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Daily News

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.

Daily News

PITTSFIELD — The Dulye Leadership Experience (DLE) will present leadership expert Susan Salter at a one-hour, virtual workshop on improving self-confidence titled “How to Turn Confidence into Currency,” on Friday, Jan. 26 at noon. There is no fee to attend, but registration is required by clicking here.

Salter, CEO and founder of Life, Styled by Susan, will offer a lively exchange about how to map clear pathways to achieve things that seem out of reach. Powered by more than 20 years of experience as a thought leader during her successful corporate career at Merrill Lynch, PayPal, and Bank of America, she has gained a respected reputation as a transformational teacher, coach, and changemaker who has helped hundreds adopt high-performance habits.

Since 2008, the Dulye Leadership Experience has produced hundreds of inspirational programs and innovative resources for professionals in the Berkshires and beyond to advance careers, connections, and critical skills. Learning and networking experiences are offered at no cost through the underwriting of Dulye & Co. consultancy in the Berkshires.

Daily News

PITTSFIELD — Berkshire-based stress expert Julie Haagenson will lead a virtual Dulye Leadership Experience wellness workshop called “Transforming Stress: An Interactive Workshop for Improving Your Well-being and Mental Fitness” on Wednesday, Oct. 11.

This one-hour, interactive session, which begins at 5:15 p.m., will deliver valuable insights into the physiological and psychological aspects of stress. Haagenson has more than two decades of experience as a counselor, facilitator, educator, consultant, and coach. As the founder of New Pathways Coaching & Consulting, she will provide tools and strategies to increase well-being and improve performance.

Through the underwriting of the Dulye & Co. management consultancy, there is no fee to attend. Advance registration is required. To ensure an intimate and interactive learning experience, only 45 spaces are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Click here to reserve a virtual seat.

Daily News

PITTSFIELD — The workplace reset is real, troublesome, and challenging. Business media buzzes with reports of companies requiring employees to return to work, shrinking their office space, or introducing ‘hoteling’ practices. Offsetting these trends are the increased appetite of many employees for flexible work schedules, while fewer people are quitting their jobs, according to a breaking report from the ADP Research Institute. And looming large is the rise of AI devices in workplaces.

“The Workplace Reset” is the topic of the next Dulye Leadership Experience (DLE) virtual program on Friday, June 9, when a diverse group of professionals will exchange experiences and perspectives in a frank conversation about changing expectations. Participants will speak about how their workplace is handling this reset and what they are doing to manage this reset in their companies, work teams, and social connections.

This one-hour, virtual program starts at noon and features moderated discussion as well as breakout sessions. There is no fee to attend. To promote an open and transparent space, the program will not be recorded. To register, click here.

Daily News

PITTSFIELD — Dulye Leadership Experience will offer free coaching with its DLE Culture Chat on Friday, March 3, titled “How to Grow Your Career in 2023.”

Moderated by leaders in finance, technology, nonprofits, small business, and other sectors, the program will feature a lively, interactive format and comfortable opportunities for meeting attendees in large- and small-group discussions. Attendees will gain direction, resources, and insights to help them make a career-growth plan that fulfills them professionally and personally.

An engaging conversation will explore how to identify vital skills for advancing in one’s career, step up to new responsibilities out of one’s comfort zone, set trackable development goals, hold oneself accountable, and find an effective mentor to provide guidance.

This free, one-hour program begins at noon. Advance registration is required by clicking here.

Workforce Development

Learning Experience

 

Aundrea Paulk

Aundrea Paulk says no one should think they know everything about leadership.

Aundrea Paulk says many of her friends and colleagues call her a “sponge.” And she likes to use that phrase herself.

She believes it conveys what she considers to be a real and almost unquenchable thirst for knowledge and insight into how she can be a better leader, a better entrepreneur — and a better person.

“I like to learn … and I don’t think anyone gets to, or should get to, a place where they get comfortable and think they know it all when it comes to leadership,” said Paulk, director of Marketing & Communications for Caring Health Center in Springfield and owner of her own event-planning business called Soiree Mi. “Leadership is so expansive, and not only here at the Caring Health Center, but with my own business, I want to make sure that I’m constantly filling my well with knowledge so that, as a leader, I can show up in my best capacity, but also give those nuggets, as they call them, to others that are looking to grow their own leadership skills.”

