• WBC WOW Interview with Bethanie Muska Lawrence

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    September 29, 2020
    WBC WOW Interview with Bethanie Muska Lawrence

    Founded in 2019, the ARCC Women’s Business Council (WBC) is an affinity group of women-owned businesses, sole proprietorships, and women professional members of the ARCC. The group’s focus is to promote professional growth and collaboration among its members, thereby attracting more women-owned businesses and women professionals to the ARCC.

    We are pleased this month to present our spotlight persona in the series called women who WOW us. We highlight Bethanie Muska Lawrence, Executive Director of the World Awareness Children’s Museum in Glens Falls, New York.
    Tell us about the services you provide?
    The World Awareness Children’s Museum exists to bring our diverse world to children, whether that’s in person at our hands-on exhibition space where children and families can learn about the world through interactive workshops and educational play, or through our online programs and videos, or through exploring our collections of 10,000+ cultural artifacts or 8,000+ pieces of child-made art.

    Who does your business/organization serve? 
    The World Awareness Children’s Museum serves children and families in Warren, Washington, and Saratoga Counties, as well as schools throughout the Capital Region and Vermont. Our online programs reach around the United States, and our art exchange reaches children in over 100 countries. 

    Tell us one thing you are the proudest of, perhaps a winning moment in your business.
    I am proudest of how I handled the museum’s response to COVID-19. I was made the Executive Director in November 2019, when no one could have predicted that a pandemic would change the world just a few months later. As a first-time Executive Director, I had not only my normal thousand responsibilities to contend with but also an international medical emergency. I am proud of the staff team here at the museum, proud of the community for stepping in to help us financially when we needed it most, and proud of myself for jumping into the fray and keeping our organization afloat. We were able to pivot our operations and produce digital content that reached children around the country to teach them about different cultures. In a time of great national division, I am proud that our organization is able to show our community that people -- no matter where they live -- are more the same in our humanity than we are different.

    Would you share a piece of advice that you used to help you achieve your success?
    Truly, the best piece of advice I’ve ever been given has been “fake it ’til you make it.” In my years since graduating from college, moving around the country, and working in many different places, I have taken this to heart and seen how real this is. Most people really are just learning as they go; no one can know everything about a job until they’re doing it, and even then we’re still learning every day. All it takes is confidence and the humility to admit when you don’t know something, and things do usually work out. 

    What is your favorite quote?
    Recently I’ve been thinking about a quote from Ruth Bader Ginsburg. In an interview with the 10th Circuit Bench & Bar Conference at the University of Colorado in Boulder, she said: “When I’m sometimes asked when will there be enough [women on the supreme court]? And I say, ‘When there are nine.’ People are shocked. But there’d been nine men, and nobody’s ever raised a question about that.” I’ve been mulling this over more and more lately. It’s sparked a lot of self-reflection in me, and I think about this quote when I’m feeling less than confident. RBG was a great champion of human rights, and I strive to be that strong in my own life. 

    If you could trade places with a leader, who would it be and why would you rock it?
    There isn’t one person I can pinpoint and say, “I want to do YOUR job!” But I can tell you that I would want to be in a position where I’m working with children. My background is in education; I was an elementary music teacher for years before I came to Glens Falls and found myself at the World Awareness Children’s Museum. I am passionate about helping children, whether it’s teaching them to be curious about different people groups and cultures (rather than looking at unknowns in fear), or helping them see the unique and special qualities they possess. My life goal is to teach children to be kind and curious learners.

    And one last question, what is one way in which you have looked out for the next generation of leaders? 
    I am all about mentorship and collaboration. I have had great mentors who have helped me selflessly, and I try to do the same when given the opportunity. None of us exist in a vacuum; everything we do causes ripples beyond what we see. If I can help another person out, it makes our community a more welcoming place. I want to leave a trail of kindness in my wake. 

    Thank you, Bethanie, for your time and please see below to learn more about Bethanie!
    To Contact Bethanie:
    Bethanie Muska Lawrence
    Executive Director
    World Awareness Children’s Museum 
    89 Warren Street 
    Glens Falls, NY 12801 
    Phone 518-793-2773 x 305
    Email address: director@worldchildrensmuseum.org
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    We encourage all business members of the ARCC to see themselves represented at WBC meetings by having leaders and your leadership pipeline attend meetings. The WBC offers a unique opportunity to learn skills and discover professional tools and resources, while becoming more active in the community. Collaboration to grow our businesses and to keep our community succession talent pool at-the-ready is what the Women’s Business Council is all about.