A Word from the Wise – Johanna Christiansen
One of my favorite aspects of the Junior League is having phases or seasons to our membership. One of those seasons is known as Sustainer. A Sustainer is a Junior League member who has completed 9 Active years of service and 1 New Member year OR has reached age 40 and completed at least 3 years of Active service. Sustainers add a wonderful sense of tradition and heritage to the League while providing both support and a wealth of knowledge. Each month I’d like to tap into that knowledge base and ask a Sustainer to share a little. We can learn so much from those that have come before us.
Q. Tell me about yourself (work, school, family,pets, hobbies, interest, favorite wine, favorite junk food, etc.)
Born in San Antonio, and a 5th generation Texan, I attended MacArthur High School and then Texas A&M University (Whoop!) and received a Bachelor’ degree in Business and a Master’s degree in Land Economics and Real Estate from the Department of Finance, also from Texas A&M University. I am a Senior Vice President at Bank of America (going on 21 years working at the bank) and am in the Quality Control department. I am married (19 years and counting) to a fellow Aggie Brian and we have three children Sophia, a Freshman at Reagan High School, Harold, a 7th grader at Lopez Middle School and Tessa, a 4th grader at Hardy Oak Elementary. We are all avid Star Wars fans and we love hanging out with our adopted rescue Bichon Frise dog, Yoda, My hobby is driving my kids to swim practice, Sophia is on the Varsity Reagan High School Swim Team along with club swimming with Harold and Tessa. My favorite thing to do is hang out with my family, my parents and my in-laws.
Q. Why did you choose to join the Junior League?
I loved how the Junior League gave me an organized way to volunteer in the community. I wanted to be exposed to what the League had to offer and expand my knowledge of the community.
Q. How many years were you in the League before going Sustainer?
I was in the League 10 years before becoming a Sustainer.
Q. How many years have you been a Sustainer?
I have been a Sustainer almost 10 years.
Q. While an active member, what kind of placements did you hold?
My placement for the 10 years I was in the League was Sunshine Singers! I absolutely loved it! I also enjoyed working in the Rummage Sale warehouse sorting donations and doing Rummage Sale shifts. Working at Ole Marketplace was great too!
Q. What placement did you enjoy the most and why?
Sunshine Singers! It was so much fun to go to a different nursing home each week and sing/dance for the residents! The best part was after our performance, we got to visit with the nursing home residents. I loved talking to them and hearing about their lives.
Q. As a Sustainer how do you stay active with the League?
I enjoy attending Junior League events including attending the League’s Breakfast with Santa with my family and supporting Ole Marketplace. I have precious memories attending the League’s Ole Marketplace American Girl events with my daughters and mother and watching my oldest daughter model in previous League fashion shows. I also loved it when the Junior League used to have volunteer events where you could take your kids to volunteer also. As part of this program, my kids got to come with me and visit with residents at a nursing home, even playing the piano for the residents!
Q. What other organizations are you now active with?
I serve on the board as the Golden Book Chairman for the Woman’s Club of San Antonio. I am a member, served as a Confirmation Mentor, and teach Sunday School at Concordia Lutheran Church. I am also the Head Room Mom for my daughter Tessa’s 4th grade class and love to chaperone my kids’ school events. I volunteer with my son’s middle school band program. I am involved with the alumnae group of my college sorority, Alpha Chi Omega. I am also a member of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas (DRT) and Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).
Q. How has being in the League affected your life?
Being in the League has shown me the power of an organized group of woman volunteers. It is so nice to be part of a like-minded group of woman wanting to make a difference in the community. I have also made life-long friends that I know will continue to be by my side in the future.
Q. To those considering joining the League, what would you say?
Join the Junior League! It will change your life in such positive ways!
Q. To our brand new members, what advice would you give?
Enjoy every moment of being in the Junior League! Sometimes it seems hard to find the time to be in the League. Make your League membership and volunteer opportunities a priority. You will not regret the time spent!
Q. To our members midway in their league life, what advice would you give?
Stick with being a member of the Junior League! It seems as one goes through the League, finding time for League activities can be harder and a harder due to more family commitments and more demands on your time. You will get to that Sustainer status quicker than you think!
Q. As a woman speaking to women, what one thing would you want them to know?
Although demands on your time are great, make time to volunteer! You will be a blessing to others through your volunteering and you will be blessed in return!
Thank you Johanna, for your time and energy to the League and Community, your continued voluntarism and dedication to your family serves as an inspiration to us all.
“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is the noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest, and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” -Confucius