Ladies Who Launch
Mildred, my Jewish mother in law
Mildred was a WAC.
She was a recruiter, a stylish one too. “The other girls used to laugh at me because I always buttoned my jacket before I hung them up. I did that so it hung right and looked good the next time I wore it.”
She made friends easily because she shared her care packages that came from Katz’s Deli. Remember their famous slogan – “Send a salami to your boy in the army!” Well, her mother did exactly that. Even if her boy’s name was Mildred.
When I think about women who do great things, I have to remind myself that “the hand that rocks the cradle rocks the world”. Mildred took pride in the work she did as a WAC during the war and in being part of the family business that manufactured mattress springs for the army. But her eyes would light up if you asked her about how she raised her family. That was her real work, her true calling that did not seem so glamorous to feminists or women seeking to be supermoms with careers.
I run an arts council that was created to support, develop and promote artists in Queens. Over the past decade, there are many artists and arts groups whose careers have been launched with our help, either through grants or professional development. I love being part of this energy, seeing the career of an artist evolve, connecting groups to each other, building communities.
There are many more women in the nonprofit sector than men. More women in leadership positions and in key administrative and programmatic positions. This work we do is mission driven and engages people’s passions. It often becomes self defining and if you are an empty nester, a boomer, or a single woman, this can easily fill your life.
Maybe I am channeling Mildred, but it is not my dream to be remembered as the”World’s Greatest Executive Director”. I can feel my eyes light up when someone asks me about my family.
Who are you
Me, as you know, I am an artspy, a momspy and a nonprofit knitter. I love working in the arts and in the nonprofit world. But who I really am is the one my son calls from the nurse’s office in his school when he got poison ivy all over his face. I am the lunchmaker, the driver, the midnight hour art project saviour, the one he asks advice from about auditioning for LaGuardia High School as a break dancer.
I am mission control.
Who are you? What is the part of your life that moves you?
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If you want style notes and more for people who change the world, please check out:
Getting to Wow! to feel good, do good and look good
Nonprofit Knitwear for all things knit and nonprofit
Style Notes from me, your artspy
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