BOSTON GLOW
Boston GLOW is a breeding ground for the modern day superwoman. GLOW fosters opportunities for women of all ages to become empowered community leaders and active world citizens.


April Spitfire: "A Moment in Her Story"

Many times, our Spitfires events focus on the future, revolving around topics that help us set and accomplish goals, or plan our professional futures. This month though, we flipped the switch. Instead of looking forward, we took a moment to reflect on the past, in the form of a film screening of Catherine Russo’s poignant documentary “A Moment in Her Story: Stories from the Boston Women’s Movement.”

            The film examines the women’s movement and development of Second Wave Feminism in the Boston area during the 1960s and 70s, featuring a patchwork of dynamic testimonies from a significantly diverse cross-section of the women who began, cultivated, and lived it. Their stories are inspiring and eye-opening, stimulating and daring, funny and sometimes heartbreakingly sad. But most importantly, they’re honest, and Russo’s sensitivity towards her subjects and inclusivity of the stories of often marginalized groups such as working class women, women of color, lesbians, and more ensures that her work is comprehensive, accurate, and revolutionary in scope.

            The large group assembled also enjoyed a post-film talk back with the filmmaker, who generously donated her time to speak about her reasons for making the film and the realities of producing this labor of love. She also expressed her interest in seeing more intergenerational cooperation and collaboration between the “older guard” and contemporary women’s advocates. Judging from the diverse ages of last night’s attendees, and the fabulous conversation that followed, its seems like we’re well on our way.

            You can learn more about Catherine Russo’s documentary, view the trailer, and purchase the film here. To attend a screening of the film or receive more information about hosting your own screening, please click here.

Thank you, Catherine!

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OW Spotlight: Christina McCollum - Founder of My Art Boston

At GLOW, we strive to create a community of women by sharing the strengths, community leadership, and creative endeavors of our Organized Women members through our OW Spotlight series.

Today's OW Spotlight comes from the founder of My Art Boston, Christina McCollum.McCollum has a background in academia and years of experience leading private tours. She is currently a PhD Candidate at the Graduate Center CUNY, and working on her doctoral dissertation in Boston. Over the course of several years, she fell in love with the art collections in and around Boston, and recognized the need for a premium tour service. So, in the style of any Organized Woman, she set out to found a business providing a service for art tours in Boston!  

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We interviewed Christina on her goals and passion as a female business starter here in Boston:

 

Q: What was your career goal as a young girl and how did that evolve as you progressed through your education and professional life?
Q: What experiences led you to where you are now?

When I was a kid in New Orleans I would tell people who asked that I wanted to be an archaeologist. Once I realized that archaeology is actually a very meticulous and scientific field that possibly brings one into contact with lizards, I decided I wanted to be a professor – probably because Indiana Jones was an archaeologist AND a professor. I knew I was in for many years of school no matter what, but I liked school. As a teenager I would hang out at the New Orleans Museum of Art, and when I got into NYU I went into the Art History Dept. right away. The New York art world seemed like this chic, official and totally alien world that I wanted to break into. By the end of my undergraduate years I was still curious and still very much outside the art world, so I decided a Doctorate in art history would be my ticket inside. And that was true in many cases – being a graduate student bought me access to museum and gallery jobs and internships. During graduate school I came to reject much of the elitism that had originally intrigued me, but I found that art was an incredible vehicle for thinking about history and philosophy (economics, politics, religion, I could go on…). I was able to teach as an adjunct professor for five years, and that remains one of the greatest experiences I think I’ll ever have. I found that I had a knack for explaining art to people of all different backgrounds and experience and interest levels. As my graduate studies were coming to a close I was working freelance as a private art guide for clients in New York and loving it. I founded My Art Boston when I moved to Boston in 2013.

Q: What were you doing before you made this change and what experience helped lead you to where you are?

I was engaged to one of my best friends from Massachusetts. He was ready and willing to move to New York for my career, but we started to visit the museums and galleries in Boston and I kind of fell in love for a second time. I found myself spending more and more time in Boston. I decided that I could provide a service here that wasn’t being met. Freelancing in New York had been fun and exciting, but I wanted to take responsibility for my career and my future so I decided to start My Art Boston. My company offers private museum and gallery tours and custom public art and architecture outings. I also prepare art itineraries for clients or travel with them to see art in other cities. I mostly work with couples or families and small groups, but I also create tours for larger or corporate groups. Sometimes I produce mini- art history courses about a certain topic, and I advise clients who are collecting. This business is certainly not something I could have predicted but it’s in line with a career I always wanted, and I’m so grateful to be doing it.

Q: What is your role currently and what does an average day in your work life look like?


