NYJL’s Newest Volunteers Meet Our Community Partners

When new volunteers join the New York Junior League, they participate in a four-month training program to get them ready to join our many committees. On October 25th, over 200 new volunteers filled the auditorium of PS 6 on the Upper East Side to learn about the NYJL’s community work and our partners.

The event kicked off with NYJL President, Suzanne Manning, who gave a welcome address before moderator Chase Kreuter led the discussion with a dynamic panel. The panel included partners TaShana Pace (Grosvenor House), Marlon Hosang (PS 64), James Illi (PS 64), and Carol Costello (Bottomless Closets).

Thank you to our partners for joining us to discuss their work with our newest volunteers. We are so excited to see the work we will accomplish together in 2018! Interested in joining the NYJL as a volunteer? Sign up for a new volunteer orientation here!

Volunteers Strengthen Their Communication Skills

In a time where communication skills are more important than ever, we have an opportunity to be more effective communicators.  We are able to modify our style to convey a clear message via phone, email, in person or social media. At the New York Junior League, volunteers build and maintain relationships through enhanced teamwork that trains us to become better communicators.

Left to right: VET Co-chair: Derry Wilkens; Volunteers: Kasey Hayden, Amy Carpenter, Sarah Wen; Speaker: Manendra Bhugra, Manager of Learning and Development at CCA Inc.; Volunteer: Lis Maggi; VET Co-chair: Michelle LeNoach.

During the recent Volunteer Education & Training (VET), Strengthening Communication skills, our guest speaker, Manendra Bhugra, CCA’s Manager of Leading & Development shared tips on effective communication. She emphasized the importance of active listening while interacting with others.

As active listeners, she presented on how we should consciously be aware of these filters: attitudes, experiences, and the emotional state that revolves around the speaker. The volunteers participated in a fun experiment based on active listening; in a circle, volunteers passed a paper clip from one to another from right to left every time they heard the word “right” and “left.” At the end, they realized they were not listening actively since their main focus was the words right and left and not the content of the story.

Throughout the presentation, volunteers interacted with each other in small groups and talked about how they deal with challenging conversations. Manendra advised volunteers to redirect the conversation to find a solution whenever dealing with a difficult conversation. The technique is to turn on the H.E.A.T (Hear, Empathize, Ask questions, and Take responsibility).

The presentation concluded with the importance of communicating respect, valuing individual differences and creating a feedback culture. At the New York Junior League and in the communities we work, giving and receiving feedback is what makes us better communicators.

Mark your calendars for the first VET of 2018! Taking place on January 29, volunteers will learn about the responsibilities and commitments of this leadership role and the application, timeline and process for becoming an NYJL co-chair.

Creating the Next Generation of NYJL Leaders

Over the coming year, first time committee co-chairs will participate in a series of trainings aimed at helping them become stronger leaders both in their committees and the League at large. The focus of the recent fall training was, “The Ideal NYJL Leader,” where co-chairs had the opportunity to hear from current and past NYJL leaders on how to be an effective leader.

Respect, open communication, passion, encouragement were qualities that were central to many of the sessions, as several speakers stressed the importance of collaboration and raising a hand when opportunities present themselves or when extra support is needed.

In the afternoon, volunteers participated in a training workshop led by Diana Ng, Senior Director, Global People & Organizational Development at Tapestry. During the session, co-chairs learned how to effectively delegate and how to build interpersonal relationships. In addition, volunteers identified their primary leadership style by reflecting on their own strengths and weaknesses. Following the activity, co-chairs recognized that having this self-awareness and awareness of other people’s styles is key component of having a strong team.

As Serra Eken, past Executive Vice President noted, the NYJL’s structure encourages and promotes women into leadership roles. Jennifer Wiese, Communications & Strategy Senior Council Head, also noted, every woman who joins the NYJL is a leader in the community, and having the support from the organization and fellow volunteers helps her continuously become a better leader.

Thinking of becoming a co-chair? Be sure to talk with your current co-chairs and raise your hand!

Discussing the Latest in Breast Cancer Research

(Left to right: Ophira Ginsburg, MD, MRCPC; Anna Cantor; Jessica Martineau, MS, CGC; Erika Stallings)

Taking place during October’s Breast Cancer Awareness month, the recent VET focused on Breast and Ovarian Cancer Awareness discussing the different backgrounds and methods of detecting and defeating breast cancer.

To better understand how to detect breast cancer, the panel explained the role of a “genetic counselor.” Genetic counselors whoattended the forum from NYU Langone Perlmutter Cancer Center, gave participants a brief lesson how genes and/or mutations are passed on through generations. Certain types of populations that are higher risk for mutations include those of Eastern European, Ashkenazi Jewish descent. Further, the counselors explained BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations and who should get tested based on several key risk factors, how to get tested (a blood sample) and how to interpret results and next steps.

Each panelist discussed their respective backgrounds with breast cancer. Erika Stallings, a NYJL volunteer, shared her personal experience with BRCA, why she decided to get tested and the steps she took once she found out she was positive. Over the course of the event, the questions from volunteers in attendance were thoughtful and the panelists were very professional, informative and respectful in their responses.

We are honored to be able to annually focus on this topic that continues to impact our community. A special thanks to this year’s contributors, Ophira Ginsburg, Anna Cantor, Jessica Martineau, and Erika Stallings, and those that have supported our efforts to educate NYJL Volunteers in the past too. 

Nonprofit Boards Clearinghouse – Creating Future Board Members

On a crisp Saturday morning in late October, over thirty New York City executives, who wanted to learn more about becoming effective board members, attended the first part of the New York Junior League Nonprofit Boards Clearinghouse (NYJL NPBC). Part one of the Fall course addressed key topics such as how to connect one’s passion with the right organization and the responsibilities associated with one’s service. The course commenced with Susan Hanna-Wicht, an NPBC alumna and nonprofit executive, who shared her professional and personal insights which included what makes an organization successful, the importance of volunteers sharing their “time, talent, and treasure”, and the challenges organizations face.

Other speakers presented on “what makes the relationship between board members and the Executive Director effective” as well as the New York Nonprofit Revitalization Act, 2013.  The view from each table was of heads bowed from copious note-taking and hands raised to ask follow-up questions. By the end of the day, participants were enthusiastic about part two of the program which took place on Wednesday, November 1. Part two of the course consisted of an Executive Director panel and a nonprofit agency networking event.

Thank you again to all of the speakers who took part and shared their insights with participants:

  • Tiffany Barfield, National Down Syndrome Society
  • Susan Hanna-Wicht, Global Language Project
  • Dee Falvo, CSS Fundraising
  • Justin Zaremby, Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP
  • Justin Model, TargetST8
  • Diann Rohde, New York Junior League
  • Lew Zuchman, SCAN New York
  • Lydia Kontos, Kaufman Music Center
  • Janice Zaballero, Breast Treatment Task Force

Don’t worry, if you missed the fall course, Save the Date! The next opportunity to participate in this valuable training is in April 2018.