EmpowHER aims to connect, empower women

By Aimee Hancock

Miami Valley Today

TROY — The Troy Area Chamber of Commerce will host its annual EmpowHER — A Day for Women conference on Friday, March 5. This year’s event will be held virtually.

Tickets are $40 for members of the TACC, $50 for non-members, and $40 for team registration. Each attendee will receive an “EmpowHER Pack” filled with items to use during the conference.

This online event will feature four speakers, including Julie Bauke, a 1978 graduate of Troy High School and chief career advisor of The Bauke Group, a strategic career advisory firm focused on working with professionals who want more out of their careers.

A graduate of Purdue University, Bauke, who now lives in Cincinnati, is the careers and jobs expert on the city’s Fox19 TV and 700WLW Radio. She is an author, and hosts a new podcast called, “The Evolved Career.”

Bauke’s segment will touch on this evolution of careers throughout time and the idea that one’s career can be fueled by passion rather than monotony.

“Almost everyone struggles with how to move forward in their careers. Back in my day, you graduated from high school or college and took a job and you hung onto it as long as you could—through misery, through changes, through layoffs and reorgs; the goal was to hang onto it as long as you could,” Bauke said. “That really started changing in the ’90s; when so many layoffs started happening, people finally realized, ‘Wait a minute. My company’s not loyal.’ I always say, your company wants you until the day they don’t, and then you have to act accordingly.”

Along with uncontrollable things like layoffs, Bauke said she hopes her work will help normalize the idea that people who are unhappy in their careers can and should move toward figuring out what works best for them and how to reach it.

“If you wake up one day and say, ‘I’m miserable,’ how do you then take action and find something that’s going to be better? That’s really my whole area of focus and passion in my business—helping people to learn how to get unstuck,” she said.

Bauke said her speech will include discussion about how to move forward once you’ve decided you want more for your career, life, and self, while also keeping a realistic mindset when it comes to the timeline of those changes.

“Maybe you can’t do it today, but there’s something really powerful about looking ahead and saying, ‘Okay, I’m going to walk toward something that’s going to be better for me, so I don’t have to live in this place forever.’”

Bauke said her message is all-inclusive regardless of age or gender, however, she notes women have faced unique struggles within the workforce and in-home life, much of which has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the National Women’s Law Center, more than 2.3 million women have left the workforce since February 2020, bringing their labor force participation rate—the percent of adult women who are either working or looking for work—at 57%, which is the lowest this participation rate has been since 1988.

“This is a message that men need to hear too,” Bauke continued. “I find that all this career stuff is universal—it doesn’t matter if you’re 25 or 55. We all struggle with it, but women, I think, have a different level of complexity on top of it.”

The event will also host Annie Meehan, an author, businesswoman, and international public speaker. She has written five motivational books, including an award-winning book titled, “Be the Exception.” Meehan currently lives in Minneapolis.

Melissa Cutcher, executive director at Technology First, a trade association for IT professionals and technology companies, will speak about stress in everyday life and how to “close the stress cycle.” Cutcher has lived in the Miami Valley since 1985.

Christy Shell, owner of Zeal Coaching for Life & Career in Troy, will offer a fresh perspective on networking in order to maximize personal and professional success.