We recently had a brief interview with Kristin Armstrong to discuss not only why she joined the League, but how it has positively impacted her career and personal life. Kristin’s League experience has been nothing short of impactful. She is currently an active member of the Junior League of Louisville, and serves as the VP of Membership.
When did you join the Junior League and what motivated you to become a League member?
I joined in the fall of 2014. I was a graduate student in a specialty program at the Kent School of Social Work, so my time was slim and split between classes, practicum, and homework. I wanted to volunteer in the community but couldn’t commit to daily or even weekly involvement, and the Junior League allowed me to give my time on an irregular schedule while still making a big impact. I wanted to volunteer, but I also wanted to get to know my city and meet strong, smart, community-focused women. The League offered me all of that in one place.
What are some of the skills you have learned/honed through your roles within the Junior League? Have these skills helped you in your career? How?
Earlier this year I made a career shift from social work to nonprofit fundraising, and I was able to do so in large part because of skills I honed serving in League leadership. I was able to organize and facilitate training events, lead teams of volunteers, engage in strategic planning, manage a tiered budget, fundraise for a meaningful cause, collaborate on a marketing campaign, create tactical plans for recruitment and outreach, and more. During my job search I was able to provide concrete examples of this work to potential employers, and even though I’m new to the field I entered the job market with multiple competing offers. I’m convinced my League experience was a major contributor to that positive outcome.
What is your favorite JLL memory, event or committee and why?
In April, I was selected to attend the Organizational Development Institute for the Association of Junior Leagues International (AJLI), a conference for Junior League leaders from across multiple countries. We shared ideas, learned new approaches to leadership, and more of your typical conference activities, but what really stuck with me was hearing about the incredible collective impact being made by our members. There are Leagues working to address human trafficking, environmental concerns, refugee resettlement, domestic violence, health services, and here in Louisville, the effects of generational poverty on education. As only one woman, it’s easy to think I can’t make much of an dent in those large, systemic issues, but in the Junior League we have over 140,000 women working together against them, and in those numbers we’re pretty unstoppable.
There are occasionally stereotypes about what it means to be a member of the Junior League. How is Junior League relevant to you?
The Junior League isn’t a stagnant organization- they’re willing to make changes in order to meet the needs of the changing role of women in society. When the Junior League began it was an organization for socialites, and that’s simply not what life looks like for most women. In 2018, our members are teachers, business women, mothers, students, judges, civic leaders, women from absolutely every walk of life who need an organization that’s willing to adapt to that changing demographic. You can see that forward movement through elements like our Diversity & Inclusion task force (a watchdog group for increased League accountability), our Advocacy Committee (to educate members on public policy issues and civic engagement), and the Voice & Choice implementation (to maintain the League’s flexibility for women with increasing demands on their time and talents). I attended a training event recently where a representative from the Association of Junior Leagues International told us, “if you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.” I strongly believe the League will never be irrelevant because as an organization we’re willing to make the difficult changes necessary to effectively meet the needs of our members without compromising our mission.
What do you wish you could share with individuals who are not in JLL, but may be interested?
Set aside your preconceived notions and give us the opportunity to surprise you – come see who we are in action. I invited a friend to attend a Junior League recruitment event, and afterward she came up to me and said, “I really wanted to hate this. I thought it was going to be an organization for bored housewives, but I think everyone in this room has at least a master’s degree.” She filled out her Junior League application that same night. It’s funny, but it’s also true – this is a group of incredibly accomplished women, but it’s also a group for women who are just starting on their path and want to gain practical skills or engage with their community in a way that will one day help them be one of those incredibly accomplished women, too. Empowering women and communities is what we do, and I can promise you’ll believe it when you see it.
If you have a Junior League of Louisville Member (active or sustainer) that you think should be highlighted in our blog, please contact Lindsey Brown at email@example.com.
Each year the Junior League of Louisville honors its most outstanding sustainers, supporters and community partners with the JLL Excellence Awards.
Congratulations to the 2018 Founders’ Award Recipient Michelle Black White.
