Tavi Fulkerson – A Woman of Influence Making a Difference


The JLB November “Woman of Influence Making a Difference” is the fabulous Tavi Fulkerson, Owner of The Fulkerson Group. Have you ever met an influential, stylish and successful business owner, who knows all the bold face names and the most significant philanthropists, and deliberately stays out of the news? Meet my friend Tavi, and her exquisite team, who are quietly responsible for rewriting the rules around corporate sponsorship and VIP events in our city.Tavi

Tavi is approaching her 27th North American International Auto Show, where she has grown the number of sponsors from zero to 140. The America’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has 200 corporate sponsors. The Fulkerson Group also arranges partnerships between sponsors for Ford Fireworks Detroit, Detroit Jazz Festival, Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, Super Bowl XL in 2006, and many others.

Tavi uses specific and deliberate business processes to drive value for her clients, both the organizations holding the events and the sponsors investing in it. She tells the organization what sponsors need to do to make it a great event, and communicates with sponsors to help them maximize the investment they make in the event.  It’s truly an art form to keep such a myriad of constituencies, including the people that attend each event, perfectly satisfied. But Tavi and her team are up to the task.

I recently asked her about her low personal profile. “That’s by design Noelle, and I am really looking forward to telling the Junior League members all about it,” Tavi Fulkerson replied.

We invite new members, prospective members, Actives, former members and Sustainers to join us and meet Tavi and her team at the Junior League of Birmingham, Michigan, Inc. General Membership Meeting at The Community House, on Tuesday, November 14. Enjoy a glass of wine with us from 6:30pm – 7:00pm, and then sit on the edge of your seat at 7:00pm, when I introduce my friend, “The Tavinator.”

-Noelle Schiffer, President, Junior League of Birmingham, Michigan, Inc.


Women of Influence – Making a Difference

Welcome to the Junior League of Birmingham, Michigan’s 2017-18 year. I am so excited to have the opportunity to serve all of our members,  new, active and sustainer, as President.
Red woman's shoe, sketch Our theme for this year is “Women of Influence, Making a Difference.” Two of our near term speakers, Peggy Tallet representing the Enough SAID initiative, and Sherry Welsh, a practicing life coach, are perfect examples of two women who have spent their lives being women of influence making a difference.

Peggy Tallet rocked the first General Membership Meeting of this year with her presentation about Enough SAID, a collaborative community initiative to test the thousands of rape kits that had been abandoned, and forgotten, in police storage units. Enough SAID strives to advocate for public funding and raise private sector donations to test the kits, investigate each case and prosecute the offenders, thus securing justice and closure for victims, while ensuring a safer community.  #EnoughSaidenoughsaid-logo

One of the many reasons I wanted Peggy to address the JLB is the Enough SAID initiative came to​ fruition as a result of a collaboration between three organizations: The Michigan Women’s Foundation, Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office and Detroit Crime Commission.  Enough SAID’s success is exponentially more poignant, when you consider that so many moving pieces, personalities, organizations and institutions, had to all fall in line.

The nearly three hundred Junior League chapters across the country have experience in forging similar coalitions. The JLB, and other Junior Leagues, have a rich history of community partnerships formed to right social wrongs and address specific areas of injustice.

The JLB has had internal conversations about forging a relationship with the Michigan  Women’s ​ Commission and the Enough SAID initiative.

Similarly, the JLB welcomes the wonderful and talented Sherry Welsh. Sherry realized the dreams of many other women. SherryWelshAfter many decades as a senior automotive supplier executive with responsibility for hundreds of millions of dollars of business, as well as​ hundreds of employees, around the world, Sherry deliberately pivoted her career. She now coaches people on success in the work place, work life balance, and effective communication techniques.

Sherry is also a published author, and has generously offered to gift her book to the women who attend our training session, “Life Happens.” Sherry’s message is well aligned with the JLB mission, as we teach women to be more effective communicators and negotiators in all of our activities — the community, workplace, home, family and any other areas of our lives. #WomenAndRaises

Peggy and Sherry are both “Women of Influence, Making a Difference.” In addition to all of their accolades, titles and accomplishments, I am proud to share that for more than two decades, Peggy and Sherry have both been close, loyal, brilliant, well-dressed and fun-filled friends of mine.

