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Julie Hertzberg joined Empowerment Council when she was managing the dueling expectations of work and motherhood

Empowerment Council Member Reclaims Sense of Self

// September 23, 2020

Julie Hertzberg Found in Empowerment Council a Network of Like-Minded Women

Several years ago, when Julie Hertzberg relocated to Denver, she reached out to a fellow alum of her sorority. They reminisced and rediscovered mutual career ambitions and love of family. Fittingly, a mentorship blossomed between Julie and Jennifer Cottrell.

Fast forward a few years when Julie returned to work after maternity leave and struggled to balance dueling expectations of home and work, she realized it was time to make a career shift. She wanted to pursue a more flexible, supportive career path after working in recruiting for 12 years. She turned to Jennifer for advice again. This time, she walked away with an unexpected recommendation – look into The Women’s Foundation of Colorado.

Meeting people beyond her male-dominated work environment

As a trustee of WFCO, Jennifer benefitted from the supportive network of like-minded women. She thought WFCO would expose Julie to new opportunities that would help as she figured out how to be a new mom and explored new career options.

“I wanted to get out of my own network and meet people beyond my largely male-dominated work environment,” said Julie. “I wanted to be opened up to new ideas.”

Among the many communities of giving offered by WFCO – PEP, giving circles, donor-advised funds, and more – Julie found Empowerment Council (EC) fit her needs and passions the best. Empowerment Council is comprised of women who are emerging philanthropists. Members donate $500 to WFCO yearly, and in return they meet other women who also want to network, connect, and grow professionally and philanthropically.

“I have never met a more giving group of women – giving in their expertise, time, and generosity,” said Julie. “I’m honored to be a part of it. It makes my heart happy.”

Empowerment Council benefits include career planning workshops

Benefits of Empowerment Council membership include learning about women’s issues related to career planning, skills, and employment training. She also appreciates the opportunity to support children’s success and the Colorado organizations doing the work, such as Florence Crittenton Services of Colorado and Mi Casa Resource Center. But a  benefit that surprises Julie is reclaiming her sense of self. She says:

“It softened me in terms of being more accepting, flexible, going easier on myself. I now spend time prioritizing my family and am no longer beating myself up for not being able to do it all. I’m a lot more forgiving and I give people the benefit of the doubt. I ask more questions and I don’t just assume.”

The Empowerment Council meets monthly for professional development, philanthropy, community events, or happy hours. Topics range from the importance of women and voting, women and finance, strategic philanthropy, mentorship, and more. Although Julie does not participate in all the monthly events offered by EC, she found one focused on salary negotiations to be especially powerful.

“Many women are afraid to lead negotiation conversations,” she said. “WFCO brings knowledge-based professionals with a specific expertise to Empowerment Council. It’s a huge value-add.”

Connecting members of different communities, generations

Additionally, Julie appreciates that EC connects members of different communities and generations. For instance, several PEP members volunteer their time with the Empowerment Council to share lessons learned throughout their careers, particularly how they navigated career changes, motherhood, work place politics, and community involvement. It’s helped her visualize the kind of philanthropist she wants to be and where she wants to spend her valuable time.

And what does that look like for this emerging philanthropist?

“I’ve spent some time thinking about joining a board and volunteering my time that way,” said Julie. “Ultimately, I really like building and rebuilding things. I’d see myself joining a high-performing board and then down the road taking my experience to an organization that needs some rebuilding.”

When she does make this move, she will have a network of supportive women cheering her on.

For more information about Empowerment Council, please contact Kristina Vaio, kristinav@wfco.org

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