The Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce and Women in Business are excited to honor Lulu Hertenstein, Community Engagement Specialist for the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County as a 2021 Woman of the Quarter.
Woman of the Quarter Q&A
Q: Describe your business and what you do.
I am the Community Engagement Specialist for the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County. The FPDDC is a nationally recognized conservation agency that envisions a community in which all citizens share a connection with nature and an appreciation for cultural history.
Stewardship, sustainability, community engagement, innovation, empowerment, and diversity and inclusion are the six guiding principles that guide the District’s actions and decisions.
Q: What do you love most about your work?
I love making new connections and collaborating to support common goals, so being part of the Department of Community Relations truly allows me to do what I love most. My primary role is to represent the Forest Preserve District in the community by creating and fostering relationships through active participation and collaboration with different community organizations, local government, chambers, committees, advisory boards, etc. while inspiring people to discover and connect with nature in DuPage forest preserves.
Q: What led you down your career path?
My love for being an advocate for things close to my heart started when I was very young volunteering and serving communities in need. One of my greatest joys was being a full-time missionary in different countries. After 15 years in education creating programs for parents, providing language access, representing the school district in the community, and being a voice for the vulnerable, a different opportunity presented itself and the rest is history.
It is an honor to represent an organization committed to making a lasting footprint on our planet. For over 100 years the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County has strived to protect and improve the country’s natural areas while providing high-quality educational and recreational experiences for the people who call DuPage home, and I now I get to be part of it too.
Q: What advice do you have for other women in business?
Know your value and your values. Be kind and compassionate, be an encourager to those around you, be authentic, be you.
“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou
Q: Name someone in your life who inspires you and tell us why.
I have been blessed with many mentors in my life, but I am most thankful for my parents where it all started. Their kindness towards others thought me to love God and people, to be a helping hand to those in need. They are a good example of being grateful even in the midst of trials. Today, I continue to be blessed by beautiful relationships who challenge and encourage me.
Q: What other passions and hobbies do you have?
I love traveling and exploring and I am glad I get to do it with my favorite person, my husband Ken. We are empty nesters and dating remains a priority, and it is so much more fun, adventurous and spontaneous. We treasure every opportunity we get to spend time with our daughter and her husband who live in beautiful Grand Rapids, Michigan. Friends are extended family to us and we love doing life with them.
We enjoy serving in the community, whether at a food pantry, church, local events, etc.
Q: Aside from the Chamber, how do you stay connected within the Naperville community?
Of course, Naperville is one of those favorite places we get to enjoy for its richness of recreational activities for all ages. I get to enjoy some of my favorite things in one stop, from a nice walk to fine dining and shopping.
Since I started working for the DuPage Forest Preserve, it has been a joy representing the organization in various committees and being an active participant through the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce.
Woman of the Quarter Bio
Lulu Hertenstein joined the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County as the community engagement specialist for the department of Community Relations. In this role, she collaborates with leaders in the community to bring awareness and further the mission of the Forest Preserve District. She is an active participant in DuPage County through various chambers, not-for-profit organizations, advisory boards, and committees. She is committed to cultivating and engaging effective relationships with stakeholders and diverse community partners.
Prior to joining the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, she was part of the Department of Community Affairs for West Aurora School District 129, collaborating with community and governmental offices for the enrichment and advocacy of resources for students and parents.
Born and raised in Mexico City with a degree in Social Science and a certified English-Spanish translator and interpreter with over 30 years of experience in the academic and healthcare fields.
Lulu currently serves on the FORWARD DuPage Board of Directors, the Conservation Foundation Council, and the Wheaton Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. She is also part of Compañeros en Salud Board of Directors and Family Focus Aurora Advisory Board.