Growing up in the South, I heard the term “Junior League” a lot. I associated it with the ladies who lunch and as I got older just thought of it as an adult sorority. However, a few years ago, I did some research into the Junior League of Atlanta but decided to hold off on joining. Through this research, I learned that the Junior League is “an organization of women, committed to making lasting transformation in the Atlanta community.” However, old stereotypes die hard, and I couldn’t shake the idea that as a single woman with a wild past, I wouldn’t fit in to the Junior League mold.
Then, while I was working for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society last spring, my coworker Meredith found out I had considered joining the Junior League and said she had just applied for membership. Thanks to her encouragement, I decided to apply and see what happened. After all, I could always quit if it wasn’t a good experience.
Initially, I joined the Junior League to make friends and to have access to a wide variety of ways to volunteer in Metro Atlanta. What I found was a group of women who are passionate about their careers, their community, and issues that I care about deeply. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the women in Atlanta’s Junior League aren’t shy about having difficult conversations about generational poverty, human trafficking, or their own privilege. In fact, these conversations seem to be embraced by the members.
I also discovered how many opportunities are available to me as a JLA member. I was able to attend a five-class fundraising course last fall, met women in my field who have taken the time to network with me and mentor me, and after being encouraged to apply for a leadership position, accepted a position on the Grants & Foundations Committee next year to find additional ways to hone my professional skills. The Junior League also offers opportunities for women outside of the league to have opportunities. My boss, who is not a JLA-er, is attending our women’s forum this week.
A lot of my girlfriends have been asking me about my experience, and every time I respond that I LOVE it so far! The way the provisional program is set up helped me meet other women through my assigned small group (which was an awesome group of ladies!). Through all of the community service and personal and professional development opportunities, I was able to meet women of all ages and league experience who have similar interests to me.
If you’re thinking about joining the Junior League, I highly recommend it. My experience has made this past year so much fun, and I can’t wait to see what my first active year with JLA holds!
If you have questions about the league, feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have you ever joined a group like the Junior League? How did you like it?