Q&A: Julia Bowen Featured at Women in Enterprise Occasion / iBerkshires.com


1Berkshire President Jonathan Butler speaks with Julia Bowen on the annual Women in Enterprise recognition occasion. image descriptionLeah Thompson launched the 4 women-owned companies getting Good New Salutes.image descriptionimage description

Danielle Gonzalez welcomes the attendees to the occasion on the new Williams Inn.

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — A room filled with “glass-ceiling breakers and change-makers” had been saluted not too long ago throughout 1Berkshires’ annual Women in Enterprise recognition occasion. 


“One of many issues that I like in regards to the Berkshires is how we have fun each other and honor our accomplishments,” stated emcee Leah Thompson, director of enrollment at Berkshire Arts & Know-how Public Constitution Faculty. “Thanks to 1Berkshire  for offering us with a platform to honor women in enterprise tonight.”


The Good New Enterprise Salute was hosted by the brand new Williams Inn and featured keynote speaker Julia Bowen, the founding director of BArT, and salutes to 4 women-owned companies. Danielle Gonzalez, director of human sources at Williams School, and a member of the 1Berkshire board, welcomed the company and thanked sponsors by Greylock Federal Credit score Union, which additionally underwrites 1Berkshires’ Women in Enterprise Month, and BusinessWest.com. 


“It is actually nice to be right here a room filled with so many glass-ceiling breakers and alter makers,” she stated.


Saluted had been the award-winning Barrington Stage Firm and its inventive director Julianne Boyd, which over 25 years has grown from small summer season theater with one stage to a year-round, three-stage firm with a $5 million finances and annual viewers of 60,000; Lenox Match and its President Suzanne Merritt, U.S. Small Enterprise Administration’s 2019 state Girl Small Enterprise Proprietor of the 12 months, who bought the power in 2014, elevated its income by a 3rd and has added new providers; North Adams Yoga house owners Devin and Deborah Raber, who opened three years in the past and provide quite a lot of lessons for wholesome existence, similar to yoga health fusion, and have additionally fund raised for native and nationwide causes; and Your Colour Connection, based in 2003 by Shirley Sparks, Ann LaBier and Sheryl Morrow, it’s now run by LaBier and her husband, Warren, and an all-woman employees, with a deal with supporting different native companies and protecting neighborhood in thoughts, particularly LaBier’s volunteering with Kiwanis. 


The principle portion of the night was a sit-down query and reply with Bowen that was carried out by 1Berkshire President and CEO Jonathan Butler, who first met her when he was working within the State Home and later as city administrator in Adams. He’s additionally a member of the BArT board of trustees. 


“As a result of you may have an incredible story to share, you had a really, very spectacular and important accomplishments in your profession, there’s most likely lots you can move alongside to this group tonight that will have quite a lot of worth,” Butler stated.


Bowen guided BArT by its first decade and oversaw its growth in grades and within the bodily house of its Adams faculty constructing. It now gives center and highschool for greater than 360 college students from 15 Berkshire communities. 


Bowen has served on variety of native and state training boards, is a trustee of Berkshire Group School, a member of the board of administrators of Lever, and a member of the Mount Greylock Faculty Council. She is at present a management coach and advisor.


The Q&A is supplied beneath with mild enhancing for size and readability. 


Query: Not everyone can say that they began a college, however I feel it is protected to say you began a college and it is now thriving with almost 400 college students. Over a decade later, discuss to us a bit bit about how you bought your begin with BArT.


Reply: I want that had been a sexier story than it’s. I’ve a lifelong dedication and keenness for training. … I had gone into enterprise after faculty … I left and got here out right here and was instructing at Mount Greylock, and it was 2001, 2003, and so they needed to lay off 20 individuals — final in first out. … I would been listening to in regards to the faculty and I stated, ‘Hey, I do know I’ll be employed again at Mount Greylock, however can I volunteer with you for some time,’ and so they stated, ‘How about you apply be the chief director?’ I stated, ‘Oh, OK.’ I used to be 30, having no understanding that it was one thing I may do.


