Category Archives: Junior League of Seattle

Artists Abound

Ken Hatch with Kathleen Schafer
Last evening Ken and I were invited to join friends, Kathleen & Tom Schafer, at their lovely lakeside Mercer Island home as their family friends, the Horiuchis and the Tsutakawas got together with others to support a non-profit organization, Nikkei Concerns, that supports elder care for Japanese Americans.  
Kathleen is a trained artist and their home and life is filled with art, in addition to their wine focus with their winery, àMaurice Cellars.  Their collection includes her own art as well as art of several of the Northwest Masters such as Paul Horiuchi, George Tsutakawa, Mark Tobey and Morris GravesàMaurice has also developed artist series wine labels in tribute to the Chateau Lafite Rothschild artist series labels and  two of the wines that were being poured were “The Horiuchi” red blend and “The Tsutakawa” red blend.  Both wines were to my palate delightful and were blended by their daughter, Anna Schafer, who is the talented winemaker at  àMaurice Cellars.
Jerry Tsutakawa & Cathi
I so enjoyed re-connecting with artist, Gerry Tsutakawa and his wife, Judy.  We reminisced about when I was in their home over 20 years ago when I was the chairman of the Northwest Art Project for the Junior League of Seattle to see what was then his father, George’s studio, and is now his studio.
Two of Jerry’s brothers, Deems Tsutakawa and Marcus Tsutakawa were part of the excellent jazz quartet that entertained the party guests.  Deems was on the piano and Marcus was on the bass while friend, Tim Horiuchi was on the bongo drums and brother-in-law, Gordon Uchima on the saxophone.

This was an evening replete with artists of all kinds; musicians, winemakers and visual artists too!

Marcus Tsutakawa

Deems Tsutakawa

Becoming Catalysts for Community Change

This morning I spoke at the  Northwest Exchange 2011 Conference for women hosted by the Junior League of Seattle at the Washington Athletic Club.  Current and future leaders of the Junior Leagues from Boise, Calgary, Eugene, Great Falls, Olympia, Portland, Salt Lake City, Spokane, Tacoma, Yakima, Wenatchee and Seattle gathered for the weekend to exchange ideas and gain skills and training to position themselves to help each of their Leagues become “catalysts for change” in their communities.

AJLI At-Large Director, Evelyn Zabo
and Junior League members
particpating in “The Helium Stick”

My topic was Team Building and I shared with the 65 women in attendance some of the “a-ha” moments that had occurred during my active Junior League years, particularly when I was Junior League of Seattle President in 1991-92.  We talked about problems we have experienced with teams, reasons for team building, attributes of successful teams, valuing each member of a team and using their diverse backgrounds to make the team more successful, dealing with obstacles to effective teams, and the importance of collaboration.

As part of the experiential learning, I asked the group to participate in two exercises.  The first was for each table team to figure out what is the most outrageous thing that they had in common with one another in a very limited amount of time.  Their answers were entertaining and sometimes hilarious, particularly the small team of three that reported out that they had all been picked up for shoplifting.  The room exploded with gasps first and then laughter when they admitted that what they really had in common is that they were good liars.

The second exercise was one called “The Helium Stick” where the object was for a team to balance a stick with a loose metal washer on each end horizontally on their index fingers and carefully lower the stick to the ground without losing the washers or actually grabbing or holding the stick.  The learning was all about the need as a team to understand the goal, overcome obstacles, communicate together effectively to achieve the desired results.  One of the telling comments afterwards that one of the participants shared was that it would have been easier if there had been a leader of each team.
I was once again impressed with the strength and power of the women in the room and how committed they are to making the world a better place by living the mission of Junior League to promote voluntarism, and develop the potential of women to improve the community through the effective action and leadership of trainined volunteers.  I would want any of them on my “team” anyday!

19 Years Later, JLS Unveils New Logo

Susan Evani, Diamond Tiara Award Winner

Tonight I had the opportunity to attend the Junior League of Seattle Fall Kick-Off meeting at beautiful Daniels Recital Hall in downtown Seattle.  There were around 300 women in attendance and in traditional Junior League fashion, there was food and wine to share before the meeting.  We were also greeted with an organ recital by Mark Anderson, artist-in-residence.

As Natalie Bowman, 2010-2011 Junior League of Seattle President, began the meeting, she recognized JLS member, Susan Evani, with the “Diamond Tiara” award for going above and beyond expectations.  A highlight of the evening was the unveiling of the new Junior League of Seattle logo.  Unveiling a new JLS logo, took me back to my JLS President-Elect year 19 years ago when I asked Terry Heckler of Heckler Associates, branding stategist of  Starbucks and Cinnabon fame, to design a new JLS logo pro bono.  I can still remember jumping through many hoops to seek membership input and support and know that Natalie and her team have had to do the same thing.

JLS President, Natalie Bowman

 An impressive factoid that Natalie shared is that there are 180 Provisional members in the JLS Provisional class this fall.  This is one of the largest if not the largest Provisional class in the entire United States.  It will be exciting to watch the leaders that will germinate from such a large group.

