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Kalee Carmel, right, Linda Dulye, Krystal Blake, Katie Kelly, Michelle Lopez, Michael Laureyns and Melanie Rowe participated in Downtown Pittsfield cleanup on Friday.

Dulye Leadership Experience Participants Clean Up Pittsfield Downtown

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — More than a half-dozen members of the Dulye Leadership Experience professional development participated in Friday's Downtown Pittsfield Clean-Up Event.
This is the group's second consecutive year cleaning up the area and is the first time in a year that members have been able to gather in person. This is just the beginning of in-person events that the organization looks forward to in postpandemic times.
The charitable professionals who beautified North Street from Park Square to Columbus Avenue included Marcus Coleman of Raymond James & Associates, Kalee Carmel of CompuWorks, Michael Laureyns of Laureyns United, Melanie Rowe of Raytheon, Krystle Blake of General Dynamics Mission Systems, Michelle Lopez of the Berkshire Immigrant Center, Allison Loring of Willow Investments, and President and founder of Dulye & Co. Linda Dulye.
The organization was established in partnership with Syracuse (N.Y.) University in 2008, as an immersive training to prepare undergraduates to successfully transition into the workplace and, in 2017, it changed direction to support individuals who are already in the workforce.
Dulye relocated to Berkshire County full time four years ago to become involved in the economic revitalization of the area, serving on the Pittsfield Economic Revitalization Corp. board.
"We need a healthy stream of young professionals coming to the Berkshires and wanting to build their careers here," she said. "I saw it as a way to really contribute in a positive way, a profound way to my new community. ...
"I'm fierce in this commitment, because I hear about how wonderful the outdoor assets are here, I know that it sure is, but we also want to be able to sell ourselves in terms of a great professional development opportunity for somebody young to have a career here, and it's affordable to live here versus Boston and New York."
Before the pandemic, DLE hosted in-person programs to help young professionals in Western Massachusettes grow in their careers and build professional relationships.
Dulye said well-attended networking events such as meetups at Otto's Kitchen and Comfort have since become virtual but she expected more in-person opportunities now that pandemic protocols are being lifted.
"We have something called the Breakfast Club, and it used to be an in-person event and we met every Friday, we actually used to take over tables in the back room of Otto's, we'd have about 20 of us, and it was really a time for networking, for testing out ideas at work, or if somebody's looking to maybe make a job move," she said. "But it was a very casual, informal, inclusive experience."
Dulye settled in an office on North Street in January 2020 right before the COVID-19 pandemic. DLE responded to the "new normal" by pivoting to virtual online platforms and was able to maintain its weekly programming.
The free membership is more far-reaching than ever, Dulye said, because DLE workshops and networking events can be national or even international. While the focus may be on young professionals, older generations experiencing job changes may also benefit from DLE resources as well.
"There's this career focus but there's also a focus on creating a supportive environment, and that's where the give back is," Dulye said. "One of the aspects of coming and becoming a member of the Dulye Leadership Experience is we all have different skills and being able to offer your skills to help somebody else who maybe needs to advance in that area.
"So there's a camaraderie, everyone comes in with an open mind and I'll say an open heart to helping each other, and it's instantly felt, that's the culture that we've kind of built into every one of our programs."

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Berkshire NAACP President Reflects on Juneteenth Origins, Plans Rally

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Juneteenth was celebrated Saturday for the first time as a local, state, and national holiday.  
The city of Pittsfield added the holiday to its municipal roster in May, Gov. Charlie Baker signed a bill making Juneteenth a state holiday last July, and President Biden signed a bill making it a national holiday on Thursday.
Berkshire NAACP President Dennis Powell spoke to iBerkshires about the origins of the date and its implications in modern-day society.
Though he is glad to see it adopted nationally, Powell expressed mixed feelings about Juneteenth, which commemorates the end of slavery and has been celebrated in some parts of the country as Emancipation Day.  
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