Reprinted honor of Madeleine Albright turning 82-years old
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is a petite woman who can fill large university auditorium with her presence. These days, Dr. Albright teaches, lectures and writes. She frequently speaks to university audiences land enjoys telling young people that they can be anything they want to be with hard work. Her audiences listen enthusiastically and a recent crowd at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga was no exception. A packed house and 2 overflow rooms with video feeds were arranged for the presentation by our 64th Secretary of State. She was the highest ranking woman in government from 1997-2001 and the first female Secretary of State.
In April, I joined the Chattanooga Regional Manufacturers Association (CRMA) Alliance in Manufacturing Excellence (AIME) as Editor-in-Chief of the American Diversity Report. I was invited to be the official communications person by Lulu Copeland, the facilitator and committee chair of CRMA AIME. Copeland is also the founding member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) for whom I facilitated an inaugural panel years ago. My assignment at this event marking National Welding Month was to interview women in the welding profession.
Years ago, I sat on a bench with a group of women in a neighborhood park watching my toddler play in the sandbox. A young woman sitting next to me and commented on how adorable my sweetie was. No better way to get a young mother talking than that. So after trading a few more comments on my two-year old, I asked her if she lived near the park like me. Her answer startled me, “I’m officially homeless as of 8 am this morning.”
I turned and stared at her. “I called the police to tell them that my boyfriend was threatening me with a gun. They came immediately, but instead of arresting him, they told me to leave the apartment because I was agitating him.” Smiling at my confusion, she showed me a black-and-blue mark on her arm and said, “How do you think I got this?” Then she said that the police advised her she to never go back because they couldn’t guarantee her safety. “It’s my apartment, under my name, I furnished it and pay the rent! I should at least be able to get my clothes. ” I couldn’t think of anything to say as she wandered off muttering, “I need to find a shelter somewhere.”
Sadie Hawkins Day! I didn’t know anything about it. The vibrations though with which the name permeates our culture and whatever the holiday celebrates have always seemed a wee bit strange and but also lighthearted. It is celebrated on November 13th and since today is November 13th I feel oddly compelled to inform myself of the wisdom or lack of wisdom passed on by this “Holiday.” It would appear to be a very American holiday, but the Scots and my Irish ancestors might argue with that since they celebrate something comparable on February 29th called of course “Leap Year.” But that is another story!
The Sadie Hawkins Story
The American story is that Al Capp, a famous and brilliant cartoon artist of the last century,3 depicted in his daily cartoon, Lil Abner, the trials and tribulations of a hillbilly town called Dogpatch. The most powerful and the richest man in Dogpatch was named Hezekiah Hawkins who had a daughter named Sadie and at the advanced age of 35 she had not married. Sadie was also “the homeliest gal in all them hills” and her father was scared that she would spend her life at home as a spinster, a terrible and humiliating fate for any woman in Dogpatch.
Originally a professional educator from Ukraine, Fiona Citkin is among the successful women immigrants to the US. She came to America as a Fulbright Scholar studying languages and cultures. She holds 2 doctorates, speaks 3 languages, and has published several books, including the award-winning Transformational Diversity. Fiona is Managing Director of Expert MS Inc. For her latest book, How They Made It in America , she interviewed 100 immigrant women and profiled 18 of them in this book.
After over 21 years of working in an office, I finally had the opportunity to take a leap of faith to work from home. Many people have questioned me about the move, and how I am fairing. My response is simple: “It is a game changer.”
Like many Americans, I’ve spent a majority of my working life in a brick and mortar office. On a typical morning, I would take a quick shower, eat a hurried breakfast, and dash to my car in a futile attempt to beat the traffic. I have been in the law practice for 21 years, most of which were spent living and working in Washington, D.C.- a city notorious for its congestion. After a move to Baltimore, I continued to commute to D.C. for seven excruciating years.
In case you missed it, we just marked the 55th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act of 1963. This begs the question: is gender-based wage discrimination still a persistent problem in the 21st century workplace?
Many men might say no. However, it’s a different story for most women. The Equal Pay Act was passed by Congress and signed by President John F. Kennedy (JFK) in the White House Oval Office surrounded by working women.
The Equal Pay Act “affirms our determination that when women enter the labor force, they will find equality in their pay envelope,” said JFK in signing the landmark law.
But if you think pay inequity is a relic, just take a look at the gaping disparity of salaries for men and women in the same or similar jobs inside and outside the C-suite.
The #MeToo and #TimesUp movements have been inspiring. However, outside of legal confrontations and public humiliations, little is being done to ensure this behavior will stop happening and that the glass ceiling obstacles that have been in place for the last 4 decades, are removed once and for all.
As a woman who struggled up the “ladder” while raising children, I have decided to be a catalyst for real change by serving professional women on a full-time basis as a professional business coach, trainer and speaker. As a result, I have reflected on the role of women in today’s world and have some observations and some “Mother’s Day Resolutions” to share and ask you to share these resolutions with others.
Inspired by the response to my article, 2018 Challenges for Women Entrepreneurs and How to Overcome Them, I initiated this series called, How to Grow as an Entrepreneur. I talk to Leading and Inspiring Women all over the world to Raise Awareness among Women and ask them if they are ready to Pass the Baton on to aspiring entrepreneurs!
Lynda Spiegel is an Awesome Mom of two and the Founder of Rising Star Resumes that provides job search strategies, resume, cover letter advice, and LinkedIn profile keyword optimization. She is an author of frequent articles on The Wall Street Journal Experts Blog, LinkedIn Pulse, CornerstoneOnDemand, and Talent Culture Blogs.
Over the years, I’ve attended press conferences, graduations, receptions, and concerts at Volkswagen Chattanooga’s conference center, but I’ve never before seen it decorated entirely in pink. The event was the first ever Volkswagen Women Who Rock Awards Brunch. After having my picture taken in the photo booth wearing a pink Volkswagen hard hat, I meandered through the crowd waiting to hear from the keynote speaker, Julie Baumgardner, CEO and Founder of Chattanooga’s family oriented nonprofit, First Things First.
We watched profiles of the award nominees on the overhead screens as we listened to each of their favorite songs. It was a musical lesson in diversity. True to Volkswagen’s techie mindset, the playlist could be downloaded on Spotify. After much munching and brunching, we were brought to attention by Shireena Avery, the Volkswagen Diversity Sponsor to the featured Employee Resource Groups (ERG). The Women Who Rock program got underway with Megan Herndon, President of Volkswagen’s Women in Motion ERG.