At this stage I do everything from planning to touring to research and marketing. Things go from fabulous to mundane pretty quickly. One minute I’m meeting with a gallery director or hotel concierge and the next I’m stuffing envelopes. Every day is completely different. Many days are spent in front of my laptop, or whipping through the museum to see what’s new. I get to travel fairly often within Mass. or to New York, and occasionally abroad with clients. If I'm being romantic I'll say that my office is whichever museum I'm touring or scouting that day: the Museum of Fine Arts, public art or gallery openings. Honestly, most often it’s my home, the Trident cafe on Newbury Street or the Fine Arts reading room at the Boston Public Library.


Q: What advice would you give to a young woman trying to pursue a career in your field?

Since I’ve always sort of straddled Academia and the art world my advice will too. If you want to pursue a PhD, you should, because learning the history of the philosophy of any field will change your worldview. Consider taking some time or a Masters degree between your Undergraduate and Doctorate to really hone in on your subject matter. Be aware of the internal politics of academic institutions and the increasing rarity of academic positions, and try to secure enough funding so that you can focus on your research. I always worked, and the degree drags on that way.

As an entrepreneur, I suggest losing all reticence. Be bold and confident as much as possible. I have always been turned off by people with a false sense of entitlement, so for a while I was professionally timid although personally outgoing. That doesn’t work in Academia, the art world or in owning a business and so I slowly grew into a professional confidence. Also, people want to help you and you should let them. Women defy the competitive stereotype all the time and are tremendously supportive. I can think of at least three times in my life when a woman directly helped to advance my career. One woman I barely knew literally took me by the hand and introduced me to a gallerist who would become my employer.

Q: Is yours a male-dominated organization or industry? What challenges have you faced as a female trying to succeed in your field?

Back in the day (until the 1980s I’d say) almost all art historians were men. Not the case any longer! Women populate the art world these days- as curators and gallery directors and art historians.

Q: What were the biggest challenges you faced when first getting off the ground?

I knew that I had a good product that I could deliver. I had plenty of experience with all sorts of clients. But I had no idea how difficult marketing would be on a limited startup budget, or any budget. You really find yourself getting creative with your resources – just marching into places with a brochure in hand. People seemed to respond to hand-written notes, and personally addressed mail. That’s more of a tip than advice, I guess. I also built much of my website myself. It took me far longer than a professional programmer – far longer – but what a valuable skill set to have acquired, however painfully!

Q: Who was your childhood hero?


There are many. I went to a Catholic elementary school in Louisiana named for St. Joan of Arc. She was the only female warrior from history I had ever heard of, and I was fascinated that she went to battle as a teenager, visionary or not. As soon as I read about the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo I was transfixed by her tenacity and tragedy. I remember the day and the book perfectly. I should include the aforementioned Indiana Jones in this list. I also can’t remember whether I admired, or had a crush on, the Karate Kid. It’s not that I wanted to be like a man, but I wanted to be smart and heroic like those characters. There weren’t too many powerful, adventurous female role models in movies in the Eighties when I was a kid. There were some: Sarah Williams in the Labyrinth put David Bowie in his place. I’ll admit that I can still recite her speech from the end of the movie. I also identified with girls from books: Meg from A Wrinkle In Time was a math whiz; Claudia from The Mixed Up Files... ran away to live in the Metropolitan Museum (go figure why I liked that one!); and I admired the questioning defiance of Scout Finch from To Kill A Mockingbird.

Q: When have you been most satisfied in your life?

Right now is a great time, but I I’m constantly pushing forward. Boston has opened a new chapter in my life, and life is good.

 

To learn more about My Art Boston, please visit www.myartboston.com

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OW Spotlight: Victoria Sandbrook Flynn, Marketing & PR Chair for IGNITE the NITE 2014

Victoria Sandbrook Flynn joined Boston GLOW last year to help plan IGNITE the NITE 2013. She became a member of our OW network, a mentor for an IGNITE Change 2013 finalist AND came back again this year to help lead the Marketing & Public Relations Committee for IGNITE the NITE 2014. unnamed.jpg

How did you become involved with GLOW and what is your current role/contribution?
I discovered GLOW thanks to a happy confluence of events: I got a YNPN email calling for IGNITE the NITE volunteers and met Leah later that night at a career event. Within minutes I’d decided that I wanted to be involved! Now, a year and a half later, I’m the Marketing/PR Committee Chair for IGNITE the NITE 2014. 

What inspires your passion empowering and advancing the role of women in the world?
If I ever find myself starting to accept the way things are or doubting that my voice will make a difference, I think about whether I’d want my fifteen-year-old sister dealing with the same issue when she’s my age. Every person has something they can give back, something to contribute, and I want us all to live in a world where that’s never in question.

