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We are a non-profit state federation. Our membership includes women and men of every age, race, religion, political party and socio-economic background. We are a leading advocate on work-life balance and workplace equity issues.

In this section, you will read recent news releases and advocacy concerns as well as view our opinion editorials and letters to the editor. Members of the press who are writing about issues of concern to working women are encouraged to contact our Communications Committee at [email protected].

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Nike - What NYSW Means to Me

Author: Communications Committee/Thursday, December 12, 2013/Categories: General

In 1980 I joined the Arbitrage trading desk at Merrill Lynch.   I was hired to satisfy an EEOC dispute and was told in my interview that I wouldn’t last 6 months and I shouldn’t expect any of the men to change their language or behavior. But I love a challenge and as the only woman on the desk, I got one! I didn’t know about BPW, but I learned firsthand that women were paid less than men and women were not likely to be offered the same advancement opportunities.

Then one day, I overheard someone talking about a group called BPW.  She convinced me to attend a meeting.  And my life changed.  I did not meet anyone who worked on a trading desk, but I did find women facing the challenges of working in legal, medical, education and banking fields with their own experiences and lessons to share.   Thinking back, I realize how empty my life would be without New York State Women.   I have made friends from Tupper Lake to Jamestown and lots right here on Staten Island.  I learned how to speak to groups (without knees shaking), organize a fundraiser, mentor teens  (which led me to add CCD teacher to my retirement activities), develop organizational and leadership skills, arbitrate differences of opinions and so much more.   

Over the years, I honed those skills as local, region and state officer. As we frequently say in the Richmond County chapter, we agree to do something and then figure out how to do it – Gale Cohen gets me into so much trouble!  But with the support of fellow–NYSW members, I do things I never thought possible.  Carolyn Frazier convinced me to run for state office (and we still remain friends!).  Joann Olbrich taught me how to pump gas – you laugh, but it allowed me to drive throughout the state where self-serve is the only option. 

Eventually I left the trading world to develop seminars on the Global markets and teach at financial institutions.  I was hired to present workshops from New Orleans to San Francisco, from London to Singapore.  One day I found myself sitting in a conference room in Kuala Lumpur with the heads of the Malaysian Stock Exchange, Regulatory Agency and Central Bank.  I had been asked to explore with them how to improve their market operations.  I think anyone who met me pre-BPW would assume I wouldn’t last 6 months.  But now I think they’d say, she’s a member of NYSW – and they are a bunch of powerful women. NYSW offers so many opportunities for all of us.  I encourage everyone – whether you joined 2 months ago, or 20 years ago -  to take advantage of all that NYSW chapters, regions and state has to offer. The opportunities are there.  Just don’t think about it too much. You and the members of your chapter will figure out a way to do it and you’ll have a great time along the way. 


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