#74: Michelle Bowman of Save the Children International

Listen to the interview by clicking the arrow on the audio player below.

There are now more than 120 voices in the mix at Work Stew, and one theme I hear over and over again is a craving for meaning. Everyone needs to make a living, but—as the cliché goes—we also want to make a difference. “Saving the children” seems to me to be as compelling a purpose as any, so I was curious to connect (via the great introducer, Mary-Katherine Brooks Fleming) with Michelle Bowman, Save the Children International’s brand new Director of Strategy.

In particular, I wanted to learn: how did she arrive at the role she’s in now? Why did she spend some time in the private sector along the way? And why did she invest in an MBA? Despite the late hour after a long first day on the job, Bowman gamely tackled all of these questions. Winning points for being extra helpful, she also shared the one thing she might have done differently had she known then what she knows now.

About Michelle Bowman: As the Director of Strategy at Save the Children International, Bowman coordinates the strategic direction for the world’s leading independent organization for children, operating in over 120 countries. She holds an MBA from the Wharton School, an MA in International Studies from the Lauder Institute, and a BA in History and Literature from Harvard College. Michelle is originally from Oregon.

#73: Tess Poe, Owner of Beehive Sewing Studio + Workspace

Listen to the interview by clicking the arrow on the audio player below.

No task gives me greater pleasure than making something with my hands, which is one reason I wanted to speak with Tess Poe. Over the last three years, Poe has built a business around providing tools and a workspace for “makers”primarily people who sew and artists who work with fibers and fabrics.

In this interview, I learned how Poe came to the idea after a career spent largely in the public sector and with various non-profits. Poe also gamely answered the question, “So, exactly how harrowing has it been to take the leap and start your own business?”

About Tess Poe: Tess Poe is an entrepreneur, maker, writer, and researcher in Northampton, Massachusetts. In 2011, Poe conceived of Beehive Sewing Studio + Workspacethe Pioneer Valley’s first pay-by-the-hour sewing studio for new and experienced sewists and crafters. She most recently worked as a public affairs specialist with a Federal agency, and provides strategic consulting services to several nonprofit organizations.

Poe began her career in Washington, DC in the late 1990s as an organizer, advocate, and fundraiser for progressive groups such as the International Campaign for Tibet, Amnesty International, ACLU, and Habitat for Humanity. Trained as a geographer, her research and advocacy for environmental land-use planning and “smart growth” led her to a graduate degree in regional planning at the University of Massachusetts in the early 2000s. She then worked as a researcher and community planner at the Federal, regional, and municipal levels. A Long Island, New York transplant, Poe has lived in a converted bicycle factory in Northampton Center since 2010, and in Western Massachusetts, on and off, since 1993. 

#72: Dr. Jonathan Finks, Founder and Director of the Doctors of Tomorrow Program

Listen to the interview by clicking the arrow on the audio player below.

Thanks to Facebook, I recently learned that a college classmate of mine started a program called the Doctors of TomorrowThe program connects ninth graders from Cass Technical High School in Detroit with medical students and doctors at the University of Michigan Medical School.

The goal  of the program, which is now entering its second year, is to stimulate interest in a career in medicine among minority high school students, and to provide the type of information and mentorship that might help pave the way.

Someone who loves what he does so much that he wants to inspire the next generation? I fired off an interview request within seconds.    

About Jonathan Finks: Dr. Finks is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery and Director of the Adult Bariatric Surgery Program at the University of Michigan. His clinical interests are in the areas of minimally invasive general and bariatric surgery. Dr. Finks’ research interests focus on collaborative quality improvement with bariatric surgery. He is also the director and founder of the Doctors of Tomorrow Program, a community outreach program of the University of Michigan Medical School in partnership with Cass Technical High School of Detroit.