My ODI Experience
In June, I was selected by The Junior League of Anniston-Calhoun to attend the Organization Development Institute in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. This two-day long conference is held twice annually and is aimed at providing training in League-specific focus areas such as marketing, membership, and fund procurement. I was joined by my fellow League members Crystal Vinson and Mylie Johnson. Each of us attended a different track that coincided with our role within the League. On the first night, there was an opening plenary where we were welcomed by Susan Danish, AJLI Executive Director. This really set the tone for the entire conference and filled us with excitement for the coming weekend. After we had our opening session, we got straight to work in our first concentration course. I attended the Marketing and Communications track as I am the incoming Vice President for Public Relations. Crystal Vinson attended the Achieving Community Impact track as she is the incoming Vice President for Community Impact. As a member of the Membership Committee, Mylie Johnson attended the Membership Development track. After our first sessions, we attended a Mix and Mingle Receptions. Personally, these sessions were our favorite mainly because we had the opportunity to network with several League members from across the country and around the world. We quickly become friends with Leagues from Mobile, Seattle, North Carolina, and even London! The next two days were filled with many takeaways and “A-ha!” moments that it was a bit overwhelming. I can’t speak for my fellow League members, but I could have filled two notebooks worth of information to bring back home. First, I really enjoyed all of the discussion that we had revolving around the importance of diversity in the League. We really dove into ways for us to break the stereotype that the Junior League is a bunch of women in hats throwing tea parties. We want to ensure that all women know that we encourage them to come together in an effort to enhance our communities. Second, I enjoyed learning from other small Leagues how they make the biggest impact on their communities with a small marketing budget. Last, I thoroughly enjoyed just spending time with other like-minded women who share a passion for building better communities. We were able to go to dinner on Friday and Saturday night. The first night, the Junior League of Pittsburg hosted several groups as various popular restaurants around our hotel. The second night, we got a little more adventurous and rode the Duquesne Incline up to the Grandview Saloon for dinner. Here were enjoyed spectacular views of the city and continued building relationships with our new friends. On our final day, we had the pleasure of hearing Vicki Clark speak at the Closing Plenary. She led us through a group discussion about what we were going to bring back to our Leagues from the conference. It was great to hear other League members share their experiences at the conference. It really helped put a nice bow on our amazing weekend. I am thankful for this experience and know that it will help me be a better member of our League.
Candace Finley, VP Public Relations