Thursday, August 20, 2015

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about the Junior League of San Antonio Nominating Process, but Were Afraid to Ask

By Araceli Pena, Nominating Chair

The Junior League of San Antonio Nominating Committee is looking for our great organization’s next leaders – and we hope that will include you! We know the nominating process is not always easy to understand, so take a look at these common questions and answers for clarification. We encourage you to nominate yourself or someone you admire by September 17th. Thank you for your interest in the future of our League!

What is the Junior League of San Antonio Nominating Committee?
The Nominating Committee presents a slate (or list of candidates) for the membership’s approval. The membership may vote to elect the entirety of the slate of candidates or deny it such that the Nominating Committee must then present a new slate for ratification.

What positions does the Nominating Committee nominate?

1) The 2016-2017 Board of Director positions to be slated include:
  • President-Elect (Candidate must have served on the Board of Directors for at least 1 full previous term) 
  • Treasurer-Elect 
  • Vice President of Communications 
  • Vice President of Community 
  • Vice President of Fund Development 
  • Vice President of Membership Development 
  • Vice President of Planning 
  • Board Secretary 
  • Board Member-at-Large (The Nominating Committee presents 4 candidates, and the membership votes to elect 1 of the 4) 

2) New this year, the Nominating Committee will also be presenting candidates for 4 new “elect” positions. Vice President-Elects will assist the councils they serve in 2016-2017 as second chair and then will serve as Vice Presidents of these respective councils for the 2017-2018 League year:
  • Vice President-Elect of Communications 
  • Vice President-Elect of Community 
  • Vice President-Elect of Fund Development 
  • Vice President-Elect of Membership Development 

3) Lastly, the Nominating Committee will present 7 candidates for the 2016-2017 Nominating Committee to the membership for approval. Candidates must have completed 3 years of active service or 1 year on the Board of Directors by the end of this League year, must have an active placement and be in good standing, and may not have served on the Nominating Committee the previous 2 years. Please note that Nominating Committee members may not serve on the Board of Directors the year following their Nominating Committee service.

What are the Responsibilities of the Junior League of San Antonio Board of Directors?
The Board of Directors is responsible for planning for the Junior League of San Antonio’s future by creating and operationalizing strategic plans, and they maintain oversight of the League’s financial position. The time commitment required varies from Board position to Board position, but it can average about 15 hours per week of meetings and work. The 2016-2017 Board members will begin working in early 2016 – making Board service an 18 month commitment. Board members are also expected to contribute to the League’s Annual Loyalty fund and attend ticketed Junior League events when possible.

What is the Deadline to Apply or Submit a Name for Consideration?
September 17, 2015.

How do I Nominate Someone?
It’s easy, I promise! There are 2 ways to nominate yourself or someone else:

Formal Nominating Process: Fill out a brief online form via the League website. Log into the “members only” League website ( Click on the “Resource” tab, then “Nominating Process” tab, and either click on the “self-nominating” link or “nominating” link (to nominate someone other than yourself).

Informal Nomination Process: Provide to the Nominating Committee the name of the person you wish to be considered – either by writing the name down on a card at the September General Membership Meeting or by sending an email to a Nominating Committee member. If you nominate someone other than yourself, a Nominating Committee member will contact the nominee to ensure they are interested in serving. If she wants to be considered or you self-nominated, the nominee will receive an email from me asking for responses to a few short questions. 

Log in to your JLSA account to nominate!

Will Anyone Know Who I Nominated?
No. All candidates who applied to be considered or who were submitted for consideration by someone else are kept strictly confidential by the Nominating Committee. If you submit names for consideration, those candidates will not know who recommended them to the Nominating Committee.

Will Anyone Know if I Have Been Nominated?
No. All candidates are kept strictly confidential by the Nominating Committee.

Who Serves on the Junior League of San Antonio Nominating Committee?
I serve as the Nominating Committee Chair with these great women: Brett Beyer, Emily Christy, Gretchen Garceau-Kragh, Kristen Henry, Liz Lamoureux, Sarah McKee, Katie Reynolds, Debbie Strus, Natalie Tate, and Emily Threet.

