2016-2017 Board of Directors

President: Elizabeth Farr

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Motivated by a desire to serve her community, Elizabeth Farr joined the Junior League of Philadelphia in 2003. Liz has held roles such as New Member Advisor and Director of Development, and in 2010-2011 Liz was the League’s first-ever Chief Operating Officer (COO). From 2011 to 2014, Liz led the League’s campaign fundraising efforts as Co-Chair of the Centennial Capital Campaign, which totaled more than $1.4 million. In 2011 she was honored as Leader of the Year, and in 2014 she was Co-Chair of the Committee of the Year.

Liz began her professional career teaching high school English and, since 1998, has been a fundraising professional in independent schools. She currently serves as Associate Director of Development at The Shipley School in Bryn Mawr, PA and in 2015 founded her own nonprofit fundraising consulting practice, EdeN Fundraising Services.

A native of Philadelphia, Liz is an alumna of Vassar College with a degree in Psychology. She lives in Bryn Mawr with her husband Chris and her Labrador retriever, Sadie, and enjoys golfing, cooking, and traveling.

President-Elect: Mary Peller

Mary Peller

Mary Peller’s experience with the Junior League began in Mobile, Alabama where she completed her Provisional year. As an Active member, she volunteered and chaired community placements focusing on at-risk youth. Mary transferred to the Junior League of Philadelphia in 2005 and worked on the community and fundraising committees of Books Aloud!,  HIP Kids and the American Girl Fashion Show.  In 2011, she served on the Management Council as Treasurer-Elect and the following year, she served on the Board as Treasurer.  Last year as a Sustainer, she served on the Community Council as Sustainer representative.  Mary is excited for the opportunity to make additional contributions to the League.

Mary has lived in Pennsylvania for more than 10 years, after time spent in upstate New York, Arizona, and Alabama.  She attended Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama, where she obtained her MBA.  Mary has extensive experience in finance and is presently employed as a financial analyst.  She is a certified public accountant.

Assistant to the President: Jane Sagendorph

Jane Sagendorph

Jane Sagendorph joined the Junior League of Philadelphia in 1982. She has held a number of leadership roles over the years including Comptroller, Treasurer, Secretary, Parliamentarian, Membership Council Director, and Wellness Community Co-Chair. As a Sustainer, Jane has continued her involvement with the League by serving on the Sustainer Leadership Council as Treasurer, Secretary, advisor to the Finance Committee and, more recently, Campaign Director and Co-Chair of the Centennial Capital Campaign with Liz Farr. In 2012, she was honored as Volunteer of the Year, and in 2014 she was Co-Chair of the Committee of the Year.

Jane graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a degree in sociology and urban studies. She continued her studies at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and received an MBA in Accounting. She spent most of her professional career working for Planco Financial Services, Inc. as Comptroller and Vice President. She retired from Planco in 2009 and now works at BluFish Designs in Avalon, NJ as comptroller and part-time retail sales associate.

Jane enjoys splitting her time between her homes in Berwyn and Avalon. She also enjoys entertaining, gardening, traveling, and an annual winter getaway to St. John.

Secretary: Shauna Itri

Shauna Itri

Shauna Itri joined the Junior League of Philadelphia in 2010 seeking to volunteer, network, and develop friendships with like-minded women in the Philadelphia area. Since that time, Shauna has held a variety of roles in the League, including serving as the Director of Development for two years and the Chief Operating Officer.

Shauna is originally from Huntington Beach, California and graduated from Stanford University in 2000.  While at Stanford, Shauna was the captain of the women’s soccer team for two years and pursued a degree in Biology and Psychology. Wanting to experience life on the East Coast, Shauna went to law school at Villanova University, and upon graduation, she ended up moving to Philadelphia where she has spent most of her “adult life.”

Shauna is a shareholder at a law firm representing whistleblowers. She lives in Queen Village and enjoys traveling, being active, and spending time with her husband, Dan, and stepchildren, Cole and Ben.

Treasurer: Adrienne Stark

Adrienne Stark

Adrienne Stark first learned about the Junior League when her mother gave her The Junior League Centennial Cookbook. After cooking her way through Junior League recipes from across the country, Adrienne decided to learn more about the League and joined the Junior League of Philadelphia in 2011. Adrienne served as Placement Chair and Vice President of Membership prior to being nominated as Treasurer. Her favorite things about Junior League are hosting area meetings and volunteering at Done in a Day events.

Adrienne moved to the Philadelphia area in 2004 after she graduated from Lafayette College with a degree in American Studies and Economics. She works in Wealth Management at TIAA by day and is a water aerobics instructor at Haverford Area YMCA and Drexel University Recreation Center by night and very early morning. Outside of work and Junior League, Adrienne enjoys adding to and cooking through her Junior League cookbook collection. Her next adventure is hiking the Camino de Santiago through Portugal and Spain.

