Q&A: Junior League of Lafayette's President wants you to Geaux MAD!
Ahead of next month’s first General Membership Meeting of the League year, I sat down with Monica Zuschlag, our President (and Chief Cheerleader), to chat about what we can expect from leadership this year. Spoiler alert: she wants you to have fun!
Your theme for this year is Geaux MAD. What's the inspiration behind that phrase?
I wanted something fun that showed our enthusiasm for this year. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a little "MAD." I overflow with excitement and see everything as an opportunity and not an obligation.
One of the nicest things I’ve ever been told is that my excitement is contagious, and I hope all our Members and partners can feel it radiating off me this year. How appropriate for our theme to be Geaux MAD – Make A Difference. I believe for us to truly make a difference we must live our values – especially commitment.
This year we celebrate 65 years as a League. How do you see Junior League of Lafayette evolving over the next 65?
I see us growing further into our Focus Areas to create meaningful impact and that our League remains relevant and recognized for the exciting, lasting change we create in our community through anniversary projects and volunteer action we take.
We will continue to help connect other nonprofits to break silos so that we can make a bigger impact together through collaboration.
In our future, we will have grown Junior League of Lafayette into a diverse powerhouse of women leaders, an organization that has become a strong funder for other nonprofits and that is able to make long-term and immediate impact. I hope we are an organization that continues to celebrate our history because we are living our values.
What’s the #1 thing you hope to accomplish in your Presidential year? Member engagement! I want our Members to have FUN and celebrate where we’ve come from and where we are going! I want each Member to truly feel like they have made a difference in our community by being a member of Junior League of Lafayette this year.
One of my favorite quotes by Mother Theresa perfectly sums up my feelings about the League. She said, “None of us, including me, ever do great things. But we can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful."
Individually, our Members are all amazing, accomplished women, but working together as a League, we are a force to be reckoned with!
Tell us a bit about you! How long have you been a Member and why did you choose to join and eventually serve in leadership?
I’m an 11th year Preferred Active. I chose to join because I wanted to meet people and make friends. I’m from Tennessee and wanted to make those connections that I was missing from home.
I chose leadership because I love new ideas and change. A League mentor once told me, “If you see change that you want to make happen, go serve in the role that makes that decision.” So I did!
I have so much passion for this League. I thrive on asking questions of the amazing women who came before me. To stand on their shoulders, I know I cannot fail. I also want to set an example for my children and make a difference in our community.
Describe yourself in 5 words.
Prayerful, Mother, Dreamer, Doer, Cheerleader
What’s your go-to thing to cheer you up when you’re down?
Praying a rosary or talking it out with a friend! I love winding down with a glass of wine and Netflix or walking through Target or Home Goods.
What’s one thing about Junior League of Lafayette you think most people don’t know?
We aren’t just Tinsel & Treasures and cookbooks!
We have helped start almost every museum in Lafayette: The Hilliard Museum, the Natural History Museum (now known as the Lafayette Science Museum), Acadiana Center for the Arts, the Children’s Museum. We have incubated numerous programs and nonprofits through volunteerism and fundraising like The Family Tree and Hospice of Acadiana.
We have been blazing trails for 65 years and our future is very bright!