Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Introducing our Active Member Spotlight, Rachael Gibbs!

We're so happy to kickoff our Member Spotlight Series! Throughout the 2015-2016 League year, we will profile specific Members who are kicking butt and taking names – those who exemplify the very best of the Junior League of Gwinnett & North Fulton Counties and our Strong Girls, Bright Futures community impact focus.  

Our first Spotlight features Active Member, Rachael Gibbs.

"I'm thrilled that Rachael is being recognized! She has brought so much to JLGNF with her dedication to serve, enthusiasm for our mission and positive attitude!" - Molly Stone, 2015-2016 V.P. of Finance

About Rachael:

Current League Placement: Casino Royale 
Past League Placements: High Heels & High Times

Other volunteer organization involvement? GASPCA 
Currently resides in: Dacula, GA 
JLGNF Member since: Fall 2014
Current profession: Preschool/Daycare Owner
Tell us about your family: I have a husband (Derreck), two daughters (Kristen & Madelyn), and two dogs (Charlie & Oliver) 
Why did you join JLGNF? To meet like-mind, strong women that I can work closely with to make a difference in our community
What is your greatest life accomplishment? My family 
What is your favorite activity or hobby? Vacationing with my kids 
What about our community focus “Strong Girls, Bright Futures” resonates with you? The more girls who realize at a young age that they are strong, smart, and awesome, the brighter their futures will be. I know that women (including myself) could have benefited from having more self esteem and more activities geared toward building a brighter future for girls when we were younger. 
What’s your favorite part of JLGNF? Bonding while we work and give back!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Five Metro Atlanta Area Junior Leagues Unite to Train Each of its Leadership Teams

On Saturday, July 18, women leaders from five area volunteer organizations convened for a combined leadership training at the Atlanta Speech School. Members from Junior League of Atlanta, Junior League of Cobb-Marietta, Junior League of Dekalb County, Junior League of Douglas County, and Junior League of Gwinnett and North Fulton Counties gathered to share ideas and enhance their skills to better serve their respective communities. Training topics included Leadership 101, Leadership 601, Personal Branding, Project Management, and Social Media Engagement.

Speakers and trainers were notable women from a variety of backgrounds and industries, including Ms. Anna Cablik, Owner and President of Anatek, Inc. and Anasteel; Ms. Charlotte King, President/Creative Director of Snowden & King Marketing Communications; Ms. Ginny Nickles, Director of Mission Mobilization and Innovation at Peachtree Presbyterian Church; Ms. Ursula Reynolds, PhD Graduate Program Manager at Georgia Tech; Ms. Charlotte Ros Terrell, Talent Management Consultant in Human Resources at Southern Company, and keynote speaker Ms. Kimberlyn Daniel, CEO of YWCA of Greater Atlanta. Ms. Daniel stressed the importance of equality and inclusion across gender and racial disparities in today’s business and non-profit worlds.

“Since its founding in 1901 by social activist Mary Harriman, The Junior League has evolved into one of the oldest, largest, and most effective women’s volunteer organizations in the world, encompassing more than 150,000 women in 292 Leagues in four countries,” says the Association of Junior Leagues International.

The Junior League of Gwinnett and North Fulton Counties, Inc. (JLGNF) has approximately 125 Active and Sustaining members consisting of CEOs, entrepreneurs, mothers, and professional women from diverse backgrounds.

JLGNF is currently seeking new members for the Fall 2015 New Member Class. Membership in JLGNF offers opportunities for women of all races, religions and national origins women over the age of 22, who demonstrate an interest in and a commitment to volunteerism.

If you or someone you know is interested in joining JLGNF, email or visit to apply online. The application deadline to be a part of this amazing organization is August 29, 2015. New Member Orientation will take place at Rainbow Village in Duluth on August 29, 2015.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Power of Mentoring

“Mentoring is a power-free, two-way mutually beneficial learning situation in which the mentor provides advice, shares knowledge and experiences, and teaches using a low pressure, self-discovery approach.”
- Starcevich, Matt, 1999, “Coach, Mentor: Is There a Difference?”

Originally, I joined the Junior League of Gwinnett & North Fulton Counties to make a difference in the community and make friends.  I’ve been able to do both of these things, but I’ve also developed many great mentors along the way.

As a new Active Member, I was given the opportunity to co-chair High Heels & High Times, our League’s largest fundraiser. We had the crazy idea to bring our focus area, Strong Girls, Bright Futures, to the center of High Heels & High Times. As a new Active Member with BIG ideas, I needed mentorship.  I found that within the President and V.P. of Finance. Both of these women were true examples of mentors and empowering leaders and gave me advice and encouragement to take the reigns. The encouragement from these two mentors, along with the many friendships I’ve made, I found a support system that has cemented my commitment to JLGNF.

