Junior League President Jennifer Harris Edstrom of La Jolla keeps a caring heart for kids
Jennifer Harris Edstrom is principal of Edstrom Educational Consulting and president of the Junior League of San Diego (JLSD). Although born in Philadelphia, she has spent most of her life in La Jolla and said she is deeply committed to helping America’s Finest City be even finer.
She attended The Children’s School, La Jolla Elementary, and The Bishop’s School. She graduated from Wellesley College in 1997. She went on to teach elementary school in New Jersey, where she was the recipient of the New Jersey Governor’s Teacher Award. She married her college sweetheart, Matthew Edstrom in 2000, with whom she is happily raising two daughters, Olivia and Avery.
Upon moving back to La Jolla in 2005, she built Edstrom Educational Consulting, a firm that provides editorial and content services to educational publishers. She also became an active member of the JLSD, serving as chair of the 2007 Junior League of San Diego Food and Wine Festival (formerly known as Island Divine) and on the Board of Directors prior to being slated as President. She also serves on the Alumni Advisory Board for The Bishop’s School.
What brought you to La Jolla?
I originally moved to La Jolla in 1979 when I was a little girl and my dad began his medical career at UCSD. I left La Jolla to attend Wellesley College and made a few pit stops in New Jersey and Chicago. Twelve years later, when my oldest daughter was born, Matt and I decided that we wanted to be closer to family. We moved here when Olivia was 6 months old. I adore raising my family in my hometown.
What might you add, subtract or improve in the area?
While I love how thriving and vibrant La Jolla is today, especially with the addition of the La Jolla Community Foundation murals, I will admit I miss some old favorites. I wish I could still purchase ribbon at Jane’s Fabrique or buy my kids’ shoes at Scott’s. And I will always miss the Cove Theater, where I saw the “Black Stallion” and “When Harry Met Sally,” among many other favorites. Progress is important, but I wish that more of the past could survive alongside it.
Who or what inspires you?
People who devote their time, treasure and talent to their community inspire me. The women of the Junior League of San Diego exemplify this and inspire me as they work to improve our community by impacting the lives of transition-age foster youth and serve as civic and community leaders.
If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?
This is the Wellesley woman talking, but I imagine a dinner of powerhouse women would be fascinating — Eleanor Roosevelt, Mary Harriman (founder of the first Junior League), my Wellesley girls Madeline Albright and Hillary Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Nora Ephron, Katharine Hepburn and my mom, Susan Harris!
What are you reading?
I am finally reading “Language of Flowers,” after receiving many recommendations. I am moved by this novel about a former foster youth finding her way in life outside the system.
What is it that you most dislike?
Disingenuousness. I like people who say what they mean and mean what they say.
What is your most-prized possession?
I started to say my kids … but they aren’t really possessions. We have several items that have been passed down from grandparents — an old-fashioned phone that came from Matt’s family’s farm in Minnesota, an “Army-Navy” tablecloth that my grandmother used to use when entertaining, a scarf that I remember my other grandmother letting me use to play dress-up. I love these links with my family’s past.
What do you do for fun?
I am an avid reader and try to spend a little time each day doing something creative, whether taking photos, drawing or playing around with graphic design. My husband and I love to give dinner parties where we cook together and have a group of guests that jell. We particularly love our gourmet club — five couples that get together every other month and make absolutely spectacular dinners with wonderful conversation and loads of laughter!
What is your motto or philosophy of life?
I recently bought my daughter a shirt with the motto, “Be the good in the world.” To me that is one to live by, but I would add to it — “Be the good in the world, and laugh while doing it!”
What would be your dream vacation?
Last year I had the life-changing experience of conducting educational research in Ghana on the west coast of Africa. I now want to go back and explore more of this continent — maybe a trip down the Nile! Every time I get to explore this world, it makes me want to go even farther abroad!
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