Sustainer Chair: Mary Hinds


1981 was a milestone year for Mary Hinds. Mary completed her master’s degree and joined Ernst & Young as a tax accountant. That same year, Mary joined the Junior League which provided a wide range of community activities and the opportunity to work with bright, dedicated women making a difference. Mary has served as both the JLP and Sustainer Treasurers, Assistant to the COO, and worked on many committees during her 35 year tenure with the JLP.

Mary retired on December 31, 2015 after almost 35 years with Ernst & Young. Always in the tax practice, Mary served large multinational corporations. She accepted a three year international assignment in Frankfurt, Germany in the early 1990s, traveling extensively for both business and pleasure in the former Eastern Bloc after the fall of the Wall.

Mary has been a resident of Bryn Mawr or Swarthmore since moving to the area at age 7. Mary is an alumna of Smith College (just celebrated her 40th reunion!) where she earned a degree in Government. Mary earned her MS in Accounting at Drexel University. She lives in Swarthmore with her husband, Stephen, and 4 incredibly pampered cats. Mary has always enjoyed reading, needlepoint, knitting, and gardening.  In her retirement, she bought a fitbit and is focused on hitting her daily step goal.

Chief Operating Officer: Meredith Nissen

Meredith Nissen 2

Meredith joined the Junior League of Philadelphia, Inc. in 2005 as a New Member.  Over the past 10 years, Meredith has served in several leadership roles including Provisional Advisor, Provisional Course Chair, EVT Co-Chair, Vice President of Fundraising, Nominating Committee Member, Parliamentarian, and Director of Development.

Meredith is an attorney specializing in the defense of complex products liability litigation and has been practicing law for the past 12 years. She graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. in Industrial and Labor Relations and obtained her law degree from Villanova University School of Law.  She lives in a 300-year-old farmhouse with her four-year-old son, Charlie. She enjoys hot yoga, cooking, gardening, and home improvement projects.

Director of Development: Lauren Zabel

Lauren Zabel

Lauren Zabel joined the Junior League of Philadelphia in 2010. Since joining the JLP, Lauren has held roles such as Co-Chair of the Thrift Shop Committee, Vice President of Fundraising, and Vice President of Community. Professionally, Lauren is a commercial restructuring and bankruptcy attorney at a law firm in Center City Philadelphia.

Lauren grew up in southern New Jersey and attended college in New York City, where she obtained an art history degree from Barnard College.  Lauren returned to Philadelphia to attend Temple Law, where she met her husband Mike.  She enjoys spending time with her husband and son, trying new craft beers, and traveling.

Nominating Chair: Renee Howell

Renee Howell

Renee Howell joined the Junior League of Philadelphia in 2011 seeking to join an organization that would allow her to meet a network of inspiring women and give back to the community where she had recently moved. After serving on committees focused on community impact and fundraising, Renee led the New Member Program as Co-Chair in 2014.

Renee is a Global Brand Innovation Manager at SCA where she leads global new product strategy for Professional Kitchens under the Tork brand. Prior to SCA, she held a variety of brand management positions at Campbell Soup Company. Renee began her career as part of a leadership development program at Newell Rubbermaid, where she held roles in marketing, sales, and supply chain.

A Philadelphia transplant from Tennessee, Renee has lived in Center City since 2011. A “Double Hoo” she has two degrees from the University of Virginia: an MBA from the Darden School of Graduate Business and a Bachelor’s from the McIntire School of Commerce.  In her free time, Renee enjoys an active lifestyle, traveling, and hosting gatherings at her home.

Parliamentarian: Aronté Bennett

Aronte Bennett

On the suggestion of a dear friend, Aronté Bennett joined the Junior League of Philadelphia in 2010 with the hope of having a positive impact on her community. Looking back over her tenure, she believes that her membership in the League has provided her the opportunity to do so. As the Vice President of Marketing & Communications, she worked closely on the design of the Apple a Day Healthy Living Initiative ™ logo. As Chair-Elect, and then Chair, of Kids in the Kitchen (KITK), she contributed to the development and inaugural execution of the program. In 2015, she received the President’s Award for her work with KITK. Most recently she served as a Provisional Course Advisor, assisting in the onboarding and training of JLP’s most recent class of volunteers. She currently serves as the League Parliamentarian.

Aronté moved to Philadelphia in 2009. Born in Brooklyn and raised just outside of Atlanta, baseball playoffs always pose a predicament for her. Aronté jokes that she is a professional student; she completed her BS and MBA at Florida A&M University (FAMU), her Ph.D. at New York University, and currently works at Villanova University as marketing professor. She enjoys the little adventures life has to offer: biking through the city, visiting dive bars, trying new restaurants, and figuring out how not to kill all of the plants in her raised beds.