Growing up on the Upper East Side, Serra Eken says the New York Junior League (NYJL) was a huge part of her life from the earliest of years. Some of her closest childhood friends had mothers who were members, and during her time volunteering in high school at the Inwood House – an organization that previously provided comprehensive services to pregnant teenagers in the New York City area – Serra worked alongside NYJL members, deepening her sense that members of the NYJL shared values that were very much in line with her own.
It is only fitting then, that after 17 years of membership and several leadership positions with the League, Serra now begins her term as our newest President, with a two-year term lasting from July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2024.
Her time as a member began in 2004, when she became a Provisional one year after graduating from Boston University. She joined with three of her best friends, and together they embarked on a journey that would fundamentally change them both personally and professionally. Serra’s first committee with the League was the Winter Ball committee, and she credits it with truly changing her life. She spent five years working on the Winter Ball, one of the NYJL’s largest fundraisers of the year, and she ultimately served as Vice Chair.
Serra’s time on the Winter Ball committee impacted her so profoundly that it inspired her to change her own career path from one in fashion to one in nonprofit fundraising, and today she works as the Managing Executive Director of the Pink Agenda, a strategic partner of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation that committed to raising money for breast cancer research and care, as well as awareness of the disease among young professionals.
It’s truly a testament to the leadership and growth opportunities within the League that Serra was able to leverage her talents in development and fundraising not only for the benefit of the League, but also for her own career. But Serra’s leadership within the League did not stop there. Since then, she has served in eight additional leadership roles, including founder and Co-Chair of Auctions, Co-Chair of Home Design, Fundraising Events Council Head, Senior Council Head of Fundraising, Executive Vice President, Co-Chair of Provisional, most recently a Director at Large, and more. She has also played a key role on the League’s Management Council in several of these roles.
Above all else, Serra credits the League’s membership as its greatest asset and as the reason she is so thrilled to be starting her tenure as the organization’s President. “We wouldn’t be who we are without our members,” she said, “At our core, our members drive our mission, and I am extremely grateful for each and every one of the members that make the work we do as a League possible year after year.” By showing gratitude for the work the NYJL does and the city we all call home, Serra hopes to make these next two years great ones for not only members, but all those across New York City that benefit from our work.