Member Spotlight

July 14, 2016 Member Spotlight

Meet NAPW members in Member Spotlight, a monthly column where members highlight their careers and businesses. This week, we feature three accomplished women, so be sure to check out each of their profiles. VIP, Elite and Preferred Members: to be featured in an upcoming issue of the newsletter, contact us at

blog_Rachel_Bare_vipRachel Bare

Company: New Century US
Industry: Government Contracting/
Police/Military Capacity Building, Training/Analytics
Title: Program Manager
Location: Arlington, VA


NAPW: What do you feel is your most important business skill?

Bare: The most important business skill is adaptability. I have been called the “chameleon” of my workplace because not only am I able to become an expert in the field I am managing, but I also take the time and effort to learn other skill sets as well. Having the understanding of each individual roles and responsibilities, especially in smaller companies, helps you grasp the mechanics of the operations. Creating silos in the workplace leads to failure; however, micromanaging does as well. You must be able to find that happy balance where you are able to tag in and assist with all facets of a small company make sure that each department is working efficiently and effectively.

NAPW: Do you feel that society’s viewpoints of women have hindered or helped you?

Bare: Working in a purely male dominated field, I do not feel that society’s viewpoints have helped or hindered me. I feel like an equal to my colleagues and I’ve been able to manage individuals who are senior and way more experienced than I am. Maintaining a sense of confidence, even when you sometimes are unsure of yourself, is key. Showing signs of distress is for after work.

NAPW: Tell us about a woman in your business life who has influenced you most.

Bare: Right out of college, I worked for the American Society of Civil Engineers as a Conference Coordinator. My manager was Elaine Watson and I was informed when I came onboard that she was extremely difficult to work with. I learned very quickly that Elaine did not tolerate laziness and she was willing to teach; however, you better have a great memory or a pen and notebook in hand because she would not repeat herself. I am a guinea pig by nature—always volunteering and looking for new tasks to learn—so she and I got along swimmingly. She helped not only develop my organizational skills, but also taught me how to be confident in my decisions and how to cater to different audiences.

NAPW: What is the biggest career obstacle you have ever faced? How did you overcome it?

Bare: I adopted a failing program in West Africa, in which a customer was not very flexible and my team had three gentleman who were unable to cooperate. I was supposed to just oversee this program, but I ended up having to completely revamp the program. The program not only 180ed but also received the highest markings from the third party monitoring and evaluation team that was evaluating the program. The customer has praised us for our work and we are currently in negotiations for additional programs.

NAPW: How do you maintain a positive attitude in the face of adversity?

Bare: Of course I want to say a stiff drink. In reality, I found that making sure you take at least thirty minutes to yourself a day to decompress is key to maintaining composure and a positive disposition. Whether it be exercise, yoga, meditation or just reading a romance novel on the back porch, you must allow yourself time to decompress and come back to reality or you will wear out and ultimately be destructive not only to your work but also yourself.

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blog_Teresa_BarnesTeresa ‘TJ’ Barnes

Company: HEARCommunication
Industry: Healthcare
Title: CEO/Founder
Location: Carlsbad, CA


NAPW: What was your first-ever job and what did you learn from it?

Barnes: My first job was as a Junior Lifeguard at age 15 where I had the pleasure of being around water, sun, and outdoors which I love while doing something of purpose—preventing accidents and rescuing—if needed. Mr. Meadows, who owned the local community pool, was a small man physically; however, he taught me the power of leverage and perseverance. I have used his principles throughout my life.

NAPW: What type of work ethic do you feel exist in business today?

Barnes: Today’s business ethics are more into collaboration, diversity, integrity, reliability, appreciation of character and cooperation. A team mindset to accomplish a goal with mission statement guidelines and giving credit due brings forth initiative because all on the team are valued.

NAPW: How does your company differ from its competitors?

Barnes: My company is at the cutting edge bringing visibility, education, inclusion for a New Niche—Hearing Health and the Changes that come with it. Consulting with Companies for diversity issues, improving sales with attracting this niche, improving customer service and retaining valuable employees with slight environmental changes. My competitors are both well established; however, they have not created the change that needs to be met for the current market.

NAPW: Name an example of when you were able to contribute to a team project.

Barnes: Being a former Emergency Room Nursing Manager, I have often contributed to the team project of saving an individual’s life and performing whatever role I needed to accomplish that goal. Determination, focus and creativity are three of my leading values in any project.

NAPW: What are some job search tips you can share with fellow members seeking employment?


  1. Always be professional, as reputation is of utmost importance.
  2. Reach out to social media contacts, alumni contacts and association contacts.
  3. Hire a professional resume writer.


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blog_Ilene_Birkwood_vipIlene Birkwood

Company: Ascendent Publishing
Industry: Arts: Literary/Poetry
Title: Author
Location: Issaquah, WA


NAPW: What career lessons have you learned the hard way?

Birkwood: In my first management position, I hired a very talented employee who turned out to be extremely temperamental. After several outbursts and finally a threatened resignation, I decided to let her go. I realized too late that had I kept her, we would have been far more successful. Ever since then, I have nurtured talented, temperamental people. Listening to their problems and solving them when necessary is well worth the effort. They help make each project successful and are a pleasure to work with.

NAPW: What gets you excited and drives you to achieve?

Birkwood: Telling me that something cannot be done gives me the drive to actually do it! I believe you can achieve anything if you approach tasks and projects with enthusiasm, patience and the right team.

NAPW: What leadership style do you use to manage employees?

Birkwood: I begin by blending a diverse group of employees into a team with a common purpose. When people feel they have a purpose, they enjoy their job. Team building is a subtle thing and needs to vary dramatically according to the group. I decide on a strategy that will benefit the company most and then let members of the team critique the strategy and come up with tactics to implement it. Once everything is in place, the management role is one of support. The team needs encouragement when things get tough, praise when they make a breakthrough and shelter from harassment. Finally, their achievements need to be sold to upper management and the outside world so that they receive the recognition they deserve.

NAPW: What is the most important quality you look for in an employee?

Birkwood: The necessary skills or basic skills that can be adapted to the task, combined with a sound work ethic.

NAPW: What ways have you found to make your job easier or more rewarding?

Birkwood: Coming up with an innovative approach to a job gets me excited about the project.

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Megan Bozzuto

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