Member Spotlight: Kassidy Johnson


What has been your favorite activity/project this year?

  • My favorite activities have been Merry Marketplace, my community shift at Su Casa and working the sustainer activity at the CRC.

Why did you get involved in the JLM?

  • My great colleagues! Both Bethany McRae and Lauren Price spoke so highly of the League and all that it offered. As a new Memphian, I was looking for an opportunity to get involved within a structured organization of women.

What have you learned from being a member of the JLM?

  • I have learned that there are a lot of underrepresented communities that need our assistance, and, unfortunately, we can’t do it all. I have also learned how to be more flexible with my schedule and still complete all the tasks at hand. Finally, I have learned that there are women just as Type A and just as enthusiastic about serving as I am. It is impressive to be amongst a group of women like that.

What are you passionate about in the community and in JLM?

  • I am very interested in the interworking of the League. My background is in communications and public policy, and as a subject matter expert in the field, I am passionate about sharing that expertise. I am looking forward to working on the AJLI conference to learn more!

What’s been your favorite GMM location and/or speaker?

  • My favorite speaker hands down is Sally Pace. Her matriculation in her career and the League are a blueprint for me. Amazing!

What is your occupation?

  • Liaison for Issues Management

Who has inspired you in your career/field?

  • I have been inspired by many women; Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Julianne Malveaux, Sara Hall and Emily Callahan, to name a few.

What is your favorite Memphis restaurant?

  • Golden India. I LOVE Indian food. Plus the owner is adorbs.

Who’s your favorite sports team?

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But since I am in Memphis…Go Grizz!

What is your favorite quote?

  • “We may encounter many defeats, but we must not be defeated.” Maya Angelou

What is the last book you read and would recommend?

  • Looking On Me by Katrina McGhee



Member Spotlight: Dorothy Collier



What is your favorite placement?

  • Special events. It’s a great placement for a work from home mom.  I could choose shifts that worked with my schedule during the weekday and we helped during various JL events, so I got to see different areas that the League works with.  I enjoyed my group I was with and it helped me form strong friendships within the League.

Why did you get involved in the JLM?

  • Not originally being from Memphis, I knew that it would be a wonderful and fun way to get involved and learn about our community. I also knew that I would be surrounding myself with the most driven and successful women in our city. I’m so glad I did! I’ve made so many friends and continue to be inspired by them and the work they do.

What have you learned from being a member of the JLM?

  • That it takes a village!  Every position and every effort helps, no matter how small. When this many women come together, great things can happen!

What advice do you have for other members about choosing a meaningful placement?

  • Start with what you’re passionate about and think about what you personally can bring to the table to help the organization out.

What’s been your favorite GMM location and/or speaker?

  • I love the GMM meetings at The Orpheum. Any excuse to go to downtown and a dinner with friends afterwards!

What is your occupation?

  • I am an artist.  I have been so lucky to do what I love and grow Dorothy Art for the past 7 years.  I’m recently most excited about my new shadowbox painting series that I started creating since getting back in the studio from maternity leave last month.  I’m honored to be the Featured Artist at Bingham & Broad during Broad Avenue’s Spring Art Walk Friday, April 7th!  Shameless plug!  Follow along with what I’m doing in the studio and for upcoming shows on Instagram and Facebook!

Who has inspired you in your career/field?

  • My family. My mother is an artist, so I gained a lot of trade secrets from watching her while I was growing up.  A lot of the materials I use are a nod to my grandmother, who owned two antique stores. My baby boy Johnny has been a more recent inspiration through the new subjects I’m painting. My husband John always inspires me to keep going, no matter how much of a “painter’s block” I get. I’m so lucky to have them!

What is your favorite Memphis restaurant?

  • Second Line.  The food and atmosphere make me wish I was in New Orleans and Kelly English’s talent and hospitality are tremendous!  

Who’s your favorite sports team?

  • Die hard Ole Miss Rebels fan my entire life. Hotty Toddy!  I love me some Grizz!  Nothing beats playoff season in the Forum!!!

What is your favorite quote?

  • “With every experience, you alone are painting your own canvas, thought by thought, choice by choice.” -Oprah Winfrey 

What is the last book you read and would recommend?

  • Sick in the Head: Conversations about Life and Comedy by Judd Apatow It’s his collection of interviews with his comedian friends and colleagues.   It’s inspiring hearing those artists’ struggles and triumphs. Also hilarious!


Junior League of Memphis Merry Marketplace

Merry Marketplace is the premier holiday shopping event in Memphis. The event will take place at the Racquet Club of Memphis, and you will be able to delight in the holiday season with fabulous special events and one-of-a-kind shopping.

The shopping begins with Girl Night Out on Thursday, November 10 from 6 – 9 p.m. Other dates and times for shopping are Friday, November 11 from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. and Saturday, November 12 from10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

We have a lot of exciting things planned this year including pictures with Santa, the Beauty Bar, Holiday Happy Hour, and Pinot Palette’s Sip & Paint Holiday Party. Tickets can be purchased at so come join us for some holiday fun!

updated 2015 logo

Member Spotlight:Brandy Ward

Brandy Ward, Diversity & Inclusion Task Force Chair

What is your favorite placement?