It was this ongoing quest for knowledge — and desire to pass on those ‘nuggets’ — that prompted Paulk to put her name into consideration last fall when BusinessWest was gifting a slot at the two-day, immersive Dulye Leadership Experience (DLE) in the Berkshires.

Her self-nomination was one of many received by the magazine, and it certainly resonated with those deciding who would partake in this program of intense learning, networking, and professional development.

Paulk, a member of BusinessWest’s Forty Under 40 class of 2022, said she made the very most of her experience and came away with nuggets to share, a better appreciation of the need to sell herself and not just her company — or companies, in this case — and, overall, some solid takeaways on how to be a better, more effective leader.

“After completing the Dulye Leadership Experience immersion training, I learned how to better lead my department and, more importantly, how to recognize the strengths that I already have and better utilize them,” she said. “As the owner of Soiree Mi, it is important that I tap into those strengths to grow my business to develop relationships and gain partnerships that will enhance the overall community. These partnerships have allowed Soiree Mi to move from its infancy stage into an established, successful entity.”

Elaborating, Paulk said she and her staff recently conducted their own day-long retreat at Caring Health Center, and a good portion of the agenda focused on topics that were brought up at the DLE immersion training, including well-being, improved communication, and “networking with a purpose.”

 

Dive Right In

The DLE, as noted earlier, is a two-day, immersive program. It was conceived by Linda Dulye, founder of Dulye & Co., which helps leaders and their organizations cultivate magnetic cultures where employees want to stay and grow. During a painfully slow period for the company in the fall of 2008, their height of the Great Recession, she created the DLE, a nonprofit organization, to help recent college graduates be more workforce-ready and able to form relationships and sell themselves.

Over the years, the DLE evolved, and programming shifted to attract, develop, and retain young professionals in the Berkshires. The descriptions of the programs offered during the immersion provide real insight into how it helps attendees grow professionally and thrive in the modern workplace.

“The workplace has become more diverse, dispersed, digital, and dynamic,” reads the summation for a program titled “Create Connections for Differences.” “These changes create opportunities for growth, learning, and creativity, but they also cause disconnection. This session reveals strategies for working across and with differences to increase effectiveness, belongingness, creativity, and communication.”

A program called “(Re)train Your Communication Muscle” was described this way: “The pandemic has atrophied our social muscles — so much so that many find it difficult to interact with others. We have to retrain ourselves to work better. Fortunately, these muscles are resilient.”

The session was led by Marc Williams, communications coach and author of the books Beyond Limitations and The Rules of Engagement for Public Speaking. Paulk said she found the session helpful, and Williams even more so, especially when it came to the broad assignment of branding herself and building that brand.

She said one assignment attendees were given was to evaluate and update their professional LinkedIn page, and to fully understand its importance when it comes to their ‘brand.’

“We had to assess what we thought other people did without asking them, by just looking at their profile,” she explained while recalling the exercise. “What we found is that most of us don’t use our LinkedIn pages unless we’re looking for a job — that’s the only time people really go in and update it.

“That’s not what we should be doing,” she went on. “We should be making sure our professional and personal brand are on point. He [Williams] assessed and provided great feedback and evaluation of my page and how I can improve it.”

But the session she found most compelling, and the one that probably yielded the most ‘nuggets,’ she said, was one titled “Create a Culture of Well-being Within Your Team,” led by Andrea Lein, a self-described “positive psychology expert.”

“More employees are citing well-being as a key factor in deciding where and how they choose to work,” reads the brief description. “Experts believe we are transitioning to the next global crisis: a mental-health pandemic. Are you and your organization ready?”

Paulk said the session gave her plenty to think about when it comes to being ready, and it is prompting her to be more proactive on this issue.

“I always thought of well-being as self-care and the physical side of the equation,” she told BusinessWest. “I forgot about the importance of social well-being, communication as well-being, how we talk to one another; is it positive?”

Elaborating, she said that, while she still asks her staff members how their weekend went, she now looks to go deeper and find out how people are doing with their physical health, their financial health, their mental health, and how they are faring as they try to balance life and work.

