen, Secretary 2011-12

I met Sarah for the first time last year - we were in the same Provisional class. I was excited to schedule a lunch date with her at Café Borrone's to talk about her upcoming position on the Board. I was genuinely curious about how she managed to land a seat on the Board of Directors after having been in the League only one active year. I assumed that Board members had to have many years of League experience before being asked to participate. She told me that when speaking with her Member Resources representative, she expressed interest in a leadership position, plain and simple. And her actions and involvement along the way have proven her worthy of a position.

I learned that Sarah was initially interested in the Treasurer role. She served as the Treasurer for The Shop this past year and really enjoyed the experience. With her financial background as an accountant she would be perfect for the job. Even though the Treasurer position had already been determined for 2011-2012, she didn't give up. Her tenacity and enthusiasm for a position on the Board impressed the Nominating Committee, because they asked her to be Secretary.

Sarah has a great attitude around work-life balance. Being an accountant she works long hours, but she made it clear that making time for the League is a top priority. She considers this opportunity, to sit on the Board, not only an honor but a way to learn even more about the League. As a Provisional she was impressed by how organized the meetings were, and how dedicated the Co-Chairs and committee members were (our mentors) to making it such a positive experience. She is excited to build a network of friends, and develop relationships with women she knows she would be able to call on if she ever needed support.

Sara is excited for this upcoming year, especially learning more about how the League operates during a down economy and how things are done differently in terms of fundraising and financials. The League is a top priority for her, even with her crazy work schedule. And when she's not crunching numbers or taking notes at the Board meetings, you might find her at the San Francisco Opera. She's no longer a ballet dancer, which she was for 15 years, but has developed a passion for the performing arts. She has a variety of interests including opera, accounting, and the Junior League. When she has a passion for something, she dedicates herself to it fully and makes it a part of her life.

Stay tuned for more Board Member interviews!

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

May 18, 2011

Endowment Fund Board-Tory Burch Raffle Winner!!

By Bonnie Smyth, Endowment Fund Board 2010-11

Congratulations Dawn Stansfield! Dawn won the handbag raffle at the Endowment Fund Board -Tory Burch Event! Enjoy your new Tory Burch Dean Oversized Hobo bag (graciously donated by the Palo Alto Tory Burch store at Stanford Shopping Center)!

May 10, 2011

Nominating Hosted New Leader Social

by Summer Brill, Social Media 2010-11

I had the opportunity to attend the New Leaders social hosted by the Nominating Committee last week on Cinco de Mayo, it was so fun! Of course, the Nominating Committee had the Gatehouse decorated in line with the festive Cinco de Mayo holiday with great food and beverages. Ashely Roussel handed out fun and bright flower combs and we all had a great time catching up with one another. For those who had their counterparts for next year in attendance, there was even some Transitional chatter!

Miriam Huntley led Nominating this year and she took a minute to introduce her fantastic Committee who worked so hard to place our Leadership roster for the 2011-12 League year (which begins in a few weeks!).

The Nominating Committee 2010-11: Laurie Brown, Laura Redmond, Ashley Roussel, Miriam Huntley (Chair 2010-11), Beth Greenberg (not pictured: Nichole Neal, Frederique Dame and Tara Roussel (Chair Elect))

She also brought our attention to some Leadership training material her committee developed and posted on our League website. You can always find Leadership training and support materials in the Member Area in the Leadership forum, click here.

These are the topics you can currently find in the Leadership forum on our website, please login and read this material if you are in a Leadership position this coming League year, they are so helpful!

2010 2011 Leadership Transition Checklist
Template - Committee Roster
Template - Meeting Agenda
Template - Committee Norms
Leadership Essentials Training 2010-2011
Facilitation - Primer (What, Why, How and more...)
Facilitation - Developmental Facilitator
Facilitation - 5 Stages of Group Development
Leadership - 25 Tips to Keep Volunteers
Leadership - Basics for Committee Chairs
Leadership - Checklist for Committee Chairs
Leadership - Behavior of an Effective Leader (from AJLI)
Leadership - Fundamentals for Committee Chairs
Leadership - More on Leadership Styles
Leadership - Skills you'll learn in JLPA-MP Leadership

Don't forget, the new League year begins June 1st, if you haven't yet scheduled your Transition to your Leadership position with your counterpart, you only have a few weeks left!

Hope to see you all at our Annual Meeting on May 18th. We have some important items to vote on at this meeting, please check out the voting material ahead of time on our website, click on the green button click here.

May 09, 2011

Name That Council: The Answers!

Did you Name that Council???

Did you guess "Endowment Fund Board"? If so, you did it! Now for the faces!

Endowment Fund Board

Back: Lucy Kohlmeier, Bonnie Smyth, Pam Brandin, Jane Stocklin, Meredith Schneider, Marcie Brown, Cat Carlton, Martha Edwards, Sally Falkenhagen (Chair both years), Sherri Douville, Rachel Crawford, Joan Sanders

Front: Kim Boyanowski, Jovita Honor, Stefanie Bruggeman, Marcia Rehmus, Marfrisa Geronimo-Gipner, Justine Franklin, Meaux Costello

May 05, 2011

Name That Council!

Ready for another round of Name That Council???

Who are the lovely ladies behind these hats and to which JLPA-MP Council to they belong? Check back Monday for the answers!

May 04, 2011

Congratulations to JLPA-MP Member Cat Carlton!

by Summer Brill, Social Media 2010-11

Cat Carlton (center) pictured with Joy Burkhard and Diana Gilbert, Co-Chairs for SPAC 2010-2011

We would like to extend CONGRATULATIONS times-two to our Junior League of Palo Alto-Mid Peninsula (JLPA-MP)member Cat Carlton. She served as our League Senior State Public Affairs Committee Delegate (SPAC) during the 2010-11 League year.

