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.