Tracy is a member of LSC’s Class of 2011. She is the co-founder of The Dream Out Loud Center, an adjunct professor at Bristol Community College, and recently began the Ph.D. program for Humanities at Salve Regina University.
What do you do for work?
Currently, I’m the part-time Executive Director of The Dream Out Loud Center (formerly Brick by Brick: A Community Organization) in New Bedford, MA an organization I co-founded twenty years ago that educates youth, ages 6-24, in the Creative Careers of the publishing, graphic and performing arts. In addition, I am an adjunct professor, teaching communication, English and computer studies at Bristol Community College. In addition, I advise the Bristol Community College’s student newspaper, The Hawk. Also, I recently began the Ph.D. program for Humanities at Salve Regina University, which explores the human technology relationship.
How are you involved in the community?
Currently, I am involved in the community through my work at the Dream Out Loud Center, and through AHA! Nights in New Bedford, where I also served on the Executive Committee as Co-Chair and Vice Chair from July 2012-2020. I also try to volunteer as often as I can with creative publishing projects at Spinner Publications, where the work is close to my heart. At Spinner, I learned much about nonprofit fundraising, editorial and publishing work after graduating from UMass Dartmouth, with my Bachelor’s degree in English, Writing and Communications. I passionately believe in giving back and staying committed. Commitment is necessary to create lasting change in our communities.
What did you find most valuable about participating in LSC?
I loved the convening of like-minded professionals to discuss the challenges and opportunities of the South Coast region. Being a native of Fall River, who found my life’s work in the artistic community of New Bedford, when I was twenty-six years old, I understand intimately how both regions enhance and complement each other. I am still very passionate about my hometown Fall River, and enjoy hearing about the variety of projects happening in both communities. In addition to the time focusing on the region, I’ve also enjoyed the alumni opportunities of being a member of LSC. My favorite was participating in a group-led book reading of Brene Brown’s book Dare to Lead!
2020 has been a year like no other with COVID-19 and longstanding racial and political divides reaching new heights. How are you leading during these unprecedented times?
I have continued to lead by listening and participating in conversations in which I can allow others to feel listened to, understood and never judged. I also believe great leadership must create opportunities and training for others by offering paid professional opportunities that help them further their educational and career journey. I also am trying to participate more actively in the political process. I’m committed to carving out extra time to write letters to our Members of Congress and participate in more conversations with our judicial leaders. In addition, I’m committed to creating a necessary safe space for our youth, where they can think critically, and create freely. Most importantly, I’m committed to always leading with other’s best interests at the core of the mission, and always finding a way to move forward—even while pivoting.
What leadership advice would you offer LSC’s Class of 2020 as they wind down their program experience?
Value your time with your cohort, engage in as many conversations as possible, be open and receptive, and please don’t let your journey end at the end of the year. Turn those conversations and projects into concrete actions. There is much work to do in this region, and we need everyone’s contributions. Dreams do come true here. Help to make yours, and others’ a reality.