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bernadette-souzaExecutive Director, Trips for Kids New Bedford

How are you engaged in the Community and what motivates you to be involved?

A New Bedford native and life-long city resident, I have volunteered many hours with many organizations over the years. Deeply committed to this community and its youth, I have and will continue to dedicate and volunteer my services freely. I currently serve on the Board of Trustees for Our Sisters’ School as Co-Vice Chair and have been on the board since 2008. I am a mentor for the Women’s Fund’s Life Work Project and also serve on the Education Round Table. Offering my services as an organizational member of the South Coast Youth Alliance is the latest task where my leadership skills are coming in handy.

What motivates me the most about being involved in my community is the love that I have for this beautiful city of New Bedford and the SouthCoast area. There are so many resources available and it my job to connect the right families, youth and people to these unique resources. Growing up, I was very fortunate to have the right mentors and many moms who kept me on that narrow road and now I feel it is my turn to “pay it forward”. I love people and helping people. It completes me and gives me a warm feeling in my heart knowing that I have the opportunity to make positive change.

Did you value your LSC experience? How did it contribute to your community leadership?

I am elated that I was granted the opportunity to be a part of this wonderful experience. The connections I’ve made and the knowledge I gained by working closely with many from the public, private and non-profit side of business was refreshing. Working in the non-profit world for so many years, you tend get lost about how the for-profit world operates. Being a part of LSC gave me the opportunity to not only learn from for-profit leaders but also allowed me to shed light on the highlights and woes of working in the non-profit sector.

LSC helped give me a better understanding overall of my community and the community of Fall River. I enjoyed the numerous speakers and leaders that came in to offer their support and expert advice on the topic of leadership. The on-site visits to various places that were introduced to us were a bonus. These visits gave me a different perspective in how each operates. I valued from visiting and learning about sites such as public & charter schools, the MA State House, New Bedford Economic Development Center, and Bristol County House of Corrections, just to name a few.

The thing that is so special about this program is that it brings a group of leaders from all sectors of the South Coast area, in one environment, together on projects, each coming with their own unique gifts to enhance each task. I think this idea is powerful!! Most importantly, I am happy to say that being a part of LSC gave me the opportunity to make lasting friendships with some dynamic people. I loved the experience and I am forever grateful.

Describe your leadership in one word.


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