Please do not hesitate to contact any one of us with questions or to nominate yourself or someone else! Find us in the JLSA Directory!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Sip n' Shop at Kendra Scott

By Elizabeth Rozyeskie, Fund Development Council Writer

Join the Junior League of San Antonio for our first Sip n' Shop at Kendra Scott of the 2015-16 year  on Wednesday, August 12, from 5- 8 p.m. 

Catch up with your friends and the latest jewelry trends over a glass of bubbly and snacks. Don’t forget that you are shopping for a cause: 20% of the proceeds will come back to the Junior League of San Antonio to help further our mission.

Can’t make it to our first Sip n’ Shop? Kendra Scott has graciously allowed our members to call the shop on Wednesday, place an order, and still have 20% of the proceeds donated to the League. When you call 210-591-7180 to place your order, make sure to mention the Junior League of San Antonio!

This event is open to the public, so grab your girls and join in on the fun. Let's #ShopForACause because #JLSARocks!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Top 5 Ways We Are NOT The Junior League of The Astronaut Wives Club

By Amanda Crouch, Sponsorship Chair

One of my new favorite summer television shows is The Astronaut Wives Club, which airs on ABC on Thursday evenings at 7:00 pm.  Based on the 2013 New York Times bestseller with the same title by Lily Koppel, The Astronaut Wives Club is an American period drama series created for ABC. The series tell the story of the wives of the Mercury Seven astronauts who pioneered the first manned space flights between May 1961 and May 1963 during the height of America’s race to the moon. When the Mercury Seven were selected in 1959, they became instant superstars in the Cold War space race with Russia, and their seven wives became American royalty. The wives had tea with First Lady Jackie Kennedy at the White House, appeared on the cover of Life Magazine, shared in a $500,000 publicity contract and became fashion icons.  As a self-proclaimed history junkie, I love the historical aspect of this show, which features vintage black and white video clips from the actual launches interspersed with the fictional scenes and portrays the women as similarly as possible to their real-life counterparts.  During a recent episode, however, I took issue with the show’s portrayal of the perception of and purpose for the Junior League. 

In the fourth episode, entitled “Liftoff,” NASA relocates the astronauts and their wives to Houston, Texas to be closer to mission control. At a welcome BBQ with members of “Houston Society,” Jo, one of the astronaut wives, meets a member of the Junior League of Houston and scores an invitation for all of the wives to a Junior League of Houston gala. Jo becomes extremely concerned with becoming a member of the Junior League of Houston, which she describes several times as “exclusive” and dotes on the fact that membership is “invitation only” by a committee of “high society ladies.” At the gala, Jo shames Betty, her co-astronaut wife and friend, in front of Junior League of Houston members for not being “fancy” enough in an attempt to impress the women and receive an invitation to become a member herself. Later, when Betty asks where the money for the fundraising gala is going, she is told that it’s impolite to ask those types of questions. Unfortunately for Jo, after all that effort and potential harm to her friendships with the other astronaut wives, Jo ultimately does not receive an invitation to become a Junior League member.  

As I was watching “Liftoff,” I became increasingly concerned about the perception of the Junior League held by the 4.28 million viewers of the show as a result of the show’s portrayal of the organization. And thus was born, the TOP FIVE WAYS JLSA MEMBERS ARE NOT LIKE THE JUNIOR LEAGUE OF THE ASTRONAUT WIVES:

Volunteer Training Event
From L to R: Valayia Jones-Smith, Stephanie Reese,
Melissa Paschall, & Vanessa Leal
1. Our membership is not exclusive. Gone are the days where you had to receive an “invitation” to join the Junior League of San Antonio from a committee of women who sipped tea and wore pearls. With over 1,200 members, JLSA is comprised of women from a variety of backgrounds, ethnicities, and experiences. We love learning from each other as we volunteer and train together. Even though they were “celebrities” of their time, the astronaut wives had to beg their way into the Junior League, and even then they did not receive invitations. If you have a passion for voluntarism, developing your potential as a woman and a leader and improving the San Antonio community, you are not only welcome, but WANTED!