What was your career goal as a young girl and how did that evolve as you progressed through your education and professional life?
When I was very young, I was certain I wanted to be a writer. My goals changed over the years—I wanted to be a marine biologist, ER doctor, constitutional lawyer, even the first female President of the United States for a good long time—but when it came down to deciding what was going to be the thing I loved enough to devote my 9-5 life to, I realized I couldn’t give up my passion for the written word. I got a job in publishing here in Boston right out of undergrad and have managed to make writing an important part of who I am and what I do.

What experiences led you to where you are now?
I spent a few years heading in the wrong direction. I wasn’t writing. I wasn’t leading. I wasn’t giving back on a daily basis. One day, I heard an interview on the radio—and I wish I could find it again!—that reiterated how strong leaders inspire those around them to unite for a purpose bigger than themselves. I realized that I wasn’t acting with purpose in my own life, much less inspiring others. So I started looking for a change. I got involved with GLOW. I started giving more time to my other volunteer commitment—an annual all-women’s hike benefitting the Elizabeth Stone House. And I found my current job at the Appalachian Mountain Club. My whole life is centered in purpose now, and I really do feel like I have opportunities to give back every day. It means that, at the end of the day, I feel better about myself and about the world around me, and that gives me more energy to write—even after a long, full day.

What is your role currently and what does an average day in your work life look like?
I’m the books editor at the Appalachian Mountain Club. If you know anything about publishing—especially a small or nonprofit publishing house—you know that there is no “average” day! At any given day, I could be putting in eight-straight hours of editing word-by-word. Or I could be checking PDF after PDF to get to our final printer deadlines. I do sales research; help authors organize their manuscripts; I come up with ideas for new books. The great thing about being a “jill”-of-all-trades is that it never gets boring!

What would you do if you won $12M in the lottery tomorrow?
Pay off my mortgage. Buy land somewhere to plant an apple orchard. Save a bunch for rainy days. Give a bunch to a few fabulous organizations. Maybe set up a scholarship for aspiring writers and editors at my alma mater. 

What is your go-to for energy when you’re running out of steam?
A feel-good movie and a plate/bowl of something yummy. There’s nothing like getting to shut my brain down for a few hours—or six if I start the BBC Pride and Prejudice.

What things do you not like to do?
Go tanning (it just doesn’t work). Fold fitted sheets (this also just doesn’t work). Discover typos my own work emails. Argue politics with people (debate, yes; argue, no). Read sad books and watch sad movies. Say no (it’s so, so hard). 

What's your spirit animal?
My Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Pepper. We both love hiking…or just sleeping in on Saturday mornings. We both lovesnow, dislike the heat of summer, and neither of us mind a good rain shower. We both snore like old men sometimes. We’re both “food motivated.” And we’re both over-talkative—but the people who love us, love us anyway.

 If you could only do one dance move the rest of your life, what would it be?
What I have billed as “the Michael Phelps” (hello 2008 Summer Olympics): it’s basically an advanced version of “the Swim” where you mime every stroke in the Individual Medley event. I’ve made many, many people laugh with it, and if I could only do that when I danced, then I think I’d still have fun.

What would you do if you just inherited a pizzeria from your aunt?
Make lots and lots of pizza. My husband and I love throwing pizza nights for our friends and already have the dough and sauce recipes and our specialty topping combos all picked out. Now we just need an aunt who wants to buy a pizzeria so she can leave it for us!

What would you like to see change for the role of women in our world? For the future?
I’d love to see women take more leadership roles, in politics, in the corporate world, in the public sector, on college campuses, everywhere! I hope we’ll all see the day when women are paid equally; when we can all expect a work-life balance that is supportive of families and personal growth; when little girls aren’t overwhelmed by impossible stereotypes in the media; and when women worldwide have access to the highest levels of education, political agency, and self-determination. 

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OW Spotlight: Emily Copeman, Co-Chair of IGNITE the NITE 2014 and Director of Marketing & Development for Boston GLOW

Emily is a founding member of Boston GLOW and currently serves as Director of Marketing & Development. Additionally, Emily is a Co-Chair of IGNITE the NITE 2014 and oversees the Marketing/PR, Event Design and Entertainment Committees.47489_553038294783_6292314_n.jpg

How did you become involved with GLOW and what is your current role/contribution?
I went to high school with Leah, the founder of Boston GLOW, and Annie, now Director of Girls’ Leadership programming, who looped me in on what they were doing during a catch-up dinner a few years ago. They were planning a writing contest for young women in Boston that would empower them to express their ideas for community change and develop as leaders. When I heard they wanted to raise a thousand dollars in scholarships by renting a room in a bar, my immediate instinct was to get involved and see if I could help them exceed that goal. 