 

Knowledge Is Power

Overall, Paulk said her willingness to take part in the leadership immersion program is a logical expression of her desire to continue learning and refine and build upon her leadership skills, something she believes all young professionals — and even those not quite so young — should be doing.

“The importance of continuing to develop your skills is critical to you as a human being and to what you want to put out in the world, the legacy you want to leave behind,” she explained. “If I stay stuck in a way of thinking or in the way I show up, I’m doing a disservice to myself; I’m doing a disservice to those I’m supposed to be in charge of and help grow.

“That’s why I continue to learn,” she went on. “I feel like there’s never a time in my life — I don’t care if I’m 100 — that I want to stop learning, and learning in different ways.”

That’s why she wanted to be at the Dulye Leadership Experience in November, and that’s why she’s a sponge, always looking to fill her well with knowledge.

Daily News

PITTSFIELD — The workplace trend called quiet quitting, which is creating a buzz on social media and news headlines, takes center stage at Dulye Leadership Experience (DLE) open-forum program Culture Chat on Friday, Oct. 14.

“Let’s Talk About Quiet Quitting” is a one-hour, moderated conversation with professionals from diverse organizations, roles, and industries. This no-fee program begins at noon and is open to the public. Advance registration is required. To reserve a virtual seat, click here.

Since 2008, DLE has invested in the professional development of thousands of rising leaders in the Berkshires and worldwide. Through the sustained sponsorship of Dulye & Co., a workplace culture and engagement consultancy based in Pittsfield, fee-free programming is produced year-round to develop critical skills and connections for career success.

Daily News

PITTSFIELD — With fresh recognition from BusinessWest, the Dulye Leadership Experience (DLE) 2022 Leadership Immersion is generating a buzz for its speakers and topics for building connected teams.

Registration for this professional-development program closes on Thursday, Sept. 15 for 45 exclusive seats that guarantee direct access and high engagement with internationally recognized authors, scholars, and business experts and a cohort of diverse, motivated professionals. The event takes place Friday and Saturday, Nov. 4-5 at the lakeside Proprietor’s Lodge conference venue in the Berkshires.

Interactive sessions and breakout exercises will transfer success strategies for leading team communications, collaboration, and connectivity. Click here for the event brochure, speaker profiles, and registration. Discount lodging is available for registrants.

Featured speakers include Lynne Vincent, associate professor of Management, Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University; Marc Williams, everyday communications coach and author of Beyond Limitations and The Rules of Engagement for Public Speaking; Keith Grafman, co-founder of Creative Content Consulting and author of The Art of Instant Message; Andrea Lein, positive psychology expert; and Ken Faber, faculty instructor at the Center for Personalized Education for Professionals in Denver. Registration is conducted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Daily News

PITTSFIELD — If the recent gyrations of cryptocurrency have you perplexed, then get a balanced take of the current landscape at the Dulye Leadership Experience (DLE) ownership workshop, “Demystifying Cryptocurrency,” on Tuesday, Sept. 20.

Registration is underway for a one-hour, virtual conversation with nationally recognized experts Paul Farella and Alexandra Renders of Berkshire-based Willow Investments. The program begins at 5 p.m. Click here to reserve your virtual seat.

Farella and Renders will answer questions and offer insights on where they see digital currency heading. Attendees will grow what you know about what blockchains are and how they work, the impact this technology can have on business and society, and the opportunity and risks inherent in this space.

Willow Investment is a certified B-Corp and designated Woman Based Enterprise investment firm, one of the few woman-run firms with this distinction. Renders’s experience spans 36 years in the financial industry. She founded Willow in 2009 and serves as CEO of the Pittsfield firm. Previously, she served as first vice president of Investments and a senior leader at Berkshire Bank. She holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Connecticut.

As the managing director at Willow Investments, Farella leads the firm’s cryptocurrency and digital assets division through Willow Crypto. He holds an MBA with a focus on sustainability from Antioch University New England. He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and finance from the Barney School of Business at the University of Hartford.

Since 2008, the Berkshire-based Dulye Leadership Experience has invested in the professional development of thousands of rising leaders worldwide. Critical skills and connections for career success are grown through year-round training, subsidized by DLE founder and entrepreneur Linda Dulye. DLE’s diverse, global network of ambitious professionals learn from and inspire each other to find their passions and maximize their impact in their respective communities.