Women’s History Month Employee Spotlight: Meet Bridget McFadden

If there is a key takeaway from Bridget McFadden’s story, it’s that she will never fail to create opportunities for herself. Raised by a father who started his own plumbing business and a mother who pushed her to obtain her degree and emphasized the importance of cultivating meaningful relationships, Bridget learned the value of education and the importance of creating her own path at a young age. Growing up in the rural landscapes of Medina County as the youngest of four siblings, Bridget witnessed her parents’ resilience in overcoming adversity, instilling in her a profound sense of persistence and grit. 

In high school, Bridget’s path was illuminated by her involvement in cheerleading and student council, demonstrating her natural inclination for leadership and community engagement. “Starting new projects and having the freedom to try things is really exciting to me,” she says. Yet, amidst the excitement of youth, she encountered a void in college guidance, underscoring the vital need of organizations like College Now in providing support and mentorship to aspiring first-generation college students like herself. 

Her journey continued at the University of Akron, where a chance encounter with a career exploration class sparked her passion for human resources—a field that would become her professional calling. It was here that Bridget discovered her affinity for fostering positive change and empowering others, laying the groundwork for her pivotal role in launching the AmeriCorps program at College Now. She recalls, “We started the program design and planning in 2008 and launched our first cohort of members in 2009. Over the years, I have been fortunate to work with amazing, selfless individuals exploring the education career path, or taking a gap year and wanting to make a positive impact in the process.” 

Bridget’s proudest achievements span both professional milestones and personal triumphs. From spearheading the growth of the AmeriCorps program to receiving the coveted “Golden Arrow” award at summer camp as a child—a recognition reserved for campers who exhibit exceptional skills, leadership and character—her accomplishments stand as a testament to her commitment to excellence in every endeavor. 

Bridget’s journey demonstrates the remarkable influence of female inspiration – starting with her mother’s unwavering support in reaching educational milestones and continuing with the women she works with today. Here at College Now, surrounded by a supportive community, she finds herself further propelled by the visionary leadership of Dr. Michele Scott Taylor, president, and the invaluable guidance of Alenka Winslett, chief operating officer. These women, with their wisdom and fortitude, became sources of guidance for Bridget, illuminating her journey with their insights and encouragement. Through their mentorship, Bridget has learned to navigate uncharted territories with confidence and grace, turning challenges into opportunities for growth and transformation. In their collective vision for a brighter future, Bridget finds not only the promise of her own success but also the opportunity to uplift and empower those around her, creating a legacy of inspiration at College Now.

Memorable moments, like the time she sang in Prince’s recording studio during an AmeriCorps conference, stand as reminders of Bridget’s remarkable capacity to infuse joy and creativity into all she does.  Whether she’s exploring the national parks with her husband and cherished dog or crafting innovative solutions in the realm of human resources, she embodies the spirit of a true creative—a woman who fearlessly embraces the unknown, confident in her ability to start anew and forge her own path to success.