Pat Gustke Sustainer of the Year Award

Each year, the Pat Gustke Sustainer of the Year award is awarded to League Sustainers whose strength and character embody the League’s slogan, “Women building better communities.” Winners display a sustained commitment to their volunteer work and serve as inspirational role models for all members of the Junior League and our community.

Nomination applications for next year’s award will be available in the spring.

The 2022 Pat Gustke Sustainer of the Year Award Winners

Michelle Obama said, “There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish.”  In service to our communities, the women of the Junior League improve self, accomplish much, and empower many.  Each year the Junior League of San Jose pays homage to the great work of Sustaining Members who embody our mission of service to others.  The Pat Gustke Sustainer of the Year Award winners display a sustained commitment to their volunteer work and serve as inspirational role models for all members of the Junior League and our community.  The Junior League of San Jose is honored to announce the 2022 Pat Gustke Sustainers of the Year, Joanne Johnson Felt and Marcie Soderquist.

Marcie Soderquist

Perusing a list of Marcie’s JLSJ placements clearly demonstrates her compassion for serving others. So great is Marcie’s belief in developing the potential of women that she gave seven years of her Active League career to building and developing our membership. According to JLSJ member, Jayne Capelin, “Marcie is a natural connector. Her brain is constantly scrolling to find ways to help the people she meets. If you think you’re going to a social event to have fun and you meet Marcie, you’ll certainly have a great time and in addition come away with additional value in advice or a contact that you’ve been looking for. Marcie focuses her efforts on making a difference for the long term.”

In addition to her service to our membership, Marcie spent countless years in community placements in JLSJ. It was here she learned about Project Cornerstone. Project Cornerstone is a series of programs developed by the YMCA, to “empower young people, parents, and school staff to improve school climate and create vibrant, caring communities of learners.” Marcie has led many Project Cornerstone parent classes for the past 7+ years and she has personally impacted over 400 parents. Her outstanding volunteer work was recognized when she was selected as Project Cornerstone’s School Partnerships Program Volunteer of the Year in 2017.

Connections through JLSJ continue for Marcie. She has recently begun working with Pivotal after supporting the care package initiative championed by our League. She hit the ground running joining the Pivotal Resource Council, a group made up of Silicon Valley business leaders who are friends of Pivotal and committed to working within their networks to secure internship hosts for Pivotal’s students. She also provided informational interviews for college students interested in real estate. Thinking outside the box, with an eye ever toward the success of each individual, Marcie reached out to Pivotal’s development team to propose a giving campaign geared towards realtors of Silicon Valley, an untapped market for Pivotal. Planning continues to bring this initiative to life. As with all her work, Marcie is making an impact from the get go, changing lives at every turn.

Marcie’s $1,000 stipend is being donated to Pivotal.



Joanne Johnson Felt

Joining the League in 1993, Joanne kicked off her first Active year with three placements. By 2002 she was serving as President making her famed birthday phone calls to every single member. Her service continued in JLSJ for many years to follow. All the while, she was busy working in our community in a myriad of capacities including her professional career.

Joanne believes communities succeed and thrive when individuals volunteer. Her theme during her Presidential term was “Passionately Living Our Purpose” and she continues to embody that today, passionately leading by example in purposeful volunteer work. Shortly after moving from San Jose to Lincoln California Joanne quickly discovered areas of need and got to work. Her commitments to organizations are countless and she puts substantial time into each endeavor.After serving on the Lincoln Fire Department CERT leadership team, she began what is possibly her most notable volunteer commitment with the Red Cross in the CA Gold Country Region headquartered in Sacramento. Joanne serves in a number of positions with the Red Cross; her primary role is Regional (26 counties) Recognition and Appreciation Program Lead. Joanne is passionate about ensuring that volunteers have a meaningful and fun experience. In fact, the CEO often refers to her as the “Fun Lady.” She spearheads the Kudo Board for virtual shout outs, designed the monthly regional newsletter highlighting member successes and helps staff and volunteer supervisors develop their own capacity to embed recognition and appreciation into their everyday programs. Many other regions have reached out to her for her expertise and experience as they set out to build their own local recognition programs.

Additionally, Joanne is a Disaster Cycle Services Trainer, a Preparedness Presenter for “Prepare with Pedro” which is a presentation geared for K-2 graders, a “Be Red Cross Ready” presenter for youth and adults and is the Community Engagement and Partnerships liaison serving on the local Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) leadership team for Placer and El Dorado Counties. Joanne also serves in Public Affairs and has participated in a number of on air interviews.

A recent evaluation of her stated, “Joanne’s compassion and commitment to providing a positive experience for each and every worker shows in the work she does. Joanne has been an amazing resource and has had a very positive impact on the morale and well being of our workforce.”

Joanne will be donating her $1,000 stipend to American Red Cross California Gold Country.


Thank you to the Members of the 2022 Pat Gustke Sustainer of the Year Committee: Shelly Demko, Shauna Garzee, Martha Lazarakis, Maribeth Portz and Moe Walsh.