Meet the 2016–17 Board

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The Junior League of Tulsa’s (JLT) Board of Directors governs the organization by providing strategic direction for the League, and has oversees its affairs, funds, and properties. Comprised of fourteen members, the board includes both Officers and Council VPs, in addition to the Nominating Chair and Strategic Planning Chair. The Council Vice Presidents lead committee leadership to accomplish the tactics of the Strategic Plan.

As we embark on a new League year, learn more about the 2016–17 board members! And if you’re interested in serving as a leader in JLT, be sure to read to the end of this article to learn how you can become more involved.

 Rita Burke Headshot (1) Rita Burke, President

JLT: How many years have you been in Junior League?

Rita: I’m in my 8th active year

JLT: What has been your favorite placement?

Rita: Holiday Market. Fundraisers are super fun and very busy! I loved working on a big event with lots of moving parts and raising money for the League. And, one of the best parts of the placement was the people; I made some of my dearest friends in the League working on that committee.

JLT: What’s your favorite Tulsa pastime?

Rita: A good concert at Cain’s Ballroom

JLT: Where is your go-to place to buy a birthday gift?

Rita: Utica Square

JLT: What advice do you have for Provisionals?

Rita: The Junior League experience gets richer with time and can truly have a cumulative impact on your life. You broaden your experiences as an effective volunteer and grow deep friendships with an amazing group of women. Vary your placements and get out of your comfort zone – that’s where you learn the most. The best friendships are made working alongside the women on your committee.

See a full interview with President Burke here.

MollyWorkPic (1)Molly Aspan, President-Elect

JLT: How many years have you been in Junior League?

Molly: I received my 10-year tray two years ago.

JLT: What has been your favorite placement?

Molly: Impact Committee member

JLT: What’s your favorite Tulsa pastime?

Molly: It depends on the weather. I love going to the zoo with Brian and my daughter, Makenna; dinner with friends; watching any sporting event; or spending the day on the golf course.

JLT: What’s one thing on your bucket list?  

Molly: So many. I’ll go with the Kentucky Derby. I’m not a big horse racing fan but love any classic sporting event.

JLT: In your opinion, what are the keys to success?

Molly: Find what you love to do and what you are passionate about, and then commit yourself to doing it and doing it well.


Jaime Cooper, Treasurer

JLT: How many years have you been in Junior League?

Jaime: I have been a part of the Junior League for eight years (three and one-half of those years were served in the Junior League of Fort Worth. I was able to transfer back to the Junior League of Tulsa in 2013).


JLT: What has been your favorite placement?

Jaime: Serving at the Treasurer-Elect this year has been an experience that I would have never imagined! It is true that the motto of “just say yes” with JLT can be life changing and push one beyond boundaries that they didn’t realize were possible. This position has given me the opportunity to learn the internal operations of the League, the importance of budgeting and cash flows, and see the successful outcomes of true teamwork within the Financial Council. This position has allowed me to see the big picture of the League and how each Council serves a significant role. It is a true collaborative effort to make our League as successful as it is! Most importantly, this position has allowed me to work side by side with the most dynamic women. I have truly enjoyed getting to work with some of the best ladies who have encouraged me to grow, think outside the box, and become some of my dearest friends.

JLT: What’s your favorite Tulsa pastime?

Jaime: One of my favorite things to enjoy in Tulsa is running the trails on Riverside. A perfect Saturday morning is an early run with a great group of girlfriends and a trip to Old School Bagel afterwards!

JLT: What’s your favorite restaurant?

Jaime: My husband, John, knows how to win me over with chips and queso on a date night at a Mexican restaurant. You can’t go wrong with El Guapo, Café Ole, or Los Cabos. However, I spend a lot of lunches at Panera due to my four-year-old daughter, Collins, having a strong love for their mac and cheese and the carrot cupcake.

JLT: In your opinion, what’s the most important life skill to have?

Jaime: In my opinion, an important life skill to hope to embrace is being adaptable. Things change. Seasons come and go, and it is essential to be able to live in the moment through flexibility and a positive attitude.


Shellie Rea, Treasurer-Elect

JLT: How many years have you been in JLT?

Shellie: This is my 9th active year in the League.

JLT: What has been your favorite placement?
Shellie: My favorite placement has been Provisional Liaison. It was so fun having a small group of women so excited about League. Their enthusiasm really renewed my love for the League and all that we do to train women and help the Tulsa community. I had a great group who have all become wonderful leaders in JLT.

JLT: What’s your favorite Tulsa pastime?

Shellie: Food Truck Wednesdays at Guthrie Green during the summer. I love taking the kids downtown and letting them play in the water, listening to music, eating good food, and running into friends that we may not have seen in a while.

JLT: What’s your favorite food?
Shellie: I am a big foodie, so it is really hard to pick just one! A few of my favorites are anything from India Palace, sushi from Yokozuna, a steak from Fleming’s, or pizza and salad from Upper Crust.

JLT: What’s your biggest goal this year?

