Meet your 2016-2017 JLCU president, Jen Romine!
Jen first joined Junior League more than a decade ago when she was in graduate school as a way to meet women in the Champaign-Urbana area and learn more about the community. “I was in political science, a male-dominated degree program,” she explained. “I wanted to get more involved in the community and not be so isolated over at the [University of Illinois].”
At the time, however, Jen had no idea she would one day end up heading the Champaign-Urbana chapter of Junior League. “My first committee was the [Festival of Trees] Trees and Wreaths Committee,” she said. “We were responsible for soliciting all of the trees and different wreaths. I had never done anything like that, so it terrified me.”
Looking back, Jen said that first assignment is now one of her favorites. She said it allowed her to meet many JLCU members and helped her feel connected to the organization. She also appreciated the challenge, one of many that JLCU would put before her. “[Junior League] allowed you to step outside of your comfort zone with a lot of support around you,” Jen said. “As I continued to grow and become more active, they would ask you to step up and be a chair, step up and serve on a board.” This progressively challenging path eventually led her to the JLCU presidency.
Jen’s goals for JLCU as president of the organization include focusing on membership and continuing to make membership more valuable for members. “Women can volunteer in a lot of different capacities,” she said. “I want them to see that JLCU does have a benefit through [development of] leadership potential and [development of women’s] own careers. One of my big goals is to focus on that, and also to keep the committees working and JLCU growing financially and membership-wise.”
In her spare time, Jen enjoys traveling, reading, and watching sports. She and her husband recently went to Rome and Naples, Italy, a trip that engaged her interest not only in political science but in history as well. “You think about how far back history goes in Italy,” she said. “Walking around Rome and seeing archeological digs; it’s a really neat place.” She added, “I like wine too, so that helps!”
Jen and her husband, who are both Louisiana State University undergraduates, also cheer on the Illini in basketball and football, and have high hopes for new coach Lovie Smith. Jen also has a fantasy football team.
You’ll see Jen pitching in at Junior League events around town and heading up the monthly general membership meetings. Feel free to stop her and say hi! After all, the community feel of Junior League is one of the things this JLCU president likes best.