This year, JLGNF is introducing a structured Mentoring Program.  The intention is that this new program will help new Active Members the same way that my mentors helped me. My hope is that it will enable members to create friendships and find the direction to complete their league goals. As volunteers, I think it is of utmost importance to be fulfilled by what we are doing. Authentic conversations will be directed by the various topics of the month to create an environment of acceptance, friendship and support.

If you’re interested in joining JLGNF, please contact us at or visit our website to learn more at

-Alex Klein

V.P. of Membership, 2015-2016

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Junior League of Gwinnett and North Fulton Counties Announces 2015-2016 Board of Directors

The Junior League of Gwinnett & North Fulton Counties, Inc. (JLGNF) proudly announces the Board of Directors for the 2015-2016 Junior League year, led by President Alyson Coffman. Coffman will serve a one-year term beginning June 1, 2015 through May 31, 2016.
Coffman joined the Junior League in 2010 and has served in various capacities, including Finance Council, Finance Vice President, and President Elect. Coffman received her master’s degree in public administration from the University of Georgia and her bachelor’s degree from Agnes Scott. Her professional background is in fundraising.
Coffman is honored to serve on the JLGNF Board of Directors with fellow members:

·         Ashley Shoemaker: President Elect
·         Allison Fillman: Communications Vice President
·         Alex Klein: Membership Vice President
·         Molly Stone: Finance Vice President
·         Renee Adams: Community Vice President
·         Taralyn McMullan: Secretary
·         Heather Wagner: Treasurer
·         VanDana Wade: Sustainer Representative
·         Sara Collins: Nominating Chair
JLGNF’s Board of Directors ensures the future of the entire organization at all levels. Board members act as trustees and stewards on behalf of its members, including financial management of the League. The Board also provides guidance and helps govern the vision and mission across the Council system – which includes Community, Finance, Membership and Communications. The Board also ensures that all League programs are consistent with the League’s mission and that its efforts move the League forward according to annual strategic goals.
Since its affiliation with the Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc. in 1991, JLGNF has been at the forefront of community change by tackling issues such as children at risk, homelessness, literacy, childhood obesity, and self-esteem.
“In the last 5 years since our 25th anniversary, we have contributed over 4,500 hours of service to the local community. This year’s Board of Directors are experienced and energetic leaders with lofty ambitions. We are looking forward to building on our predecessors as we prepare for the 30th anniversary of JLGNF by enhancing and growing our “Strong Girls, Bright Futures” programming and launching a new fundraiser, Casino Royale,” says Coffman.
About the Junior League of Gwinnett & North Fulton Counties:
The Junior League of Gwinnett & North Fulton Counties Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism and developing the potential of women through training, leadership opportunities, and service. Its purpose is to strengthen the community by creating and implementing collaborative volunteer projects. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable. JLGNF is a member of the Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc., comprising 293 Junior Leagues in four countries.

For more information about JLGNF, please call 770.686.7463 or visit

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Looking for a Mother's Day Dessert recipe?

Chocolate and cheese and cake! These are a few of my favorite things... But my most favorite person is my mother. A great way to celebrate the mothers in your life this Mother's Day is with the White Chocolate Cheesecake on p. 129 of At Your Service. It tastes delicious as is, but can easily be customized with a variety of toppings. I drizzle caramel sauce on it, and it is divine!

White Chocolate Cheesecake
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted 
2 cups Lorna Doone cookies, finely ground
1 ounce white chocolate, grated
32 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
Pinch of salt
4 eggs
3 ounces white chocolate, grated
2 cups sour cream
1/4 cup sugar 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ounce white chocolate, shaved

For the crust, combine the butter, cookie crumbs, and 1 ounce white chocolate in a bowl. Press into a 10-inch springform pan.

For the cheesecake, beat the cream cheese and 1 1/4 cups sugar in a mixing bowl until fluffy. Add the salt and mix well. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating well at low speed after each addition. Stir in 3 ounces of white chocolate. Spoon into the prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes. Remove from the oven. Cool for 10 minutes. 

For the topping, combine the sour cream, 1/4 cup sugar and vanilla in a small bowl and mix well. Spread over the cheesecake. Return to the oven. Bake for 10 minutes. Cover and refrigerate immediately. Sprinkle with 1 ounce white chocolate before serving.

