A Stand Beside Her Story “Developing the Potential of Women”

The following post is a cross post with Stand Beside Her. The link can be found here: http://standbesidehermovement.blogspot.com/2017/10/a-stand-beside-her-story-developing.html?m=1.

An Interview with Leah Fox-Greenberg, Director of Operations & Development, Junior League of Memphis

Through the local collaborative efforts of Stand Beside Her Memphis, many women and girl serving organizations have come together to strategically tackle key issues that disproportionately affect girls and women. Through this collaboration, many amazing organizations have joined, taking a seat at the table. With shared values of propelling women and girls forward, we are excited to highlight Leah Fox-Greenberg, Director of Operations &Development at Junior league of Memphis. To quote from the organization’s vision, the Junior League of Memphis puts a “focus on the development of the potential of women. We believe women are change agents in the community, and perceives women as catalysts for lasting change in the Mid-South.”

What does it mean to you to develop the potential of women?

I have a renewed engagement and respect for developing the potential of women from my work with Junior League of Memphis (JLM). At JLM, when we talk about community development and support, many automatically think of donating money. Donating money is important, but it isn’t everything. I believe what we do is more integral towards benefitting the city than just donating money. We believe time, what a person does in their hours before, after work, or whenever they can, is just as valuable as the dollars they spend. We focus extensively on most effectively utilizing our members’ talents. We look at their strengths and where they have potential to grow. We will sometimes ask them to step out of their comfort zone because we want to give them the chance to learn and grow. We see empowering women more than just in training but also getting these women out of their comfort zone. Giving them experiences they wouldn’t normally experience in day to day life. We have found this makes for a more well-rounded and active person in our community.

Who has been influential in developing you?

It takes a village! I had a mother and father who were both social workers who believed in and loved working in the nonprofit world. My mother ran an organization called Operation Action – She was a geriatric social worker. My father was an activist in many ways. He was on boards of several organizations – developing the Playhouse on the Square, the Jewish Community Center, and more! All this to say, nonprofit has always been in my blood. It was no shock when I began development work in Chicago and eventually here in Memphis. Along the way, beyond the support of my parents, I’ve realized I need both mentors and colleagues. June West from Memphis Heritage and Kevin Dean from the Alliance of Nonprofits are a couple I’d like to shout out.  I am the first to say I don’t know everything. I will often call other executive directors and nonprofit professionals for guidance and often receive calls from others. That’s what’s so great about Memphis. Our community is focused on collaboration.

What are ways women can support developing the potential of other women?

You don’t have to be in my position or on the board to affect someone’s life. It is easier than that. It could be something simple like a random act of kindness. I’m a cook – so make them a lasagna! Beyond that, be the connector. You may not be able to solve every problem, but connecting others to the right services and supporting them along the way can be just as impactful. It’s not about the amount of money you have. Being a connector is more. At the heart, that’s what Junior League is as well. Through Junior League, you become a connector within your community. It’s the easiest way to help other women rise.

What drew you to Stand Beside Her?

The power of these women organizations.  The mission of Stand Beside Her Memphis is synonymous with everything we try to do at Junior League through our programming. I love the collaborative efforts of Stand Beside Her Memphis.  In other cities I’ve worked in, the first thing nonprofits will do is say, “Oh gosh, you’re trying to come after our donor dollars!” That’s not what we are trying to do at all. We are trying to be a resource for all women and girls. If you are in this city to help women and help girls, how can you say no to that? It can be so easy to ignore the issues at hand. As women, we need to bring up the issues like poverty and education and not hide from them. It takes great women organizations to start that conversation and begin making change. If we are not going to do it, who’s going to?

What is Your Stand Beside Her Story – something that inspired you to support women?

The first job I had out of college was in the correspondence office of Governor Sundquist. I was one of very few women. I began noticing little issues here and there. Some of them because I am a woman. Others from being Jewish in the South. And just being different. I’m 6 feet tall. I didn’t go to a major state school in the south. I went to school in the Midwest. I’ve always been a little bit different. A little bit loud. A little bit mouthy. As my mother would say, “You’re very out there, Leah. You may want to tone it down.” Fast forward to working in an all-woman organization, I realized, I don’t have to tone it down. There are a lot like me out there. We are all amazing professional women. So often women are told to tone it down. I’m done with it. I think a lot of us are done with it. This is why I love Girl Scouts. I get to be a Brownie Troop Leader and see my daughter learn through Girl Scouts and through powerful female teachers that she doesn’t have to tone it down. If we can keep that up, we can truly make change in our culture. I’m not saying you don’t have to follow the rules, but I believe you can make some of the rules. I believe women can be advocates for themselves and for others! We are finally getting to a point where women feel okay to be the loud voice. I see it in my daughter. I see it in Junior League. It’s okay to be that person who doesn’t tone it down. When I graduated college and first joined the work force, I felt the need to be demure and watch what I say. Thank goodness this is changing. Speak up, speak out! That’s really what Stand Beside Her is about. It’s about community involvement and empowering women. The more we can get that out there, the better the entire city will be. I firmly believe that women are going to be the change agents. It’s not going to be city council. It is going to be our local organizations. Most of them are run by women. That’s who is going to make change. By bringing them together, this will make it happen faster.


A Letter From the President and Executive Vice President

The 2016-2017 Junior League of Memphis year was one of courageous new beginnings and impactful initiatives and collaborations. As we have continued to do great work in the community, we have been very intentional the last few years about how we can best help our city, while continuing to improve the membership experience for the nearly 1,600 members of our organization.

Developing the potential of women. Junior League of Memphis continues to provide unique and valuable training experiences for its members. Whether gaining hands-on training while supporting a Junior League partner or program, or attending one of several training sessions offered by the training council every year, all of our members are provided opportunities to continually learn and evolve, both personally and professionally.

Additionally, Junior League of Memphis ventured into uncharted territory this past year by evolving its original Board of Directors into two new governance and management bodies the Board of Directors and Senior Management Council. This effort will further empower our leaders at all levels, while better defining the strategic and operational goals of the league.

Improving communities. A few years ago, Junior League of Memphis adopted an issue-based community impact model, and the membership voted to focus on neighborhood revitalization as the organization’s main initiative. By gearing the majority of our programs around this platform, we are able to make a more targeted, measurable impact on the neighborhoods we serve. Currently, we have a concentrated effort in the Binghampton, Berclair and Highland Heights areas, all of which have seen new or improved Junior League programming in the past few years. We are happy to see our reach within these neighborhoods growing each year as we build new relationships and meet new families.

Promoting voluntarism. Through everything it does, the Junior League of Memphis is proud to continuously promote voluntarism throughout its membership and the city as a whole. A group of women like no other, Junior League volunteers are a force in Memphis change agents who volunteer their time, effort, resources, heart and soul in order to make our community a better place for everyone. It’s an inspirational thing to witness and be a part of every day!

Regardless of where JLM volunteers concentrate their efforts, one thing is for sure: you will see a difference. Some programs are wildly successful from the outset, and some need constant adjustment, but it’s clear these women will never give up not on their community, not on the people they serve, and not on themselves.

Here’s to another great year of developing the potential of women, improving communities and promoting voluntarism in Memphis.

Jennifer Taylor, President                                             Cara Sievers, Executive Vice President

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 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


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.