2. We raise money for a purpose – and are proud of it! In the 2014-2015 JLSA year, our fundraising efforts raised $328,600 to give back to the San Antonio community. While Jo may have been shushed at the Junior League gala for asking where he money was going, we are proud to partner with over 60 local nonprofit organizations and to be able to award cash grants to deserving organizations, projects or initiatives. If you ask any member of our committees for JLSA’s major fundraisers, Holiday Olé Market, Fête de Cuvée or the Resolve for a Better SA 5K, they will be the first to tell you exactly why we raise money and for whom in the community for the money is raised.  We welcome the opportunity to give back to our community – and enjoy any opportunity to talk about the great ways we give!

2013 SA Food Bank Shift
3. We are not afraid to get our hands dirty. The portrayal of the Junior League in The Astronaut Wives focused on gala dresses and glasses of champagne. If you have the opportunity to witness a Done In A Day project or volunteer for an SA Works Shift, chances are there will not be any champagne or sequins during JLSA’s volunteer hours. JLSA members have traded in our pearls and gowns for t-shirts and ponytails as we are out making a difference in our community. From gardening with Green Spaces Alliance to cleaning up trails at Mitchell Lake Audubon Center, JLSA members are doing more for the city of San Antonio than drinking champagne at a gala.  And if you ask any JLSA member, we wouldn’t have it any other way!

2015 G.O.A.L. Retreat
4. JLSA women are a force to be reckoned with. The astronaut wives wanted to become members of the Junior League so that they could mingle with “high society.” Our members join JLSA so they can give back to and make a difference in our community. And what a difference they make! In 2014-2015, JLSA members spent 6,460 hours volunteering with our community partners. Outside of the league, 49% of our members are involved with other causes and many of our members sit on other nonprofit boards in the community. Additionally, 75% of our members work outside the home and 63% of our members hold managerial/professional positions. Most recently, one of our JLSA
members was awarded the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce's "Rising Star of the Year" for 2015. With programs such as LeaderBoard and GOAL (“Growing Our Awesome Leaders”), JLSA intentionally trains our members in leadership development so that our members can grow personally and professionally and apply those new skills to their JLSA placements as well as activities outside of the league. JLSA members don’t just sit around and wait for opportunities to come to us – we create them ourselves!

5. We support one another, inside and outside of JLSA. In the episode, one of the astronaut wives made fun of her friend in an effort to “impress” the women of the Junior League. My experience in JLSA, and the experience of everyone I know who has been involved with the organization, has been the exact opposite of the astronaut wives’ portrayal. Whether its JLSA activities or involvement outside of the league, JLSA members are each other’s closest friends, confidantes and encouragers. We enjoy happy hours together, invite one another to celebrate achievements in our other organizations and attend one another’s wedding and baby showers.  Many of our members have found  
their lifelong friends through JLSA, friendships that continue into their sustainer years and beyond.

2015 Resolve for a Better SA 5K
Julianne Reeves & Lauren Fleischer
In short, I really enjoy The Astronaut Wives Club.  The show is providing education and knowledge about America’s race for space and the developments of NASA during the 1960’s to a generation who was not around during that time to witness all of these events firsthand.  However, I hope that viewers of the show, particularly those who may be interested in joining JLSA, realize that we have come a long way since the Junior Leagues of the 1960’s, and that being a member of JLSA is not accurately portrayed in the show. I am proud of how far we have come and all that we are doing for our community – and while I am a proud owner of pearls and heels that I am excited to break out at Fête, there is more to me and my fellow JLSA members than being a “high society” volunteer. JLSA members have passion for a purpose – and I hope that is the message we leave and the image we have in the city of San Antonio and beyond.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

How to be a Successful Volunteer

By Heather Blazi, Vice Chair of Communications

So! One of our first major Junior League of San Antonio events of the new year took place this past weekend, our annual Volunteer Training. I have to say, this was one of my favorite events I have been to in my League career thus far.  We opened up with a video from Admiral McRaven (see it here) giving us 10 life lessons from a navy seal. I believe everyone should take 20 minutes to watch this video – it will be well worth it. I promise the 10 lessons will make sense once you watch the video.

