Member Spotlight 2022-2023

Our Member Spotlight features women from across the Junior League of Chicago, and we ask them to answer a set of questions to help our members and friends get to know them better. These incredible women volunteer their time – whether as members of leadership or on committees – to help bring our mission to life.

Spotlight on Shannon Weisz | FUNraising Committee Member

About

What do you do professionally? I am an accountant. I work in Tax (transfer pricing).

Fun fact about you outside of the JLC? I am training for the Chicago Marathon! And my goal is to read 50 books this year, but I already read 40… so will probably read more than that.

 

Experience in the League

How long have you been a member of the Junior League of Chicago? I transferred to JLC in May 2021, but was part of the JLSF since January 2020.

What is your role in the JLC? The FUNraising Committee puts on fundraising events throughout the year with local vendors that benefit our work in the community.

Why you are a JLC member?  I joined JLC to build a sense of community in Chicago.

What’s your favorite memory as part of the JLC? I was a transfer last year and I really appreciated all of the transfer events that the committee put on. It was such a welcoming atmosphere and it made my transition to Chicago seamless!

Spotlight on Grace Rumford | Transfer Committee Member

About

What do you do professionally? I have always worked in the energy industry and I am currently Director of Structured Origination for NextEra Energy, which is the largest generator of renewable energy in the world. I work with companies who have sustainability goals and help them determine the best path to use renewable energy to reduce their carbon emissions. NextEra then finances, builds and manages these renewable energy projects on their behalf.

Fun fact about you outside of the JLC? I enjoy sailing on Lake Michigan and playing tennis. I started the JLC Tennis Stars MLM so I encourage everyone to join!

 

Experience in the League

How long have you been a member of the Junior League of Chicago? Since February 2019. I joined in London and transferred to Chicago in 2021.

What is your role in the JLC? The transfer committee’s role is to welcome women who have moved to Chicago from other cities. The Transfer committee is very active, we plan lots of social and volunteer events to help transfer members explore their new hometown and make new friends.

Why you are a JLC member? I joined the Junior League in London as a way to get more involved in my community and to make friends while living abroad. I lived in London for three years and I knew a few other women who were in the Junior League so I decided to give it a try, and I’m very glad I did! I have made great friends both in London and in Chicago through the Junior League.

What’s your favorite memory as part of the JLC? In November last year I was really bummed out because I had to cancel a vacation at the last minute. I went on the JLC calendar to see what was happening, and saw there was a holiday happy hour that evening so I decided to go. It turned out to be super fun — I met two awesome new friends and then won a gift basket in raffle, talk about a turn in events! Without the JLC I would have just stayed home feeling sorry for myself that day, but because there are always events going on I was able to get out and make new memories.

How has the JLC helped you personally? The JLC has helped me broaden my social network and allowed me to meet all types of interesting women who I would not have otherwise met. It has also given me a feeling of greater connection to Chicago and provided me with opportunities to enjoy Chicago through lots of creative activities that I would never have discovered otherwise.

How has the JLC helped you in your career? Professionally, my previous placement on the Advocacy Committee helped me better understand how elected officials engage with their constituents. This was very relevant for me in my role at the time because I was leading a public-private partnership for my former employer.

Spotlight on Brianna Garza | Done In a Day (DIAD) Committee Member

About

What do you do professionally? I am a remote hospital pharmacist covering anywhere from 3 to 7 hospitals simultaneously. I assist in overseeing the care of patients in the hospital, communicating and collaborating with physicians and other healthcare providers to ensure all of our patients are on the best treatment plan.

Fun fact about you outside of the JLC? I love to run. I’ve run two marathons (Houston and Chicago Marathon) and hoping to qualify for Boston at my next race.

 

Experience in the League

How long have you been a member of the Junior League of Chicago? About a year.

What is your role in the JLC? Done-in-a-Day (DIAD) is a committee intended to respond to the immediate needs of our community. It partners with numerous local non-profits and agencies in providing service projects that volunteers can complete in one day. These projects also allow members of JLC to partake in meaningful hands-on volunteer work that directly or indirectly affects immediate change to the urgent needs of the Chicago community.

Why you are a JLC member? I initially joined JLC to meet new people and hopefully build lifelong relationships with other women in the Chicago area. My mother was a member of the Junior League while I was growing up, but little did I know all this organization had to offer. It wasn’t until I became more involved that I found myself surrounded by other like-minded women who shared the same enthusiasm and dedication to giving back to the community. Through my involvement, I experienced firsthand the League’s commitment to developing leaders and improving the communities we serve. The various opportunities to impact the community, connect and learn from other female leaders, and establish lifelong friendships are a few reasons why I am a member of JLC.

