Based on Kate Lee’s experience, there’s no road map.
First, she’s not from New Jersey.
Second, she was born, raised and educated in England.
Third, she never worked in politics.
But Kate Lee’s story—and her evolution as a civic leader—has a lot to do with the training she received upon joining the Junior League of the Oranges and Short Hills 10 years ago after she and her family (husband and three sons) moved there following her successful career as a producer for BBC Radio News and Current Affairs and as a newsreader and sub-editor for NHK, Japan’s PBS.
Kate explains, “The Junior League of the Oranges and Short Hills is fortunate to be one of eight very active and influential Junior Leagues in New Jersey. Working together as the Junior Leagues of New Jersey State Public Affairs Committee (NJSPAC), we have been able to effect change at the state level in critical areas like human trafficking, foster care, ovarian cancer, domestic violence, and childhood obesity.”
As a 4-year member of NJSPAC, and its current Chair, Kate has pressed the Leagues’ issues with legislators, lobbyists, community activists, police agencies and business groups. She notes, “You can’t be shy. If these are important issues—and we believe they are—getting the message out goes far beyond your own League and community. Human trafficking, for example, is a problem in almost every city and town of any size in New Jersey. And New Jersey is not necessarily unusual—it’s just that we’re shining a light on the problem here.”
NJSPAC is one of eight League-sponsored PACs in the U.S. PACs (Public Affairs Committees) are Junior Leagues or coalitions of Junior Leagues that form to educate and take action on public policy issues relevant to The Junior League Mission. PACs are collectively governed by their member Leagues. The methods by which they operate vary state by state as do the issues chosen for study and action. Currently eight PACs, Denver, CO; Florida; Georgia; Michigan; New Jersey; New York, North Carolina and Washington, are actively advocating to improve the lives of children, women and families throughout the United States.