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Three JLA sustainers share how the Junior League has helped them take the lead within our community!

This past year, we spoke with three amazing sustainers about how their time in the JLA has positively impacted their lives outside the League. Below, Jill Rose, Glenda Weinert, and Pat Smith share their stories.

Jill Rose is Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. During her 16-year tenure with the Department of Justice, Jill has handled a variety of cases including domestic and international drug trafficking and money laundering, violent crime, financial fraud, domestic terrorism, and national security cases. In her most recent national security case, Jill was the lead prosecutor in the General David Petraeus classified leaks prosecution.

Jill joined the Junior League of Asheville in 1991. As an active member, Jill played a key role in reviewing and selecting community projects for the League. She also served as Vice President of Community Council.

Dr. Glenda Weinert has served as the Interim Executive Director for the Irene Wortham Center and Irene Wortham Residential Center, Inc. and is currently an Adjunct Instructor with Asheville Buncombe Technical Community College. In addition to her own consulting practice, Glenda ran two successful businesses in the home health and child care industries. Glenda now works as a consultant in various aspects of business management and administration, particularly for non-profit agencies and child care centers. She also serves on numerous boards and commissions in Asheville.

Glenda joined the Junior League of Asheville in 1996. She held several leadership roles within the League including Vice President of Finance, Child Watch Chair, Vice President of Community, and President.

Pat Smith retired as President of the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina in 2009 after 25 years with the foundation. Under her leadership, the foundation distributed over $100 million, primarily to local nonprofits, and grew to more than $150 million in assets. She currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Trustees at the University of North Carolina Asheville and Chairman of the Asheville Savings Bank Board of Directors. She is a board member and immediate past chair of Givens Estates United Methodist Retirement Community and co-chair of Asheville/Buncombe Community and Economic Development Alliance. With her husband Phil she co-chairs the Legacy for Justice campaign for Pisgah Legal Services.

Pat’s involvement with the Junior League of Asheville spans across 40 years. She held numerous leadership roles within the League including Project Development Chair, Treasurer, and President.

How did the training you received through the JLA positively impact your career?

Jill: The League taught me a lot about collaborative thought process and group objectives. I am often on committees and being a productive and collaborative committee member is a real key to success. Understanding and implementing Robert’s Rules [of Order] is also important and something I definitely learned from the Junior League of Asheville.

Glenda: Most of my board development and training began with the Junior League of Asheville. When I went into consulting, I started working with Boards of Directors in the non-profit arena. I attribute my skills in board training and development as well as retention to my experience with the JLA.

Pat: My League training was a springboard to my career at the Community Foundation. Through various League roles I learned the values of teamwork, appreciating diverse talents and skills, collaborating, and coalition building.  The JLA taught me about advocacy and the value of speaking up.  I cannot overemphasize the importance of the training and opportunities the League afforded me.  I used these skills daily in my professional work and continue to benefit from them as a volunteer. 

Tell me about your involvement within our community and how the JLA helped you prepare for this role.

Jill: The JLA gives you the confidence to participate in the community in a committee setting.  I have been a member of several non-profit boards and I was initially more comfortable because of what I learned in the League.  Learning to approach a task as a volunteer—and to appreciate the volunteer mindset—is an important skill.

Glenda: I think the most significant thing is the doors that open for you as a member of the Junior League of Asheville. People know that JLA members are community advocates and well-trained volunteers who bring a wide range of skills to the table. We are trained to serve our community in a distinct way and provide our members with good foundational skills. More members work outside of the home now. The skills we learn as part of the JLA, including how to run a meeting, how to train volunteers, and strong organizational skills, are skills that are assets in both a corporate and volunteer setting.

What would you say to any woman considering membership in the Junior League of Asheville?

Jill: I strongly encourage membership in the League.  It is a wonderful opportunity to connect with other women and to more deeply assess and appreciate the needs of the community.

Pat: My League experience gave me the framework to become a passionate volunteer and give back to this community I love. Through the JLA I developed a deep knowledge of the community, learned to set measurable goals and create strategies to carry them out, to organize committees, and to work with a board of directors.

What has been your most valuable experience with the JLA?

Glenda: I have made lifelong best friends through the League—people I work with and continue to perform community work with. You might not ever have the opportunity to meet those kinds of great women without an organization like the JLA. Even today, when I need advice, I look to the friends I have made through the Junior League.

What advice do you have for anyone looking to make a positive impact in their community?

Glenda: You have to learn the community, learn the needs and then where you feel you best fit. Do a good assessment of your time and what you can commit to a volunteer activity. People make the mistake of thinking that they’re only a “volunteer” and it doesn’t matter if they show up and that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Pat: Find one or two causes that you’re passionate about and support them to the best of your ability – with your time, your talents and your financial means.  Don’t spread yourself too thin.  If I could do anything it would be to encourage everybody to give back a little bit.  If we all gave five percent of what we have to our community, think of what a difference it would make.

By Lauren Karlsson

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