Portland, OR. The Junior League of Portland celebrated women leaders at its Annual Luncheon at the Portland Golf Club after 2 years of being canceled due to the pandemic. The nonprofit organization gathered generations of women leaders to honor the significant achievements of honorees; Jillian De Garmo 2022, Julie Branford 2020 and Kaycee Wiita 2021. Above, Judy Jorgensen, Sustainer Representative & Board Member, Jillian De Garmo, 2022 Sustainer of the Year, and Alex Johnson, 2022 Junior League President pose for a photo during the May 19th, luncheon.

The Junior League of Portland, Oregon is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers.

Julie Branford, 2020 Sustainer of the Year, and Alex Johnson, 2022 Junior League President

Award winner for 2020, Julie Branford has been with the Junior League since 1977. Julie Branford is a trailblazer and has been pushing the envelope. As a working professional during her time as an active, when most women in the League did not pursue work outside of the home, she successfully challenged the Junior League of Seattle’s rule that members were required to move to Sustainer status when they turned 40. Outside the League, she has received numerous accolades for her service to several community organizations. One of Julie’s main volunteer activities includes being a Past President and board member of the BRAINet (Brain Research Awareness and Information Network), a community outreach group for the neuroscience department at OHSU. She has sat on the Board of Trustees for Willamette University for 13 years, earning the title of Life Trustee Emeritus. Her board experience includes being Alumni Association President for two years, the Alumni Association President for Cleveland High School, and receiving the Distinguished Alumni Award Committee Chair award for her outstanding service and commitment. Julie has also held several leadership positions with the Multnomah Athletic Club, including Membership Committee and Human Resources Committee for the Board, the Communities Committee, and House Committee. She was President of the Canyon Creek Homeowners Association for four years and has sat on the Governance Committee for Nordic Northwest. Recently Julie has been involved with the ARCS Foundation (Advancing Science in America). Oregon Chapter and is their current President.

Kaycee Wiita, 2021 Sustainer of the Year and Alex Johnson, 2022 Junior League President

Award winner for 2021, Kaycee Wiita has been a dedicated member of the Junior League since 1988. She has served on numerous committees within both the Junior League of Orange County and Portland. She has served as the JLP President from 2003-2004 as well as Treasurer and the Nominating Chair. She has also taken on leadership roles as the At-Large Director and Area VI Director for the Association of Junior Leagues International. Kaycee served on the board of directors of the Association of Junior Leagues International (New York, NY) where she served on the Linkage and the Advancement Committees. As one of her peers stated; “She has been an outstanding member of the community doing exceptional volunteer work to benefit immeasurable numbers of people. She has always been willing to step forward to lend her exceptional skills and talents.

Jillian De Garmo, Judy Jorgensen, Kaycee Wiita, Julie Branford and Alex Johnson

A few of the honorable mentions regarding the leadership attributes of the honorees:Award winner for 2022, Jillian De Garmo has been a dedicated member of the Junior League of Portland, having served as the President in 2002-03, a Chair of the Sustainer Engagement Committee in 2017-2018, and the Sustainer Representative to the Board from 2019-2021. As one of Jill’s many nominators stated, “For over 20 years Jill’s wisdom and continuity have been instrumental in moving JLP forward to be a viable and modern organization that trains women to be leaders in the community while addressing pressing community needs.”

From Junior League of Portland:


Since our founding in 1910, the members of the Junior League of Portland have been developing programs and partnering with organizations in the area to improve our community. Our mission is to promote voluntarism, develop the potential of women, and improve the community through effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. The Junior League is a women’s organization for leadership and volunteerism. It is a place to find like-minded women who value making a positive difference in the community, serving their community, and developing their leadership skills. 

Junior League of Portland is the fourth oldest League in the Association of Junior Leagues International and the first on the west coast. Through our 110 years, several of Portland’s nonprofit programs and agencies that have improved the well-being of women, children, and families in the Portland community can attribute their roots to the Junior League of Portland. Some of our accomplishments are programs and services such as Kids on the Block, establishing Race for the Cure in Portland, and launching the “Between the Lines” program.  

Our members are passionately committed to our community and are accomplished leaders who have used their Junior League training to develop programs, serve on nonprofit boards, serve in public office, and enhance their leadership skills related to their professional work. 

Our current focus is Ending the Cycle of Violence Against Women and Children. We regularly review our focus to be sure we are helping to close the gap on unmet or underserved needs in our community. We are in the process of a full assessment of our Portland community to be sure we are active in serving the current needs of our community. 

The Junior League of Portland welcomes all women who work to make a difference in their community through volunteering and activism. If impacting your community in a positive way and developing or refining your leadership skills while having fun with remarkable women interests you, the Junior League of Portland may be the volunteer organization for you!

The work of the Junior League of Portland could not be accomplished without the support of our partner organizations, generous donors, passionate advocates, and friends. Thank you for choosing to support the Junior League of Portland and joining us as we continue to improve our wonderful community.

Alex Johnson

President Junior League of Portland