LIPPI Profile: Carol Constant, LIPPI 2013 and daughter, Virginia Constant, LIPPI, 2014

Marie McCourt  

LIPPI Spotlights 2012-2013 Graduate: Carol Constant and daughter, Virginia Constant, LIPPI 2013-12014

Interview with Claudia Pazmany, LIPPI 2011-2012 Graduate

Carol: "She used her wits so generations of women could use their minds."  Mary Lyon, Founder, Mount Holyoke College

I see myself this way.  I might not be a brilliant visionary, but I have at the ability to work hard and work with others to create a shared vision for something new and interesting.  This quote inspires me because I love a challenge and am comfortable with working within tight parameters.

Claudia:  Looking back, how have you been changed by your experience with LIPPI?

Carol:  From the first very first meeting, when Carla talked about entering a roomful of people with confidence a goal to make connections, it turned my whole perspective around.  While walking into a roomful of people as a fundraising professional is part of my daily routine, I now transform my self-conscious energy into opportunities to engage and make great connections because these connections are powerful for accomplishing anything.

LIPPI also helped me recognize the privilege I have as a middle age, middle class, white woman.  It is important to step sideways and create space for new voices, new perspectives, and new leaders.  As a woman of some privilege, that may be the best example I can set.  Everyone has value and no woman should be left behind!

Virginia:  "Do what you feel in your heart to be right--for you'll be criticized anyway."  Eleanor Roosevelt

This quote really inspires me to be my own leader.  You cannot listen to what others have to say because they will always be there criticizing you.  If you are passionate about your cause, and you bring the best of yourself to it, that is all you can ask for in your own ventures.  It's funny that I chose this quote because I think it reflects what I have taken away from LIPPI.

I have the advantage of being younger.  I see these amazing women in my LIPPI cohort and an awareness of the value of acting confidently even if I don't feel it internally.  I can have a "fake it until you make it" reality.  The criticism, the doubt, the hard work isn't going to go away as I move forward.  However, I don't have to know it all to still have a lot to offer.  Now going through Yoga Instructor Training and what I learned at LIPPI is helping me push through it

Claudia:  What is important to you and what are you passionate about?

Carol:  Being a parent got me to be motivated politically.  I became involved in Proposition 2 1/2 override campaigns in support of the local schools.  I recognized teh sense of community that was gained when working for a common cause and was electrified by the opportunities!  Creating community has become a key component in the things that I tackle now.  LIPPI provides a wonderful community and a real appreciation that the best thing that we can do as women is affirm each other's successes.  That is an important community for us to begin with.

Virginia: I'm passionate about making a difference and am particularly interested in helping create social change and awareness around income inequality.  Right now I'm doing Americorps VISTA, which is a program where you dedicate a year of your life to a service project to help underserved populations.  I am working at the Holyoke Career Closet which gives interview clothing to people who can't afford them.  Who knows what I'll do next?!

Claudia:  What excites you about LIPPI?

Virginia:  I hadn't thought of myself as a leader but LIPPI has helped me recognize that I have the ability to turn my passion into actin.  As part of the current 2014 cohort, I am excited to hear what my fellow graduates will share at graduation on May 29.  They are amazing women with unique backgrounds and I know I will take something more away with me when I hear what inspires them.

Claudia:  How did you get involved with LIPPI?

Carol:  I heard about LIPPI when I was President of Women in Philanthropy.  I was keenly aware of the Women's Fund programming and LIPPI sounded like a wonderful opportunity.  The facts that it was affordable, met on Saturdays, and did not interrupt my work week were even more compelling reasons to participate.

Virginia:  I was introduced by attending my mom's graduation.  She encouraged me, but upon hearing the graduates say what they learned from participating in LIPPI, there was no doubt that I would apply for the next cohort!


For more information about LIPPI or any of our profiles, contact Kristen Elechko, Interim Director of LIPPI or (413) 529-0087 x13.