FIRST, she was elected President of the California State Public Affairs Committee (SPAC) for the 2011-2012 League year. In this role, Cat will be leading 32 Junior and Senior SPAC representatives from the 16 Junior Leagues of California in legislation advocacy, helping to support and co-author bills relevant to our focus areas, for passage into law up in Sacramento. This is a great honor, and Cat is only the third JLPA-MP SPAC Delegate to be named SPAC President in JLPA-MP history. Congratulations, Cat - thank you for representing us so well!

AND, Cat just received the Above and Beyond Award at the Junior League of California SPAC state conference. Here is what they had to say about Cat when they honored her with this award:

California SPAC Above and Beyond Award: Cat Carlton
This honor is awarded to a Junior Leagues of California SPAC delegate who made significant contributions to SPAC by working above and beyond her role or the normal call of duty. The recipient has demonstrated outstanding initiative, exemplary leadership, and helped advance the development of SPAC itself. Through consultation with League Presidents, SPAC delegates, and Sub-Committee Members, the Above and Beyond Award is given by the SPAC Chair on behalf of the delegation for outstanding service to SPAC.

"Cat's work goes above and beyond. She continues to lead our organization in all things SPAC, and now, will be leading all the Jr. Leagues in California. We are so proud of her and her accomplishments. This award is well-deserved recognition for her talents and leadership. Congratulations Cat!" - Stefanie Bruggeman, President JLPA-MP 2010-11

Join Us in Congratulating Cat Carlton, the California SPAC 2011-2012 President!

May 03, 2011

Project News: Shelter Network Extended for Two Years!

by Amy Hamilton, Shelter Network Co-Chair 2010-11 and 2011-12

League Member Allison Felder working with Haven House residents during a Lifeskills workshop

The Junior League of Palo Alto-Mid Peninsula (JLPA-MP) is excited to announce that our collaboration with the Shelter Network in conducting the Lifeskills Workshop series will be extended for another two years! The project's success is due to the timeliness in our current economic climate and relevance to Shelter Network clients in transitional housing. The Lifeskills Workshops focus on basic but important skills such as Money Management, Time Management, Interview Skills, and How to Keep a Job for 10 clients per workshop. The goal is to provide training and confidence to the participants and ensure that the basic skills obtained are long-lasting. Some of the changes to the Workshops for next year include lengthening the Workshop sessions and a focus on communication of their successes.

The JLPA-MP was highlighted in The Shelter Network spring newsletter (Special 2009-10 Annual Report Edition), on page 5. Included below is the article text, to access the newsletter, click here.

Skills for Success
With a more competitive job market, our clients are seeking to improve their skills either in preparation to find work or to maintain existing employment. In response, the Junior League of Palo Alto Mid-Peninsula partnered with Shelter Network to provide life skills workshops at two of our largest shelters (First Step for Families and Haven Family House). "The information we received is very helpful," says Jeannie, a participant at a recent class. She and her husband were laid off last year, and have a 17-month-old toddler and a baby on the way.

"The workshops are timely because of the challenges in the economy," said Carla Cravalho, Junior League Project Co-Chair. "This is information that clients need now." She and project partner Amy Hamilton developed the curriculum, which includes interview skills, time management, tips for maintaining a job, and budgeting. Twenty members of the Junior League teach the workshops, which we recently learned will continue until 2014. For clients like Jeannie, the workshops offer practical assistance and hope.

Read more about our Community Projects, click here.

May 02, 2011

Community Partner, Help One Child Event Kicks Off National Foster Care Month

by Summer Brill, Social Media 2010-11

Last night I had the opportunity to attend a charity event to benefit Help One Child (HOC), the JLPA-MP's community partner on our Fostering Families community project. League members Joy Peacock (Community VP 2010-11) and Michele Bilafer (The Shop Committee 2010-11) generously hosted a table at this event and I jumped at the opportunity to hear more about one of our relatively new community partners.

Joy and Michele have a history with the League's relationship with Help One Child, as they were on Project Development and helped bring Help One Child on as our community partner. They also helped develop the project (along with HOC) that we now call Fostering Families.

Sustaining member Mary Marsh also attended this event and she has a history with Help One Child as well. She was a volunteer with the organization prior to HOC's relationship with our League.

Says Mary, "It was a nice evening with League members. I volunteered for six and a half years with Help One Child. I believe that helping children with their issues when they are young will keep them out of jail in the future. I am so glad our Junior League supports this group."

League Members at Help One Child event: Summer Brill (Social Media 2010-11), Joy Peacock (Community VP 2010-11), Michele Bilafer (The Shop Committee 2010-11), Mary Marsh (Sustainer Director 2010-11), Meaux Costello (President Elect 2010-11)

It was a well organized event and we had the opportunity to hear from the founders of Help One Child, Mark and JoAnne Morris. We also heard special guest testimonies from a woman who was a foster child along with her sister. She is now a newly licensed foster parent herself. We also heard from a woman who became a guardian to her relative's infant at a time when she was young and did not have the resources to adequately care for a newborn. She shared how Help One Child stepped in to help her through the legalities of her situation, as well as provided the basic necessities and parent training for her in her new role.

The League's Fostering Families M-Power program was also highlighted.

It was a very moving experience and I really enjoyed hearing more about a program our League is involved with. May is National Foster Care Month and there are still six DIAD spots available for the May 9th Fostering Families M-Power workshop. If you have not yet fulfilled your DIAD requirement, you want to preview Fostering Families for a future placement or you just want to give back to your community, this is a great opportunity. I did it in February and really enjoyed it!

If you want to learn more about our League's Community Projects, click here.