Carol Townsend is a third-generation Montanan whose great-grandmother McDonald homesteaded near Logan in 1861. Carol grew up in Montana, Washington, Oregon and California. In 1987, Carol moved back to Bozeman from California so she could raise her two children. She has said, “I had two kids, no money, no job, and no car. Even though I knew I’d be poor here, I knew they’d be safe here.”
It took Carol three months to find a job. She was hired by Patagonia when they opened a customer service telephone center in Bozeman. The center brought in 30 to 40 jobs that paid up to $9 an hour. One of the first people hired, Carol was the personnel and building manager. To make extra money, Carol hand-stitched quilts from rejected Patagonia pants and shirts, which she would then sell out of the back of her car. Carol has noted that struggling as a single mom “has given me a tremendous amount of perspective.”
While working at Patagonia, Carol joined the Board of United Way. She set her sights on holding the Executive Director when that position became available. In 1996, Carol was, in fact, hired for that job. She has successfully led the United Way organization since that time, and is currently its President and CEO.
Under her leadership, United Way has expanded its resources beyond the annual fund-raising campaign by winning grants from private foundations and the federal government. Carol has also successfully increased United Way’s role in the community, seeking solutions to local problems by bringing together organizations and the money necessary to make things happen. Many people have described Carol as the “go to person”—someone who has the unusual ability to bring diverse groups to the table and brainstorm ideas to improve our community.
In addition to providing charismatic leadership to a major non-profit organization, Carol has given our community endless hours of public service. She has served as a member of the Board of Directors for numerous organizations. She has also participated in such diverse groups as the City’s Affordable Housing Committee and the County’s Criminal Justice Advisory Committee.
Carol is an expert at putting a real face on problems of the elderly, children and families. Her numerous achievements include “kidsLINK,” an after-school program that serves children in Gallatin, Park, Meagher, Madison and Sweet Grass Counties; and “Graduation Matters Gallatin,” a coalition of Bozeman-area school and community leaders that has worked for over three years without fanfare to get more students to graduate.
Carol has helped make our community a better place. District Court Judge Mike Salvagni may have said it best, “Carol is the kind of person who has really devoted herself to those in need…As a community, we’re very fortunate. She has helped make this community better. People have healthier and happier lives” thanks to Carol’s work.
Visionary…persistent…compassionate…dedicated…an excellent communicator, problem solver and leader…a woman who others in the community can look up to…Carol Townsend is definitely a “Woman of Achievement.”
Although Carol came tonight to present a speech, I am extremely proud to announce that Carol Townsend is Bozeman BPW’s 2013 Woman of chievement!