Serves 10

One of my all-time favorite "girls'-day" events is Hollydays, which is a holiday market put on by the Junior League back home in Baton Rouge. Every year I would go with my mom or sister and have a great time. I first became interested in Junior League back then but didn't join until I moved to Georgia and was looking for ways to make it feel like home. I joined JLGNF in the Fall of 2013 and have made some amazing friends and met women I truly admire.

- Courtney Clampit, 2014-2015 Active Member

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Stuck in a rut... with a cookbook?

I’ve owned the Junior League of Gwinnett and North Fulton’s cookbook, “At Your Service” for four years.  I’ve tried MANY recipes out of this book: the Chocolate Cola Cake, Pork Chops in Mushroom Sauce, the Fruit Salsa.  All amazing! And I love this cookbook so much that I’ve bought one for many of the women in my family.

Of course, I haven’t been able to try EVERY recipe in this cookbook.  But I thought that I’d found all the really fantastic ones that my family and I love.  These select ones have been my go-tos.  My tried and true recipes that never fail me. 

While I love having this relationship with “At Your Service”, I had no idea I’d gotten too comfortable with it.  Who knew you could get stuck in a rut with a cookbook?

It took my step-mother-in-law, Judy to point this out to me and show me the light of a fantastic new recipe that I’d never noticed before: Urban Legend Cookies.

Why hadn’t this recipe stuck out to me before?  I was floored that I hadn’t ever tried this nutty, chocolaty cookie before!  How had this recipe really been in my cabinet for four years without me ever noticing?
This made me realize that I had another reason to love this cookbook even more!  There was still so many recipes to try that I had yet to discover!  And I’m so excited to jump in a try more in 2015!

In the meantime, I’m going to share the Urban Legend Cookie recipe with you! And if you haven’t purchased the “At Your Service” Cookbook from JLGNF you’re really missing out. But you can buy it here!

2 ½ cups rolled oats
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
4 ozs premium milk chocolate, grated
1 ½ cups pecans, finely chopped

Process the oats in a food processor or blender to form a fine powder.  Mix the processed oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.

Cream the butter, sugar and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add the vanilla and mix well.  Stir in the flour mixture.  Add the chocolate chips, milk chocolate and pecan and stir to mix well.

Drop the dough by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.  Bake at 375 degrees for 6 to 8 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove to wire racks to cool.

Makes about 5 dozen.

- Megan Blair, 2014/2015 V.P of Communications

Monday, January 26, 2015

A Transfer's Experience

I left a magical place, Verona, NJ, nestled in Essex County, only 30 minutes from New York City. Verona was a place of happiness, safety and a beautiful county park. The teachers at school are all married to the local policemen. The elementary school consisted of only two classes per grade and no buses. I walked my kids to school and everyone showed proper thanks to our crossing guards at holidays and year-end. Magic, I tell you.

In Verona, I was an active member of the Junior League of Montclair Newark (JLMN). That League's mission was (and is still) Children at Risk. I joined JLMN because a number of my friends were already members. I also felt it was an organized and social way that I could give back because I have been blessed with three perfect, healthy children and there isn't much more to life than that.

In 2013, my family decided to seek employment in/around metro Atlanta. While I loved almost everything about Verona, the insane property costs, snowy weather (my nemesis), parking issues, and the fact that you can't do u turns in NJ got to me. While most folks relocating to a new area look at schools and real estate, I immediately checked out the local Junior Leagues.

My research led me to learn that the Junior League of Gwinnett and North Fulton Counties would be the geographically logical League to join. I reached out via the proper channel. That led me to Renee Adams, my transfer chair. 

Not everyone will have Renee as a Transfer Chair. We realized we were both Keller Williams agents and our children attended the same preschool. Later we discovered we both gave a son the middle name of James, we are both December babies, and left-handed. Our friendship turned into magic.

But it didn't stop there. While not all JLGNF members and I lead parallel lives, everyone I met made me feel as if I had known them forever. Everyone I met was sweet, smart and sincere. I immediately loved everyone. I felt closer to these women after the first General Membership Meeting (GMM) than after a year in my other League. The acceptance was immediate, both administratively and emotionally. The Board was quick to "process" me, and everyone else was quick to make me feel like I belonged without having to be sponsored or invited. I was able to begin this transition into my new world immediately.

This all-inclusive, open-armed League is the perfect fit for me right now. I would not have wanted to wait to become established in order to join the JLGNF. I am thankful that they allowed me (and other transfers) to join first and establish later.

When my friends in NJ ask me how I like Georgia, without missing a beat, I tell them it's magical.

-- Melissa Boozikee, Active Member; Attic Sale Co-Chair