I like to consider that, as I used to be extremely passionate in regards to the trigger, and extremely naive in regards to the problem.


Q: BArT, a bit over two years in the past, with a brand-new facility, the coed enrollment properly over 300. May you ever think about that while you began?


A: I’ll inform you once we began, I used to be actually hoping to open the doorways for the primary time. That was, for these of you who’ve been round locally lengthy sufficient, there was quite a lot of opposition to the varsity opening. There was a lawsuit that someone filed in opposition to us. There was a moratorium on the State Home positioned on the constitution faculties in Massachusetts. We could not safe a constructing allow. There’s quite a lot of opposition. On reflection, it looks like a loopy, why would there be opposition to a college that will serve so many college students? … I do not assume I ever may have projected 17 years sooner or later and seen a thriving faculty neighborhood like we’ve.


I knew we’d develop. I knew we had an exceptional workforce that we stored constructing on. I do not know if I’d have understood the nationwide recognition. I do not know if I may have predicted that. However actually, these first years had been, can we open and might we maintain operating? It was exhausting. 


Q: What are a few issues that you simply realized alongside the best way which have made you robust administrator?


A: I first I need to level out, I look out to this viewers, I listened to those Good Information Enterprise Salutes, and I take into consideration the fantastic expertise that’s on this room. And I am someone who has at all times acknowledged and seen that expertise in different individuals. …


One of many issues I actually wanted to study was what expertise I had … one actually large key studying is that I did have expertise. So actually sort of studying easy methods to step into what expertise I did have. I feel one other was, at 30, my impression of a frontrunner is that that is the one that’s in cost, that individual is aware of what to do. And simply give that individual the duty and the whole lot was going to be advantageous. If solely, proper? …


I’ll inform you, probably the most important skilled expertise I had was in our fourth 12 months as the varsity was actually struggling and, and I had a child, my first child. I needed to be out for 3 months. … And I had to surrender duty. I needed to ask for assist. I needed to get different individuals engaged. I needed to actually depend on the entire workforce and, lo and behold, the varsity did significantly better. …


I feel that key studying was the significance of constructing a workforce and having a complete workforce of people who find themselves wonderful at their jobs and that work collaboratively collectively. After which the opposite actually key studying that I feel’s been most likely most influential for me in some ways now could be do not await someone else to do it. Step in and do it. … For us, it was creating a college to serve a scholar physique that was traditionally underserved or marginalized. It was creating that college, even within the face of that opposition I described, it was being with the ability to stand robust in my values. And if I may at all times come again to these values, I had the vitality to only proceed to make it occur.


Q: What’s your favourite accomplishment out of your years on the faculty? 


A: I’d say the best accomplishment is that the workforce remains to be there. I left a bit bit over two years in the past, and the whole lot I see popping out of the varsity is incredible. And it is higher than after I was there. … I take a few of that possession that I used to be capable of create a spot that continues to thrive. And that’s, that’s to me, the best factor that I may have carried out.


Q: I am shifting gears a bit bit to entrepreneurship. You had been truly one of many first chairs of Lever. Are you able to communicate a bit bit about what received you concerned in that work?


A: I had recognized [Lever Executive Director] Jeffrey Thomas round city I had recognized the work he had carried out it Williams. … I simply admired his work from afar. I additionally knew Jack Wadsworth, who was one of many unique founders of Lever as properly. …


[Wadsworth] was curious about financial growth, I used to be curious about training. And I stored saying, properly, you are not going to have higher financial growth until you may have a greater educated inhabitants, you might want to help training. And he would say, properly, we have to have a greater … stronger training system however, you might want to have companies right here for individuals to maneuver right here to come back to these faculties. …


He stated, we simply want to have the ability to begin a pair companies a 12 months over time to construct up extra alternatives. And I stated you need to discuss to Jeffrey Thomas. And that was the one credit score I can take for something ever as a result of Jeffrey is the one who’s been truly doing the work. I helped see the thought and hook up with the appropriate individuals who actually have the eagerness and the wherewithal to do the work.


