Dear Berkshire BPW members and friends,
I hope this letter finds you and your families doing well. Even with the pandemic, masks, too many virtual meetings and social distancing, there is so much happening with Berkshire Business & Professional Women. Enjoy the letter and do spend a few minutes on our website. It is looking better and better. Thank you, Andrea Hurley!
Here is this month’s Berkshire BPW scoop:
Woman of Achievement
We will be honoring DA Andrea Harrington as our 2020 Woman of Achievement on Monday, September 21st. It is going to be super: fun, creative and productive! Please see a complete run-down of activities in this newsletter, including how you can help make the event a big success. Also, check out the website, berkshirebpw.org for details and watch for our social media campaign. Share our posts with your friends and contribute to our auction with items from local businesses! Look for us on LinkedIn, FaceBook and Instagram several times a week. The WOA Committee is headed up by Lynn Wallace. Sincere thanks to her and the whole WOA team, who are all dedicating significant time to this important endeavor.
The Scholarship Committee, headed up by June Roy-Martin, is also gearing up to receive and vet applications for our scholarships. The application is now on the website. We are planning to award more scholarships this year and believe the program is more important than ever, during the pandemic. Many women will need education to redirect their careers. The August 22nd deadline is fast-approaching.
One prior scholarship recipient is Berkshire BPW member and mentee in our Mentorship Program, Ivy Rodriguez. Here is her story:
OVERCOMING OBSTACLES: FROM HOMELESSNESS TO A FIRST-TIME HOMEOWNER
A year ago, DLE Community Member Ivy Rodriguez Campos went from day-dreaming about owning a house to being homeless. Today, she is a first-time homeowner!
Ivy, who is the Financial and Administrative Coordinator at Williams College, profoundly changed her life–and her family’s–last week when she moved into her Adams (MA) home. Her bold path forward started last March when Ivy selected Linda Dulye, DLE Founder and President, to be her mentor as part of a pilot Mentorship Program introduced by Berkshire Business and Professional Women (BBPW). Linda is an active BBPW member and a founding member of the group’s Mentorship Committee.
Before COVID-19 struck, the two met in person on just one occasion. They quickly established a weekly schedule of remote coaching sessions lasting 30-45 minutes in order to design and execute a professional development plan for Ivy. High on her list of 2020 goals was buying a home for her family. Ivy is the mother of Anelisse (age 16), Joseph (age 9) and Mi’Amor (age 23 months).
Reflecting on her astounding accomplishment, Ivy calls it “so surreal!” “Last year, we were homeless! The home we were renting went on the market and sold in a week. Several landlords were unwilling to allow us to have an Emotional Support Animal, a companion for my eldest child, who is autistic. We also found that other dwellings were not de-leaded.”
The family hopped between hotels and Air BNBs. These setbacks fortified Ivy’s determination. “Giving up wasn’t an option,” she affirms. “I wanted to show my children that when you want something, you work hard and earn it honestly. I wanted to give them something of their own that they could truly call home, and I needed to prove to myself that I could reach my goals no matter what may have happened in the past.”
Coaching sessions gave Ivy “guided focus to prioritize” while her responsibilities increased with COVID’s quarantine for working and teaching at home. As she describes, “After meeting Linda, I knew she was the spark I needed to really help me concentrate on my goals, to develop both professionally and personally. We set short- and long-term goals, which included obtaining a forever home. I wanted to make her proud and let her know our meetings were not only appreciated but truly helpful. Having that extra layer of accountability makes a big difference!”
Here is a quote from Linda: “I’ve always believed that mentoring delivers mutual dividends. The opportunity to share my experience and expertise to guide the personal and professional development of someone starting out in their career, looking to make a transition or struggling with a setback is a priceless gift. A mentor has the potential to inspire change and make dreams come true. The rewards of watching Ivy’s confidence, drive and pride grow are immeasurable.” Thank you Linda!
(Originally published in the Dulye Leadership Experience HUB Newsletter – August 12, 2020)
Note that the Mentorship Committee, Co-Chaired by Karen Zink and Suzanne Engels is hard at work on expanding our very successful program. Stay tuned, Mentors and Mentees!
September Networking Meeting
RSVP for our FREE virtual meeting: Tuesday September 1st at 5:30. We are planning a fun hour of networking to close out the summer. We all loved our August meeting, when Gwendolyn VanSant presented and led a discussion on personal bias and racism.
Note we are looking for members who want their business or organization to be featured in our Monthly Spotlight. And please check out our Member Portal and add your profile today! Our email list is growing and this is a good way to get the word out about your business and to do business with women-owned businesses.
I am pleased to announce a New Board Member, Kate Lauzon—working in Membership alongside Deborah Gallant. Welcome Kate! We now have a full board for the 2020-2021 year.
To close out this month’s letter, I want to recognize all the Berkshire BPW members who are taking care of children while balancing a full-time job, all at home. I bumped into Sopheap Nhim and Colin Ovitsky on Saturday at Balderdash. Hats off to you and all you are doing at this time! I was so glad to see you get a “date night” in! And the band and our musical sponsor, Whiskey Treaty Roadshow, was so much fun.
We also know many members cannot work from home and continue to go into work day-in, day-out. We salute you. Thank you for what you do for all of us!
I look forward to seeing you all on TUESDAY, September 1st!
Stay well. All my best,