The Founders’ Award is presented to a Sustainer that has demonstrated continued Civic and Charitable Leadership on behalf of the League and the Community. The Founders’ Award was started in 1982 to honor a Junior League of Louisville Sustainer for her ongoing impact in the Louisville Community. It is the most prestigious award given by the Junior League of Louisville to honor a woman who has used her League training to continue to contribute to the betterment of our community. This award is intended for a member who is community minded, lives the mission of the JLL through her actions and services and inspires others to reach their dreams with courage, strength and love to others.
Michelle has taken her JLL Leadership experience and served on several community Boards such as the KMAC Board and Operation Brightside. She also volunteers for her son’s schools as well, as a mother to 3 boys. What I think it great about Michelle is that although she has been a Sustainer for many years, she has remained involved by spearheading the JLL Book Club for over a decade, she created the monthly Sustainer Lunch Bunch to create more connection for sustainers and she returned to serve on this year’s Board of Director’s as the Sustainer Director. Michelle re-vamped the Sustainer Advisory Board to get more sustainers involved and made the meetings more effective and impactful. I had the opportunity to witness this first-hand as she led the CAB/SAB members through several exercises to generate many ideas and feedback that have already proved to be useful.
Most sustainers launch from actively serving JLL to go out in the community to make a difference. What makes Michelle unique is that she did this while actually staying involved. I believe Michelle’s consistent connection to the organization made it a win-win… she used her JLL experience to go make an impact in the the community, and then brought her wisdom, loyalty and elevated skills from those experiences back to make our organization an even better place. I would like to see Michelle recognized for continually exemplifying JLL Leadership both within the organization and in our community. One last note, Michelle has also used her JLL experience to make women feel good and beautiful by creating a successful business through W by Worth. She serves many women in our organization by helping them look and feel their best….I know because she has done that for me!
- Jennifer Blair, JLL Past President
Written by: Michelle Christopher, Junior League of Louisville Member
I’ll always remember Noogiefest 2013. I had just moved to Louisville, and I was looking for ways to be involved in the community. Volunteering for Noogiefest as a Provisional was a special experience as my committee became some of my most supportive friends. I also met several young Gilda’s Club members and their parents who expressed how grateful they were for the emotional support that Gilda’s Club offered to them during their cancer journey, and it was humbling to hear how much they loved the Halloween party that JLL planned for them. From that day, I was hooked.
Noogiefest was the first of many volunteer shifts that I served at the clubhouse. I am thankful that Junior League led a path for me to join the Gilda’s Club Associate Board for three years, which has allowed me to grow and serve in leadership roles. But I also thank Junior League for introducing me to many strong individuals that continue to welcome, inspire, and encourage one another and the community.
Over the course of four days every autumn, IdeaFestival takes physical form in downtown Louisville, Kentucky. This event is for anyone, irrespective of any demographic, to collaborate and be inspired to think differently.
The result of this is an environment that not only proves to be a disruptive catalyst for innovation, but also cultivates valuable relationships through the intermingling of diverse topics and backgrounds.
We give you permission to think differently and share that way of thinking with other creative minds.
The Junior League of Louisville is proud to be a Community Partner for IdeaFestival® 2017, held this year from Sept 26 – 28 at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts. IdeaFestival is an eclectic network of global thinkers and one-of-a-kind innovators bound together by an intense curiosity about what is impacting and shaping the future of the arts, business, technology, design, science, philosophy and education.
In 1923 the members of the Entertainment Committee of Junior League of Louisville pledged to give 2 hours each week of time and service to the community. At the time the League owned their own “moving” picture machine so they could take the movies to people in the community who may not otherwise have the means to do so…so instead of having to go to the movie house the JLL brought the movie house to them!! It was a well received project that brought great joy to those who the League thought may be overlooked.
What an amazing idea and ahead of the times!
Meet the 2017-2018 Executive Management Team. Our Executive Management Team focuses on strengthening the JLL’s impact through its day-to-day initiatives. It develops and executes programs and activities aligned with the strategic goals of the organization as set forth by the Board of Directors.
