Julie Cowan: 39
Vice President of Commercial Lending, TD Bank
It’s a prospect that inspires and motivates Julie Cowan in both her professional and personal life. “I’m about opportunity, and what I do professionally and for volunteer service are connected, even though it may not seem that way,” she said.
“My work as a commercial lender is about economic opportunity — giving businesses a chance to expand and grow.”
That extends to her personal life, as Cowan believes it’s important to be involved and walk the walk at organizations she belongs to. She is a board member of the United Way of Hampshire County, co-chair for its 2009-10 campaign year, and an advocate who spends untold hours promoting the organization. Cowan has been a United Way donor since college and a volunteer in Hampshire County since 1996. She chaired its audit committee and served on its funds-allocation committee, acting as its chairperson for three years.
She is also chair of the campus steering committee for Clarke School for the Deaf in Northampton and a committee member of its Perfect Match fundraiser. In addition, she is active in the Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce and the Northampton Area Young Professionals.
“The Clarke School is about giving a deaf or hard-of-hearing child the opportunity to speak, which opens a world of possibilities,” she said. “And United Way opportunities range from giving a single parent the chance to work, as we offer scholarships for after-school care, to the opportunity for an abused woman to have a safe place to stay, to letting people know where their next meal is coming from.
“I was a Girl Scout because of a United Way scholarship, and now I have an opportunity to give back,” she explained. “When I first started giving, I could only afford $5 a paycheck.”
But that has grown, along with her leadership and commitment. “I give my time and money, and hopefully help build resources for both organizations. It’s what you are supposed to do; it’s what being a citizen is.”