  • My current placement as Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force is by far my favorite. This placement has allowed me to bond with several ladies from different backgrounds and cultures, but who are all dedicated to accomplishing the goals and objectives of the JLM. I absolutely love the space that we are in, and the opportunity that we have to make a positive impact in the JLM and our community.

Why did you get involved in the JLM?

  • When I decided to make Memphis my home, I wanted to get involved with a women’s organization that was dedicated to community service and involvement. JLM was the first organization to extend that opportunity to me, and I am extremely glad that I took advantage of it.

What have you learned from being a member of the JLM?

  • I have learned that when a group of women who are passionate and dedicated to a worthy cause, can change the world.

What advice do you have for other members about choosing a meaningful placement?

  • Thorough research of all placements is absolutely necessary. After the research is complete, however, members should strive to choose a placement that can either compliment their current station in life, challenge their skills and abilities or both.  The most important thing is to choose a placement which can exert your passion and allow you to receive the full beneficial experience of the JLM.

Whats been your favorite GMM location and/or speaker?

  • All of the speakers have been awesome, but my favorite location is the Levitt Shell.

What is your occupation?

  • Investment Banker, Vice President, Harvestons Securities

Who has inspired you in your career/field?

  • Suzanne Shank is the first African-American woman to run a publicly traded financial institution. Her path to success, however, was not forged by politics and privileges, but by hard work, determination, and a little luck.  As I proceed in my career, she is definitely part of my professional “Mount Rushmore.”

What is your favorite Memphis restaurant?

  • Evelyn and Olive, hands down. Cozy Corner for Barbecue. Every true Memphian has to have a fave restaurant AND a fave BBQ restaurant.

Whos your favorite sports team?

  • I am a die hard Grit and Grinder!!!

What is your favorite quote?

  • “ For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required”

Luke 12:48unnamed

What is the last book you read and would recommend?

  • Beale Street Dynasty: Sex, Song, and the Struggle for the Soul of Memphis, by Preston Lauterbach. I think it provides excellent insight on the foundation of race relations in Memphis, as well as wonderful sociological and historical context of our great City.

Developing Potential: Work That’s Never Done


By Cara Sievers, Executive Vice President, Junior League of Memphis

As a member of Junior League of Memphis (JLM), I can honestly say I am in love with each of the three pillars of our mission: promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving communities. I feel we have a strong mission – one that we share with the other 291 leagues in the Association of Junior Leagues International – and, each year, our leaders continue to shape our vision and our goals for making a maximum, positive impact on Memphis.

But one of the pillars of our mission that I believe sometimes doesn’t get the attention it deserves is our goal to develop the potential of women. Not only do I personally feel that JLM has grown and changed me as an individual and as a professional, but I have watched other women grow and learn and share some life-changing experiences with other JLM members and with our partners in the Memphis community. JLM builds leaders and doers and change agents – women who commit readily to doing what they can to help their communities evolve, and who help other women build the desire and courage to join them.

This year, 2016-2017, promises to be full of development potential, particularly for leaders involved in JLM’s leadership transformation. Where we had one Board of Directors before to both govern AND manage the activities of the league, we now have evolved into a Board of Directors to focus on strategy and long-range planning, and a Senior Management Council (SMC) to focus on managing the day-to-day activities of JLM. I have the pleasure of serving as JLM’s first Executive Vice President, which means that I serve in both groups within this evolved structure. I manage the Senior Management Council, and serve as a liaison to the Board of Directors. As a member of the Board, I am able to inform our strategic outlook with the operational knowledge gained from managing the SMC. I’ve been on the job only a few months, and it has already opened my eyes to all of the inter-workings of our organization. It’s an amazing opportunity … and talk about developing my potential! I know the lessons I learn in this role will stay with me forever.

My appointment as Executive Vice President will last for two years; and, after that, I’ll move onto a new role in JLM. I don’t know what it will be, but I’m excited to see where my league experience takes me! I think that’s my favorite thing about this prong of our mission – developing the potential of women – it’s never complete. We can always grow and learn; be more and do better. That’s what Junior League offers me: the ability to develop my potential and be my best self. And to be able to surround myself with other women who are also growing, learning and contributing every day – what a great place to be! Indeed, I hope this work is never done.

A Great Start to This Year!

By Jennifer Taylor, President, Junior League of Memphis

The Junior League of Memphis (JLM) has experienced a lot of change throughout its 94-year history. From Mrs. Van Vleet’s founding in 1922, JLM’s mission has had a lasting impact on the city of Memphis, and its Members themselves, through change.  As I reflect back on what JLM has done for Memphis, I am proud of its rich history and its evolution into the strong organization it is today. I believe in its sisterhood of 1600 women strong living the mission every day in our community.