Q: So while you look again at Lever about 5 years later, how do you’re feeling about that work that is being carried out now?


A: I am blown away. I am completely blown away. For these of you who could not know all about Lever, they really held an exceptional summit right here, an entrepreneurship summit right here. And what I see Lever doing is mining, and Jeffrey specifically and his workforce, which is a really small workforce, mining the expertise that exists right here within the Berkshires, and entrepreneurs discover their strategy to Jeffrey or Jeffrey seeks out the entrepreneurs, or doing they’re doing the entrepreneur work to assist corporations innovate from inside. …  I do know there’s a lot expertise right here. … everyone knows that there is declining inhabitants, however moderately than wallow in that or fear about it, I see Jeffrey and the Lever workforce saying, so what are we going to do about it to vary the narrative? How can we maintain hope? How can we transfer ahead? And the way can we enhance the place we’re? 


Julia Bowen was govt director of BArT for 13 years earlier than opening a management consulting enterprise. 

Q: Is there an space or two of you might level to the place you assume there’s nonetheless potential for startup companies?


A: I feel the query ought to come to you or to Jeffrey. However one of many issues that I’m particularly amazed by is individuals who do take into consideration that so strategically … I will come off my Lever stumping, however actually sort of specializing in well being care, the artistic sector, superior manufacturing, the strengths that we have already got within the Berkshires and doubling down in these areas, creating that innovation from inside. …


I feel that is one of many actually wonderful issues about being in a smaller neighborhood, the best way we are able to collaborate and determine these alternatives after which help one another in profiting from them.


Q: As a really profitable lady chief in enterprise in your profession, I feel we are able to communicate candidly that we’ve some limitations to beat. So out of your perspective, how do you assume we’re doing [in the Berkshires]? What traits do you see?


A: I do not essentially assume there’s something totally different in regards to the Berkshires than different locations. I can also’t say that I research it tremendously. However I do see women in crucial management positions. If you happen to have a look at Williams School, definitely the president however her senior employees. I have a look at your President [Ellen] Kennedy right here from BCC and lots of of her senior employees. I see women leaders who’re honored tonight and … that to me is only a image or a sign that the alternatives are right here and there are some actually wonderful women in our neighborhood.


Q: Do you assume there’s sure industries or sectors which might be doing a greater job than others?


A: I am simply sort of talking from what I really feel like I see. I work with MountainOne and I do know that they’ve carried out quite a lot of recruitment of senior stage stuff who’re women, not as a result of they’re women, however I do know there are a variety of senior women on the senior employees there. So I do not I do not know if I may say which sectors are higher or worse? 

Q: For any younger women which might be aspiring to tackle bigger roles and management, develop of their career, what forms of classes have you ever realized in your profession that you’d share or recommendation would you may have?


A: Definitely, do not wait for somebody to give you a place. Do not await someone to ask in your opinion. And, as exhausting as it’s, you simply have to step up and fill that. I do know that I’ve, at instances, felt that I wasn’t heard as a result of I used to be a girl or I wasn’t revered as a result of I used to be a girl. And after I truly actually sit again, I spotted, I feel it is extra that I’ve skilled gender based mostly internalized oppression. I’ve principally allowed myself to consider that as a girl, I could not communicate up, I could not communicate out. And after I

I actually after I mirror on it, and after I realized I did communicate up and communicate out, I used to be heard. … So communicate out.


Q: Do you’re feeling like [the Berkshires] is on track within the final decade? 