…That was the week before Thanksgiving in 2010. On January 10, 2011, we raised $12,500 at our first-ever IGNITE the NITE. The following year we raised $35,000. Last year, we raised $50,000. This year, we’re hoping for even more.

My role has grown far beyond planning a party to raise money – as Director of Marketing and Development now, I oversee the marketing of all our events, graphic design of all our promotional collateral, manage our website, our social media and outreach campaigns. I am also responsible for grant applications, contest submissions and award nominations, I manage our donor cultivation and retention efforts with individuals and corporations and community partnerships. I am wildly passionate about this organization and our mission – my role continues to evolve and to challenge me. My involvement with Boston GLOW is the most fulfilling thing I’ve done with my life to date.

What inspires your passion empowering and advancing the role of women in the world? 76518_105600009510999_2560178_n.jpg
I have been fortunate to be surrounded by strong women for as long as I can remember, namely my mother, but also her dearest friends from her first job out of college. These women (known affectionately as "the Clinique Gang") first met as young go-getters in sales at Clinique cosmetics - they have stayed close friends for decades and have become hugely successful in their respective professions. These women have always been my role models and beloved “fairy godmothers". I am blessed to have them in my life and in my corner - they have supported Boston GLOW from year one! True movers-and-shakers, they are bright, progressive thinkers who juggled careers with motherhood and marriage in a time when society told them they couldn't "have it all" and should resolve to be secretaries. They have defied the odds and challenged the norms to achieve their successes and they’ve shared love, loss, change and celebration together as a supportive team. They are ever-learning, traveling, debating and they know who they are – these are not women who are afraid of anything, much less speaking their mind or fighting for what is right.

My passion for women's empowerment and the mission of Boston GLOW is largely fueled by my desire to see others have the same mentoring and support that I have been so fortunate to know. I wish for all young women to have role models that encourage them to break boundaries and speak their minds. For me, that has made all the difference.

What experiences led you to where you are now? 
My involvement with GLOW has profoundly shaped me as a person and challenged me to become a better leader. When I joined Boston GLOW, it was a very young organization and thus the sky was the limit for me. I could contribute as much or as little as I wanted – it wasn’t a job, I wasn’t being measured or paid for my efforts, I didn’t need experience or training. I just needed to believe in our cause and to share that message with as many people as I could in the most compelling way possible. I had never led a team, I was terrified of speaking in public, I abhorred networking and approaching new people. But for GLOW, I had to force myself to step out of my comfort zone because I believed it was something I had to do. Now, every new supporter who joins our network, every donation that comes in and every success we achieve fuels me to take my efforts to the next level - and gives me inner strength to boot! Through GLOW I have had the opportunity to lead teams of strong, opinionated, talented women toward specific goals, an opportunity I never had in my early professional life and one that continues to enrich my life.

I have learned so much about myself and my confidence has grown leaps and bounds. This has extended to my professional life in countless ways. For me, this is the ultimate testament – when our mission to empower women is successful among our own leadership team, I know we are doing something very right.

Who are your female role models? 
At the risk of giving a seemingly cliché response here, my role model truly is my mother. She is one of the strongest, most resilient people I know. My mother built her design business from the ground-up with no immediate formal education and worked tirelessly to foster relationships and teach herself the skills she needed to build a company. I remember many nights sneaking downstairs after bedtime to find my mother on the kitchen floor with yards and yards of fabric around her, sewing curtains by hand. This year, she is being honored by the American Society of Interior Designers for her contributions to the design community and for her career achievements.

Beyond her professional success, one of the things I admire most about my mother is her dedication to evolving as a person. My mother continues to surprise me with her ability to be reflective, her desire to learn and be a better person, her ambition and her youthful energy. She has also taught me the value of surrounding myself with other strong, driven women. My mom will tell you that she is who she is in part because of her amazing friends and she has always encouraged me to build my own community of supportive women. I know that she is hugely proud I have found that community in Boston GLOW. 

What would you like to see change for the role of women in our world? For the future?
I would like to see an equal ratio of men to women in leadership positions in business, government and education. I would like to see flexible employment arrangements for working mothers. I would like to see less in the news about sexual assault and violence against women. I would like to elect at least one female President of the United States in my lifetime - if not many (okay, all of them from here on out if possible...?).

