Prince William Living Publisher Rebecca Barnes Wins Educator Award

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“Honoring Our Educators” During 2021’s American Education Week

On Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021, the Woodbridge & Manassas Chapters of the American Association of University Women paid tribute to educators in our community whose efforts transformed the community including in STEM + the arts, honor those who have passed the torch, and celebrate those who continue to pass the torch to the next generations of students and teachers. Presentations were given by teachers, family members, colleagues and community leaders.

Winners

  • Gretchen Almstead
  • Elizabeth Bardenhagen, in memoriam
  • Rebecca Barnes
  • Cathy Drummond
  • Brenda Lewis
  • Illana Naylor
  • Monica Nichols
  • Natash Schuh-Nuhfer
  • Jan Sutton
  • Chris Tsang
  • Shirley Vasy, in memoriam

History of American Education Week

Distressed that 25 percent of the country’s World War I draftees were illiterate and nine percent were physically unfit, representatives of the National Education Association and the American Legion met in 1919 to seek ways to generate public support for education. The conventions of both organizations subsequently adopted resolutions of support for a national effort to raise public awareness of the importance of education.

In 1921, the NEA Representative Assembly in Des Moines, Iowa, called for the designation of one week each year to spotlight education. In its resolution, the NEA called for “An educational week … observed in all communities annually for the purpose of informing the public of the accomplishments and needs of the public schools and to secure the cooperation and support of the public in meeting those needs.” The first observance of American Education Week occurred Dec. 4 to 10, 1921, with the NEA and American Legion as the cosponsors. A year later, the then-U.S. Office of Education joined the effort as a cosponsor, and the Parent-Teacher Association followed in 1938. Included in its mission and priorities, the American Association of University Women supports a strong system of public education that promotes gender fairness, equity, and diversity.

On March 12, 2022, the AAUW hopes to celebrate the 30th annual “Girls + Math + Science = SUCCESS!” Conference which provides STEM + the Arts careers for students in grades 5-12. They have honored educators whose lives continue to be role models for the community at the Conferences. The honorees from 2019, 2020, and now 2021 will be included in the Conference’s history gallery.

Remarks from Prince William Living

At the Nov. 14 presentation, three Prince William Living leaders offered remarks in Rebecca’s honor.

Erin Pittman, Editor-in-Chief

Rebecca is just the kind of person I love. She will toss you plenty of sass and sarcasm, but right while she is helping you in every possible way she can. She is giving, supportive and caring, but tough-minded, smart and a solid leader. I’ve enjoyed working beside her and learning from her over the past few years. I admire her connections, her love for the Prince William community and her dedication to the magazine. She always looks to help others, to give grace wherever she can, especially throughout the pandemic, and to make things better than she found them. I wish I could have been here for this award presentation, as it is very well-deserved. Congratulations, Rebecca!

Carole Keily, Online Editor

When you think of Rebecca Barnes, many things to mind – community service being the first one. We all know what Rebecca does for the greater Prince William area. We know she brings folks together, organizes supply drives for those in need. And she recognizes women, teens and non-profits who do well (three groups who do not often get the recognition they deserve). As the Online Editor for Prince William Living- created by Rebecca- and Brides & Weddings, I work closely with Rebecca as she seeks to bring our greater Prince William Community together. She acknowledges the roles we all play in “taking a village…”

I also think of innovation, particularly holding meetings online well before the pandemic. Prince William Living has been holding meetings online out of necessity since about 2018. When everyone started Zooming last year and had difficulty with it (and still does!), we were just conducting business as usual.

One thing that comes to mind for me is mentoring. When my son was in his last year at college, he learned of an opportunity with Prince William Living and was named the Online Submission Manager. He continued in that role through college and for several years afterwards. Rebecca was kind to him and patient with him as he learned how to make others sound good. When he needed to leave the position for a new job in education, he recommended me to replace him.

I had been the editor for a national volunteer organization back in the 90s, when everyone was first getting personal computers and talking about this new thing called “desktop publishing.” After I left that role, I always wanted to get back into working on a magazine and would often talk to my son about what he was doing at Prince William Living. Once I was the online editor, Rebecca worked with me as I discovered what was new in publishing over the past two decades and what was surprisingly still the same. Even those of us with gray hair need a mentor and it’s so much better when that mentor is always in your corner, as Rebecca is.

A few years into this job, my sister, a client services professional, lost her job. She no longer lives in the Prince William area but has remained familiar with it! Rebecca brought her in and guided her in learning about publishing and the wedding industry.

Rebecca re-ignited the recognition for women and teens that had been programmed by the Commission for Women in the 1990s. The March, Women’s History Month, issue of Prince William Living, has been part of the resources and materials celebrated by the AAUW Woodbridge branch’s SUCCESS! conferences for many years now, with 200 extra copies being published just for the students and parents.

