January 31, 2012

Members who SHINE!

By Ansley Jentz, Member Resources Committee

Member Resources Committee would like to recognize these members for their fantastic work on behalf of our League. They have gone above and beyond and we are grateful for their efforts!

Stefanie Witlin, Nominating Committee Member. Steff conducted research into the characteristics of effective leaders, created a brand new Board of Directors Leadership Application system now being used successfully by this year's Nominating Committee. Because of her efforts, for the first time this year we are receiving new, quantifiable information from candidates for next year's Board of Directors based on the needs our League has today.

Kathleen Castaillac & Helen Ungerman, Home Tour Co-Chairs. Member Resources Committee, as well as all of the League, is so impressed with the efforts and leadership of Kathleen and Helen and all of the Home Tour Committee. 2011 Home Tour was a terrific success! The homes were beautiful, the schedule was filled with exciting events and the days went like clockwork! You made it look effortless but we know you put in countless hours to make it all happen. Well done and congratulations!

January 27, 2012

Blogging Leaguers – TOP TEN LIST

By Michelle Hostrup, Social Media Assistant Chair 

On Monday night, January 23, I presented a Blogging Training for the Communications Team. We already have some great writers on our committee, but I think everyone still needs a reminder to write for our league Blog, to conquer any fears they may have of blogging, and to get started writing about all the awesome things we do! 

In my efforts to educate and provide a fun training, I created a Blogging Top Ten list, similar to Letterman’s Top Ten. Below is the list I created, with additional instruction relating to our League Blog. For those of you that have thought about writing an article, but gotten stuck on what to write or how to write a Blog article, I hope you find this helpful! 

10. Blog about all the cool stuff our League does.
You can blog about an event, a social, a team meeting, or a casual night out with a group of Jr. League friends. It’s important that the article be about an experience or from your perspective, and not an advertisement for an event (the appropriate forum for an advertisement would be our Twitter or Facebook account). Here’s a great article written a few months back about two leaguers who enjoyed a fun afternoon at the Four Seasons in Palo Alto. 

9. Write about what matters to you. 
The most successful articles are written by people who are passionate about their subject matter, so if you enjoyed it, share it. 

8. Write your article right away. 
Articles published too long after the event occurred aren’t as interesting to the reader, so write your article ASAP. It will also be easier to write if you do it right away (for those with short term memory like me). 

7. Use your own voice. 
The beauty of blogging is that there is no right or wrong way to write your article. You can even use (appropriate) slang! Here is a great article that was written about a joint committee meeting, where the author’s voice really comes through in the writing. 

6. Less is more. 
Good Blog articles don’t have to be long. The expert blog writers suggest writing 250 words or less. That’s probably shorter than that restaurant review you wrote on Yelp! 

5. Make the title snappy. 
Put some thought into your title! You can instantly get the readers attention by using a clever title. One of my favorite blog article titles is, Tapas Under the Stars. Now, didn’t that get your attention? 

4. Include bullet point lists. 
Using bullet point lists is an easy way to write your article, and it provides a great structure for the reader to easily digest the information. 

3. Take Pictures! 
There isn’t a lot I need to write about using pictures with your article, except use pictures! And if you don’t have any pictures, include a flyer, icon, or anything with some color in it. 

2. It’s easy!! 
If you’re getting stressed about writing a Blog article, you’re probably thinking too hard about it. Write the first thing that comes to mind! 

1. It’s important!!! 
Our Blog is out there for the community and prospective members to learn about our league, and for members to find out what’s going on in other committee’s or things that they missed. So be an ambassador and write about what’s important to you (which should be our League)!

January 25, 2012

RECAP: January 18 GMM

By Amy Truel, Communications Team

Did you miss the January 18 General Membership Meeting? Find out what was discussed and presented.
A moving and informative presentation from Karae Lisle (shown right), Executive Director of Shelter Network.