How do you balance a full-time job with your leadership role at Boston GLOW?
It isn't always easy. Just as "it takes a village to raise a child", it takes a "village" to build a nonprofit and to sustain its growth. I am extremely fortunate to be part of a team that is sincerely dedicated to our mission - we often differ in our leadership styles and our approach to things but our hearts are in the same, right place and that has bound us to each other and helped us grow. In my every day life, I have created routines and space in my day for GLOW - I wake up at 4:15 AM every day and spend 2-3 hours on GLOW before I start my work day. I cherish this time - with my tea or coffee, watching the sun rise over a quiet city, writing emails and reviewing work - there is no better way to begin each day than with inspiration from my GLOW colleagues. I also sleep better at night knowing I am devoting my spare time to such a worthy cause. Seeing our Girl Leaders achieve their goals, hearing from them at college, listening to their words when they talk about how GLOW has given them confidence - that is the greatest gift of all and one that is certainly worth waking up before the sun for. 

What is your biggest fear?
Well, aside from being naked in a public place, my biggest fear is leaving this world without having made a positive impact. And not having the opportunity to be a mother. Also, rats. I really, really, really do not like rats.

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OW Spotlight: Crystal Torman, Chair of Volunteer Management for IGNITE the NITE 2014

crys.jpegCrystal Torman, Chair of Volunteer Management for IGNITE the NITE 2014 and Associate Director of Girls' Leadership

Last year, Crystal joined Boston GLOW to help plan IGNITE the NITE 2013 as a newcomer to the organization. She took volunteer management for the event by storm and wowed us with her leadership skills, attention to detail, forward-thinking and passion for working with people. Since then, Crystal has become part of Boston GLOW's Leadership Team, currently serving as Associate Director of Girls Leadership programming. In addition to her work for GLOW in that capacity and her "real" day job working for the City of Boston, Crys is leading volunteer management for IGNITE the NITE again this year and we are so lucky to have her. 

Tell us about you:
With 10 years of childcare experience I genuinely believe in the power of youth. Through my work with City Year New Hampshire, Camp Schodack, and a variety of schools I have seen young people accomplish amazing things with the support of adults that care. I believe with my whole heart that "It takes a village to raise a child" and it is all of our responsibility to serve as good role models and mentors for our youth. They are our future.

Who is your female hero?  
I struggle to identify just one woman as my female hero. I see women every day that stand up for what they believe in, fight injustices big and small, and try their hardest to leave this world a little better off then how they found it. These women are all around us. They are my inspiration.

What is one thing you would like to see change for women in the world?
One simple thing I would like to see change for the better is more women supporting each other and less women bringing each other down. Especially, but not specifically in the middle school, and high school levels.

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OW Spotlight Lucy Eilbacher

Lucy Eilbacher joins Boston GLOW for her second year as Chair of the Food & Beverage Committee for IGNITE the NITE. Lucy was a new volunteer to the organization last year and stepped up to lead her team late in the game. Lucy's dog, Punkin, joins the IGNITE Host team regularly and is perhaps the most treasured mascot for Boston GLOW.1012729_10101103009307319_1357166219_n.jpg

Q: How did you become involved with GLOW and what is your current role/contribution?
I became involved with GLOW because I wanted to start to give back to the community again by volunteering some of my time and skills. I am an event planner for a non-profit by trade and thought I might be able to do some good by using what I know to help GLOW plan their annual fundraiser. I currently chair their food and beverage committee for IGNITE the NITE.
Q: What inspires your passion empowering and advancing the role of women in the world? 
I think that women and girls have so much to offer this city, state, country and world. Unfortunately they also have so many obstacles that stand in their way. I think even a small nonprofit like GLOW can make a big impact in a few women and girls. I love the thought that we can help empower and advance the role we play in the world in such a local committed way. 
Q: What was your career goal as a young girl and how did that evolve as you progressed through your education and professional life?
I think my career goals as a young girl were forever changing. I wanted to be a teacher, a marketing guru and even the President of the United States. However in high school I attended the March for Women's Rights in DC right around the time Bush was elected for a second term. The passion and dedication I saw and heard about at the march made such an huge impact on me. It solidified a need to make sure women were given equality in everything. A goal I work towards and think of constantly.
Q: What experiences led you to where you are now?
Maybe it's cliche but I feel like I've grown up with such strong women influencing my life, from my mother who taught me the strength every woman can have to teachers/professor, as well as a few wonderful bosses and mentors in the work force that helped me quickly grow my career in fundraising and events. 
Q: Who are your female role models?
First and foremost would be my mother. She is a strong woman who is always giving her opinion to anyone and everyone regardless of whether they want to hear it or not. Cecile Richards, the President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America (being an employee of Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts myself), she is in a very powerful and important role, one that I think she handle with great dignity and grace. PP has come a long way since she took control. Lastly, I idolize the fictional character Leslie Knope, from Parks and Recreation. I know that may seem silly, but she is such a great ideal of someone that is very committed to improving her community and all of her personal relationships. She handles life with such humor and love.
Q: What would you like to see change for the role of women in our world? For the future?
I WANT WOMEN TO TAKE OVER THE WORLD.
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OW Spotlight: Mallory Bazinet, Co-Chair of Silent Auction for IGNITE the NITE 2014