Even if you've never been in navy seal training (which I am be willing to bet 99.9% of us have not), we have all experienced moments where these life lessons really hit home. Several Junior League of San Antonio board members shared a personal story that aligned with each of these lessons.

Katie Kuznair, one of our new members this year, was inspired by their stories. “I enjoyed hearing the personal stories of the board members relating to the 10 life lessons. It was nice to get a little insight on who they are as women and some of the things they have struggled with and overcome.”

In the video, Admiral McRaven talks about how one person can make an impact. Just one person. That's what we are doing as members of the Junior League and leaders in our community. We are making an impact, each and every one of us. But, it helps to know how we are making an impact. Enter phase 2 of the training.

This part was pretty incredible. Four of our community partners- Prevent Blindness, Family Endeavors, Green Spaces Alliance, and Clarity Guidance- spoke to us about how the Junior League of San Antonio has made a positive impact on their program.  There was so much gratitude for what we do, it really shows you how important our work is within our community.

Holly Pirruccello, a 8-year active volunteering in an SA Works placement this year, said the Family Endeavors’ story meant a lot to her.

Holly said, “it was amazing listening to the beautiful lady from Fairweather Family Lodge speak about her past, the transformation she has undergone, and how grateful she is to the JLSA volunteers she met for their time and support while she was mending herself and her spirit.”

Hearing their stories just solidified my reasons for joining the Junior League. It was so phenomenal to hear what they had to say. Our volunteers are out there almost every day representing what we do. So it's important for us to learn how to SUCCEED as a Volunteer too. Lorena Pena and Sarah Wannarka shared with us five steps to become a successful volunteer. These lessons are so important, I want to shout them from the rooftop, and share them with everyone I know. If you take nothing else away from this post, I hope you take these five tips seriously.

Every time we go out into the world, we represent the Junior League. Even more so when we volunteer with our community partners. So, here they are.

  1. ENERGY & PASSION – If you are scheduled to volunteer, make sure you show up on time and are full of life. You are there representing JLSA, and there is nothing worse than a Debbie Downer showing up... so lesson number one, “Fake it 'till you FEEL it.” not make it... FEEL it. We should all be just as passionate about Junior League events as we are about Starbucks or our fur-babies (two things I’m pretty passionate about). We do such amazing work, and we should all be super proud of what we do!
  2. FLEXIBILITY – This is a group of volunteers. We are all people. We all have lives outside of the Junior League. If a shift lead doesn't show up, or you signed up for playing with kids and you end up painting at your shift, repeat after me... “it is not the end of the world.” Life will go on. If your shift lead didn't show up, just let your Mentor know, or email and the SA Works team will make sure you get your credits. If you signed up for one thing and ended up doing another, it’s all ok! You helped a community partner with something they needed, and that is what we want to do. We want to help! So, take a deep breath, smile, and know that what you are doing is truly making a difference!
  3. INTEGRITY – You may be the only representative of the Junior League that someone knows or sees. If you are at a shift and you sit in a corner and look at your phone the whole time (that is another topic in itself) and don't talk to anyone or take initiative, our community partners notice! We are there to be WITH them. Put your phones up, they will be there when your shift is done. Just remember, you may be the light in someone's day! Make the most of it, and get to know some of the people we are helping... who knows what you will learn!
  4. RELIABILITY – This one is pretty self-explanatory. If you sign up for a shift, be there. If something major happens (this is not to be used as an excuse to “get out of something”) call the shift lead and let them know you can't make it. Life happens, and everyone understands (see “Flexibility”). The thing to remember is there are lots of women out there looking for opportunities to volunteer. If you sign up for a shift and don't show up, you are taking a spot away from someone else! And way more importantly, our community partners are relying on us to be there. Don't let them down!
  5. EMPATHY & COMPASSION – Be mindful of where you are going. Some of the people you interact with may not be as blessed as we are. Don't distract from the AWESOME work you are about to do. Don't stand there and whisper with your friends in the corner, even if it’s about something totally unrelated, when people are vulnerable and self-conscious, they may think you are talking about them. We are there to represent the League and do some amazing work!