Kathleen Castaillac and Helen Ungerman, Home Tour Co-Chairs, provided a witty and memorable homage to the behind-the-scenes Home Tour preparation. How those ladies could accomplish so much, putting on an amazing Home Tour while chronicling their adventures and maintaining a sense of humor is beyond me. Once again, Thank you Home Tour Team-we are blown away!

Bena Vohra (shown left), Junior SPAC Delegate, invited us to submit our ideas for "There Oughta Be A Law...". This is a  great opportunity for League members to make a difference! Think about laws you would like to see enacted, and submit your ideas to SPAC by March 2.
Sally Falkenhagen (shown right), Endowment Fund Chair, spoke about the history and performance of the League Endowment Fund. It was very inspiring to see how the idea was formed back in 1992, launched in 1994 and has grown into a substantial amount, ensuring continued League support for our community. To donate to the Fund, click here.
Tara Roussel, Nominating Chair, introduced us to our stellar proposed 2012-13 Board of Directors (shown left).
Jan Hickman, Shop Committee Chair, emceed a great fashion show featuring items available at The Shop. Not just clothes either; we were treated to ladies strutting their stuff carrying artwork, tables, and yes, Brooke Lopez did wear a lampshade (shown right)!

January 24, 2012

Provisional Class Holiday Social

By Danielle Stromgren, Provisional Committee

What a great ending to the 2011 year with two festive events getting us into the holiday spirit. The fourth annual Finishing Touches Home Tour was an exciting way to set the month of December in motion and the holiday cookie exchange filled our tummies with scrumptious goodies from various traditions.

One of the lovely homes featured
in the Home Tour.
The Home Tour was highly regarded by many with a variety of events you could attend on December 2-3. Not only was there an opportunity to see four beautifully decorated homes in Atherton, but there was also the designer breakfast held at the Rosewood where it gave people a chance to ask the interior designers questions about each home they decorated for the tour. The boutique was also another sought after spot with great items ranging from goodies, jewelry to wreaths.

So many cookies to try at the
Cookie Exchange!
The provisional class also had a fun holiday cookie exchange on December 14 held at the Gatehouse. Many  people showed up bearing delicious treats. With over 50 different desserts to choose from, it was hard to vote on who would win the contest. After tasting many cookies, everyone placed their vote and came to the conclusion that Lauren Case had the best tasting cookies. Amanda George won for the most unique with individual size tie-dyed cheesecake and Jennifer Potter won best looking with her wonderfully decorated Santa cookies. If there wasn’t enough room in your take-out box to bring home the cookies you loved then you can download the pdf file that has all the recipes from the event.

If you missed either of these wonderful events this year, be sure to mark your calendar for the next social and other great upcoming Junior League events. You can view all upcoming events on the JLPA-MP website calendar here.

January 13, 2012

Legislation Update! My Interview with Sr. SPAC Delegate, Polly Neumann

By Michelle Hostrup, Social Media Assistant Chair, Communications Team

At the last Board Meeting of 2011, Polly Neumann, Sr. SPAC Delegate, presented two federal bills regarding Human Trafficking. Our League usually supports California state bills, but both Polly and Cat Carlton, SPAC California Chair, felt that these two federal bills regarding Human Trafficking were important enough to gain the support of our Board and League.

I reached out to Polly this past weekend to learn more about the two bills. In honor of President Obama declaring January to be National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, I wanted to share with you what I learned from Polly and the outcome of her presentation to the Board.

These bills will help authorities and non-profit groups fight human trafficking internationally and in our own back yard:

1) H.R. 2982 Human Trafficking Reporting Act 

This federal bill would move Human Trafficking (HT) to a Part 1 crime in relation to the Unified Crime Reporting Program that the FBI runs.

Part 1 Crimes: The FBI requires law enforcement to report these to the UCR Program (e.g. murder)
Part 2 Crimes: The FBI requests law enforcement to report these crimes, but it is not a requirement (e.g. hate crimes)

The passing of this bill would make reporting of HT crimes mandatory for law enforcement groups (as long as they want federal funding).
2) H.R. 2830 TVPA Trafficking Victims Protection Act 

The original Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000 was and still is the largest piece of human rights legislation in U.S. history, creating the first comprehensive federal law to address human trafficking both domestically and internationally.

