Junior League Edmonton Take ODI Houston!

By Kirsty Wilson and Phalyn Chenard

Organizational Development Institutes, or ODIs, are a series of educational training workshops delivered throughout the year by the Association of Junior Leagues International (AJLI). Year after year, ODIs demonstrate their effectiveness as informative, inspiring and innovative destination training programs.

The first ODI of the year was held at the beginning of June in Houston, Texas. The Junior League of Edmonton sent two delegates; Kirsty Wilson, the 2016/2017 Fund Development Director, and Phalyn Chenard, 2016/2017 Membership Director. Here’s what they learned at ODI Houston.

Kirsty & Phalyn

Kirsty & Phalyn

Hi everyone!

The ability to attend together enhanced the experience, as we were able to not just absorb, but discuss how ideas related specifically to our League. We were also able to bounce newly learned ideas off of each other. So, let’s get to it.

What did we learn during our time in Houston?

KW: One thing I’ve always known about Fund Development is that it serves as a solid foundation for the League. This was reaffirmed throughout my time in Houston. After spending the weekend learning from Judy Levine from Cause Effective, it has become clear to me that one of the key fundamentals to maintaining this foundation is relationships. Building relationships and corporate connections will be the number one goal for our Fund Development team this year; watch out for our members in the community!

PC: The Membership track was led by Naomi Chavez Peters; she’s a leadership trainer and Past President of the Junior League of Palo Alto. We reviewed the five pillars of Membership, including recruitment, member onboarding, mentorship, member connections, and education and development. It was a great stepping stone to launch my term as Membership Director. Not only did I come home with several long-term goals for the Edmonton League, I came home with several small changes that I could implement immediately.

Our common workshops included a session on networking with other Leagues, and an assessment on our personal efforts towards diversity and inclusion. We met several impressive women (from four different countries!) and attended a luncheon to celebrate voluntarism. We also came home proudly sporting AJLI Honour Roll ribbons for being ODI Allstars. Okay, maybe it was not as cool as we made it out to be. But, just know, the two of us are masters at navigating the AJLI website.



During the closing plenary, the facilitator instructed us to write down a goal that we could implement within the next 90-days. We were then asked to fold the piece of paper into an airplane and launch it into the room for another member to find, and follow-up on.

Airplane goals

Airplane goals

We didn’t get much tourist time outside of the conference, but we made the most of our time. If you ever find yourself in Houston, we highly recommend having dinner at Brennan’s of Houston. After a several course meal, lots of wine and some pretty incredible service, we were given a personal tour of the facility by the maitre d’. Even more special, Brennan’s of Houston is located in the original headquarters of the Junior League of Houston. How fitting?!

For an equally amazing but different experience, we recommend Caracol Mexican Coastal Kitchen.

Houston isn’t just about the food. As you can probably imagine, the two of us were determined to fit in a 45-minute sprint at the Houston Premium Outlet, on the way the airport… and a few laps around the Houston Galleria upon arrival.

We would like to extend a large thank-you to the Junior League of Edmonton membership for allowing us to represent our League at the Houston ODI. We came home inspired, rejuvenated and ready to do great things.


Kirsty & Phalyn