As we know, The Junior League of Austin is comprised of the most motivated and powerful minds this city has to offer. Chief among those women are those who have answered the call to take on the mantle of leadership for our beloved League. These women have given their time, efforts, and talents to ensure that our 2019-2020 year are among the League’s most vital and impactful. As we move forward to our busiest time of year, LeagueLines would like to highlight some of those faces and their thoughts on what it means to be a woman in leadership.
Laura Robinson is the 2019-2020 year Nominating Chair. When asked what it means to be a woman in leadership within our League community, she made clear that “leadership is about empowering others.” To ensure that we are empowering one another, Robinson reminds us to “…tak[e] the extra time to lift someone up and let them know that they are amazing and help them realize their potential.
In reflecting on her own personal journey through the League, Robinson recounted that her most meaningful placement in League was her first actual leadership experience as Grants Chair. In that role, she learned the importance of managing people and their time. She said, “ I learned that you cannot talk to everybody on your committee the same way. Different personalities need different motivations.” She looked back on the experience as an opportunity to grow, stating “I fell many times during that year, but had amazing leaders to turn to and learn from.”
In reflecting on her leadership style and how it has been influenced by The Junior League Austin, Robinson offered, “every committee member that has ever served on a committee I led has changed me in some way. The experience of the League has made me a better leader and I do not think anything else in my life is comparable to what the League has given me.”
When she is not serving as a shining example of what The Junior League of Austin is, Robinson is enjoying a game of tennis, which she has played for several years. Thank you Laura for serving our community!
Haley Gardiner is the 2019-2020 Community Vice President. In reflecting upon what it means to be a woman in leadership in this community, Gardiner stated, “being a woman in leadership means leading by example and building up other women so that they feel empowered at whatever they encounter.” To that end, Gardiner makes it a point to “encourage other women in the Junior League to consider roles that may challenge them and will help them grow both personally and professionally.”
When asked about a placement that was especially meaningful to her, Gardiner enthusiastically recalled her time as Researcher’s Chair. Of that experience, she noted that, “leading a committee of that size taught me how to inspire and encourage other leaders, like Focus Area Chairs to lead a group as well,” and added, “I loved every minute of it and am grateful for the opportunity to work with each of the members. I would do it again in a heartbeat!”
Finally, in reflecting on who has had the biggest effect on her leadership style, Gardiner advised that three women in her life greatly affected her leadership style. First, Clair Neal, a former boss, taught her to be solutions oriented. Secondly, Gardiner advised, “Chief Clinical Officer at UT Health, Amy Young, works daily to ensure that healthcare is equitable and accessible to all and she does it in heels and pearls.” And lastly she mentioned Laura Robinson, who, in Gardiner’s words, “is an incredible JLA Leader who is thoughtful and encouraging and have you seen her hair?”
Gardiner is another of the best and brightest in our League and inspires women to reach for leadership roles wherever they may be found. When you see her, feel free to greet her with a loud “Roll Tide” as she a huge Alabama Football fan!
Laura Lee Daigle is the 2019-2020 Recording Secretary. Daigle took some time from her busy schedule to answer questions about leadership. She opined that in determining how to lead in our community, “it is important to find roles where we can have the most impact,” even offering that, “sometimes it means stepping up and leading something big, which is always rewarding and educational, but sometimes it means being a worker bee for a volunteer shift and doing what needs to be done.” Daigle’s views on leadership stemmed from having a servant’s heart and focusing on volunteering. She stated, “I work hard on exposing my three boys to volunteering, little things like Diapers to Diapers or riding along with a Meals on Wheels shift to get them thinking a little bit about the world around them.”
In reflecting on her past placements in The Junior League of Austin, Daigle admitted to loving them all, but had a special place in her heart for her time as Co-Chair for the first ever Diversity, Equity & Inclusion committee stating, “it was an amazing combination of truly rewarding work along with an opportunity to get out of my comfort zone.” She even noted, “the trainings and experiences literally changed my how I approach several aspects of my life.”
Daigle’s love for volunteerism and leadership acumen stem from her mother who first exposed her to volunteering. Daigle recounts watching her mother act as a Spanish translator in the Labor and Delivery ward for women who were not proficient in English. Of this she said, “it was a meaningful way for her to take her love of the Spanish language and make a difference for these women at such a critical time.”
Daigle is a dynamo with a humble and giving spirit. We as a League are lucky to have her serving on our Board of Directors.