All About ODI

A Q & A with Junior League member, Tarina Charleston
ODI is not just another Junior League acronym. ODIs – Organizational Development Institutes – are a part of the benefit of being a member of the Association of Junior Leagues International – an extension of our mission to provide trained volunteers and develop the potential of women.
ODIs are a series of educational training meetings – with several held each year. Leagues from all over send representatives to receive effective, informative training to improve their League leadership. These trainings focus on “Building Internal Capacity,” “Fund Development,” and “Governing for Excellence,” among others.
Tarina Charleston, chair of the National Rehabilitation Hospital Committee, recently attended an ODI training. Here, she shares a glimpse into the experience and what she learned.
When and where did you attend ODI?  What was the weekend like?
I attended ODI on June 3-5 in Houston, TX. The weekend was a mixture of small and large group sessions and networking opportunities. There was also plenty of time to shop and buy Junior League merchandise.
What session did you attend and what were the overall topics and themes?
I attended the Achieving Community Impact: Creating Lasting Changes for Healthier Communities session. The overall topics and themes were the following:
       Decline in the scope and impact of Leagues’ community work
       Disconnected volunteer experience that fails to leverage member skills and interests
       Limited League capacity to collaborate and build community relationships that sustain responses to the community
       Is the League viewed as a viable partner?
What applications did you see to JLW as a whole? To your role or council in particular?
As leaders in the League, we must recruit to our mission so that our members are excited about our mission and work in the community. We should focus on what the member is learning, not just what they are doing. [We should] strive to have a stronger relationship with our community partners and provide updates to our committee members regarding the progress we are making. And we must have continued open communication with our members so that they see the value in what we are doing.
How do you think ODI did develop your leadership skills?
ODI gave me the opportunity to learn how to both think critically and evaluate the outcomes that we want to attain for our members, the League, and the community.
ODIs provide an opportunity to exchange ideas with other Junior Leagues. What did you learn from members of other Leagues?
I found it interesting that many of the Leagues actually perform a community service activity at their membership meetings, such as making gift baskets for the holidays or packing backpacks for back to school. Many of the other Leagues use apps like Go to Meeting and/or conference calls and video conferences to make sure everyone has access to the meetings.
Would you recommend ODI to another JLW leader?
I would recommend attending ODI because it gives one a good perspective of what we are doing well in our League and what we could improve on. In addition, it gives one the opportunity to meet members of other Leagues and discuss things that they are doing in their League. For instance, a League in Pueblo, CO, provides babysitting during their meetings along with a playroom for children. I thought that this was a fantastic idea because, as a mother, I think a lot of women would like to be more active but childcare can be a deterrent.
To learn more about training opportunities that AJLI provides, including online training webinars, please visit