A: I really feel actually strongly about Berkshire County … my husband truly works in New York Metropolis and after I selected to depart BArT, we did not even take into account shifting. The truth is, we did not take into account shifting till someone stated to us, does this imply you are going to transfer and we had been like, oh, we should always most likely take into consideration that — after which why would we transfer? I’m so robust on Berkshire County. … [talks about the collaboration between organizations] …


Once I discuss to counterparts in different components of the state or different components of the nation, it is lots tougher to try this in a much bigger neighborhood. And so I really feel the work that 1Berkshire’s doing, the work that our our larger establishments are doing, the work that our corporations are doing to help one another,  like I’m so bought right here, and I feel that women have a voice in all of that and I feel that collaboratively, collectively, we’re shifting in the appropriate place.”


Questions from the viewers:


Q: What do you assume’s unfair about training right here?


A: It isn’t recognizing the problem of the bills of rural training … So something from public transportation to get college students to BCC or to get mother and father to, the faculties for conferences. It is not as sturdy as we wish it to be. That creates a very large problem and faculties, whether or not or not it’s BCC or MCLA, wants in some way make up for that. So I feel that is only a small instance. However I feel there’s additionally there’s a component of a rural tax that may find yourself paying to function faculties on the similar stage as a few of our city counterparts can function. That is possibly a bit bit too within the weeds, however I really feel like that’s one thing that’s actually actual for many who are main faculties.


Q: May you communicate a bit bit about mentorship and the way some totally different mentors have helped you alongside in your path.


A: I had fabulous mentors, definitely earlier than coming right here earlier than getting into into training. I had an exceptional mentor after I began instructing in Mount Greylock, an older, extra skilled male math trainer, I had a number of phenomenal mentors on the board at BArT, women and males. … I discover the mentors which might be capable of carry me again to what are my values, what what’s essential to me  … once they would assist me assume by troublesome conditions, these going through your work. And so they might need been technically my boss because the board, however actually serving to me reconnect to ensure I am aligned with myself. My values are in alignment. And that basically helps me act and behave in a method that felt true to me. 


Jonathan Butler requested questions starting from the founding of BArT to the outlook for women in Berkshire County.

Q: How, by totally different partnerships and relationships, had been you capable of overcome the opposition to BArT?


A: The supply of that stress method again when actually got here from each monetary sort and constitution faculties had been created to in the end be rivals to district faculties. They had been created to innovate after which disseminate that again into the district faculty. So these two issues are sort of in battle, proper? Let me inform you why I am higher than you, and now let me inform you what you might want to study from me. It does not actually work. And so it simply units constitution faculties as much as have a troublesome relationship from the get-go with districts. …


I feel the board was a protected group and passionate in regards to the work. And there have been only a few native partnerships that we had however what we had was lots, lots, quite a lot of quiet help behind the scenes and folks telling us please maintain going, how can I assist however I am unable to be public. And that I feel is what simply stored us buoyed to know that we had been on the appropriate path and we had been doing the appropriate factor. … We had a pair nationwide partnerships … however our native companions had been fairly restricted. That was one thing that basically came visiting time.


Q: What are you doing now?


A: I actually was conscious that I could not be the mother I needed to be, I could not be the skilled I needed to be, could not be the spouse I needed to be, I had actually no time left for myself. And I stated, I have to step again and reconstruct my life. … I undoubtedly really feel privileged that I used to be in a position to try this. I do know that is not one thing that everybody can do. However I did step again and say, I’ve gotta I gotta discover a totally different course. I labored with a coach, an expert coach who works largely in training. However I employed her personally to assist me work out what’s subsequent. And that was an exceptional expertise, so phenomenal that I stated, ‘I would like your job.’


I went and I received licensed as an expert coach, and started constructing my very own enterprise. So I’ve my very own enterprise now doing that and I largely working with training and nonprofit leaders and supporting them each of their journey as leaders. However for a lot of of them … you may’t actually distinguish — for all of us — what’s your private or skilled life as a result of they’re so intertwined. And so the work turns into way more holistic as I work with varied purchasers. After which I additionally run a coaching program for constitution faculty leaders in Massachusetts. 


The occasion came about on Wednesday, Oct. 30.

Tags: 1Berkshire,   Good Information Salute,   Q&A,   women in enterprise,   



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