Mid-Week Intermission Friend Edition: Pamela Benson Owens of Six Square

POSTED ON JUNE 29, 2021 BY LONG

This week’s Mid-Week Intermission features a dear friend of the Long Center who is constantly helping our community flourish — the one and only, Pamela Benson Owens! If you know Pam, then you’ll know she’s a self-described “long-time entrepreneur” who helps organizations become stronger, more effective, and mission-driven. Learn more about Pam as she spearheads the role of CEO with our friends over at Six Square — we speak from experience when we say that Pam is the very best of the best!

 

 

 

My name is Pamela Benson Owens, and yes, I use all three names.

Most people in the community call me Pam and the elders in my community have an entirely different set of names they call me by. The point is, over the last few months there is a new group of friends and colleagues that call and ask for me by name. The amazing team at the Long Center!

I’m a long-time entrepreneur, and I think that is confusing to many in Austin. It isn’t uncommon for me to hear people say, “Didn’t I just see you working at (fill in the blank)?” My answer is always, “Yes.” For the last several years I’ve had the humbling opportunity to help organizations be stronger, more effective and assist in removing obstacles and barriers that distract from the mission.

Currently, I am the CEO of Six Square, and it has been both amazing and absolutely gut wrenching at the same time. Like many other nonprofit organizations, the pandemic left us with a call to action to think differently about how we would curate meaningful work with a backdrop of social unrest and racial trauma on a variety of levels.

I am proud to say that we are still standing, having learned the importance of work/life integration, how to become even more astute listeners, and how to continue working hard to build beloved community in a time when most on the team felt exhausted and in many cases, scared for our lives.

Six Square, Austin’s Black cultural district, presents Beyond the Square Festival 2021, featuring the Queen of Bounce Big Freedia, along with Austin-based hip-hop duo Magna Carda and DJ Kay Cali at the Long Center on June 5, 2021 in Austin, Texas. Credit: Suzanne Cordeiro

Guests at Beyond the Square festival and Magna Carda, Credit: Suzanne Cordeiro

One of the most pivotal partnerships for us this year was working alongside the Long Center team to produce our annual Beyond the Square festival. When I reflect on the process, it really could be used as a blueprint for other organizations.

We were all intentional about getting to know each other better, which was more difficult in a virtual setting, but still beneficial. As we got to know each other better, we cultivated a real team spirit and everyone was leveraging their unique skills and immense talents to make the event successful. I can proudly say that the Long Center has become co-conspirators of culture in such a powerful way.

To be able to work together as a cross-cultural team was inspiring and fun! Although I’ve seen too many performances to name at the Long Center, working with the team is by far the best performance and most memorable gift to date. And, when anyone from the fabulous team at the Long Center calls me by name, I just smile and feel a deep sense of gratitude.

Queen of Bounce Big Freedia at the Long Center on June 5, 2021 for Six Square’s Beyond the Square Festival.
Credit: Suzanne Cordeiro

Be sure and keep up with all that our friends at Six Square, Austin’s Black Cultural District, have going on and how you can get involved.

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