So, in summary...You are the Junior League of San Antonio! Embrace it! Love it! Shout it from the rooftop! The Junior League of San Antonio does some phenomenal work in our community, and each and every member can truly make an impact. Now go out into the world and remember our theme this year...

Saturday, February 7, 2015

JLSA 2015 Cellar Party

By Ashton Teal, JLSA Fête du Cuvée Communications Chair

Excitement is building as we are fast approaching the Junior League of San Antonio’s 4th Annual Fête du Cuvée black tie fundraiser presented by Wave Healthcare, Saturday, March 7, 2015.
Since 2012, wine and food enthusiasts alike have gathered at The Bright Shawl to enjoy fare from the city’s most acclaimed chefs while expanding their personal cellars with purchases from our one-of-a-kind silent and live auctions, and celebrating the mission and accomplishments of the Junior League of San Antonio.

Over the years, the Fête du Cuvée committee has explored opportunities to expand our reach and allow more JLSA members, and the community as a whole, to enjoy the event experience. Thus, the Cellar Party was born.  We hope you will consider joining us Thursday, February 19, 2015, for this exclusive preview event open to the public where guests will experience Fête du Cuvée in a more intimate atmosphere.

Patrons will sip fine wine, listen to music by DJ Steven Lee Moya, and enjoy a custom menu of created especially for the Cellar Party by Starfish chef, Diego Fernandez. The best part of the night may just be the beautiful views of downtown San Antonio from the Penthouse at the Alteza Residences above the Grand Hyatt (610 East Market Street, San Antonio, Texas 78205). Starfish was one of two San Antonio restaurants who recently made it on Texas Monthly’s esteemed “Where to Eat Now 2015” list.

The Junior League of San Antonio works year-round to secure funds that are essential to furthering our mission of promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving the community.

We hope that you will join us at both events to wine, dine and give back. Tickets to this event are $75 and on sale now at

Sunday, January 25, 2015

2015 Resolve for a Better SA 5K

By Jaime Brunner, JLSA Resolve for a Better SA 5K Outreach Coordinator

The 3rd Annual Junior League of San Antonio Resolve for a Better SA 5K Polar Bear Dash is on January 31, 2015 at 9:00am, at its new location at the San Antonio Museum of Art! Join us to help the Junior League of San Antonio “Freeze” in the New Year! The Junior League’s signature project is Let’s Go San Antonio, which promotes healthy living for San Antonio youth.  Please bring your kids to join us for the Kids’ Cub Crawl (Half K) so we can get San Antonio’s youth off to the right start in the New Year. All proceeds from the race goes to help Junior League of San Antonio’s numerous community partners.

Why do we do a 5K? Our signature effort, known as Let's Go San Antonio, is aimed at promoting a healthy lifestyle among San Antonio youth by teaching children how to make healthy food choices and become physically active.  The 5K further promotes our League-wide goal of promoting wellness by getting our members and friends physically active and setting an example of health and wellness.
Where exactly is the race? I don’t want to get lost on the way there! The race will start at the San Antonio Museum of Art (200 West Jones Avenue, San Antonio, Texas 78215). Bonus: there’s free parking on-site (look for happy JLSA volunteers pointing out the lots!). Registered racers will also be granted FREE admission to the museum for the day (a $10 added value).

The route along the San Antonio Riverwalk
Registration Details: Registration available at and on-site on the day of the race. All registered runners will receive a race t-shirt, bibs with chip timing, access to the San Antonio Museum of Art for the entire day!

Registration options:
- General Registration: $40 through January 30.
- Day of Registration: $45 on site
- Cub Crawl: $20
- Team Registration: Team of 5 = $150
- Hibernator: $35, support the Resolve for a Better SA 5K effort from the comfort of your warm bed. Hibernators will receive a race t-shirt

Packet Pick Up will be at Soler’s in Alamo Heights on Friday, January 30. Details will be on the website.

If you'd like to support the Junior League of San Antonio by donating to our 5K fundraising efforts please visit us online and help us reach our goal of $20,000!

And a big thank you to this year’s sponsors!