Ruby Powell-Dennis Develops the Potential of Women in Tennessee and Across the Country
From the moment Ruby Powell-Dennis heard that The Junior League develops the potential of women, she felt energized. Within and outside of her work with the Junior League of Memphis, both in times of great productivity and in the middle of a global pandemic, she has let this feeling guide her.
While she began her career as an elementary school administrator, Powell-Dennis now develops the potential of women in her professional life. She is Founder and Executive Director of Elect Black Women, a political action committee dedicated to helping elect black women to public office at all levels of government.
From her professional and volunteer experience, Powell-Dennis has learned about the importance of patience and dedication when working toward long-term change. She is now seeing the results of her efforts to make Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) a central aspect of the Junior League of Memphis. For the first time, in 2022-2023, her League will have a DEIB Council, and the council director will be a voting member of the League’s Board of Directors.
In 2018, Powell-Dennis took part in founding her League’s Women of Color Affinity Group, which spearheads events and programming to engage 230 Junior League Members each week. “My big goal is to connect with every Women of Color Affinity Group leader in the world to capture our knowledge and intentionally share it with the women coming behind us,” she says. “We can build on our collective success.”
Over the last few years with the COVID-19 pandemic, developing the potential of women has taken on new meaning for Powell-Dennis. Particularly during her time on the Board of Directors in 2020-2021, she turned to fellow League Members for coaching, encouragement, and accountability. Developing the potential of women, she reminded herself, doesn’t mean demanding perfection. With new challenges brought on by the pandemic, from fund development and Member retention to having small children at home who couldn’t attend school, Powell-Dennis knew she could count on other Junior League Members for support.
“In our organization, Members experience excellent training, honest friendship, and genuine connection with diverse women,” Powell-Dennis says. “The Junior League was started by socially active women who wanted to improve their community through direct action and volunteerism, and I am proud to build on that legacy.”