For that, and for the friendships that I enjoy with JLB members, and for the friendships I have yet to forge with JLB members, I am tremendously grateful.

We are all “Women of Influence, Making a Difference.”
– Noelle Schiffer, President, Junior League of Birmingham, Michigan, Inc.

#WomenAndRaises #EnoughSaid #JLBInfluencers



JLB Men of Style – Christopher Cook


Between his inventive red carpet style and casual day-time looks this biochemistry/molecular biology graduate, Christopher Cook, can make even his fellow male engineer models swoon. We think it’s time this JLB newbie showed off those smart, sexy looks, and his fans couldn’t agree more.

What’s your tie to the JLB? How long have you been involved?

Those of you who know my wife Devon Cook, know that she can’t help but become incredibly involved in every organization, to which she belongs.  So the JLB has been a big part of our lives since 2013.

Give us one word that you would describe the Junior League of Birmingham?


Who has been the biggest supporter of your modeling career?

Ralph Lauren.  He scouted me a few years ago, and he has been a big help in landing me this JLB gig.  Plus I like his shirts.

How do you cope with the pressures of being a model?

The pressures of this industry are immense. I golf as much as possible, play pick-up hockey, and spend time in Northern Michigan.

What beauty tips do you swear by?

No socks, no problem.  Sun’s out, guns out.

If you were not a JLB model what would you be?

Heartbroken.  But I’d likely also return to my former career as a software engineer.

JLB Men of Style – Dan Morse


The classically good-looking, Mr. Dan Morse has often topped JLB’s red carpet best-dressed list. This father of three is frequently upstaged by his darling little girls, but we think it’s finally time to have a look at the man who has mastered the art of dressing like a gentleman.

What’s your tie to the JLB?
I grew up with my mom, Patty Morse being very active in the Junior League. I believe she joined in 1980. I too spent many afternoons taking naps and hiding in the clothing racks at the Bargain Box. I was able to meet sporting legends such as the 1984 World Series Tigers at a JLB event for the 1985 PGA US Open at Oakland Hills. She sat on many boards and is since no longer involved. My continued and fondest memories have been since my wife Meredith has joined. The fundraisers and parties we have attended along with new friends made are priceless. I am so proud of my wife for the amount she has given back to the community through The Junior League of Birmingham.

How long have you been involved in the League?
For over three decades or 33 years to be exact.

Give us one word that you would describe the Junior League of Birmingham.
One word is tough! I believe these two go together best, “Community Leaders!”

Who has been the biggest supporter of your modeling career?
So many people have played a strong supporting role in my modeling career. It is too hard to call out just one. I find myself reflecting back to the same four women who play a pivotal part in my day to day life, Meredith, Claire, Jane and Mary-Kate Morse. Or maybe it was Rupall.

How do you cope with the pressures of being a model?
I find myself religiously going back to the same ways of coping with the pressures of being a model, along with maintaining my model-like body. I believe people call this a win/win situation. As a model, I do not like to complicate things, so I keep my formula simple. I like to spend time up north in the summertime on a clear sunny day voyaging the shores of Mullett Lake with my four biggest supporters. I look at it as a form of payback or a show of appreciation for their continued support of my modeling career. I love to take them for a summertime boat ride!

What beauty tips do you swear by?
These tips go back four generations in the Morse Family. I’m sorry, but I am not able to share them.

If you were not a JLB model what would you be?
My dream job is to be a tour guide or character at Disney World, but I have yet to pass the back ground check. Just kidding! I continue to pursue this dream while my day to day job as a corporate real estate advisor keeps my workdays fulfilled. I’ll wear those ears one day!

JLB Men of Style – Pat Lowman


Pat Lowman is known for many things—a husband, a father, a golfer—but he is mostly renowned as the Mathew McConaughey of the JLB fashion world.  Often recognized for flashing his cerulean blue eyes, Pat modestly credits his wife, Courtney, for his fame and launching his modeling career in the JLB.

