JLE take ODI Raleigh!

By Robyn Hanson & Aileena Minhas

In mid-October, Aileena and I flooded our Facebook and Instagram accounts with photos from the Organizational Development Institute (ODI) conference in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Robyn & Aileena

ODIs are a series of educational training workshops delivered throughout the year by the Association of Junior Leagues International (AJLI). At this ODI, five different tracks were offered to delegates, with four courses per track, each building on information from the previous course. In our roles as Director of Communications (Aileena) and Treasurer (Robyn), we had the chance to learn information from incredible facilitators and league members from across the U.S. It was a great opportunity to discuss solutions to problems, share information about our league’s focus and really participate in the Junior League experience. Here’s what we learned in our respective tracks during ODI Raleigh.


My session Achieving Community Impact: Creating Lasting Changes for Healthier Communities, was led by Vicki Clark. As a group we delved into the path to impact: making the commitment -> understanding your community -> Selecting issues -> Focusing your community efforts -> Developing the programs -> Preparing to implement.

We also discussed the Junior League Community Impact Model which breaks down each topic, issue and focus area of the League into the desired outcomes, strategies and tactics that the League would need to implement to see the desired impact. There was a large discussion on being member centric. We learned that to ultimately create the best experience and value for members, we must be flexible, open-minded and transparent. Throughout the weekend, Vicki gave us strategies and tactics to improve the quality and value for Junior League members. These were some key takeaways:

  • Be detailed as possible in the job descriptions for each position by providing a timeline of events, allocating hours and resources,
  • Facilitate a holistic transition period,
  • Understand members skillsets,
  • Provide forums for feedback and sustainer/active networking

Robyn (Treasurer):

My session, Building Internal Capacity to Strengthen the League’s Operating Infrastructure, was led by Martha Ferry, former CFO of the Association of Junior Leagues International. There were about 50 women in my group from Spokane, Reno, Little Rock and other cities, and league sizes ranged dramatically. Our group discussed how to operate a well-run board including league operations, risk-management and budgeting. While not all of us have financial backgrounds, it was wonderful to hear how committed each member was to doing a good job in their position and ensuring the sustainability of each League.

In our spare time, we ate designer hot dogs, attended the North Carolina State Fair, and went for dinner with 11 other Junior Leaguers who embraced their new Canadian friends with enthusiasm (we were, collectively, “Canada”). We did not, sadly, attend the 6 A.M. yoga class.

A few thoughts:

  • People are not part of a melting pot – all you get is a lump
  • Junior League – the ultimate chick magnet
  • People want to be seen for who they are. Celebrate diversity.

We are beyond grateful to Junior League of Edmonton for the incredible learning opportunity and experience and had such a great time meeting intelligent and enthusiastic leaguers from across the U.S..