Prior to the pandemic, Rebecca hosted and had breakfast donated with marketing strategy 101, for monthly marketing, branding, and public relations workshops. She has presented to the Prince William County Arts Council’s members and offers outreach to the member organizations to help grow both their patronage and sponsors.

The domestic violence forum that Rebecca coordinated in 2016 was a cathartic reckoning for many county participants as are her deeply personal editorials and articles about her breast cancer and other items relevant to the community- her home and community; she went to Neabsco Elementary School and graduated from Gar-Field High School.

We are so grateful for the opportunities you have provided to us, Rebecca. Congratulations!

Amanda Baity, Director of Operations

Good afternoon. I am Amanda Baity, Director of Operations and Photo Editor of Prince William Living and Brides & Weddings magazines, Co-Founder & Director of Operations for Semper K9 Assistance Dogs, and class of 2020 Leadership Prince William alumna. This is from an October 2017 article that was published in the RRiveter online format, entitled “Empowered Women Empower: Five Ways my Mentor Helped Me Grow

In 2012 (?) when my husband and I first started dating, I knew I would be relocating to Northern Virginia to start a new life. Chris and I have known each other since we were 14, no, we weren’t high school sweethearts…we were in the Marine Corps JROTC program together which always seems to create that close-knit camaraderie that military has. After high school, Chris went on to join the Marine Corps, and I went to college.

Knowing that I would be making a move within a year, I started looking for a new career. I have been fortunate enough to have several employers with who I am still in contact with, many of them becoming friends and family. I never imagined at 30 years old I would be starting my career over and that I would find an employer who would teach, inspire and challenge me to grow in ways I didn’t know I could.

Some in Northern Virginia would call Rebecca Barnes a ‘serial entrepreneur.’ She has successfully built numerous businesses in her 30-year career, three of which have won the new business of the year from our local chamber of commerce. Also a philanthropist, she was the youngest female chair for the largest chamber in Northern Virginia, Founding Task Force member, Past Chair and Board of Regents member for Leadership Prince William, Committee Chair for the Prince William Valor Awards, and a longtime volunteer of the Occoquan-Woodbridge-Lorton Volunteer Fire Department, serving on their board and as their Public Information Officer. She is the publisher and owner of two award-winning publications that I am currently the director of operations for. Having someone like this to guide you on your journey to greatness has been more than I could hope for. Here are some of the ways that Rebecca has helped inspire me, push me to the limits and helped me grow not only in business but my personal life as well.

Once I finally made it to Northern Virginia and began working my life changed so much that my confidence was a little off. Being in the print and digital media industry for four years before moving, I felt like I knew my stuff. I had worked on all

stages of the print processes and knew I would be an asset to Rebecca’s team. However, it took me some time to get into the swing of things as I struggled to find my footing. My publisher used my vulnerability and lifted me up. She gave me projects that she knew I would easily accomplish so that I was able to build my confidence quickly and get in the game!

Being in the media business, you must be creative and think outside the box to stay ahead of the curve. As Director of Operations for two regional publications, I work closely with the publisher and editorial team. Having someone to bounce ideas off in a candid and nonjudgement environment helps boost creativity. Having such a candid relationship also builds trust, trust to be yourself, and trust that she always has my back.

Having a great mentor isn’t always pretty. Empowering and inspiring is only part of the job. Having someone honestly call out your shortcomings and hold you accountable for mistakes is key for personal and professional growth. Being able to take that criticism, acknowledge the error and create change is also key.

When Chris and I decided to start our nonprofit, of course, I reached out to Rebecca to get her opinion. Not only did she encourage us to go for it, but she also put me in contact with influential people in the community that could help us. Having someone well connected in our corner gave us instant credibility on the local level, which then elevated our status in the region and on to being nationally recognized for our work with veterans. Her connections have helped us help others, which is an important part of who we are personally.

I have always been a strong personality. My whole life I was destined for entrepreneurship, always helping my father with his business when I was a young child or being the leader in school projects or at work. Having an employer who treats me as an equal, like a partner in her business has helped me grow more than the other things I mentioned above. Rebecca values my opinions and ideas and utilizes them to help grow her businesses. Knowing that she trusts my decisions has given me the confidence and strength to cultivate my talents to help others. I own a consulting company, operate a veteran service organization, publish a quarterly magazine, operate one monthly and one semi-annual magazine, AND I am a wife, mother, and friend. All of these things are possible because of Rebecca. I sometimes try to imagine what life would be like if I had not reached out to her while doing my career search five years ago. I can guarantee that my life would be completely different…that is how you know you have a great mentor and friend.

 

 

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