Not Your Grandma’s Junior League

From the Publisher

I have, for the past year or so, had the opportunity to serve as a community advisor to the Junior League of Tallahassee (JLT). When asked to participate, I had no concept of what my role would be or what benefit my observations or comments could provide to the organization.

At first, it was attending a Q&A session with other advisors. Several JLT members in leadership roles asked us to be candid and transparent with our feedback. The one question that sticks with me is what was my, and the advisory committee’s, perception of the League.

The general responses were mixed community perceptions based on what demographic being asked. Here are a few examples:

  •  An elitist social class of busybody Southern ladies.
  • Rich ladies who wear sweaters and pearls, have parties and go out to lunch a lot.
  • An extension of college sorority life.
  • And many have no perception of who Junior Leaguers are or what they do.

None of these descriptions casts a positive light on this organization and, today, all of these perceptions are stuck in the era of black-and-while television reception of the ’50s.

Through Tallahassee Magazine, EC Magazine and our 850 regional business magazine, I have had numerous opportunities to interact with the Junior League organization and individuals in Tallahassee and Destin over the past two decades and can therefore refute all of these archaic perceptions. 

Members of the Junior League, from my real-time experience, are astute business, community and family leaders who are poised and passionate about everything they do. The organization provides a forum that brings like minds together and serves multiple functions:

  • As an opportunity for individuals to develop their interpersonal skills to become the next generation of community and business leaders.
  • To provide an organization that contributes to the community and individuals in need.
  • To develop a network of friends and associates that will help one another and mentor young women embarking upon marriage and motherhood.

In the Destin area, the Junior League of the Emerald Coast is the sole benefactor of our Best of the Emerald Coast event, which draws more than 3,500 people on a fall evening and raises $55,000 — which goes right back into the community. What the League has is really a branding issue. Beginning this year, the Junior League of Tallahassee will embark upon a branding/rebranding campaign, and Rowland Publishing plans to cover it all the way through the process. This summer, 850 -— The Business Magazine of Northwest Florida is planning a feature story on branding and rebranding and plans to bring the fundamental element of this process to our business readership, showcasing three local entities who are doing so — Florida State University, the nonprofit Junior League of Tallahassee and the small business AMWAT Moving. In addition, over the following 12 to 18 months, we plan to provide readers updates on the progress and eventual results.

With regard to the League … my goal is to dispel all misperceptions about an organization that does so much more for our community and its people than you might know.

It’s a new century, and it’s a new generation of women taking the Junior League to a new level of awareness, accomplishment and success.

Categories: Opinion