Shellie: Coming into the position of Treasurer-Elect late in the year I am trying to catch up! But as with all things JLT I have a wonderful group of ladies on Finance that have been so welcoming and supportive.  Jaime Cooper is an amazing Treasurer, and I am very fortunate to be on her team and learn from her. So, I think my major goal this year is to absorb as much as I can. This is truly a year of training for me!

Meg Watkins, Recording Secretary

JLT: How many years have you been in JLT?

Meg: 11 active

JLT: What has been your favorite placement?
Meg: Blooming Deals, as the committee members are fantastic women that I still keep in touch with years later! I learned so much on that placement.

JLT: What’s your favorite Tulsa pastime?

Meg: Lights On at Utica Square. … It will be a bit different this year without Miss Jackson’s!

JLT: What’s your favorite book?
Meg: Having a grandchild and working with kindergarten-aged kiddos in Reading Partners, I’ve really gotten hooked on the book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.

JLT: What do you wish more people knew about League?

Meg: You, as a member of JLT are a member of The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc. (AJLI). AJLI offers you networking opportunities, will connect you with women in other Leagues, offers educational sessions, webinars, Q&A sessions, hotel discounts, and so much more. I’d encourage everyone to use this awesome international resource, as it is part of your membership.

wyckoffJennifer Wyckoff, Communications Council VP

JLT: How many years have you been in JLT?

Jennifer: This is my 5th active year in League.

JLT: What has been your favorite placement?
Jennifer: gusher chair for two years


JLT: What’s your favorite Tulsa pastime?

Jennifer: Shopping with my mom in Utica Square and attending concerts at Cain’s Ballroom

JLT: What is your secret skill?

Jennifer: I can say the alphabet backwards with ease.

JLT: How can Provisionals make the most out of this year?

Jennifer: Everything is new this year—people, committees, and experiences (both civic and social). Soak it all in and enjoy the “newness” of being a new member of the Junior League of Tulsa!


Nesser(1)Mary Beth Nesser, Community Council VP

JLT: How many years have you been in JLT?

Mary Beth: I will be beginning my 9th year (8th active) in JLT! I can’t believe it!

JLT: What has been your favorite placement?
Mary Beth: I have absolutely loved my placements. Nominating Committee and Treasurer were maybe the most memorable—polar opposites in the training I received, but I learned so much about JLT, and it helped me to become truly invested in the organization.

JLT: What’s your favorite Tulsa pastime?

Mary Beth: Too many Tulsa pastimes to choose from! Walking around Philbrook gardens, enjoying time at Utica Square, and a good concert at Cain’s are some of my favorites!

JLT: If you had a superpower, what would it be?

Mary Beth: Right now, I would love the power to create more hours in the day!

JLT: What book has most influenced you and why?

Mary Beth: Gone With the Wind has long been a favorite book of mine. You see the characters draw from so many traits—charm to strength to compassion—and you see those intertwined throughout the novel as each character learns and grows from their own opportunities, mistakes, and those around them.


Mathews-096 (1)Whitney Mathews, Community Programs VP

JLT: How many years have you been in JLT?

Whitney: This will be my 9th year.

JLT: What has been your favorite placement?
Whitney: Starting the Choosing to Change Committee

JLT: What’s your favorite Tulsa pastime?

Whitney: Running, especially if there are beverages at the conclusion of said run.

JLT: What’s your favorite movie?

Whitney: Amelie

JLT: What are the components of a good volunteer and training organization?

Whitney: Giving members the support to try new things and encouraging members to take on new leadership roles and create new projects.


SB111912 SFHSLaurenLauren 5477 (1)Lauren Landwerlin, Strategic Planning Chair

JLT: How many years have you been in JLT?

Lauren: Five

JLT: What has been your favorite placement?
Lauren: This is a tough one, as both Recruitment and my year as a Provisional Liaison were favorite placements for me. What I liked about both of these placements is that they gave me to chance to share my love for JLT with others.

JLT: What’s your favorite Tulsa pastime?

Lauren: Saint Francis Tulsa Tough. This is by far my favorite weekend in Tulsa. This year marked this event’s 11th year—and it keeps getting better and better every year. If you haven’t been, you should check it out. It’s all the great things about Tulsa wrapped up in one weekend.

JLT: What are your hobbies?

Lauren: Floating has become one of my new favorite hobbies. It’s a great tool for relaxation and stress relief. An hour in the tank with no noise, no cell phone, and no interruptions does wonders for your inner self. Google it.

JLT: What’s the number-one thing you’ve learned in League?

Lauren: Junior League is a training organization, and while I’ve learned many great leadership and tactical skills through my time in League, one of the most important things I learned how to do was ask for help. This is a huge weakness for me, and, through JLT, I’ve learned that there is always someone there to help when you need it—League-related or otherwise. I love that this organization is here to not only serve our community, but also each other. One of my employees sent me a card once with the quote, “Behind every successful woman is a tribe of other successful women who have her back.” This is what League is all about. When women support each other, incredible things can happen.


sturdivantBrooke Sturdivant, Membership Council VP

JLT: How many years have you been in JLT?

Brooke: This is my 7th year (6th active).

