Daily News

Dulye Leadership Experience Connects Political Leaders with Next-gen Voters

PITTSFIELD — The Dulye Leadership Experience (DLE), which offers professional-development programs for emerging leaders, is carving out a new niche: generating a dialogue between its members and politicians.

The organization has begun hosting open, in-person exchanges, called Listening Sessions, to bring political leaders together with DLE’s Gen-Z and Millennial members. The next session is set for Monday, Feb. 5. The goal is to facilitate an exchange that can help political leaders better understand the issues that are important to this key constituency.

The Listening Sessions program was hatched from a conversation last summer between DLE founder and President Linda Dulye and Pittsfield Mayor Pete Marchetti, who at the time was a candidate for mayor. Marchetti wanted to broaden his outreach and hear from a critical group of citizens whose voices needed to be amplified: the under-40 residents, professionals, and business owners of the city.

For this, he looked to DLE, which has been building an extensive, diverse community of next-gen leaders through its free professional-development and networking programs since 2008.

The debut DLE Listening Session, held July 24, 2023, resulted in an open, interactive learning experience for Marchetti, who praised the 15 participants for being “forward-thinking rather than focusing on the past.” He added, “If we are going to move forward, we must engage in more of these types of conversations.”

State Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier is the next political leader to headline a Listening Session. Farley-Bouvier, like Marchetti, contacted Dulye with a request to meet with DLE members to broaden her perspective on issues that matter to next-gen leaders in the Berkshires. The 85-minute exchange will be held Feb. 5 at 5:15 p.m. at the DLE headquarters in downtown Pittsfield. DLE members who live or work in Pittsfield and have an interest in joining the conversation should contact Dulye at [email protected]. Attendance will be limited to 15 participants to ensure the group’s full engagement with Farley-Bouvier.

“The first job of a legislator is to listen,” Farley-Bouvier said. “I welcome the opportunity to hear from young professionals in Pittsfield about their experiences and how they think the Commonwealth can be a better partner in making our community one in which everyone can thrive.”

As chief designer of the format and flow of the moderated Listening Session, Dulye set one overarching ground rule: “the sessions are strictly for education, not endorsement.”

They are conducted without cost to the political leaders and participants, with Dulye underwriting all advance preparation and operational expenses. “As a crusader for conversations and building connections in our community, I am committed to making these educational experiences available to civic, business, and government leaders who want to learn from the members of a talent pool that we must grow and fortify in the Berkshires. Next-gen leaders are a powerful engine for economic revitalization.”

Dulye’s commitment to civic engagement is evidenced by her leadership role on the Pittsfield Economic Revitalization Corp. board and her active engagement in Downtown Pittsfield Inc. volunteer cleanup projects. Her management consulting and professional-development firm, Dulye & Co., operates out of a North Street office.