Courtney Carter, Executive Vice President 2016-2018
Hi! I’m Courtney Carter and I am the current Executive Vice President. Born and raised here in Louisville, I knew JLL was always an organization that significantly impacted our community. It wasn’t until I joined the League in 2008, that I realized just how much JLL can impact individual women! The League has provided me with opportunities that have allowed me to try numerous new endeavors; all while being supported, motivated, and mentored by an amazing group of women. My experiences within the League have been incredibly formative to my career and personal life. JLL has trained me to be a better employee, wife, family member, and overall member of the community. Med-Dyne, my employer, has been the beneficiary of several successful developments because of my training in the League. Likewise, my husband and family have also benefited from my commitment to this organization. JLL not only supports my professional development but also my personal interests in providing for the community, surrounding myself with positive influences, and engaging in meaningful action.
Carrie Sheffield, Vice President of Finance 2017-2019
Carrie Sheffield currently serves as VP of Finance on the Executive Management Team of JLL. She is a Louisville native who joined the league with hopes of utilizing her time for the betterment of the community. After learning of the need for Finance Council volunteers, she decided to step in as Finance Manager. She later transitioned into the VP Finance where she’s now fulfilling her second year.
Carrie earned her Bachelors in Accounting from the University of Louisville and a Masters of Business Administration with a Concentration in Accounting from Indiana Wesleyan University. Her current role as a manager in a local Accounting Department has enabled her to nurture staff and present ideas to enhance departmental processes. She finds joy in sharing her knowledge to helps others advance their career. Likewise, she delights in using her skill set to further the mission of JLL and the Louisville community.
In her spare time, she enjoys Zumba and traveling the world!
She looks forward to learning, sharing and growing with the awesome ladies of Junior League of Louisville over the next several years!
Genevieve Montgomery, Vice President of Community 2017-2019
Genevieve Montgomery is thrilled to serve as the Vice President of Community Impact in her sixth year with the Junior League. She grew up in Columbia, MD and graduated from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA where she studied Business Management with a concentration in Human Resources Management. After college she moved to Winston-Salem, NC where she worked in HR within the financial services sector. There she met her now husband and moved to his home of Louisville after getting married in 2013. She is a licensed REALTOR with Wakefield Reutlinger Realtors, although she is
at the moment primarily home with her 2.5 year old son and 1 year old daughter (who keep her on her toes to say the least). Prior to her current JLL role she has served as the Transfer Chair, Done in a Day Chair, and Boys’ and Girls’ Haven Chair. Her favorite role so far was being involved in a new partnership with Boys’ and Girls’ Haven where along with celebrating the youth (birthdays and holidays), they have been able to plan college/career readiness events for the youth on campus. She was beyond honored to
accept their Haven’s Heroes award on behalf of the JLL this year. Along with amazing community service opportunities the JLL has provided an incredible support system of women and some of her dearest friendships started in the JLL. She and her family are active members of St. Agnes Church where she serves as the Young Families Co-Chair and on the RCIA team. While she is not a native Louisvillian, she loves her town and enjoys walking and playing with her kids in the amazing park system, checking out local restaurants, and cheering on the Cards. However she can be spotted Sundays in the fall
cheering on her Baltimore Ravens at her neighborhood watering hole, Shenanigans! She is excited to see growth and fulfillment in the VP of Community role!
Abbie Gilbert, Vice President of Communications 2016-2018
Abbie Gilbert currently serves as the Vice President of Communications for the Junior League of Louisville. She is a Delta Zeta from the University of Louisville with a degree in Public Health and just started working on her Masters in Government at the Harvard Extension School. She currently works for Humana in the Office of the Chief Medical Officer. Abbie is a Leadership Louisville Ignite Louisville Graduate and served as the President of Young Professionals Association of Louisville YPAL in 2011. She is currently serving as a board member of Louisville Metro Police Foundation, the Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s Foundation, and was appointed by Mayor Greg Fischer in 2017 to serve on the Air Pollution Control District Board. Abbie was named one of Louisville Business First’s 40 under 40 in 2012. She loves spending time with friends and family, cooking, wine and Orange Theory Fitness!
