Welcome to the 2016-17 League Year!  I hope you had a fantastic summer and I am looking forward to working together to Move our Mission Forward!

I’m very excited to celebrate the start of the new year at our 1st General Meeting on Tuesday, Sept 13!  The September meeting is one of my favorite JLLA meetings because it’s a chance to reconnect with old friends and meet people who will soon become new friends.  It’s a chance to welcome our New Member class with open arms and hearts. It’s also an opportunity to reconnect to our purpose. We will have an amazing speaker who will lead us in an engaging discussion to “Find the Why”.  We all have the potential to do extraordinary things. This year, let’s hone in on igniting our spark and sharing stories of impact– What drives you?  What is your passion? What is the impact you seek?

So let me share my “#WhyJLLA”.  The “Why I Joined” is similar to so many of you. I grew up in L.A. and after college moved to New York for work.  After spending 10 years on the East Coast, I moved back to L.A. and joined JLLA to get more involved in the community and make a few new friends.  As I now enter into my 10th Active year, the “Why I’ve Stayed” is multifaceted.  JLLA has without a doubt changed my life in so many ways. I have had the chance to participate in an incredibly rewarding volunteer experience.  I have developed skills in areas that I never thought I needed or wanted. I have been able to take on leadership roles that have challenged me and made me a better person.  And, I have had the privilege of meeting and bonding with some of the most amazing and inspirational women. In the simplest sense, JLLA ignited a spark in me to become a civic leader and an agent of change.

I can’t wait to hear your #WhyJLLA so please share your stories! Thank you for giving your time and resources to JLLA.  It’s because of all of your effort that we are able to do remarkable things to impact our lives, our League and our Los Angeles community.

Ness Okonkwo, JLLA President