The methods of traffickers are constantly evolving, so the TVPA must be updated and renewed every few years. The TVPA was reauthorized through the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) of 2003, 2005 and 2008. The new TVPRA bill will be voted upon in 2012. Details on the bill’s reauthorization can be found here.

Domestic provisions within the TVPA: 
The TVPA of 2000 follows a three-pronged approach to prevent vulnerability, protect survivors, and prosecute human traffickers. 

Under prevention, it creates an office to monitor and combat trafficking in persons within the state department, enabling the President to impose sanctions on countries that fail to meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; it also creates public awareness programs and partnerships to prevent goods made by slave labor from entering the country. 

Under protection, it expands the types of technical assistance that can be provided to foreign countries, including police training; it requires the Department of Labor to provide a list of goods that may have been made with forced labor; and it provides the T Visa for foreign victims of trafficking in the U.S. 

Under prosecution, it makes human trafficking (and related activities) a federal crime with severe penalties and mandates that restitution be paid to victims. 

International provisions within the TVPA:
Internationally, the TVPRA requires the U.S. government to terminate contracts with overseas contractors who engage in sex trafficking or forced labor; addresses sex tourism with prevention programs; expands federal criminal jurisdiction to trafficking offenses committed abroad, meaning the alleged offender can be tried in the U.S. whether or not the crime was committed in the U.S.; requires the U.S. to cut military aid to countries using children in their national armies/militias; and requires that countries ranked on the Tier II Watch List for more than two years receive the same sanctions as countries ranked on the Tier III Watch List. 


After speaking with Polly and understanding the two bills related to Human Trafficking, I could understand why she sought the support of our League. Our League has demonstrated in the past that we can make a difference in our community and world. I was delighted to learn (and not surprised at all) that our JLPA-MP Board voted to support both of these bills!

Child/Human Trafficking is one of the fastest growing crimes in the world, and the world’s second largest criminal enterprise, after drugs. About 2.8 million children run away each year in the US, and, within 48 hours of hitting the streets, one-third of these children are lured into the underground world of prostitution and pornography. Over 70% of all child and human trafficking in California occurs in the Bay Area. 

January 10, 2012

Yummy Cookie Exchange

By Marcie Brown, Endowment Fund Committee
Take home cookie station
Weeks later, I am still thinking about bacon in cookies! Who would have even thought to do that? And who would think that they are tasty? Well, they are darn good!

JL Members at the Cookie Exchange
The Cookie Exchange, hosted by the Provisional Class and open to all League members and their friends, was held last month at the Gatehouse. A rousing success only begins to describe what a fun event it was! 

Unlike other Cookie Exchanges I’ve been too – they had a tasting and a friendly competition for the cookies. Like other Cookie Exchanges, everyone went home with cookies, packaged by attendees themselves in adorable to-go boxes. A few of each cookie guests brought were cut into bit-sized pieces and assigned a number – everyone was given three slips of paper to put a number on to name their choice for – best looking, best tasting & most original. How the bacon one didn't win most original was beyond me! 

Santa Cookies
Two well-dressed, kind gentlemen carried trays of sparkling beverages around the Gatehouse for guests to sip while they tasted. The dining room table had cheeses and crackers and other savories as well. It was a delightful event – lots of mingling and conversations, great food and beverages and more than enough fun! 

My first-year Active daughter’s cookies were the best tasting in my opinion, but they didn’t take the prize. But, I did get a few leftovers to take home!

Lauren Case, Lisa Hammon,
Danielle Stromgren
The WINNERS from the Cooking Exchange:

Best Tasting Cookies - Lauren Case
Best Looking Cookies - Jennifer Potter
Most Unique Cookies - Amanda George