My Year as JLSA President…

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Some are intimidated by her, some want to be her but certainly everyone admires her. The position of JLSA President is a position of hard work as well as honor. In the League we believe that if you truly want to, anyone of our Members can be President. I felt it was important to those that are interested in such a path or to those who would simply like to better understand that we speak with our Immediate Past President 2016-17, Janet Peavy. 

Past President Mrs. Janet Peavy 2016-17

How was the interview process for President-Elect?

It was like any interview. I tried to anticipate the questions the committee would ask and answer them to the best of my abilities. They also wanted to know what my vision was for the League. I spent quite a lot of time preparing for this and hoped that the committee would agree with my vision.

Reaction when you learned you’ve been chosen?

I had no idea it was coming. I was frustrated with my husband that night for being late for dinner. I saw several cars parked outside, but figured that the neighbors were having a party. Finally, he came home and a few minutes later, the doorbell rang and it was the Nominating Committee with flowers and champagne! I was thrilled and so honored.

Goals going in as President?

I knew we had big decisions ahead of us. I wanted to focus on servant leadership during this year for two reasons. One, it is a model of true leadership and everyone can benefit from it. Two, I knew that keeping our focus on what was best for the League would help us make the decisions that needed to be made.

How nervous were you really?

Oh, good heavens, horribly nervous! When you are President, you need the Board, the members, the sustainers to trust you. I worked every day for that trust. Some days, I succeeded better than others. Some days it is impossible to make everyone happy, but you try regardless because at the end of the day, the struggle is worth it.

What’s it like in the boardroom when everyone’s eyes are on you?

You are in a room with highly talented, qualified women, all of whom care passionately about the League. The job of the President means that you are the facilitator of these meetings. Some meetings that is easier to do than others. As President, it is your job to make sure everyone is heard.

How was the first half of the year? Lessons learned?

Given the decisions that needed to be made about The Bright Shawl, I spent much of my time in communication to make sure everyone understood why the decisions needed to be made. I met individually with Sustainers, held a special meeting with Past Presidents, held Sustainer Chats, something that hadn’t been done before, because I knew they would have questions and I needed their support. With our members, I made sure part of every General Membership Meeting was devoted to the discussion. I also answered individual questions members put to me both when I saw them and during President’s Chats. Large decisions should never be made in a vacuum and it was important to me that everyone understood and had buy-in. We also had a very successful Holiday Olé Market, laid plans for our newest fundraiser, Casino for a Cause, and for our expanded Viva SA Race. All while serving thousands in our community.

Second half of the year? Lessons learned?

The second half of the year, we focused on executing plans that we had laid during the first half of the year. The building was officially put on the market, and we began taking inventory. We held our newest fundraiser, Casino for a Cause, which sold out! Our Viva SA Race had the largest number of race registrations and we were the first to hold a race leaving from Hemisfair and running along the river.

Things you’d change or do differently?

There are always things you can do differently in hindsight, but those kinds of thoughts can drive you crazy because you can’t change what has happened. It’s best to approach situations to the best of your abilities and be at peace with that.

Advice for those that would like to become President.

Don’t do this for anyone.   Don’t do it for yourself or to please anyone else. Do it because you believe in the mission of the League and what it does for women in our community. Do it because you see a way to make the League better. Do it because you want to help better the lives of others who live in our community.

Words of wisdom.

I’ve found that those that most question their ability to lead are those that are most capable of leading.

How did your home life change?

When I was nominated, I spoke to my husband about what this would mean for us if I submitted the application. It made things more complicated and my husband and I did a lot of tag-team parenting, but we both made it work. I wouldn’t have done this if I hadn’t had his support.

Did you establish a routine to make sure things were attended to in a timely manner?

Yes, mornings were for conference calls and catching up with board members. Lunch and afternoons were for working on documents and getting other things done. I would take a break to be with the children after school, then I would go back to work after I put them to bed at night.

On average how much time did you spend on JLSA weekly?

I usually spent between 40-60 hours a week.

How did you manage everything? Kids? Husband? Activities?

You need to decide what is important to you. Certain things were unmovable for me. Concerts, performances, Tae Kwon Do belt tests were things that were important to my kids, so I made every effort to be there. I also made sure I spent some time with them every day, even if it was just picking them up from school and carting them to their activities. Certain things were important for the League – board meetings, General Membership Meetings, fundraisers, promotional appearances, etc. I would make sure my schedule was cleared so I could attend these things. My husband and I also carved out time with each other at least one night per week. We needed that time with just us so we could connect.

What did your kids think about their President Mamma?

They thought it was the coolest thing ever! I loved that I was setting an example for them that it important to give back to the community.

How important was it to you for your kids to see you in this role?

I wanted them to know that they could do anything. Seeing me in this role gave them hope that they could do anything they set their minds to.

What do you plan to do next?

Right now, I’m enjoying time that I’ve missed with my kids and husband.


By Crystal Sperber