The decision to go to college was a big step for Janet Berglund, B.A. ’01, M.A. Psychology ’05, but what began as a tentative step has become a passion that she’s sharing with others.
“When I first began at Antioch University Seattle I felt very unsure,” she says, “and I had the perception that I wasn’t very smart.” However, just two semesters and a couple writing classes later, she couldn’t imagine not finishing. “I really liked the focus on writing papers and self expression.
Those two things inspired me to reflect and look deeply inside myself for answers,” Berglund said. That introspection nurtured her propensity for service. After graduating, Berglund joined the University Board of Visitors, an advisory and fundraising body for the Seattle campus. Now she serves on the AUS Board of Trustees but her dedication to giving back goes beyond just serving on boards.
The time she spent living in Europe and Canada with her husband, a former co-owner of the Renton IKEA store, and her children convinced Berglund that philanthropy is not only an opportunity, but a necessity. “In Canada & Sweden social programs are paid for through taxes. In the U.S. philanthropy is essential at places like hospitals and schools that just wouldn’t be able to survive otherwise,” Berglund says.
Specifically, she also feels that “AUS needs more scholarships.” This belief inspired her and her husband to lead the way and establish the Berglund Family Scholarship in 2008 which is an endowed fund that supports women in financial need who are pursuing degrees in Psychology or completing their bachelor’s degree.
At present, Berglund is using her master’s degree in child, couple and family counseling in a different way — as the basis for corporate training retreats. She leads events where people look deeper into themselves and learn how to resolve conflicts within their organizations.
Additionally, she’s working to establish a child advocacy center in Victoria, Canada, which will help streamline and consolidate the response to child abuse. Berglund is also president of Essential Consulting and a supporter of Children’s Hospital, Hope Sparks, Harborview Hospital and Make the Dash Count.
While it’s hard for Berglund to pinpoint just one facet of her life that helped her achieve and give back so much, her education at AUS definitely helped foster that spirit. “Antioch University Seattle has remained a very special place in my heart,” she says, “and the time I spent in school there absolutely enhanced my growth as a person.”