NKBA Columbia River chapter’s Programs Chair discusses her path to leadership, what she gives and what she gets. By Loren Kessell
Sometimes finding one’s passion takes a journey. This certainly rings true for Molly Littlejohn, AKBD.
After starting her career as a university special events director and a corporate events producer, she switched gears and pursued a degree in interior design with a concentration in kitchen and bath design. She graduated in 2016 and began working with a designer. After a year-and-a-half, she opened her own business, Molly J. Littlejohn Design, in Portland, Ore.
As often happens in life, worlds and experiences intersect. An active member of NKBA’s Columbia River chapter, she uses her event-planning experience as the Programs Chair, and has helped increase attendance at meetings. She spoke with NKBA about her journey.
NKBA: What made you want to become a chapter officer? What was the biggest draw for you?
ML:My boss really encouraged me to get involved and step into the industry by networking and learning about materials through our local NKBA chapter. Our city has a very involved chapter. It has been helpful for lessening my learning curve and for enriching my design experience as I get to know peers, vendors and contractors in the community. It was easy to want to become more active in the chapter, and I soon became the Programs Chair.
NKBA: What do you contribute to your chapter?
ML:I like to organize the year’s chapter program with a three-pronged educational approach: small-business related, new materials and strengthening the community. The greatest accomplishment is that we have more members than ever attending our meetings. Last year, we raised $7,000 in one evening for Girls Build, a local non-profit that offers one-week summer camps for girls 8 to 14 years old, to learn the basics of building. This includes carpentry, plumbing, electricity, concrete, sheet metal and much more. They learn the basics of many trades from skilled female instructors.
NKBA: Why do you volunteer?
ML:It’s a great way to contribute to the community and it’s an opportunity to learn new things. And, it’s a rewarding experience to pay it forward with knowledge and programming every month at meetings.
NKBA: What is the value of being a chapter officer?
ML:Being an officer has given me confidence and a reason to talk and network with strangers. As Programs Chair, I have a reason to be inquisitive and ask questions of my peers. You never know where the next interesting meeting topic will present itself. Along the way, I’ve created fun connections, good friends and a great foundation for my design business.
Officer nominations are open from May 10 to June 14. All officers are chosen via self-nomination. Individuals who wish to be considered for a position must login and will be directed to open slots, with their applications sent to the National Recruitment Committee. For more information on becoming a chapter officer, click here.