In the late seventies, Linda DePascale founded an advertising agency and became one of Athens’ few female entrepreneurs. She was just getting started. Since then, Linda has created the first Planned Giving Program for United Way of Northeast Georgia, acted as Director of Development for UGA Academic Affairs, and served on the founding board for The Georgia Review, Athens Twilight Criterium, and Bowers House.
Connecting the Dots
Although Linda has held many positions, run multiple businesses, and organized a variety of commercial and non-profit initiatives, she considers herself a networker above all.
She gathers the people and the funding necessary to make ideas happen. She first realized her proclivity for networking when she connected her agency client Gene Dixon, founder of Athens Twilight, with Heyward Allen, its original anchor sponsor. Together the two had visible credibility, and with Linda’s continued contribution, Twilight is now going 35 years strong.
I basically try to help people accomplish what they’re trying to do. A lot of it happens naturally. Having grown up here, I know so many people, which makes it easier to connect the dots. My strength is connecting people whom most wouldn’t see as having a commonality in the first place.
Linda sees a pattern in the chaos. When an idea begins to percolate in the community, she sees how and what and to whom it connects, and then helps to see it coalesce. To Linda, seeing that process through is extremely rewarding.
Blazing Both Trails
Linda describes the seventies-era Chamber of Commerce as a lonely place. She wasn’t the only woman in Athens running a business, of course, but the gender ratio was overwhelming. She was running head on into the country’s changing politics and policies, and she was doing something new within a male-dominated industry. She wanted the chance to beat her competitors, and the Athens Chamber was the place to start.
On the other side of the coin, a woman couldn’t join the Junior League if she had a job outside the home. The organization purported that its members couldn’t both work and volunteer, so it took many years for Linda to be admitted into the League. When she was, she was one of few Athens women—if not the only one—with both a job and League membership.
Linda loves helping people tell their story, and from there her heart for public relations and fundraising began to grow. From the inception of her first company, she sought to help people communicate their ideas and make their goals come to fruition. The University saw Linda’s PR, marketing, and networking background and offered her a directorship in Academic Affairs, a position in which she advocated for The Georgia Review Literary Magazine.
Working with the talents at the Review was eye-opening: she realized how significantly writing had contributed to her career, leading her to become involved in the industry itself. Her newest endeavor, running writers’ retreat and literary center Bowers House, has put her at the center of the local writing community. On top of supporting local authors, Linda has taken on seven screenplays and serves as a sales associate for Southern Distinction Magazine.