All In: Cultivating a Culture of Service
In reflecting back on my tenure as a member of the Junior League of Northern Virginia, it is with disbelief that I realize it has been nearly eight years since I first joined our League. For me, the Junior League represents a legacy and tradition of service and community engagement that the women in my family have participated in for numerous generations. I am proud to continue this tradition of voluntarism, community service, and developing the potential of women. I hope you are, as well.
My experience in the League has taught me that there are two types of leaders: those that lead from the front, and those that support from behind so that the mission is being met on all fronts. Whether one serves as a committee member or in a senior leadership position, each member functions as an integral part of a whole that ensures that the League’s commitment to our community remains the heart and focus of our collective actions.
The Junior League is frequently, and quite rightly, described as a “learning lab”—an organization that provides a safe place for like-minded women to develop new skills and better their talents in order to make the community in which we live a more vibrant, healthy, and equitable place to live, work, and play. From the Board of Directors to the committed members of each council’s committees, we are volunteers in training, concerned community members seeking to learn and better ourselves and our homes, and women seeking the friendship and support of other women.
The work of the Junior League of Northern Virginia cannot be accomplished without the willing hearts and helping hands of its dedicated members. To this end, I encourage you to explore the many options the JLNV provides for its members to develop their potential to grow as leaders—whichever type of leadership you find is more natural for you at this time. The leadership roles offered by our League provide an opportunity for members to utilize their expertise to teach others in support of the greater good, or to learn new skills in a safe and supportive environment.
In the 2016-17 League year, we will be seeking to “Cultivate a Culture of Service.” Service is the fundamental essence of the League’s mission, its raison d’etre, the reason many of us sought to become members of this profound organization and continue to lend it our talents. In the upcoming year, let’s take time to refocus on what drives our League towards greater community impact, encourages our members to remain actively engaged in our work, and gives value to the time and learning spent in developing greater leadership potential—our commitment to service.
In this League year, our focus will include:
- Strengthening our understanding and value of servant leadership by reconnecting with the League’s mission and supporting one another in our commitment to service
- Diversifying our revenue through innovative fund development methods that allow our League to continue to deliver on its promises to the community
- Embracing diversity amongst our membership as one of our League’s greatest strengths and assets
I hope you will find the courage to embrace the transformative experience that the Junior League of Northern Virginia can provide to those who are passionate about voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers.
This is the League’s ultimate mission, as well as the promise to each League member. I look forward to Cultivating a Culture of Service alongside each one of you.
Lori Ann Terjesen, Ph.D.
Junior League of Northern Virginia