Local resident is Phoenix Junior League president | Community Focus

An Ahwatukee woman has become the first Asian-American president of the Junior League of Phoenix.

Kelly Kaysonepheth, a 12-year Ahwatukee resident, will begin her term June 1 and serve through May 2024.

Kaysonepheth will be the 78th president of JLP, whose history of past presidents include Sandra Day O’Connor, first woman associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States; Margaret Hance, first female mayor of Phoenix; and many other community and nonprofit leaders.

Kaysonepheth was inspired to apply for the president position to help reflect on JLP’s mission of developing women civic leaders. Important to Kaysonepheth is to increase conversations about diversity, equity, and inclusion with an eye on sustainability in the years to come.

Like many nonprofit organizations, the pandemic posed challenges for the Junior League.

“We turned to virtual programming, communicated like crazy over social media and just recently held a very successful rummage sale, our largest annual fundraiser, after two challenging years of it on pause or in an abbreviated online format,” Kaysonepheth said. “But now, we’re ready to be back in person and navigate JLP in a post-pandemic era.”

Under Kaysonepheth’s leadership, this momentum will continue as JLP begins its work under a new focus area of ​​empowering women and girls. Membership stability is a strategic priority, too.

“Membership engagement and retention are critically important right now,” Kaysonepheth said. “We can’t have a successful organization without our members. This is the time to be innovative from ‘how things used to be.’”

Kaysonepheth has been a member of Junior League since 2008. She has chaired two community programs, and served in various leadership positions in the League.

Professionally, she is the marketing director and an associate vice president at AZTEC Engineering, a local engineering and environmental consulting firm.

The core of Kaysonepheth’s community service has been focused on advancing women’s leadership development opportunities, STEM programming and mentoring first-generation and low-income students to reach their fullest potential.

The latter is personal to Kaysonepheth, whose parents were immigrants from Laos during the Vietnam War in the late 1970s.

“I’m where I am today because of the support of mentors along the way who saw potential in me,” she said. “Giving back to the community is ingrained in me because the community invested in me.”

Kaysonepheth has been recognized within her profession and community. She recently served as president of the local Women’s Transportation Seminar, a professional association dedicated to creating a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable transportation industry through the global advancement of women.

Among her accolades include the JLP Mary Ogilvy Golden Kazoo Award, Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce’s ATHENA Award nominee, named 40 Under 40 by the Phoenix Business-Journal in 2015 and was listed by Engineering News-Record in its 2019 Top 20 Under 40 Outstanding Young Professionals in the Southwest Region.

She and her husband, Tony Hultz, have two children, Lucy and Max.

Since 1934, Junior League of Phoenix has positively impacted the local community through direct community service, fundraising, and civic training programs. JLP has more than 1,000 members, and is a part of the nationwide network of more than 240 Leagues.

Info: jlp.org. Applications for membership are currently being accepted and open to any woman who is 22 or older.

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