What’s your tie to the JLB?

My wife Courtney, is a Sustainer in the Junior League, and has held several board positions over the years. Courtney joined the League after graduation from Michigan State, and I tag along on every League event that I can. Over the years, I have helped with donations to the Bargain Box, met lifelong friends through dinner clubs, pushed jogging strollers at Dash for Destiny, and attended more Mistletoe Madness bashes than I can remember.  Our three daughters have grown up going to “The House” and being part of their mom’s commitment to the League.

How long have you been involved in the League?

Courtney joined in 1999 and we are looking forward to many great years ahead!

Give us one word that you would describe the Junior League of Birmingham.

Community!  What Birmingham community event isn’t the League involved with?!  I can find you at the Farmers Market, Shain Park in the fall and winter, hosting races throughout the city, involvement in the schools, and of course, all of the local fundraising events.

Who has been the biggest supporter of your modeling career?

I get a lot of support from my fans. I am constantly being stopped and told how talented I am on the runway. My response is always the same, “Mom, you’re embarrassing me!” My wife Courtney is my agent. She keeps me grounded and my three stylists, Kinsley, Stella, and Penelope make the best team a JLB model can have.

How do you cope with the pressures of being a model? 

Time on the golf course gives me a chance to clear my head. I have been told that a model and golfers diet is to “live on greens,” as much as possible!

What beauty tips do you swear by? 

Brushing my hair 100 strokes per day

Spray Tan

Teeth Whitening

If you were not a JLB model what would you be?

A Cruise Ship Director.  I cannot pass up a good putting contest, dance class, trivia challenge, a good buffet, and a chance to show off my tuxedo!

JLB Men of Style – Austin Marks


We caught up with ‘Old Sport’ Austin Marks a week after his signing with JLB Patron Party. A veteran of the runway, Marks has become one of the most well-known faces on the JLB scene. But don’t be intimidated by his dignified charm and boyish good looks, off the runway he is remarkably sweet and down to earth.

What’s your tie to the JLB? 

Growing up my Mother, Clara Marks, was actively involved in the JLB. She’s currently a Sustainer.  I have fond memories of hanging out over at the Bargain Box on Brown Street playing inside of the clothes racks and hiding from my older sister, Jennifer, while she tried to make me play dress up with all the clothes. I also remember getting to meet some of my idols such as Gordie Howe and Ernie Harwell at the old JLB fashion shows at Jacobsen’s in Birmingham.  I even walked the runway as a model back then too!

After getting married to my wife Stacy Marks, we decided it would be fun for her to get involved in the JLB as well.  While I miss playing at the Bargain Box, I do enjoy the parties a little more now!

How long have you been involved in the League? 

Almost as long as I can remember – I believe my Mother joined in 1985 or 1986, so just about 30 years!

Give us one word that you would describe the Junior League of Birmingham.

Poised. The word means composed, dignified, and self-assured.

Who has been the biggest supporter of your modeling career?

Outside of the harassing talent scouts that constantly barrage my mobile and email, I would have to say my wife Stacy and our two daughters, Jane & Elle.  They are always commenting on how they have the most handsome Daddy in the whole world!

How do you cope with the pressures of being a model?

I enjoy time alone in the woods or in a blind hunting deer, waterfowl, geese, and turkey.  Several hours/days alone in the woods allows you to block out the outside world, compose yourself, and enjoy a spiritual experience with nature while offering great time for introspection.

What beauty tips do you swear by?

Play lots of golf! It’s a good way to get Vitamin D. Only shave 2x a week max.  No razor burn!

If you were not a JLB model what would you be? 

While it’s hard to imagine such a scenario, I would probably be working here in Birmingham in sales for the casino gaming and automotive industries, as well as spending quality time with my beautiful wife and children and my two chocolate labs Biggie and Duffy.  That or going back to my old gig as a YM and Teen Magazine cover model.

