Sustainer of the Month: Laura Metzger


Meet Laura Metzger

a 20+ year JLC sustainer who encourages “intelligent risk taking”. 

  1. What Chicago Neighborhood do you live in?
    I live in Sandburg Village, at the intersection of the Gold Coast, Old Town and Lincoln Park neighborhoods.
  2. Where do you work and what’s your role?
    After 16 years at Leo Burnett, followed by 20 at the American Bar Association, I am happily moving into my next life phase and training to become a therapeutic yoga instructor. I look forward to sharing the joys and benefits of yoga with others “of a certain age” who are thinking they’d like try yoga, but are fearful because of age, previous injuries, chronic conditions, etc. I also hope to lead gentle and chair yoga sessions in area senior centers.
  3. Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in Chicago?
    I’m originally from Toledo, Ohio. I moved to Chicago two weeks after college graduation and have lived here 37 years.
  4. Why did you join the Junior League and have you ever participated in another League outside of Chicago?
    I joined the Junior League of Toledo, but immediately transferred to the Chicago league where I completed my provisional year/training. I joined for the same reasons so many others do, to make friends, learn leadership skills, and give back to the community.
  5. How long have you been a Sustainer?
    I’ve lost track! Maybe 20 years? Maybe more?
  6. What is your favorite JLC event or Members Like Me  group?
    It’s hard to name a favorite event. Instead, how about my favorite JLC memory, and proudest legacy? That would definitely be the phrase “The JLC encourages intelligent risk taking.” As part of the long range planning process, we were re-working the JLC mission and vision. I was strongly advocating that a key benefit of membership and leadership in the League is that it’s a place where you can take risks, and learn a lot through that process (something that’s much harder to do in the workplace where you might get a bad review, passed over for a raise or promotion, or worse yet, fired if the risk you take doesn’t pan out). While others agreed in principal, our lawyer (and co-board member) rightly opposed “the League encouraging risk-taking” as it could potentially open the Board and organization up to litigation. Not willing to give up, after many rounds of heated debate, we eventually arrived at “intelligent risk-taking” an elegant statement that satisfied everyone. We weren’t encouraging just any old risk, but rather well-thought out and well-reasoned risks. That phrase continues to show up and play out in a good way all these years later. For that, I am quite proud.
  7. As a sustainer, how do you stay involved in the League (MLM groups, sustainer Fridays, etc.)?
    I have always maintained involvement in the League, be it through Gazebo opening night, the Sustainer First Fridays and Holiday parties to recent involvement as a volunteer for Teen Exodus and serving on a QSP (Quick Service Project) focused on “fiscal freedom” and offered a fresh approach to budgeting and balancing revenues/expenses.Right now, it’s exciting to see the Sustainer group becoming re-energized through the tireless and creative leadership of the current co-VPS Mary Feldman and Cindy Erickson. From Bunco nights, to lunches, wine-tastings, Group outings and done-in-a-days there’s an energy among Sustainers that I haven’t seen in quite some time. Kudos and thanks to both of them!Finally, there’s my JLC Gal Pals – a group of us who’ve been friends forever (several were my first JLC mentors). We get together for dinner every other month or so, and what’s going on with the JLC always comes up at some point during the gathering. These wonderful women are lifelong friends who continue to be mentors, but now the mentoring is more about life…dealing with changing roles, aging parents, strategies for decluttering, etc. Regardless of the challenge, we always end up laughing so hard we can barely breathe.
  8. What’s your favorite restaurant in Chicago?
    Oh my goodness, you’re kidding, right? How to choose? High end it would have to be the Everest Room or Les Nomades. Mid-range would be the Tortoise Club or Kiki’s Bistro. And for great pub grub, you can’t beat either Marge’s Still or Lady Gregory’s.
  9. Name your favorite holiday.
    It’s a toss-up between Thanksgiving because I love the focus on family and gratitude, and Christmas because, for me, it’s a season not a holiday. I love all the decorations, music and festivities that bring light and love to grey winter days.
  10. Let’s hear about the activity that you think is most fun to do in Chicago (museum, 5k, festival, etc.)?
    My favorite activity is to take a walk around the Lincoln Park Zoo Boardwalk and/or Lilly Pond. Both are places you can experience the peace and quiet of nature while being right in the heart of the city. And lunch or a glass of wine at Cafe Brauer, overlooking the south pond is an added treat.
  11. What’s your guilty pleasure (food, TV show, etc.)?
    Garret’s Mix popcorn, Words-with-Friends and wine…sometimes all at the same time.
  12. What piece(s) of advice to do you have for other ladies of the League?
    Use the JLC as a place to learn and grow. Take intelligent risks! Try a leadership style or approach that you’re scared to use at work, fine-tune it through the League, and let it loose on the world. You’ll be happy you did!

By Christina Weber, 2017-18 Topics & Trends staff member

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