Ep 59 - Meet Lolly Bowean, Program Officer for Media & Storytelling, Field Foundation

In this episode you meet Lolly Bowean. Lolly is the program officer for Media & Storytelling at the Field Foundation.

Before joining the Field, she worked as a general assignment reporter at the Chicago Tribune for more than 15 years and had a particular focus on urban affairs, youth culture, housing, minority communities and government relations. She wrote primarily about Chicago’s unique African-American community and the development of the Obama Presidential Center.

During her tenure, she covered the death of Nelson Mandela, how violence was lived and experienced in troubled neighborhoods, and the 2008 election and inauguration of President Barack Obama. Most recently, she wrote about the election of Chicago’s first African-American woman Mayor, Lori Lightfoot. In addition, she’s covered Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the last gathering of the original Tuskegee Airmen.

Before joining the Chicago Tribune, Bowean covered suburban crime, government and environmental issues for the Times-Picayune in New Orleans.

She has been published in the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Boston Globe, Lenny Letter and Longreads. She has served as a contributing instructor for the Poynter Institute and lectured at the Art Institute of Chicago. She is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists and is the former program officer for the Chicago Headline Club. She was a 2017 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University and is a Studs Terkel Award winner. In 2019 she became the first African-American awarded the Gene Burd Urban Journalism Award. She is a Pulitzer prize nominated writer who lives on the South Side of Chicago.

If you attended The CLIMB then you already know about Lolly Bowean, wordsmith extraordinaire. Her "what's your career story?" session had us all thinking about how we effectively articulate this career journey that we are on.

Because everyone loved her so much I thought I'd bring her back so that we can hear a bit of her career story, spoiler alert, she was the first African-American awarded the Gene Burd Urban Journalism Award!

Some of the things that stood out to me during our conversation were about:⁠

- Knowing what your sword is.

- Attracting opportunities.

- Public V. private career battles.

- Shattering glass ceilings.

- Belonging.