Say, “Hello” to Wynne Osbourne, Past President of the Junior League of Oakland – East Bay from 1990 – 1991. That year the League was almost 1,000 members strong, with 380 actives and 600 sustainers and operated 9 community projects. It was a very successful year. Some of the highlights were:
- Raised $60-$90,000 through The Shop (JLOEB’s thrift store)
- Signed the contract for the World Figure Skating Championships: $120,000 for JLOEB volunteers
- Launched the East Bay Impact Committee (now known as DIAD/Community Committee)
- Won $10,000 from AJLI for work with the Center for the Vulnerable Child. JLOEB built and staffed a nursery for babies exposed to drugs and AIDS at Oakland Children’s Hospital.
However, the year was not without challenges. Most meetings were held during the day, so the League was exploring meeting time flexibility for working women. Also, because the league was so large they struggled to have enough activity for everyone to be involved. That year the Keynote speaker for community luncheon backed out with very short notice. Fortunately, Wynne and her team were able to find a replacement in time. There were organizational issues about placement for newly formed Figure skating Championship Committee. Some women were appointed early. However, in hindsight, Wynne realized it may have been better to let the Placement Committee handle all of the assignments. (Fun Fact: there were 25 people on placement, one for each committee).
Wynne’s major lesson learned from serving as President was as follows: “Don’t fall apart when something doesn’t come through. Think: What else can we do? How can we shift?”
So what are the takeaways from Wynne’s lessons learned? When things aren’t going well, we must remember it’s not the end. We should press on and not let things fail. Only quitting or not showing up is a fail in the Junior League book. Our focus should remain on problem solving. Where there is a will there is a way, so fight for “a win”. We must remember that we are not alone in our endeavors. There are very positive outcomes from escalating problems, consulting your peers, and collaborating across committees. Your chairs and council directors are there to help you. In addition to your peers on your committee, sometimes we even have Sustainer mentors from whom to seek advice. Teamwork is valuable and often essential. In that vein, please be willing to support each other. JLOEB is a training organization and often the learning comes from peers and experiences. Some support you can offer one another is
- provide back-up for volunteer shifts
- share creative solutions for meeting goals
- listen and talk
My favorite Junior League t-shirt sports a very simple message: #volunteer #leadership #sisterhood #juniorleague. Those three hashtags tell you what the fourth is all about. The takeaways from Wynne’s lesson learned really capture the meaning behind the message.
I am proud to wear the shirt because I am proud of the Junior League of Oakland East Bay. We are 85 years strong – and counting.