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 https://merrymarketplace.com/tickets/ so come join us for some holiday fun!

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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”

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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

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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!

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Developing Others as Leaders (a.k.a. Why Cloning Yourself Is a Bad Idea)

Contributed by Amy Stack, JLM President

Have you ever wished you could clone yourself?

As a person who is admittedly driven by the things I think I should do or could do, I find myself wishing I had more time to do it all. Or, better yet, what if there was another me to pitch in? Just imagine how much I could accomplish!

And, inevitably after wishing for another me, I realize two things:

First, that thought process overuses the word “I.” Simply put, the world doesn’t need another me. What value does it add to have another person with an identical world view, the same approach to solving a tough problem or no variation in thought or experience? Sure, it may make things easier in the short-term (no conflict over what to do or how to do it and an incessant flow of dazzling conversation). But in the long-term, there would be a lack of other perspectives. What if there is a better way to solve the problem? What if there is something important that I’m not considering? What if the skills needed were not my areas of strength?  (Gasp! What if accounting was involved!?)

Second, I could be way more effective at getting to those things that should be done or could be done if I involved others in the process by developing them as leaders. What’s better than a clone of me is a group of leaders who represent diverse backgrounds, perspectives and gifts to offer the world.

So, how does one go about developing others as leaders? Thankfully, I’ve had the privilege to experience this firsthand through involvement in the Junior League of Memphis (JLM) and have noticed these common themes:

Developing others as leaders requires a commitment to being relational. The greatest investment one can make in another person is the gift of focused time. Use this time to pour encouragement, truth and accountability into the person you’ve identified as a leader. Let that person get to know you and have a front-row seat to your challenges, victories and lessons learned. In short, be real together.

Developing others as leaders requires comfort with growing pains and maybe even some mistakes. One of the things I most appreciate about my service in the JLM is the opportunity to learn and grow and “test” skills from the safety of a volunteer role. The JLM was the first place I managed other people, learned to actually (really, yes, for real) delegate, developed a large budget and set large-scale strategies. I know the women who coached and led me in those years saw a fair share of my mistakes and bumps – and they still do. But, rather than doing the job for me, they guided me through it. They were patient with my mistakes and growing pains for the sake of a volunteer emerging as a better, more developed leader. If you’ve had this experienced, pay it forward. Be comfortable with some mistakes and know that the long-term value of a seasoned leader is the better result every time.

Developing others as leaders requires modeling a better story. Each year, I make it a practice to read “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned from Editing my Life.” The premise of this true story is that Don Miller, the author, is approached by screenwriters interested in turning one of his previous books (Blue Like Jazz, a memoir about his journey of faith) into a movie. When they get down to the process of actually converting the plot from the book to the screen, it falls flat. There isn’t enough action. It needed to be a better story. In this book, Don tells what happens when he commits to editing his life and making it a better story – it needed more action, and he as the central character in his own life needed to develop more. When we live a better story – one full of purpose, intent and conviction – we draw others into that story and it becomes a part of their better story, too. We live a story worth repeating and that happens in the form of other leaders who commit to living with purpose.

So, don’t wish you could clone yourself. That’s too small of an idea. Rather, develop others as leaders and see an impact that is exponential.

2016 Memphis Women’s Summit

Contributed by Ebonye Stewart, Memphis Women’s Summit (MWS) Chair

When I heard about the JLM’s plans to launch a conference that would bring women together from across the Mid-South for a day-long experience, I was in! I was excited about the opportunity to be a part of what will be a new footprint for the Junior League of Memphis, and intrigued by JLM Leadership’s vision for the conference. What a dynamic and impactful event. As the chair, I thought, ‘I’ve attended conferences – this will be easy.’

Wow was I wrong!

Chairing an event – not to mention a new event – with no framework was definitely a challenging task.  Our committee was formed, and so, last year, we began on a mission to create the wheel and develop a platform that could be built upon year after year. We think that we’ve done just that.  We have a line-up of fabulous vendors, leaders from across the city hosting breakout sessions, a panel of female executives, and a key-note from award winning author and journalist Joan Lunden. Our committee was responsible for major decisions, such as the key note speaker, and very intricate details that would aid in our participants’ enjoyment.

So here we are, the event will be here before we know it, and as the time grows increasingly closer, I have found a moment to reflect  on how this placement has impacted me.  Signing up to take on such a huge endeavor can definitely prove both challenging and rewarding.  Yes, it will consume a lot of your time between other competing priorities-professional and personal. This is where I really truly learned the value of time, balance and of having a strong team.  I am thankful to be a part of such a solid group of women who definitely have each other’s backs and will do what it takes to get the job done! There is also an unwavering amount of flexibility that is required-you can plan, plan well, and plan ahead but something will occur to cause you to shift gears and adapt quickly.  You must definitely learn to manage expectations, workloads, personalities and learn to find a balance in the differences in opinion and abundance of ideas.

Through all of the challenges and navigating through the unknown, it is so rewarding to see what was once someone’s vision coupled with the committee’s feedback and insight from others develop into an event that will bring women together with the mission of offering a platform to encourage learning from one another, inspiring one another, creating connections and impacting the community. I am proud to be a part of our first inaugural event!