By: Laura Collins
This is the second in a two-part post series spotlighting women who met through the League. We hope Jacqueline Frederick-Maturo, Melissa Miller, Rachel Oster, and Kara Roney’s story inspires you and reminds you of the incredible things that happen when women work together.
How did you meet?
Frederick-Maturo: The four of us met our new member year during National Book Festival training in August 2014. Rachel Oster and I were in the same advisor group, so she and I had met prior to the training session. When I walked into the Madison Building of the Library of Congress, I met Kara in the elevator, and we decided to sit next to one another. From there, she introduced me to Melissa, and I introduced the group to Rachel. It was love at first sight!
How do you connect outside of the League?
Frederick-Maturo: We often attend JLW events together as well. We have attended GMM, Esprit events, D&T events, and many fundraising events with one another.
Miller: We try to get together as often as possible, and during our new member year, we kicked off a monthly supper club where we would try new restaurants together once a month. This tradition continued all the way through March 2020, often including our husbands in our dinner plans. Outside of our supper club, we have attended each other’s weddings and baby showers, we visit wineries together, throw parties together, etc. Our husbands have also connected and are good friends, and they will often get together on their own.
How has your shared interest in voluntarism/philanthropy, etc. helped your friendship grow or is there a particular League volunteer or training event that you all look forward to every year?
Collective Response: Our friendship started in a strong place because we shared the same values of community and charity. We were all excited to volunteer and to become part of the JLW community! That enthusiasm led to us wanting to participate in the same activities and support each other as we stepped into various leadership roles over the years.
How have you stayed connected during the era of COVID?
Roney: My Junior League ladies were the first “socially distanced” friends we saw in those eerie days of Spring 2020. We would carefully gather six feet apart in my backyard and I remember posing distanced from each other so our husbands could take a picture of our weird new normal! We text often and for a while used the app Marco Polo to send video message updates on our lives. And of course, for a while we did the VERY 2020 experience of regular Zoom happy hours. Our means of communication have evolved during this time, but we have always stayed in touch.
What advice do you have for members looking to find meaningful friendships in the League?
Frederick-Maturo: The League really is what you make of it. Invest the time and energy in the experience and it will pay dividends. Esprit is hosting a great deal of free and paid events, indoor and outdoor events. Make sure to register as events fill up quickly. If you connect with someone at a JLW event, make sure to get their phone number or connect via social media. Follow up and ask them out to a wine or coffee date. I would also recommend that you invite your new friend(s) to attend other JLW events with you. The General Membership Meetings are a great event to attend with fellow JLW friends. The JLW fundraisers are too!
Miller: Put yourself out there, ask for phone numbers, follow up and make plans outside of JLW events! Making friends as an adult is hard, but if you are open and try to make plans, you’re bound to find some connections that stick!
Oster: I have to be honest that I had no intentions of creating big, meaningful friendships when I joined the League, I was really just looking to do some local volunteering. But boy am I glad I said YES to those first few happy hours and handouts because these girls are truly my best friends. I can’t believe we’ve only been friends since 2014 because it feels like they’ve always been in my life.
Roney: I would advise new members to put yourself out there, be your authentic selves, and welcome new people into your life! Don’t be afraid to ask some girls to meet up for coffee or a drink before an event. And once you get their number, start a text thread and name it JLW Besties. That sealed the deal for us!
What are you most excited about for this League year?
Oster: Truly looking forward to doing more in person, COVID friendly events to reconnect in person!