Looking back on the significance of JLM in Memphis history, one term that comes to mind is “change-agent.” As a Provisional member in 2003, I wondered what that term meant in general and exactly how it applied to JLM. The definition of a change-agent includes the following terminology, “…a person from an organization who helps the organization transform itself.” Clearly, JLM and its members are change-agents.

In 1945, JLM opened its first thrift shop and 76 years later, the Repeat Boutique is still going strong and serving those who shop there, as well as those who benefit from its proceeds. WKNO-TV was founded by JLM in 1955 and still exists today as the public broadcasting center for the Mid-South. The JLM helped start the Memphis Speech and Hearing Center and has continued to support it since 1963 (a wonderful institution I can assure you, as I work there.) The Pink Palace was started with assistance from agencies throughout the Mid-South including JLM in 1973. In 1995 the JLM was the first entity in Memphis to recognize and respond to the huge and growing need for children affected by HIV by opening Hope House. We started G.R.O.W. (Giving, Readiness, Opportunity, Wellness) in 2010 at Lester Community Center in the Binghampton community, and in 2015 we expanded into the Berclair community. Hundreds of organizations and many thousands of lives have been improved by JLM members. JLM has changed and adapted as the needs of our community have changed and grown, and as JLM’s assets, both monetary and dedicated volunteers, have changed and grown.

My active membership in JLM began in 2004 as an auction closeout committee volunteer for the Crystal Ball. I did not know at the time what I was gaining from that experience besides seeing a major event take place. I was changed from this opportunity. I learned that I could connect with other Members, adapt to changing circumstances and be flexible.

In 2006, I joined the Merry Marketplace leadership committee and remained on Merry Marketplace leadership through 2010. At the time, I thought that it would be a fun time with friends doing a fun(d)raiser for JLM. And it was fun! In fact, it is one of my favorite placements since joining JLM.  Looking back, I was transformed from these experiences and my years spent on Merry Marketplace.  I learned how to manage people and a large inventory. I learned to lead and mentor others. I learned to use Excel in ways I never knew were possible. I learned to delegate. I learned to respect others’ time and my own. I learned and I learned. And from all of these learnings, I changed. I became a person who recognized that my potential had been developed as a woman and a leader. I began to believe in myself as a leader and a volunteer in my community. This made a significant impact on me personally and in my career; JLM has changed me.

I hope that during this upcoming year we all will embrace change and reflect on how JLM and its mission has impacted our lives and our city. The mission that each one of us lives each day by promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and impacting community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers, has changed Memphis. We live the mission each day so we can change the community we live in-our Memphis.JPT Photo-Final

Developing the Potential of Women through Experiential Training

Contributed by JLM Past President (2013-2014) Stephanie Simpson

As a past president of the Junior League of Memphis (JLM), I have had several opportunities to discuss why I joined the JLM, and I usually share that I was attracted to the third prong of our mission – to improve the community.  I wanted to serve Memphis, and I knew the JLM’s reputation for making a positive impact in our city.   I had no idea of the impact that the JLM would have on me, both personally and professionally.

My JLM involvement prepared me for both volunteer and professional leadership roles. This training was not just the formal lecture-type events (although these are valuable) – it was through the experiences I had in my placements, specifically when in leadership.  During my early years, I was not even aware of the development that was occurring, but later in my JLM career I realized the growth and the benefits that I had accumulated through my time with the organization.

Since my year as President in 2013-2014, I have had new volunteer and professional positions. My participation in other organizations has reminded me of how valuable my JLM training is.  Here are a just a few simple yet very important lessons I learned through my JLM positions:

–  Plan ahead. Whether preparing for a presentation or for a personal activity, I’ve learned to do as much as I can in advance. You never know what can happen at the last minute, so starting early can help avoid a “crisis.”

–  Lead meaningful meetings. People are incredibly busy and want their time spent at meetings to be purposeful. Have an agenda, send it out in advance, and stick to the allotted time for the meeting (and start as close to time as possible). If an email or conference call is effective, consider these alternatives before requiring an in-person meeting (but remember that some topics and discussions are best in-person).

–  Evaluate – again and again. Whether an on-going fundraiser or a special project, an evaluation process is essential for continued success. It’s critical to determine what works well and what needs improvement.

–  Respect and value other opinions. I certainly don’t know everything, and I have learned that it’s essential to seek input from others. They may see a topic from a completely different perspective and help identify areas of opportunity. Collaboration with others is critical to reach the best possible outcome.

–  Prepare your successor/train your team. Think about what you wish someone had told you when you first started a position and make sure you share these ideas with your replacement. If you have a temporary volunteer position, take notes throughout the year instead of waiting until the end of your term to remember all you want to share. Remember to communicate expectations with your team and ensure that they have the necessary resources.

In addition to these lessons, I encountered countless situations that taught me how to interact with others, which has made me a better leader.

As I mentioned previously, the JLM did not just give me what I was looking for – a way to serve – it has given me so much more by developing my potential and providing me with a network of incredible women who continue to enrich my life!

Stephanie Blog Post collage