OW Spotlight: Mallory Bazinet, Co-Chair of Silent Auction for IGNITE the NITE 2014photo_(5).jpg

“Alone we can do so little;
together we can do so much”
-Helen Keller 

How did you get involved with GLOW and what is your current role or contribution?
It’s hard to say whether or not I found Boston GLOW or GLOW found me. When I heard about the organization I was inspired to hear that women in the Boston community were volunteering their time to inspire each other to become leaders. Their mission resonated with me and I wanted to help in any way I could.

I’m contributing to Boston GLOW this year by directing Ignite the Nite’s silent auction to raise scholarship funds for our future girl leaders. 

Who are your female role models?
My role models are women who are kind to each other. Females who don’t judge each other. Girls who believe in themselves against all odds. Women who dare to dream and take chances. Women who care about the community they live in. Good mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts. These women are my role models. 

What inspires your passion empowering and advancing the role of women in the world?
If we could remind each other every day that we all have the power to affect positive change in the community, then this would be a better world to live in. Boston GLOW has given me the platforms to do just that- remind other women how important they are and in return that empowers me. Maybe that’s selfish, or maybe it’s good karma in action. 

Who is your female hero?
Helen Keller. Her story inspires me to dig deep within myself when I feel overcome by an obstacle. A woman who came into this world without a hope and left the world inspired by hope. You might never be able to see the future, but you can most certainly have a vision of who you want to become.

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OW Spotlight Ellen Schmitt

Ellen Schmitt, Co-Chair of the Silent Auction Team for IGNITE the NITE 2014423034_842296409219_1291701641_n.jpg

Q: How did you become involved with GLOW and what is your current role/contribution? 
I became involved with GLOW through my lovely friend Emily.  Her passion and drive to spread GLOW's message had me instantly intrigued. After serving as a member of the Silent Auction committee last year, I returned this year to co-chair the Silent Auction team.
Q: What was your career goal as a young girl and how did that evolve as you progressed through your education and professional life?
I was lucky enough to find my passion at an early age and even luckier to turn it into a career.  I have always loved movies, TV and theater.  Generally, I never stopped performing.  I did countless plays (some for a performing arts studio and others that I made up and forced my younger siblings to perform in).  I worked at a cable access studio in the town when I grew up when I was in high school doing both behind and in front of the camera work.  When searching for colleges, I stumbled upon the perfect film program with a major that allowed me to combine all my interests. 
Q: What is your role currently and what does an average day in your work life look like?  
I currently work as a post production producer for a visual effects company.  There is no such thing as an average day in my line of work.  Each day is a new beginning and a new set of challenges to tackle.
Q: What is your biggest fear?  
Honestly, never living up to my own potential.  And spiders… can't stand them.
Q: What is a trend in pop culture or a celebrity/recognized person that makes you even more passionate about changing the way women are viewed/portrayed in the world? 
I often most notice a celebrity's confidence and that is one trait that can affect the way you present yourself, your demeanor and even your attitude.  Confidence for me though tends to transcend a physical being.  Its also a state of mind.  I'd like to see more women exude confidence and be proud of themselves and who they are.
Q: What is your go-to for energy when you’re running out of steam?
That's an easy one… Laughter.  I find it cures more than just lack of energy.
Q: Who was your childhood hero?  
Definitely my mom.  If you meet her, you'll understand :)
Q: When have you been most satisfied in your life? 
I am most satisfied when I am taking good care of myself and maintaining a healthy mindset physically, mentally and emotionally.  I am naturally one to put others before myself but I have learned to successfully help others, I must be my best self first.
Q: What things do you not like to do?  
Ugh, grocery shopping.  
Q: What's your superpower, or what's your spirit animal?  
I have always, always wanted to fly.  I would love to have that kind of perspective on the world.
Q: How do you balance work/life?  
I consider myself to be an extremely hard worker and I have put a lot of time and energy into my career so this is something that I definitely find to be a challenge for me.  I have found that making time for myself, my family and my friends is the best way to stay grounded.  They are also the people that keep me sane.  I try not to take myself too seriously and allow time to enjoy and experience the world around me.  This could be something as small as going to see a movie that I've been dying to see or taking time to read a book or magazine.  Lately, I've tried to allot time for larger adventures like a vacation with my sister or a weekend away with friends.
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Meet the 2014 IGNITE the NITE Host Committee: Event Co-Chair - Meghan Hargraves