JLT: What has been your favorite placement?
Brooke: Holiday Market Chair-Elect/Chair because I LOVED my committee. They were incredibly supportive, hardworking, and creative! It would not have been nearly as fun or successful without them! They are family!

JLT: What’s your favorite Tulsa pastime?

Brooke: Personally, running Riverside and the neighborhoods of Midtown. I am constantly taken aback by the beauty and history of this city. For my family, almost every single Saturday we have breakfast on Brookside.

JLT: What was your favorite subject in school?
Brooke: I am a dork, and I LOVED English, specifically literature in high school. At OU, my favorite class was Art History.

JLT: What makes JLT so great?
Brooke: The dedicated members of Junior League make it great—those who selflessly give of their time and talents for the betterment of Tulsa.


IMG_4012Jenny Barrett, Membership Program VP

JLT: How many years have you been in JLT?

Jenny: Six

JLT: What has been your favorite placement?
Jenny: Impact Chair

JLT: What’s your favorite Tulsa pastime?

Jenny: I like going to concerts at the BOK.

JLT: Who is your celebrity crush?

Jenny: Leonardo DiCaprio

JLT: Why did you join Junior league?
Jenny: I had my Provisional year in Dallas. I joined because I wanted to get more involved in the community and do a lot of volunteering. I have made so many great friends since I transferred to Tulsa, which has been great too!


sloane_newborn_59Lauren Avery, Financial Council VP

JLT: How many years have you been in Junior League?

Lauren: This is my 3rd active year.

JLT: What has been your favorite placement?

Lauren: I loved Gem Gala because we worked very hard to have a successful event, but I also loved Resonance Business Plan.  I learned so much and Resonance has become an organization that I am passionate about.

JLT: What’s your favorite Tulsa pastime?

Lauren: My favorite Tulsa pastime is outdoor dining in midtown- Sonoma, R Bar, Cafe Ole or Stonehorse.

JLT: What’s your favorite TV show?
Lauren: Orange is the New Black

JLT: Who is your hero, living or dead, and why?

Lauren: I wouldn’t say I have one hero, but I just heard about the Iron Nun (Marie Buder) who still does Ironman triathlons into her late 80s- beyond impressive. I love that she is living life to the fullest and willing to take on that challenge.


PierceLauren Pierce, Leadership Development Council VP

JLT: How many years have you been in JLT?

Lauren: Six

JLT: What has been your favorite placement?
Lauren: Training and Education

JLT: What’s your favorite Tulsa pastime?

Lauren: Finding new restaurants and trying them out!

JLT: What’s your favorite sport?

Lauren: To watch- college football. To play- softball/baseball

JLT: What does leadership mean to you?

Lauren: Developing the potential of women and inspiring them to serve.


Guten(2)Maura Guten, Nominating Chair

JLT: How many years have you been in JLT?

Maura: I’m about to start my 9th active year! How did that happen?!

JLT: What has been your favorite placement?
Maura: A tie between Provisional Liaison (It’s like a giant JLT pep rally all year!) and Laura Dester. I have an eternal soft spot for the abused and neglected children of our community.

JLT: What’s your favorite Tulsa pastime?

Maura: Brunching just about anywhere.

JLT: What’s your guilty pleasure?

Maura: Murder mystery shows, Sonic Reese’s blasts, wine—sometimes all at once. I don’t feel guilty about any of them though.

JLT: Why should Actives apply for a leadership position in JLT?

Maura: I probably waited longer than most to jump into a leadership role and completely regret it! We have so many wonderful new leaders coming into League every year with amazing skills and talents. Don’t wait to take the leap and don’t be shy about self-promotion.


DuncanHeather Duncan, Sustaining Advisor

JLT: How many years have you been in JLT?

Heather: I have been in the League for 11 years.

JLT: What has been your favorite placement?
Heather: President, of course. I had so much fun working with our community partners and sustainers. And I was totally blown away by the work of our chairs and council leadership!

JLT: What’s your favorite Tulsa pastime?

Heather: Eating brunch with my family and enjoying Drillers games with my boys!

JLT: What’s something most people don’t know about you?

Heather: A lot of people don’t know that I am afraid of public speaking—a fear JLT helped me overcome.

JLT: How has League impacted you in other areas?

Heather: I continue to be completely blown away by the strong relationships I have made through JLT. I wouldn’t trade the friends I have made for anything in the world. The fact that we get to help families in Tulsa improve their lives, while making friends and building our leadership skills is my favorite thing about JLT. I am so proud to me a member!


Get Involved!

Interested in serving as a leader in JLT—whether as a committee Chair, Vice Chair, Provisional Liaison, Strategic Planning member, or Community Program Development Committee member? The Nominating Committee sends out a leadership interest survey every January to the membership. Fill out the survey and don’t hesitate to brag about yourself! To be eligible for an appointed position, you must be a member in good standing (includes financial, work shift, committee work, general meeting, and training obligations).

The Nominating Committee functions independently of all Councils and the Board. The main objective of the committee is to identify and present a slate of officers for the upcoming League year. To learn more, contact Maura Guten, 2016–17 Nominating Chair.