That’s What She Said Ladies’ Night Out a Huge Success!

The Junior League of Champaign-Urbana hosted the Ladies’ Night Out Pre-Party for the That’s What She Said show on Thursday, October 13. V. Picasso in downtown Champaign was our location for tasty appetizers and delicious drinks! Sixty-nine tickets were sold to the event, and many attendees also won amazing raffle prizes donated by area businesses. Lauren DeSmith, General Events Chair, shared, “The event was a success with a big turn out and the raffle items were very popular! Everyone enjoyed the fun atmosphere and great food from V. Picasso.”

Thank you to all that were in attendance! Our fundraisers allow us to raise funds to directly impact our community.

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Guest Post: 10 Things I Learned at the Fall Leadership Conference


President-Elect Jenette Jurczyk, President Jennifer Romine, and Executive Vice President (EVP) Loni Trimble attend the Association of Junior Leagues International (AJLI) Fall Leadership Conference in Chicago.

Jenette Jurczyk, President-Elect

Attending the Fall Leadership Conference in Chicago was such a rewarding experience, getting to bond with our President and EVP, as well as meet leaders from Leagues across Illinois and the Midwest.  I soaked in as much information as I could to positively impact our League.   Thank you for this opportunity to share some of them with you!

It starts with our members…
Developing the potential of women is one of the pillars that Junior League is founded on.  In everything we do, we need to be nurturing and encouraging our members to grow and learn.  These are the women who will go on to found and lead non-profits and businesses that will effect change.

Everything we do is leadership training…
From updating the website, to organizing events, to working one-on-one with children in our community, everything we do allows members to challenge themselves with experiential, hands-on learning in a supported environment.

Leadership is about one life influencing another….
Many leagues have launched successful member mentorship programs, to keep their members engaged and learning.  In addition to our member advisors, JLCU launched a mentor program this year for our first year actives.  I was excited to hear that other leagues had had success with member retention with use of these programs and that our leadership sees the value in mentors.

The only thing constant is change…
Junior League has to be a fluid and flexible organization.  The needs of our members change; the needs of our community change; even our leadership changes every year.  We need to continually educate and train new members, transfer knowledge to new leadership, and keep our eyes open to the future.

Strategic planning is key….
The best way to create the future is to plan it.  We should constantly be reviewing our vision and defining our goals to make sure that our actions are aligned with our desired impact.

Junior League is more diverse than we think…
It was exciting to see that the leadership from Leagues across the country and beyond were passionate woman of all ages and backgrounds.  We need to keep that in mind as we recruit, train and empower our members to stay engaged in our community.

The power of numbers…
AJLI is in the process of collecting data from all 291 Leagues to be able to speak on a broader, global scale when sharing the impact of what League can do.  We are excited to see them roll out this information, especially since JLCU was featured in the demonstration of this research model.  We will also be able to use this information when explaining the value of supporting our League locally.

Control the conversation…
When your key message is clear, you control the conversation.  The key message is a springboard for discussion.  When educating potential members, donors and community partners about what we do in the community, strong and simple communication is key.

Be aware of opportunities to promote, recruit, advocate…
You never know if the young lady who is helping you plan your social event could be a great potential new member.  It’s possible that the person buying tickets to your fundraiser represents a business that could be a great new donor.  Always present your League in the best light possible and always be willing to start the conversation.

Junior League is for life…
Junior League is the only organization that offers lifelong membership.  It is what you need it to be, when you need it.  JLCU can only continue to effect change in our community with the support of our sustaining members.  The value of Junior League membership doesn’t end after your active years.

Guest Post: JLCU Advocacy Efforts in Champaign-Urbana and the Importance of Voting in November’s Election


Lonndon Blake, Public Affairs and Advocacy Chair

What a more fitting time for our government elections to be held in November; the month we give thanks for all the opportunities and blessings we have been afforded.  Although our country is in a time of change, we have the ability to create the change we want to see.   There are many countries throughout the world that do not receive the option to vote, so please exercise your right to vote choosing the best option for you and your needs while continuing your advocacy efforts within the community.

Within Junior League of Champaign Urbana, we train all members in the area of advocacy so we can be effective leaders in the community.  One of our most important advocacy efforts in the Champaign-Urbana area is education.   As many of you are aware, Champaign-Urbana and the surrounding areas have a significant wait-list for preschool.  At that tender age, children are at their most critical time for learning and development and many children in our community are being underserved due to the funding of education in our state.  JLCU has recognized a need in the community for preschools and took action by creating a program called Bright Starts, a Kindergarten readiness program, to help give those children on the wait-list a leg up.  Along with creating programs for our education advocacy area, we as an organization visited our State Capital in Springfield during Early Childhood Education Advocacy Day. During this visit, we met one on one with our legislators to encourage educational changes and/or policies for the betterment of our state and local community.

Bright Starts is a wonderful example of how we advocate for education in the community, but there are other advocacy efforts we participate in, such as Kids in the Kitchen in partnership with the Don Moyer Boys and Girls Club.  Kids in the Kitchen is an Association of Junior League International (AJLI) – wide health initiative to help prevent childhood obesity.  JLCU may be most widely known for our advocacy regarding women and children, but we should also be known as an organization committed to this community and to organizations that may need a helping hand with their advocacy efforts.




The Junior League of Champaign-Urbana is hosting its second annual That’s What She Said Pre-Party, Ladies’ Night Out, to launch the 2016 Ladyfest weekend. Ladies’ Night Out will be held at V. Picasso in downtown Champaign on Thursday, October 13, 2016, from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Tickets may be purchased online for $30 or for $35 at the door, and include appetizers, a complimentary alcoholic beverage, and one raffle ticket.

V. Picasso will be serving a variety of appetizers and desserts throughout the evening, including pork and bacon meatballs, tomato crostinis, fried chicken sliders, warm manchego with homemade strawberry jam, truffles, and cupcakes. Raffle tickets will be available for purchase, giving attendees a chance to win a variety of items, including: jewelry, gift cards to local nail salons, a fitness pass from Transform Fitness, a gift card and swag bags from Fira Boutique, featured items from Checkered Moon and Texture Home, a private yoga lesson from Kristina Reese, and one week of free yoga at Ashtanga CU.

“The That’s What She Said Pre-Party Ladies’ Night Out at V. Picasso will be a wonderful evening celebrating women in Champaign-Urbana as we kick off the Ladyfest weekend,” said Allie Teagarden, Junior League Finance Council Vice President. “While the event is hosted by Junior League of Champaign-Urbana, you do not have to be a Junior League member to attend.  All women who enjoy friendship, food and fun should come out for this great event.” Teagarden added that Junior League is “excited to host ladies from across the community for a fun-filled evening.”

Highlights of the Ladyfest weekend include the show That’s What She Said, presented by the Christie Clinic, at the Virginia Theatre on October 15, 2016. The show features local women sharing stories to engage, empower and inspire each other, including Junior League of Champaign-Urbana member Ashley Morgan. Tickets range in price from $29.50 to $49.50.