Just ten days to go until Boston GLOW's biggest fundraising event of the year - IGNITE the NITE. We are thrilled to introduce to you, our supporters, some of the dynamic, driven, downright FUN women who have been working tirelessly since July to make this event a reality. Each of the women we will spotlight over the next week brings a unique perspective and skill set to our fundraising endeavors.525567_10200536418243026_139642064_n.jpg

Meghan joined Boston GLOW last year as a newcomer to the organization and fearlessly took on the massive responsibility of leading our Silent Auction team for IGNITE the NITE 2013. Luckily for us, the experience was so positive she wanted to become more involved with Boston GLOW as a whole and Meghan joined the leadership team this summer as Director of Finance and Administration. Additionally, Meghan agreed to co-chair this year's IGNITE the NITE event, overseeing the Silent Auction, Food & Beverage and Volunteer Management teams. 

Meghan Hargraves, Co-Chair of IGNITE the NITE 2014 and Director, Finance & Operations for Boston GLOW

Q: What was your career goal as a young girl and how did that evolve as you progressed through your education and professional life?
When I was really young, I am not sure I had a specific career in mind. I know I wanted to do something that required me to wear suits and stockings and heels and be in charge of things. That appeared to be what kick-ass women did. This eventually translated into law school. Lawyers seemed very glamorous and important. When I went to law school I discovered that while that may be the case for some lawyers, I had absolutely no interest in pursuing the law as a career. That year was a very pricy “learning experience.” At that point I just needed a job and I got my first out of school job as an entry level HR rep. I was there for a year, and then circumstances other than work pulled me to Virginia, where I got my first Operations job. It’s been pretty much Operations and Finance ever since. My current job is the first that is strictly a Finance job. I have proceeded somewhat organically to where I am now, I guess, as I think about it, though it certainly didn’t feel that way as I was doing it.

Q: What experiences led you to where you are now?
I was a bit all over the place when I was younger. I made decisions about my career based on things other than furthering my career. I would find a job, do it until I got bored or needed a change, and then I would find a new job. Somehow or another I ended up working in a finance role in most of my jobs, though I wouldn’t have imagined in a million years that’s where I would end up. Now, as it turns out, finance is my primary role in my day job, and it is something I am building other parts of my life around, which is as much a surprise to me as it is to anyone, I suspect.

Q: What is your role currently and what does an average day in your work life look like?
My day job is currently an Analyst at a real estate investment banking firm. We do asset management and advisory work for others, and we invest in two real estate funds of our own. The work is becoming more project based, so tasks change, sometimes day to day, but it involves a lot of Excel.

My “second job” is as Director of Finance & Operations for GLOW. This is a new role, and evolving. I am working through the historical financials and creating a budget that is a working document to help grow the organization in the future. I am formalizing policies and procedures for expenses and spending and trying to nail down how we measure success from a financial standpoint. It also involves a lot of Excel.

And lastly, my hobby/part time job is a personal chef/food blogger. I do some cooking and catering on the side, and blog when I have “free time.” Cooking is a passion, and eventually I would like it to be my full time paying-the-bills job, but that is likely a ways off at this point.

So an average day involves waking up early and working on GLOW stuff for a couple of hours, heading to the office and spending 10 or 11 hours there, and then heading either to GLOW meetings, or heading home to cook/eat/blog or some combination of all three!

Q: What advice would you give to a young woman trying to pursue a career in your field?
Hmm, be prepared to be a trailblazer. This field needs them.

Q: Is yours a male-dominated organization or industry? What challenges have you faced as a female trying to succeed in your field?
Oh yes, for sure. I would say Commercial Real Estate is at least 70% men? Maybe 80%? I don’t know numbers, but there are a lot of them and not very many of us, but it’s changing.

I am often the only woman in a meeting or seminar. There are four women out of 18 at my current firm, and all the partners are men, which is pretty standard. My firm actually tries to be good about that and hire women, but there are still not many women in the field to be hired.

I am not sure I have faced any field-related challenges because I am a woman yet, though I have worked with a lot of older men in the South and it was very clear that they are not used to having a woman tell them how things are going to be work-wise. This is of course a broad generalization about the South and does not apply across the board at all, but has been my experience. I think I have surprised some of the men I have worked with outside my company.

I can see what the challenges will be, though. It is not a super flexible job. There is travel, and long hours, and things happening all the time. That will be hard when a family and kids comes into play. My firm has never really had to deal with the Mom issue before, but I see it coming.

