Women United educates, engages, and empowers women in Greater Austin. Each quarter we will spotlight and bring you a closer look into the lives of one of your fellow Women United Members. We are proud to celebrate women as philanthropic leaders and are honored to have so many amazing women in our community
— like Jamie Bowers, a new Women United superstar!
Q&A with Jamie Bowers| CEO, Bola Pizza
What do you love about Austin?
Good question! What do I not love about Austin? I grew up here so I’ve seen this city change rapidly and experienced the growing pains firsthand. I love how open and friendly we are. Austinites tend to hold open doors, smile and say hello.
How did you become involved with United Way for Greater Austin/Women United?
I was lucky enough to meet Bill Butler [United Way ATX Sr. Corporate Account Manager] on a plane to a friend’s birthday in Tulum. We started talking about what we do and he explained to me how United Way’s programs impact our community. I was intrigued because I believe in supporting charitable causes that develop people along with being a source of information for basic needs and more complex issues like child care, counseling, access to continuing education. United Way has programs for all of those needs and other support organizations they direct people to if they don’t fit within the United Way programs. Having all the knowledge in one place has a serious impact for those in need. As I’ve been involved with United Way, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting other talented people in the organization that are just as passionate as Bill. It’s fulfilling to be in a position where I can support this organization and their goals.
Why have you chosen to gift your time, talent and resources through United Way and why are you passionate about early childhood care and education?
My mom was a single mother of three for several years. As the oldest, it was my job to help watch after my brother and sister while she worked. I watched her struggle to find enough time to work, take care of us and just have fun being a family. I supported her as much as I could making dinner and trying to be a good kid.
“ I can’t imagine how hard this must be for families with other challenges be they economic, lack of access to child care, educational support or a language barrier that makes it difficult to locate resources. I see these struggles with my employees at Bola Pizza. “
Most of my employees are women who are Spanish speaking. There is a misconception that these families overuse social services. I can say from my experience, these women and their families don’t know there are social services to help them. United Way is engaging in our community to make sure all families know they have support for childcare and education. The Success by 6 program is something I’m directing my kitchen staff to. It’s an excellent program and the impact on these children’s lives will be profound. The difference in being prepared for school and not can set children behind for the rest of their lives. No one should have to experience this.
How would you describe the value or impact Women United has brought to you personally? (or what do you look forward to most as you become more involved?)
I have barely scratched the surface of being a member! I’m really looking forward to meeting other Women United members and learning about what they have done to support United Way and their staff at work.
“I find people who are actively looking to make the world a better place tend to be great leaders. I can always learn something from people like that!”
As a Women United leader, what do you hope the group will accomplish over the next year?
Oh my goodness, this is such a huge question. I would love for Success by 6 to be a program every family in Austin knows about.
Who are the women that inspire you most?
I love meeting women in food and/or in business. I find the collaborative nature of women can make a huge impact in any organization. I have so many inspirational women in my life from my hard working mom, to my best friends and business colleagues. I would like to give a huge shout out to Kathie Borkowski of Panos Brands based in New Jersey. Panos Brands is the parent company of Andrew & Everett, which makes the mozzarella we use. I reached out to Kathie when we were a speck of a company and looking to partner with a cheese maker that fit our quality standards. She worked out a deal for us to buy at a lower cost AND get a small rebate back per pound. If she hadn’t been willing to believe in my vision and where I saw Bola Pizza in the future, I’m not sure where we would be today. She worked for a month to get a deal finalized. It’s this kind of generosity and support that makes me happy to give back to others in food and business. Success is hard won. Sharing knowledge makes it easier for everyone.
A note from Jamie: “I am so honored to be considered for this spotlight. I love what I do. I hope I can provide the support for others that has been given to me. “
“As a female entrepreneur and *almost native Austinite, we are thrilled to welcome Jamie into Women United. Jamie is a savvy business owner who cares deeply about her staff and her community. We are excited for Jamie to connect with other Women United members and share her great energy with the group!”
*was born in Battle Creek, MI. Moved to Houston before she was one, back to MI for kindergarten then to Austin before turning six.
-Michele Scherz, Sr. Director of Donor Relations
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