What’s your favorite memory as part of the JLC? One of my favorite memories of JLC is volunteering through DIAD Night Ministry. I had a fantastic time connecting with so many members at this event. It was also genuinely heartwarming to witness us all coming together to pack hygiene kits for our fellow Chicagoans in need. Knowing that our one day’s worth of work would impact the lives of so many was profoundly inspirational and ignited my interest in DIAD. The realization of being part of an organization full of other women who are just as passionate about making a difference in this society as I am, motivates me to do more within JLC. Moreover, I am ecstatic to be a part of the DIAD committee this year and look forward to working with the team to help plan future events.

How has the JLC helped you personally? In September, I moved to Chicago without any friends or family here. With the help of JLC, I have met so many inspiring women whom I can now call friends. These new friendships extended beyond JLC and introduced me and my fiancé, Cale, to new couples to explore the city with. Honestly, if it weren’t for my first friend in Chicago, Claire Willingham Cook, I wouldn’t be a part of JLC today. JLC has opened a new world of possibilities for me to use my passion of caring for others to make an impact on the women, girls, and families of Chicago.

How has the JLC helped you in your career? JLC has allowed me to network with professional women in healthcare and other industries. Learning from other female leaders in different facets of the workforce has given me insight into other industries outside of healthcare, motivating me to achieve more in my career. My involvement in JLC has also allowed me to utilize my knowledge, skills, and passion of caring for people outside my day job as a pharmacist and using my expertise to benefit those who are not my patients.

Spotlight on Kristen Eis | Project Development Committee Member

About

What do you do professionally? I am a Marketing Specialist at CIBC US.

Fun fact about you outside of the JLC? I ran the Chicago Marathon 6 times

 

Experience in the League

How long have you been a member of the Junior League of Chicago? 4 1/2 years (since January 2018).

What is your role in the JLC? The Project Development Committee reviews existing community partnerships and work on creating new ones.

Why you are a JLC member? I joined Junior League because I enjoy volunteering and because I saw it as a professional development opportunity.

What’s your favorite memory as part of the JLC? Hard to choose! JLC fundraising events are always a good time.

How has the JLC helped you personally? I’ve made some great friends and gotten to do a lot of fun things. I’m in several MLMs. JLC always has something going on, even during the pandemic, which was greatly appreciated.

How has the JLC helped you in your career? Until recently, I worked in the nonprofit sector. I used AJLI resources daily. There are so many great tools on the AJLI website, such as an event ROI calculator and a library of Webinar Wednesday recordings. I also spent two years on the grant writing committee, which was a great skill set to add to my resume. When I decided to change industries, there were a lot of great JLCUs on job searching, mid-career changes and even negotiating a job offer.

Spotlight on Jessica A. Roberts | Sustaining Member

About

What do you do professionally? I am in-house counsel for Republic Brands, the world’s largest and most storied portfolio of rolling papers for legal leaf.

Fun fact about you outside of the JLC? I like to crochet and needlepoint.

 

Experience in the League

How long have you been a member of the Junior League of Chicago? 7 years active across JLC and JLNO (Junior League of New Orleans)

What is your role in the JLC? As a baby sustainer, I’m not currently on a committee, but learned a lot as a member of JLC’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (“DEIB”) Committee last year.  DEIB’s focus is working on embedding DEIB in JLC’s programming and member development.  My favorite program DEIB executed last year was the interactive Black History Month Bingo, which helped structure my personal study and work in February, with a Chicago focus (and brought @6figga_dilla into my world–highly recommend following him on IG and checking out one of his tours!).  The bingo may be over, but I recommend everyone should work their way through the references, books, movies, instagram accounts, and other activities of the card (I believe reaching out to Colleen Carrillo may be the best way to get the card!)

Why you are a JLC member? JLC has provided a framework for me to meet powerhouse women and get to know Chicago!  I’ve taken a wine & cheese class, gone to a concert, had dinner with, seen jazz at Shedd Aquarium and more through and with the women of JLC. I love finding and connecting with similarly civically engaged women and JLC has facilitated finding and developing those relationships.

What’s your favorite memory as part of the JLC? learning about the migration of “cultures” (both societal and edible) into and across America over the past centuries and how that migration created the “crystals” in American cheddar cheese.  Shout out to Grace Rumford and Kathryn Gridley, my buddies in wine & cheese!

How has the JLC helped you personally? The JLC helped me immediately get involved in Chicago when I moved here and provided me opportunities to get to know other like-minded women.

How has the JLC helped you in your career? JLC has helped me grow my professional network and facilitated introductions to fellow female attorneys and other female executives across industries.

