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Conversations with Alex Rister

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alex Rister.

Hi Alex, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
Since 1947, the JLGO’s commitment has remained unwavering: to develop exceptionally qualified civic leaders who can identify a community’s most urgent and pressing needs and address them with meaningful and relevant programs and initiatives that not only improve lives but change the way people think. True to our mission of training women as civic leaders, throughout our history, we’ve identified community issues and worked to find collaborative solutions to address those problems. From literacy to domestic violence to human trafficking, our approach is simple: through hands-on training and formal learning opportunities, we provide women with the skills they need to improve the quality of life for Greater Orlando citizens. Since 2010, we’ve focused our volunteer efforts within the Greater Orlando community on childhood health, hunger and poverty. Our community programs, community partnerships, advocacy, and initiatives include this focus. Learn more about our work in the community here:

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
For seven decades, the JLGO has held true to our mission but refreshed our focus area to meet the changing needs of our community. We have operated through many high points in the region’s history, such as the founding of the University of Central Florida in 1968, the opening day of Walt Disney World in 1971, and the formation of the Orlando City Soccer Club in 2010. However, the JLGO has also weathered turbulent times, like 2016’s Pulse Massacre and today’s COVID-19 global pandemic. Even during challenging times for our community, JLGO membership of nearly 500 women remains focused on promoting volunteerism, developing the potential of women, and improving the community.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your organization?
As a nonprofit organization, the JLGO’s work is exclusively educational and charitable. JLGO members are community leaders and have served in positions including Former City of Orlando Mayor Former Orange County Commission Chair Orange County School Board Member Mayor’s Martin Luther King Commission. Our members serve on the Board of Directors for organizations such as Central Florida Foundation, Charles Morse Foundation, City of Altamonte Board of Zoning Appeals, Coalition for the Homeless, Council of 101 (Orlando Museum of Art), Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Florida 4H Foundation, Florida Citrus Sports Associates Board, Foundation for Foster Children, Girl Scouts, Goodwill Foundation, Harbor House, Healthy Winter Park, Holocaust Center, Howard Phillips Center Community Leadership Council, iDignity, Orlando Ballet, Orlando Health Foundation, Orlando Museum of Art, Orlando Science Center, PACE Center for Girls, Inc. Center Board of Directors, Polasek Museum and Sculpture Garden, Second Harvest Food Bank, Seminole County Library, Shepherd’s Hope, Teen Alternatives, Track Shack Foundation, UCF Town & Gown, Winter Park History Museum, and YMCA among many others. Additionally, many JLGO members are active participants and leaders in various Parent-Teacher Associations throughout the region.

Is there a quality that you most attribute to your success?
The JLGO believes that the true leaders in our society are the individuals whose insights, ideas and relationships enable them to change the lives of those who live in their neighborhoods and nations for the better.

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