The Junior League of Birmingham’s Men of Style

JLB MEN of style (3)
The excitement is building as we get closer to the League’s Spring Sophisticate Patron Party to be held on February 12, 2015 at Saks Fifth Avenue in Troy, MI. The fun begins at 5:30 p.m. This is truly an event not to be missed!
In the next few days, you’re going to get a peek into the lives of the JLB Men of Style for the Spring Sophisticate Patron Party.
During the Get Deco-d Out Patron Party Fashion Event, you will see three JLB men wearing the latest spring fashions, as they walk on the runway along side professional models. These men were selected based on their affiliation with the League, charisma, and of course, for their personal style.
Stay tuned to the League’s social media channels, as we take you through the inner lives of these truly engaging and ever exciting JLB Men. You’ll have the opportunity to get a man’s perspective on what it means to be involved with the League! We can’t wait!!!
You can still pick up your tickets today at http://www.jlbham.org/estore. See you all there.

Focus On What’s Right

It’s difficult for us not to focus on the negative. We live in a world that thrives off the misery of others. Have you ever heard the phrase, “If it bleeds, it leads?” It’s a term used by journalists to denote the idea that news channels place a high premium on reporting the misery, degradation and mayhem that seems to be all around us, all the time.

And what about our politicians? Most of us tend to dread election season because we know that we will be subject to negative and often falsified statements about the candidates from both sides of the aisle. How can we expect our young people to hold themselves to a higher standard when our role models aren’t willing to do the same?

Ultimately it becomes our job to raise the bar.

It might be a struggle to look for and to find what’s right with the world. But what we focus on ultimately expands. For those that believe in the law(s) of happiness, you know that the first law of happiness is defined as; what we focus on determines how we think and feel.

So if we focus on the negative people and events that surround us, we will start to internalize that negativity. If we adopt a negative mindset, we will view the world through the lens of suspicion and anxiety. Instead of keeping an open mind, we will begin to make negative assumptions about what motivates the people around us. This process can undermine our current relationships or keep us from developing new ones.

Conversely, if we turn off the news and make a concerted effort to focus on the love, light and joy around us, we will feel our heart start to expand in that direction as well.

If we work diligently on finding the good in others, we set ourselves up to build positive and constructive relationships with everyone we come in contact with. At the very least, we have the opportunity to reinterpret our interactions, especially with those that we may perceive as negative or hurtful.CelebrateWhatsRight

If we are forced to interact with someone who is a source of angst for us, we may want to reframe this as an opportunity to learn and grow. A person is rarely all good or all bad. Is there something that you can learn from that person? Can they teach you about patience or excellence? Do they excel in their career? Are they great at networking?

Search for qualities and skills that you can actually admire and emulate. If you can redefine your relationship with them, you might be surprised how you benefit. Who knows, you may even end up becoming friends!

It’s human nature to move away from those situations or people that make us feel uncomfortable. But did you know that if you make the decision to move toward a situation that makes you feel anxious, you may actually empower yourself to embrace and release those unappealing feelings?

Instead of fretting about what might happen if you run into your hostile co-worker, you can acknowledge that, that person is a trigger for you. Feel the feeling. Accept your emotions and make a game plan on how to be proactive. Can you compliment them on the project they just completed? Can you choose to ignore their cutting remarks?

Although it goes without saying that the decision to confront a situation or person should be made on a case-by-case basis. There are just some toxic situations that you should run from. Each person has to decide what’s best for him or her.

Experts say that the biggest thing you can do to turn any negative situation around is to recognize that the behaviors of others aren’t personal. Although you might be the recipient of their hostility, the truth is their negative outlook and destructive actions are all about how they feel about themselves and how they view the world.

In short, what people think of you is none of your business. Your business is to think about what you can control. And we all know that it’s virtually impossible to control the thoughts and actions of others. So if you keep the focus on yourself and what you are doing to make your life more positive and lighthearted, you are not only serving yourself, but you are also presenting the best version of yourself to those that you love and respect.

Over the past several weeks, the League has been immersed in the nominations and placements process. Our members have been looking at the myriad of leadership opportunities set before them,  and they are deciding how they can best be of service to others in the 2015-2016 League year.