Spotlight on Mia Marroquin | Child Enrichment Committee Member, Fall Fest and Perfect Pairings Committee Member

About

What do you do professionally? I work for a commercial real estate firm helping represent tenants looking for office space.

Fun fact about you outside of the JLC? I love traveling and have been to over a dozen different countries.

 

Experience in the League

How long have you been a member of the Junior League of Chicago? I just finished my associate year, so this will be my first full active year!

What is your role in the JLC?  I am a committee member of the Child Enrichment Committee & Fall Fest and Perfect Pairings Committee.

Why you are a JLC member? After graduating from an all-women’s college and moving to the city I missed being part of a community of strong/empowered women and found the Junior League was the perfect combination of that volunteerism and social club I was looking for.

What’s your favorite memory as part of the JLC? I loved attending the 2022 Derby Party — it was great to meet other members and the energy was so fun.

How has the JLC helped you personally? I have met a few really great friends through my new member small group.

How has the JLC helped you in your career? As a member of the JLC New Member Program Committee, I serve as a mentor to new members, which provides opportunities to continue to hone my leadership skills.

Spotlight on Allison Boman | Mad Hatters Committee Member

About

What do you do professionally? I am a Manager at PublicisSapient on the Customer Experience & Innovation team. Translation: My job includes working with different companies that want their customers’ digital journeys to be optimized. Aka UX strategy. Its ok if you are confused… you are not alone.

Fun fact about you outside of the JLC? During COVID, when we were all remote, I started Tiara Tuesdays at work. Which means I wear a tiara on all internal calls. I like shiny things. I’ve actually sent out a lot of them to co-workers who are friends so the movement is growing. I am also really good at killing plants, apparently.

 

Experience in the League

How long have you been a member of the Junior League of Chicago? 2.5 years (since 2019)

What is your role in the JLC? We read and act out books for kids in different Chicago public libraries. My interpretation of the dragon from Paperback Princess is especially good.

Why you are a JLC member? When I moved to Chicago in 2018 I only knew one person. My mom had always suggested I look into joining because of the friends she has made, and once again she was right. I also joined the JLC because it gave me the opportunity to volunteer, make amazing friends, and learn. The human trafficking talk really opened my eyes.

What’s your favorite memory as part of the JLC? The boat cruise last year. An unforgettable experience. Gala last year is a close second.

How has the JLC helped you personally? I have made some deep friendships through the JLC and have met women I have a lot in common with, like wanting to make a difference, trying new restaurants, Pelotoning, wine tasting, and traveling to wine taste, etc. I don’t know what my life would look like without them.

 

Spotlight on Triniece Pearson | Done In A Day Committee Member

About

What do you do professionally? I am a Clinical Research Nurse Manager

Fun fact about you outside of the JLC? I am an avid traveler, I will be in Spain later this month.

 

Experience in the League

How long have you been a member of the Junior League of Chicago? 3 years.

What is your role in the JLC? We participate in community projects throughout Chicago.

Why you are a JLC member? To meet new people who enjoy socializing and giving back to the community.

What’s your favorite memory as part of the JLC? Attending my first JLC gala earlier this year. It was wonderful to be back in person.

How has the JLC helped you personally? In addition to providing opportunities to serve, JLC has allowed me to foster relationships with like minded individuals. I am also better at golf and tennis thanks to MLM groups. 

Spotlight on Elizabeth Winkle | Done In A Day Committee Member

About

What do you do professionally? I am a Client Relationship Specialist for a wealth management firm

Fun fact about you outside of the JLC? I run a half marathon every year. This year I ran one in Yosemite National Park and next year I’m going to Houston.

 

Experience in the League

How long have you been a member of the Junior League of Chicago? One year.

What is your role in the JLC? DIAD works with JLC’s service partners as boots-on-the-ground. We volunteer to serve meals, sort donations, and assist with projects. These organizations rely on volunteer groups like the Junior League to serve their communities. 

Why you are a JLC member? I joined the Junior League because I moved to Chicago in 2019 and was looking for ways to make friends and get involved with service opportunities. I was volunteering at Share Our Spare with a couple of friends and I saw a group of women in matching Junior League shirts. I looked up the organization the next day and decided to give it a shot!

What’s your favorite memory as part of the JLC? I joined when COVID was in full swing and everything was via Zoom. Towards the end of my new member period, I loved meeting my new friends in person and experiencing all the great events.

How has the JLC helped you personally? JLC has helped me meet so many great women in Chicago and get involved in activities across the city. I love trying new things and there is always something new coming out through the JLC.