Meet Jenn Smith, Berkshire Leadership Program Class of ‘12
The Berkshire Leadership Program (BLP) is a comprehensive course in local leadership. BLP seeks, prepares, involves, and sustains leaders from diverse backgrounds who are committed and competent to address community challenges and improve the quality of life in the Berkshires. Learn more.
Job Titles: Education Lab engagement editor for The Seattle Times (remote); assistant baker at Tunnel City Coffee in Williamstown; (formerly the education reporter and community engagement editor at The Berkshire Eagle)
1. What do you think makes a good leader?
A strong work ethic coupled with a sense of self along with accountability, kindness, charisma and compassion. A sense of humanity, humility, and humor, always. A good leader empowers others by encouraging creativity, curiosity, confidence, and cultural competence. An effective leader has the drive to ask questions of the people about the world around them, listens actively, and responds accordingly. Leaders should also be comfortable with executive decision making while also having the willingness to collaborate with and delegate responsibilities to others, supporting them and offering structure, suggestions, and resources along the way.
2. How did BLP enhance your leadership abilities?
Berkshire Leadership Program offers me a behind-the-scenes look at what’s happening in our community and introduces me to the people effecting change, in roles great and small. BLP has made me a better leader by affording me the opportunity to learn new strategies and skills, to challenge myself, and to expand my network to include some of the most fabulous, thoughtful, intelligent doers and thinkers I know in this region. Thanks, BLP!
3. What’s one project or initiative that you’re currently spearheading?
Earlier this year in the Berkshires, I collaborated with BRIDGE’s New Pathways Talks & Labs series, Norman Rockwell Museum’s town hall series on justice and equity, and the People of Color Ensemble supported by WAM Theatre. Right now, I’m focused on my new work in the Education Lab at The Seattle Times. I’m particularly excited about working with the teen and young adult contributors to our Student Voices initiative. We need to listen to, amplify, and value their voices because they’re our next generation of leaders.