People Focus: Linda Boswell-Bordelon

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Linda Boswell-Bordelon has become a business dynamo in a relatively short time after retiring from teaching for 33 years.  Her professional experience and educational background sparked the creation of her company, Bordelon Consulting, and helped launch The Grant Writing & Management Company in downtown Alexandria. “I like to classify myself as a creator and a builder,” Boswell-Bordelon enthuses, “I love to see people win. We help build dreams. When we help make a person happy by achieving their dreams, we’ve done a good job.”

Linda, along with co-founder Michael Jenkins, developed The Grant Writing & Management Company in 2009. She serves as the managing partner for the company which specializes in grant research and writing, business plans, funding solutions, loan application preparation and program-proposal development. As the president and CEO of Bordelon Consulting, she provides services in education and specializes in leadership training and charter school development. Both businesses were inspired by her life-long ambitions to help others succeed.

“I love to work. When I see something positive get done and start to see things happen – that is what really drives me,” Boswell-Bordelon notes, adding that a strong work ethic with a desire to succeed was ingrained in her as a child.  She grew up in Hineston and graduated valedictorian from Oak Hill High School. Even as a first-grade student who was put in charge of her own reading group, Linda knew she wanted to be a teacher.  “While I grew up with the bare necessities, I never grew up with a limit on what I could do with my life. I was always encouraged by my parents,” she recalls.

She married the late Jules Bordelon, a farmer who served on state agricultural committees. Their two sons, Jules and Scott, are both following in their father’s footsteps by working in the agricultural business. Linda earned her bachelor’s degree from Louisiana College in Pineville. From 1968 to 1992, she taught English, fine arts and social studies at the secondary level. It was in 1992 that she accepted a position as an instructional specialist for the Avoyelles Parish School Board.  “I observed and worked with new teachers and aided them in classroom instruction. I saw areas where a lot of teachers needed to broaden their knowledge of educational methods,” Boswell-Bordelon says.

This observation prompted her to obtain grants and to manage the grant resources. About the same time, Linda says, there was a need in Avoyelles Parish for a program to address the student drop-out rate.  “We had a lot of at-risk students in peril,” she remembers. The superintendent placed her in charge of a research project that after several years ended in the creation of the Louisiana School for Agricultural Sciences (LaSAS) in Hessmer. The unique charter school meshes agricultural sciences in all areas of the curriculum.

“That was a pivotal career point for me…It was a long research process in putting that school together. The parish didn’t have the money to build it. LaSAS is a hands-on school. I see charter schools as a transition from the old-style public schools to what schools will be like,” she notes, adding that the writing and obtaining grant funding was the key to its creation. The school opened in 2000 with 60 students in the eighth grade. Today it is a flourishing Type 4 charter school for students in grades seventh through twelfth. Boswell-Bordelon served as the supervisor and project lead manager for the Avoyelles Parish School Board until 2004.

After retiring from teaching and from her position for the school board, Linda began working for the Rapides Foundation. She orchestrated the creation of the infrastructure for the Orchard Foundation, a non-profit foundation geared toward helping teachers. There, she oversaw everything from financial management to grant writing to full proposal development. Two years later, she branched out and started her own company, Bordelon Consulting. The business offers a wide variety of services including marketing, school creation and development, human resources development and financial analysis.

Linda has committed herself to being a life-long learner. Her education and training credits include a multitude of degrees and certifications. In 2007 she earned a certificate from completing the Business Leadership Skills for Human Resources Professionals from eCornell University. She earned her master’s degree in supervision and administration in 1996 from Northwestern State University. In 2005, Boswell-Bordelon was asked to join other leaders from all over the world at the Oxford Roundtable at St. Anthony’s College at Oxford University in England.  For her management skills, consulting expertise and business accomplishments, she has received the Honorary American FFA Degree, which is the highest national award given to an agriculture advocate, and was named the 2004 Central Louisiana Woman of Distinction. In 2009, she was named Who’s Who Among American Executives.

Boswell-Bordelon credits her success with surrounding herself with creative people.  “I like to work with people who have their own ideas. I like to organize and manage – it’s like directing a symphony. At GWMC, I am surrounded by a terrific staff. We are a team and we all have our areas of excellence. We complement each other,” she says.

The Grant Writing & Management Company staff is currently working on several projects to enhance Central Louisiana, according to Linda. A new medical clinic is on the horizon as well as a new upscale grill that will boast a Red River view. The restaurant will feature fireplaces and will offer a live music venue on weekends. Another project in the works includes a senior self-sustaining village that will feature golf carts as the mode of travel between the cottages planned. The village will offer a grocery store, doctors, dentist offices, flower gardens and vegetable gardens scattered about the 50-acre tract of land.  “I’m excited about the projects. I love projects,” Boswell-Bordelon says with an infectious laugh, adding that she is eager to talk to anyone about how to make their dreams into a reality.