Kathryn Ayers Wickenhauser, Vice President of Fund Development 2017-2019
Kathryn Ayers Wickenhauser currently serves at the Vice President of Fund Development. Previously, she was Tulips & Juleps Co-Chair and Silent Auction Chair, a Provisional Advisor, and served on the meeting planning committee. She moved to Louisville in 2014 from Saint Louis, Missouri. Kathryn works on the business side of healthcare, serving as the Regulatory Compliance Advisor at DataFile Technologies. She frequently educates practices and healthcare professionals on matters regarding patient privacy (HIPAA) and new value-based reimbursement models for provider compensation. She holds a MBA from Webster University, and a BA in Biopsychology with minors in Leadership and Business from Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. Outside of JLL, Kathryn serves on the Advisory Board of the University of Louisville Kappa Alpha Theta chapter, as well as the Westminster College Alumni Council Board. Recently she was named one of Kappa Alpha Theta’s “35 Under 35”. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends and her husband Keith, attending barre class, and enjoying brunch. In fact, Kathryn attended brunch 52 weekends in a row, accompanied many times by JLL members. This is Kathryn’s fourth year in the Junior League of Louisville, and she is excited for a great year!
Emily Turman, Vice President of Engagement 2016-2018
Emily Turman is currently serving her second term as Vice President of Engagement on the Executive Management Team for JL Louisville. Emily grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio and attended the University of Kentucky majoring in Marketing/Sports Business. After college, Emily moved to Atlanta where her role allowed her to travel to all NCAA National Championship events on behalf of her clients. Emily moved to Louisville in February of 2010 and now serves as Director of Partnership Activation at Churchill Downs, where she and her team execute sponsor agreements for the Kentucky Derby. She and her husband Frank have been married for 4 years and have a 1 ½ year old daughter, Avery, and a 2 year old Golden Doodle, Sadie Janet. She enjoys reading, traveling and exercising. Emily has been in the Junior League for 8 years and openly shares her “barely engaged member to VP of Member Engagement” success story. She looks forward to many more years of memories and involvement in the league!
Kim Ryan, Vice President Leadership & Training 2017-2018
Kim Ryan currently serves as Vice President Leadership & Training for JLL. She was born and raised in Louisville, KY. She graduated from Western Ky University with a major in Healthcare Administration and Webster University with a Masters in Health Services Management. She currently works as a Learning Consultant for Humana creating and facilitating training materials for different areas of the company. Her husband, Dugan, owns and operates a local radio station, which is truly a family business! Outside of the Junior League she also volunteers for Kappa Delta Sorority as Recruitment Specialist for chapters in KY. She also serves NPC (National Panhellenic Conference) as an Area Advisor and an Senior RFM Specialist. She’s actively involved in her church, St Gabriel. She has 2 boys (Trey 13, Patrick 12) who keep her busy with their sports (she is a football, basketball and baseball MOM!). She has a Golden Retriever named Vedder who is always by her side! She enjoys reading, cooking and traveling with her family. She has been in the league for 5 years.
Olivia McKinney, Vice President of Membership 2017-2019
Olivia McKinney was born and raised in Lexington, KY & is a proud University of Kentucky Alumni. She has completed 18 hours of her Graduate degree from the University of Louisville in Educational Leadership & plans to complete her degree by 2018. Since November 2015, she has worked at Almost Family, Inc. as the Recruiter for the Ohio Market, whose mission she is passionate about – “making lives better through Home Care.” Her career in the Junior League of Louisville started in 2014. Along the way, she has served as a committee member of the Tulips & Juleps silent auction, chaired the Membership Enhancement committee for two consecutive years, & now serves as the Vice President of Membership. Olivia’s favorite roles from her time with JLL include helping to plan, execute, & participate in the provisional project – “Noogiefest” & her current position on the Executive Management Team as the Vice President of Membership. She also serves at her church, Southeast Christian through several different ministries, including Women’s Ministry & the Disabilities Ministry.
In her free time, she enjoys being with her Golden Retriever – Tucker, travelling, shopping, being outdoors, quality time with friends & family, a good book, attending events, watching sports, trying new things, cooking, & spending as many summer weekends as possible at the lake!