Leading the Way to Change: AJLI 2023 Conference

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In May, we revved our engines in Indianapolis as our Immediate Past President, Kate Fortlage, and current President and Executive Vice President (EVP), René Robers and Erinn Carlson, attended the Association of Junior Leagues International’s (AJLI) 101st Annual Conference. With the theme of “Leading the Way to Change,” League leaders put the past few tumultuous years firmly in our rearview mirrors and came together to learn and lead for the future.

Our leaders were inspired to set the stage and lay the groundwork for amazing things to happen for our members and within our communities to move the meter. They were enlightened by best practices shared by AJLI and other Leagues, including keeping reporting to a minimum to leave more time for ideas, discussion and strategy; how to approach partners with the “Batman” model of listening to understand what they need; and how to plan far enough ahead to pace out the work and events during busier or more stressful seasons. In those times, you can enlist “ACES”

  • A: acknowledge the problem
  • C: clarify/restate the problem
  • E: enlist support
  • S: set boundaries

We recognize that volunteering is a significant avenue for women to obtain leadership opportunities in their community and within their careers. Engagement in these JLC leadership conferences empowers us to tackle society’s most pressing issues. The AJLI is committed to helping us better serve our communities in these areas and secure our future. An all-attendee discussion led by Michelle Vaeth, AJLI VP and past JLC President, shared how to create a stronger League culture. Additionally, we learned that AJLI will be providing League Success Managers for consistent communication, consultation, and resources including a better membership management platform moving forward.

As one of 293 Leagues, the Junior League of Cincinnati  is looking forward to leveraging new partnerships forged with LeanIn Circles for national and local mentorship, and celebrating a new holiday deemed Find the Good Day in September, because “when you focus on the good, the good gets better!”

Attendees had an opportunity to select breakout sessions during the conference. The JLC team attended sessions on diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, best practices in recruitment, Robert’s Rules of Order, and how to build our League’s relevancy in our community to elevate our platform, among other topics.

The team also connected with POLL (Presidents of Large Leagues, of which JLC is a member), which was created as a support system to advocate back to AJLI on our behalf. Kate, René, and Erinn also met with other Ohio League presidents and leaders. If you haven’t done so already, you are invited to join the “Junior Leagues of Ohio” Facebook group.

Attending the 2023 AJLI Annual Conference was an amazing experience for our leaders to get behind the wheel and steer the Association and the Junior League of Cincinnati into the future, truly leading the way to change.