The ladies of the Junior League of Chicago (JLC) kicked off Advocacy Week with a fantastic Women’s Leadership Panel at the University Center. All panelists who took part are leaders in their community and shared their individual experiences with various forms of advocacy. It was amazing to hear the vastly different backgrounds of each of these women as well as how they have managed to achieve personal and professional success in a number of fields. Panelists included Laura Ferrio – VP of Patient Care and Nursing Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago/President of RIC Foundation, Kristin Faust – President of Neighborhood Housing Services Chicago, Christina Briesacher – Partner, Kirkland & Ellis, President of Domestic Violence Legal Clinic, and Mary O’Connor – Owner of Unforgettable Edibles, former Alderman, and Edison Park Turkey Trot co-founder.
Co Vice Presidents Joy Johns and Erin Satterthwaite facilitated the discussion with questions prepared by audience members. Many of the questions centered on work/life balance, and sentiments were echoed across the ladies that it is imperative to have a passion for the cause you are advocating. This passion is necessary to be motivated to set aside time to do the work as is having an understanding of the differing sides and perspectives constituents will take in order to effectively position your platform. Also, do not be afraid to delegate work. Another question raised was on how young people starting out in their careers can make an impact. Again, the need to have a passion and advocate for a personally meaningful cause was mentioned, but also getting noticed. Leaders encouraged young people to take responsibility for a task, complete the task on time, and do quality work. Something as simple as this can go an incredibly long way and build trust. Christina specifically mentioned the importance of keeping up with contacts and friends in order to effectively network and maintain relationships, as you never know when you will need the expertise and experience of others. Also, do not underestimate friendships made now, because as you grow in your career and decision-making abilities, so will these connections. Finally, a great way to get involved quickly is to join a junior board or committee. This allows young people to get their feet wet and see where their passions lie. This was an encouraging and motivating event to start a wonderful week of advocacy!
By Amy Marchlen, 2016-17 Topics & Trends staff member