In addition to my remarks about volunteer leadership and accessing the skills that we learn through our volunteer activities in business later such as I have in ZINO Society, the other speaker was a first year Active JLS member, Bernadette Merikle, who received the “Provisional of the Year” award last year and now this year is representing Washington State in the AJLI Vision 2020 initiative.  Though Bernadette professed social ineptitude, she charmed the entire audience with her humor and her warm smile.

Bernadette Merikle

I was struck with the energy in the room and the enormous potential of each of these current and future leaders and remember having similar feelings of awe when I was President of the Junior League of Seattle all those years ago.

A Bevy of Junior League Past Presidents

Today I attended the annual Junior League of Seattle Past Presidents’ Luncheon hosted by Elizabeth Reilly, the outgoing JLS President to welcome Natalie Bow, the incoming JLS President (see 2nd photo of Natalie and me).  I served as JLS President in 1991-92 and it is always a real treat to reconnect with so many amazing, dynamic women each spring when we welcome the incoming President.

The President who served furthest in the past is Iola Groth and she served in 1952-54.  She is the woman in purple in the middle front row of the top photo.  Iola is such an inspiration to each of us.  We all hope to be just like her when we grow up!

Other JLS Past Presidents attending today were Clair Jenkins (’67-’68), Barbee Crutcher (’68-’69), Anne Farrell (’72-’73), Colleen Willoughby (’74-’75), Marli Iverson (’78-’79), Anne Blair (’84-’85), Judy Holder (’86-’87), Sue Mecklenburg (’88-’89), Shari Hardy (’90-’91), Dot Fuller (’93-’94), JP Brigham (’95-’96), Marilyn Leck (’02-’03), JoAnne Jones (’03-’04), Evelyn Zabo (’04-’05), Rhonda Neben (’05-’06), Crissey Miller (’06-’07), Heather Giacoletto (’07-’08) and Joanne Pettito (’08-’09).  Also attending were four Past Presidents from other Junior Leagues including two from Santa Barbara, one from Milwaukee (Andrea Mann), and one from Atlanta.

In addition to having the opportunity to hear an update on what is going on in each of our lives during the past year (and you would be amazed at the number of boards, task forces, advisory committees, etc. in which this group is involved), we heard from Vicki Clark, an AJLI Volunteer Consultant (see 3rd photo above), who shared messages from the book, The Eleven Commandments of Wildly Successful Women by Pam Gilberd.  I look forward to reading the book soon, but in the meantime, I am pretty sure that ALL the women at the luncheon today can be deemed “wildly successful women”!


Art is in the Eye of the Beholder

Last night I attended the Junior League of Seattle Northwest Art Project Preview at the Wright Exhibition Space.  As a Past President of the Junior League of Seattle and past chairman of the JLS Northwest Art Committee, I was especially interested to see the entire art collection hung in one location.  One of the services that the Junior League of Seattle has provided the community is taking our art collection (usually one piece at a time) out to school classrooms and spending time talking about art and encouraging children to share what they see.  Each year, the Northwest Art Project introduces over 20,000 children to the rich production of these Northwest artists by exhibiting our highly respected art collection in local schools.

This event was a kick-off to the 50th Anniversary of the JLS Northwest Art Project and was attended by both active and sustaining members of the Junior League of Seattle as well as many of the artists whose works are part of the collection.  Artists in attendance were Catherine Eaton Skinner, Joe Max Emminger, Norman Lundin (top photo with me above), Sherry Markovitz, Jose Orantes (2nd photo above), Elizabeth Sandvig and Michael Spafford (3rd photo above).  I was so pleased to meet Norman Lundin since husband, Ken, and I have one of his works and it has always been one of my favorite pieces of art in our collection.  It was also fascinating to watch artist, Michael Spafford, produce a new work on the spot as a door prize drawing, which unfortunately I did not win.

Honorary Event Chairs were Junior League of Seattle members, Dee Dickinson, who was the original founder of Northwest Art Project 50 years ago, Alexis Phelps and Janet True.  As an active member, Alexis also chaired the 30 year Anniversary Celebration of the Northwest Art Project which occurred the same evening that I took the gavel as President of the Junior League of Seattle (gulp!) 20 years ago.  See photo of Alexis and 2008-2009 JLS Past President, Joanne Petitto, above (4th photo).

In addition to the Honorary Chairs, it was fun to catch up with many friends from Junior League including Colleen Willoughby, Pam Green and daughter Paige Dunn, Ann McCutcheon, Pam Eakes, Janet True and daughter Effie, Lorna Kneeland, Joanne Petitto, Betty Rubenstein and Pat Wallace to name a few.  (See bottom photo of Joanne, Betty & Pat.)  All in attendance enjoyed viewing the art, connecting with one another, sipping wine and nibbling on hors d’oeuvres and miniature cupcakes.