The Junior League of Greater Lakeland held its annual Spring Banquet at the Lakeland Country Club on Tuesday, May 7, 2019. Over 170 provisional, active and sustaining members were in attendance for the event celebrating the 86th year of the Junior League of Greater Lakeland’s commitment to improving our community.
President Callie B. Miller presided as she begins her second term as President.
Funding Director Stacy Walsh announced that through the League’s signature fundraising events and partnership approach with many organizations, the League raised over $192,000 to positively impact our community.
Past Junior League of Greater Lakeland President Sarah Dukes McKay announced the first recipient of the Sarah D. McKay Award established by the League in 2018 to honor her lifetime commitment to improving our community. The 2019 Sarah D. McKay Award recipient is Anne Furr. Anne served as the organization’s president in 1986-1987, is the founder of the annual Lakeland Christmas Parade and currently serves on the boards of GiveWell Community Foundation, Good Shepherd Hospice and Bonnett Springs Park. She is a graduate of the Leadership Lakeland Class III and was awarded the Jere Annis Award by the organization in 2005. Professionally, Anne was a teacher, served as Lakeland City Commissioner from 1989 – 2000 and lead the Lakeland Downtown Development Authority as its Executive Director from 2001 – 2012. Anne and her husband Mike have three children and five grandchildren.
After a year of leadership development and community service opportunities, 27 women graduated from Provisional to Active membership.
The 2019-2020 Board of Directors of the Junior League of Greater Lakeland was installed.
President – Callie Miller
President-Elect – Jessica Brown
Sustaining Vice President – Tiffany Osler Kilpatrick
Membership Vice President – Alyss Ruster
Communications Vice President – Alexa Russo
Finance Vice President – Heather Jones
Treasurer – Lauren Albaum
Funding Director – Rachel Cashdollar
Community Vice President – Emily Paladino
Secretary – Carley James
Corresponding Secretary – Linda Dowers
Several members were recognized for their service and commitment to the organization during the 2018-2019 year:
Heart of the League is awarded to an active member with amazing passion for the Junior League. The recipient of this award was Alyss Ruster, who received this award for her dedication and countless hours given to ensure the Thrift Sale was a success. Alyss is hardworking and encourages other members to do more.
Spirit of the League is awarded to an active member who is enthusiastic and full of pride for the League. The recipient of the award was Katherine Fitzwater, who received this award for her leadership on the Communications and Admissions-Provisional Committees as well as her ongoing support of all aspects of the League. Katherine is always cheering on her fellow Leaguers and looking for opportunities to highlight their personal, professional and League achievements through the League’s newsletter, social media or other recognitions. She has worked hard to ensure JLGL members receive recognition through the Association of Junior Leagues International working with their communications team to recognize Carol Jenkins Barnett and Sarah Dukes McKay as Notable Members. Katherine enthusiastically promotes all League events and encourages others to get involved and attend League events.
Volunteer of the Year is awarded to an active member who gives 100% of herself to her individual committee, as well as helping out on other committees and projects of our League. This year’s recipient was Sara Scoynes. Sara gave countless hours to support the League Thrift Sale in addition to being a dedicated member of the Admissions-Provisional Committee and always willing to assist the League in any capacity. Sara is a hard working, passionate and kind volunteer.
Bridge to the Community is awarded to an active member who is not only an amazing asset to our League, but is involved in numerous other organizations throughout our community. This year there were two recipients of this award Angel Davis and Lauren Albaum. Angel served as the 2018-2019 co-chair of the League’s Ready to Read Committee helping the League create a multi-year partnership with the Lakeland Public Library. In addition to her League involvement, Angel serves as a VISTE (Volunteers In Service to the Elderly) volunteer and board member and is a member of the United Way Young Leaders Society Steering Committee. Angel works as Librarian Supervisor for the Lakeland Public Library. Lauren served as the 2018-2019 co-chair of the League’s Community Outreach Committee and was instrumental in bringing back the Community Advisory Board, a group of community leaders tasked with providing feedback on the League’s events, projects and community initiatives. In addition to her League involvement, Lauren is a member of the United Way Young Leaders Society and EMERGE Lakeland and serves on the board of Explorations V Children’s Museum. Lauren works in career development at Florida Southern College which also gives her an avenue to get involved and give back to the students in our community.
Sustainer of the Year is awarded to a sustaining member who has given tremendous support to our League. The recipient of this award was Laura Taft, who received this award for stepping up in a major way to not only serve as Sustaining Advisor to the 2018 Thrift Sale Committee, but gave hundreds of hours of her time to help make the event a success. The League could not have done this event without her help, guidance and hard work.
Provisional of the Year is awarded to a new member who goes above and beyond the expectations set for this level of membership. The recipient of this award was Genise Austin-Holliday, who received this award for her genuine interest in getting to know the women in Provisional class and her exceptional effort and assistance during volunteer projects, most notably during the Christmas Parade. Genise has a warm personality and always has a smile on her face.