A Word from the Wise – Suzie Bacon
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.)
I’m a stay at home mom to two boys (ages 8 & 11). My husband works at Trinity University, and we live on campus. It’s been a great environment for my boys to grow up around – academics and athletics all the time! We do some entertaining on behalf of the university and it’s fun to engage with faculty, staff, alumni and students on a regular basis. As a Longhorn, it’s taken me a few years to embrace wearing maroon, but I’m getting there slowly but surely! I love a good Malbec and good pizza. Usually together. But not always. Our most wonderful dog, Shirley, passed away about a month ago at age 15 1/2. I got her before I knew my husband (and while I was in my 1st year in JLSA!)
Q. Why did you choose to join the Junior League?
I had an opportunity to join in Houston (my hometown), but I was working way too hard and let that opportunity pass me by. When I moved to San Antonio, I had a friend ask me if I wanted to join here. I jumped that the chance to get involved in my new city, making new friends and making a difference here.
Q. How many years were you in the League before going Sustainer?
Ten. But I had to go login to jlsa.org to find out for sure.
Q. How many years have you been a Sustainer?
Apparently this is the start of year seven. Learned a lot from that website!
Q. While an active member, what kind of placements did you hold?
Most of my placements were under Membership Development Council – Admissions, Nominating Chair, Provisional/New Member Committee, etc… I love MDC, but honestly, if I started over again, I would force myself to explore other councils!
Q. What placement did you enjoy the most and why?
This is a tough one, but I would have to say Nominating Chair. It’s hard but meaningful work. When that slate is turned in and the emails go out announcing it – it is a great feeling to know you were a part of that work.
Q. As a Sustainer how do you stay active with the League?
I’m currently the MDC Sustaining Advisor. I have also been a Sustaining Advisor on Nominating. I’m not super-involved, but I like to dip my toes back in every few years or so!
Q. What other organizations are you now active with?
I’m a member of the Battle of Flowers Association, where I get to interact with lots of women I met through JLSA. We put on the parade, of course, but also a Band Festival and an Oratorical Contest. It’s been great learning the ins & outs of those great events. I’m also a member of Impact San Antonio, which is a great organization. Each member (or you can get a group together to buy one membership) donates $1,000. With that money (there is ZERO overhead), up to (5) $100,000 grants are given out each year to San Antonio non-profits & the members are a part of the grant decision process. 500 members (or even more!) can make a HUGE financial impact on our city. Of course, I also help out with my boys’ school and things relating to them.
Q. How has being in the League affected your life?
Beyond life-changing friendships, it’s given me a great sense of the broader world around me. How one person really can do something meaningful, but how a gaggle of women can make a huge impact!
Q. To those considering joining the League, what would you say?
Do it! Don’t wait for the “right time”. I used to give a speech at Super Saturday, wherein I described my years in the league… At first, I was single, living in an an apartment and working like a crazy person. Then, right after that, I bought a house and got a dog. Two more years, and I was married. Two more, and I had my first child! I was active in JLSA through it all and my commitments to JLSA always seem to fit around my current life situations.
Q. To our brand new members, what advice would you give?
Try something new – step out of your comfort zone when picking a placement. You’ll be so much better for it! Don’t be intimidated to ask people questions about their current placement and ask to talk to them and possibly shadow them. The more you know about a placement, the happier you’ll be with it!
Q. To our members midway in their league life, what advice would you give?
Hang in there a few more years and don’t get bogged down or turned off by one volunteer or one placement or one life change. The thing about volunteers is – well, they are volunteers! They’re not perfect, but they’re not paid to be perfect either. I’ve always found the modern version of JLSA to be very accommodating when someone needs a change because “life happened”.
Q. As a woman speaking to women, what one thing would you want them to know?
You are stronger and smarter than you think you are. Go out and use those powers for good in the world!
Thank you Suzie, for your time and energy to the League and Community, but most especially, thank you for your wisdom.
“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