These women will take on the responsibility of leadership. Leadership has been described as “a process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task.” Continue reading

Just Be

Are you a multitasker?  What does that mean exactly and how does it relate to how successful you are in navigating the world we all live in?

“Human multitasking is the apparent performance by an individual of handling more than one task at the same time. The term is derived from computer multitasking. Multitasking can result in time wasted due to human context switching and apparently causing more errors due to insufficient attention.”

So let’s break it down. How can we relate?

If you’ve rushed through your morning feeling frazzled and only half in focus, you’re probably not alone. Many of us are trying to manage it all. We are wives, mothers, co-workers, friends, daughters and volunteers, etc. We don’t have time to think about the actual impact of multitasking on our ability to accomplish our goals.

And let’s face it, failure is not an option.yoarehere

So we make lists, check and recheck our calendars and make the effort to fit it all in. Many of us go to bed at night going over how we could have been more efficient and kicking ourselves for dropping the proverbial ball – because there’s just not enough time in the day.

Many of us probably don’t even know how to just be. We just know that EVERYTHING needs to get done, preferably yesterday.

There’s a growing body of evidence that suggests that the human brain is actually incapable of multitasking. When we focus on more than one task, the brain is actually toggling between the two or more efforts, which ultimately does a disservice to everything.

“Contrary to popular belief, people are less efficient – not more – when they multitask. That’s because it takes more time to complete one of the tasks, especially as they become more complex, versus focusing on a single task.”

For example, there is research that shows that talking on a cell phone and driving a car at the same time puts you and those around you at risk.  Although you cannot perceive it, your brain cannot give both tasks its full attention. Your reaction time behind the wheel actually slows down.

And similar results are found when we try to do too many things at once. We may find ourselves standing in the kitchen with no memory of how we got there or why we were heading to the kitchen to begin with. If that happens, we were most likely immersed in doing something else, like checking our email or going over tomorrow’s calendar.

And did you know that the act of multitasking makes the human brain feel great? It actually triggers our brain’s reward system, which equates to an emotional high. This could account for why we continue to talk and drive at the same time, even after we become educated about the risks.

In essence, when we attempt to multitask, we are not totally present to experience every triumph and every sorrow in its vast complexity. We are not stopping to immerse ourselves in the project or interaction at hand and appreciate every single second. We are in fact, not there. At least some small part of us is missing.

And let’s face it, life is way too short to be absent, even for those moments we’d rather forget. And there’s really no chance that life is going to slow down, unless we begin to make different choices.

So how can we take back our lives, at least on some sort of manageable level? According to the experts, it’s simple. Be present. Be mindful. Pay attention.

It seems easy. It’s not. It takes practice. And lot’s of it.

Just as we condition our bodies at the gym or we exercise our mental prowess on an important work project, it takes a tremendous amount of work to bring ourselves back to the present moment.

We can practice the art of being present. In short, we can remind ourselves to be mindful. We have the power within us to experience every moment of our lives.  We can actually savor that cup of coffee, instead of gulping it down. Or we can stop and truly  listen as our child tells us about his/her day.

We can hit the pause button at any moment and just be. We have the privilege of being the guardians of what we allow into our sphere. We alone get to choose what we let into our lives.

This year, the League will continue to bring the practice of yoga to young people from across Oakland County through our Kids in the Kitchen programming. The League will focus primarily on helping our young people focus on getting the exercise they need to stay healthy.

The League's Kids In The Kitchen Yoga Program. Students in Tree Pose.

The League’s Kids in the Kitchen Yoga Program. Students in Tree Pose.

Although a physical practice, which dates back to 3000 B.C., yoga also embodies the art of remaining present. It is the practice of being mindful and allowing things to just flow.

In short, it’s a state of being that we can choose to adopt. Some yoga masters say that practicing yoga is not about the postures at all. Rather, it is about learning to let go and allowing the mind to be simultaneously calm and present. It is just one of the precepts millions of women use everyday to reconnect with themselves.