Q: Where would you like to see your business in 5 years?
I am going to switch gears at this point and talk about my other love, Bread & Ginger, which is my blog and part time personal chef/catering business. I would love it if it was my primary job in five years, either as a blog and recipe site that makes money, a small catering/personal chef company or as a brick & mortar storefront, or a combination of all three! The goal is ultimately a place where you can get good ingredients, prepared foods and light catering. And maybe a food truck, because that would be fun. 

Q: What advice would you give to a woman of any age looking to run with a business idea?
If you are in the position to go for it, because you are financially able, or have the support, or can get loans, just do it! If, like a lot of people, you are not in the position to take that risk right now, stick with it anyway. Make sure you still involve yourself in whatever it is in some way. Find a way to do what you love, even if it isn’t exactly how you envisioned doing it, because you will be happier, and you will be in the game, which will be helpful when it’s time to dive in! Write a blog that only your grandmother will read, help your friends out when they need expertise in your field, find a volunteer organization that needs your services, do anything that will help you build a community around your passion and idea, because those people and that community will be able to help when it does come time to take the plunge. At the very least they might be willing customers!

Q: Who are your female role models?
Julia Child is one, and Barbara Lynch. Hillary Clinton is pretty badass. But mostly there are a lot of women fighting the good fight and doing what needs to be done to get by for them and their families and communities without the support and privilege that I have enjoyed. They are more driven than I’ll ever be. Cheers to them.

Q: What would you like to see change for the role of women in our world? For the future?
The systemic patriarchy has got to go, and with it the ingrained racism and classicism and homophobia. They are holding humanity back. I think the power of the people and civilization is totally unknowable until we are all working from a level playing field and everyone has the same chances. And that’s just not the case right now. Plenty of people would like to think otherwise, but it is just not the case.

 

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OW Spotlight: Amanda Smidt, Entertainment Chair for IGNITE the NITE

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We are excited to introduce Amanda Smidt, Chair of the Entertainment Committee for our 4th annual IGNITE the NITE. This is Amanda's first year involved with Boston GLOW and she has worked tirelessly to make this year's event the best it can be - overseeing the live music, production of our first-ever cornerstone video, and every detail of the overall event production. Not a small job for a newcomer, but she's done it with grace and a fabulous sense of humor! 

Amanda Smidt is the National Manager of Alumni & Career Services at City Year, Inc.  City Year is a national education non-profit powered by national service.  Every year, nearly 3,000 City Year corps members commit to a year of full-time service in the country’s lowest performing schools as tutors, mentors, and role models to help students stay in school and on-track. She served in Rhode Island as a corps member for two years from 2008-2010, and then continued to volunteer on Alumni Boards in Rhode Island and Boston for three more years.  (Click here to read a blog post detailing her graduation speech to the City Year Boston 2013 corps)  When she returned to City Year as a staff member in July 2013, she decided to focus her volunteering efforts on a new organization, and Boston GLOW stood out as an incredible opportunity to support young, talented girls and grow her network of extraordinary women.

From a young age, Amanda has been committed to making a difference in her community.  Through middle and high school, she focused her extra-curricular time on civically-minded projects, leading the community engagement committee on her Student Council and was a Wisconsin DECA State Officer as Vice President of Civic Consciousness.  With DECA, she coordinated a statewide fundraising campaign for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA), raising over $55,000 during her term.  Her passion for MDA continued beyond fundraising opportunities and she spent the next 7 summers volunteering at MDA’s Summer Camp.  Through college, she worked with her sorority to raise awareness of victims of domestic violence and planned local events to raise funds for Nebraskans for Peace and LGBTQA organizations.

What experiences led you to where you are now?

Although my bio may look like I’ve always been working towards a career in non-profit, there were several moments when I decided to try something new and pursue a path I thought might be a better fit.  However, every time I’ve stepped away from opportunities to improve a community, I find that I lose my passion.  I feel happiest and most challenged when I’m working with non-profits; in fact, it no longer feels like work.  It’s an amazing feeling to be part of something much bigger than myself.

What is your go-to for energy when you’re running out of steam?

 I think it’s always important to make time for myself, \whether that means going for a walk around downtown without a to-do list or heading to a coffee shop with a blank journal.  I’m currently studying much of the content in Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey, specifically taking time to reflect and finding my bliss.  I’m also a firm believer that a good laugh is incredibly important for the soul. 

Who is your female hero?

In college, I was introduced to the work of Audre Lorde.  To me, her work is nothing short of life-changing.  When I read her poetry, I feel like I’m finding power from within that I didn’t know I had. 

“...and when we speak we are afraid
our words will not be heard
nor welcomed
but when we are silent
we are still afraid
So it is better to speak
remembering
we were never meant to survive.”   -Audre Lorde, Litany for Survival

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