The Junior League of Kansas City, Missouri: women building better communities.
Exec 1993-1994 (then) on rail, top to bottom: Barbara Luhrs, Ginny Curtin, Cheri Hamilton, Brenda Gast, Dana Nelsen, Gwen Royale. Other row, top to bottom: Randy Allard, Ann Sundeen, Mina Steen, Mary, Diane Johnson.Exec 1993-1994 (now) sitting: Ann Sundeen, Brenda Gast, Diane Johnson, Mina Steen and standing: Dana Nelson, Cheri Hamilton, Barbara Luhrs
My mom, Barbara Luhrs, and I are a lot alike, and I reference her on this blog often as her stories inspired me to join Junior League. But there are also ways that we are really different. For example, math and finances appeal to my mom like they never have to me! It’s no surprise that she served as VP Finance on the Junior League of Kansas City, Missouri Exec from 1993-1994. I cannot even begin to imagine that level of attention to detail and vision. Her Exec group formed a tight bond and still gets together to talk about their families, careers, life in Kansas City, and how much fashion has improved since the early 1990s. (I’m just teasing on the last one!)
It was the days before e-mail, so they started meeting together in February to prepare for the work ahead and practically everything was done with face-to-face communication. Voicemail was just beginning to be a thing! Sometimes they met as much as twice a week over the course of their year working together. Early in the year, President Diane Johnson presented them with something with stars on it, and they ended up calling themselves the Star Group. And they still do! My mom says they have had some fun dinners throughout the years. “One time it was a back to school theme, and we rode on Dana’s neighbor’s school bus. Another fun tradition was an unusual White Elephant gift that has been passed around many times during Christmas gift exchanges!”
Ann Sundeen, another member of the Exec, describes that even though they were at different ages and stages – married, single, gainfully employed and not, experienced members and relatively green, they bonded over their dedication to the League and the community. They were part of the transition to the new headquarters. Ann says, “Can you imagine interior design by committee? It took many, many hours of meetings, and discussions regarding prudent expenditures and protection of the operating endowment versus purchases of wallpaper and upholstery. But finally the new building opened, beautifully decorated with impeccable taste, to provide our membership with a fresh start and invigorated outlook.”
Recently the Star Group celebrated the World Series win in early November and laughed together, telling stories of their time on Exec. Their stories are a good reminder that the work that the Junior League does not only impacts the Kansas City community but also starts many lifelong friendships. Ann says they have always been able to count on each other for “wise counsel, support and a wry sense of humor when needed the most.”
We would love to feature other stories of Executive Boards through the years, so leave a comment or reach out through email! It’s all part of the JLKCMO Legacy.