Tomorrow you will wake up to walk the dog, feed the kids, write the book, pay the bills, lead the meetings or finish that project, etc. Take time to remember that your brain works best if you allow yourself to be completely and gloriously present, no matter how boring the task might be. And you might do well to remind yourself that it can take up to 10,000 hours to master any skill or process. Be patient with yourself as you take on the challenge of stillness and just be.


You Are Enough

How many of us feel like we have to do more, say more, think more, produce more and well, just be more. Not that the pursuit of more should be discouraged. In fact, we all belong to a community of women, by which we strive to help each other to become more than we are now.

We take pride in helping each other reach our goals and dreams. But when is it enough? When do we step back and find peace in who we are, just as we are, without the “more?”enough1

That’s a tough question to answer. We live in a world in which we have the power to become anything we wish.

We all have the potential to be a CEO if that’s our highest calling.  But many of us were raised to believe that without the labels of lawyer, doctor, financial manger, mother, wife, etc.,we have ultimately failed.

Our Western society often associates having more with success. If we have more money, more status and more followers on social media then we have some how made it. We can then sit back, relax and enjoy the “more.”

And when we’ve reached the end of our journey and we’ve realized all of our goals, we inevitably meet someone that has just a little more than we do. From our perspective,  she has a better job or she is prettier, taller, richer or smarter, etc. You get the idea.

All of sudden our “more” is not enough. We are left wrestling with the notion that we will never be enough. No matter how much “more” we have, there will always be someone with “more” than us. What a dangerous game to play.

And while it’s quite healthy to surround ourselves with those we wish to emulate, it becomes unhealthy when we don’t consider ourselves to be worthy.

When we can’t afford that house in the best neighborhood or we don’t accept all the beauty that we possess, both inside and out, it’s probably impacting our lives in a negative way.  At the very least, we may feel less than.

And there’s no doubt that we live in society, which gives us plenty of opportunity to find comparison. In the Kim Kardashian age, how do we prevent ourselves from assuming that someone has it so much better than us?

For most of us, at least within the League, we are given that chance on a regular basis. We have the opportunity to practice gratitude for what we have because we realize that there are so many people that have so much less. And we also have the distinct privilege of helping others who are truly disadvantaged.

Recently President Julie Gheen and Presidential Assistant Jillian Bommarito attended the New Horizons 50th Anniversary awards banquet. An organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for those living with disabilities, the Junior League of Birmingham founded New Horizons.

In its 50th year, the organization is still positively impacting thousands of people every year. “The Junior League is royalty to us,” said New Horizons board member Doug Otlewski, as he talked about the importance of the League to his organization.

So how does this relate to you? How are you relevant to New Horizons and the work they that do everyday? What does this have to do with finding “more?”

Consider this. Fifty years ago, the women of our League could never have imagined the large-scale impact of their actions. They saw a need and developed pathways to assist others in improving their lives. They wanted more for those that couldn’t help themselves.

League member Betty Fisher was responsible for launching New Horizons. Although most likely archived somewhere, we don’t know the rest of the names of those League members that started the organization. They weren’t on a reality TV show and they never made a dime as a result of their activities.

However, I think most of us can agree that what they accomplished was more than enough. Their beauty may not be measured by traditional standards, but there is no doubt that each League member who contributed to the New Horizons project could have been described as beautiful.

As League members, we are striving to create a positive impact in our communities.

We find that when we staff the volunteer booth at the holiday parade, lobby for human trafficking laws, organize a fund raiser, work on Little Green Gardeners or participate in League communications and membership development, etc., we are all serving a higher purpose.

By helping others we become less concerned with what we don’t have and more concerned with the greater good. We are walking down the same path of those ladies who created New Horizons.

We are digging deeper than our bank accounts, our labels or our latest lipstick. We are looking beyond our “selfies” and our next vacation. Through our actions, we are setting into motion hope and prosperity for others. The people you help may never know your name. But you’ll know, and that’s more than enough.


President of the Junior League of Birmingham, Julie Gheen and Presidential Assistant, Junior League of Birmingham, Jillian Bommarito

President of the Junior League of Birmingham, Julie Gheen and Presidential Assistant, Junior League of Birmingham, Jillian Bommarito