This year’s International Women’s Day theme is #ChoosetoChallenge, and we can think of no better woman to recognize than our very own VMAPA Board of Directors President, Jennifer Bauman. Jennifer’s history began with Vanguard as a member of the front ensemble from 1997-1999. She is currently serving her fifth year as a board member and is the first Asian American woman to assume the role of president.

The daughter of immigrants, Jennifer grew up understanding the challenges her family faced and the value of hard work. Her Korean mother and Korean Guamanian father immigrated to the United States to start a family and pursue the American Dream working seven days a week tirelessly. From the early morning to graveyard shifts, their sole focus was always to give their children a better life.

The emphasis in her household on academia, arts and music as a means of opportunity got Jennifer involved in band. She would eventually see SCV 1994 perform “The Red Poppy” at a local show, ultimately leading her to march with the corps. Growing up in a predominantly white area, being a part of Vanguard exposed Jennifer to a new world of diversity and people she identified with culturally, enriching her life in a way that would ultimately change its trajectory.

Jennifer is currently the CFO for San Francisco architectural firm, AE3 Partners. They are a certified minority-owned enterprise and small business. Being 100% Black-owned, with 81% POC and 48% women, they challenge leading industry standards in the field of architecture and engineering. With diversity and inclusion at their core, they actively seek to support and partner with other minority-owned businesses.

Setting the example that it’s never too late to take on a challenge, Jennifer shares openly that her career path was untraditional. Through a series of entry-level jobs, layoffs and the desire to break through pay barriers, she returned to finish school later as an adult. Working in a new job, she pitched herself to the company, asking to be their CFO. Knowing that she was at the time unproven and that her life was forever changed from one person giving her a chance, Jennifer understands firsthand the power of opportunity.

This compelled Jennifer to start VMAPA’s latest committees, the DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) and the VEL (Vanguard Emerging Leaders), which she leads. Her goal is to pass forward those opportunities to the next generation, by helping them network, establish connections and gain the confidence to go after their goals.

Jennifer also serves on the In Step: Women of DCI committee. When she returned to DCI in 2018 and was introduced by friends as a VMAPA board member she was completely dismissed by notable male figures in the activity, solidifying the need to uplift and challenge the cultural norms for women in the activity.

She credits Carol Abohatab as her earliest female role model and thinks similarly of Sandi Rennick today. During the years Jennifer marched, Carol was a formidable presence holding her own amongst an all-male staff. She also greatly admires SCV alumna and BDPA COO, Kathy Serksnis, Rosa Lee Harden and Donna Batchelor of BDPA, Genevieve Geisler from Bluecoats, Robin Lanning from Phantom Regiment and Laura Norris. All of these women supported her taking on the challenge of Board President.

While charting new paths, making significant career changes being pregnant, being a mother of two, working full time, chairing the board, and devoting herself to several other progressive initiatives, she always “chooses to challenge.” Never once doubting her capacity to do so and credits the belief in herself “1000%” to Vanguard.

Thank you, Jennifer! Today and every day you set an example that girls and women can truly do it all. We’re so lucky and proud to have you at Vanguard!

#ChoosetoChallenge #InternationalWomensDay #WomenofDCI