When Meredith Aldridge moved to Jackson, a young lawyer newly-married to her college sweetheart, she found herself looking for a way to be involved in her new community. “When I began my League journey, my husband and I were thinking about starting a family,” she says. “I wanted an organized way to serve, and the League was the perfect outlet for that. I could show up, serve and learn.”
What Meredith didn’t realize at the time, however, was that showing up, serving and learning would evolve into something much more profound for her. Most recently, that has meant becoming the Junior League of Jackson’s newest president. “As I became more involved, I realized that the League has been transformational in my life, providing me with deep, meaningful connections with fellow members and our community,” says Meredith. “I’ve been enriched by the training our League provides to women, and I wanted to give back a small portion of what I have received through the League.”
When asked what initially drew her to the Junior League, Meredith says that it wasn’t a what, but a who. “My mother was the president of the Junior League of Cobb-Marietta, and later served on the League’s national governing body,” Meredith explains. “I recall many nights when she was away for meetings, but she made sure that my brother and I knew why she was away. When I joined the League here, I was hopeful that I could make an impact on the community in the same way she has.”
Impacting her local community in any way she can has remained the cornerstone of Meredith’s involvement with the League. Her favorite position (so far) that she has held within the organization was as community vice president. “I saw our community partners like Operation Shoestring, Calvary Baptist Church, Jackson Public Schools and so many more work tirelessly to make our community and its children stronger,” says Meredith. “I began working as community vice president immediately after serving on the Mistletoe Marketplace steering committee, and it was a great reminder that all of the funds we raise at our events make our mission possible.”
The connections Meredith has made have also made a strong impact on her League experience. In fact, the JLJ’s theme in this coming year is “Creating Connections,” a theme which she hopes will help to strengthen both connections among League members as well as between the JLJ and the Jackson community.
“In January 2019, the League will host a dedicated day of service to make these intentional connections with our community,” explains Meredith. “Internally, we’ve established a new position on our board of directors focused exclusively on training and organizational development. As we develop women to become more effective volunteers and leaders, our members are enriched and, in turn, so is our community.”
Since its inception, the Junior League has championed Jackson’s female leaders, and as president, Meredith hopes to continue that tradition and the important work that comes along with it. “Our League is seventy-eight years strong, and I firmly believe that the reason our League has survived – and thrived – for that long is the dedication of a determined group of women leaders,” she says. “Together, we can do so much! I know that when empowered women work together, they are unstoppable.”