2023

Amy Kramer

Senior Vice President, Ostroff Associates

“Yes, I’m proud to be working with courageous state policy makers who passed legislation to create the New York Salary History Ban, which took effect in 2020. By prohibiting employers from asking employees about their salary history or compensation, the law aims to bring New York closer to narrowing the gender wage gap.”

In your opinion, what qualities make a “Power Woman?”

In 2023, a “Power Woman” strives to create a women-centered workplace, shaping an environment that provides what women need to grow and excel and feel supported and fulfilled on the job. A “Power Woman” makes time to mentor and uplift other women of all ages -in big ways and in small everyday-ways- and truly rejoices in the personal and professional successes of others.

What do you think is the number one action we as a society can take toward empowering women and gender equality?

For individuals in leadership positions, advocating for and implementing organizational policies to create opportunities and support choices for women. For example, normalizing flexibility in the workplace allows women, in particular, the space to make an advance into leadership roles, while managing other passions in their lives. And of course, equal pay for all, regardless of gender, race, and identity, is vital to achieving equality. Lastly, take a chance on women, invite them into the room, and offer stretch opportunities before she may be ready.

Do you think that asking previous salary requirements in job interview contributes to the pay gap between women and men? New York State outlawed this practice, should it be nationwide?

Yes, I’m proud to be working with courageous state policy makers who passed legislation to create the New York Salary History Ban, which took effect in 2020. By prohibiting employers from asking employees about their salary history or compensation, the law aims to bring New York closer to narrowing the gender wage gap.

What was the defining moment or experience in your life that led you to where you are today?

Like many women, at some point in our careers — or at multiple points — a leader will take a chance on us, and place us in a role or in a room where perhaps traditionally we’d not be considered “ready” to take on. On several occasions, forward-thinking colleagues offered opportunities I was not ready for, but excelled. Underestimating the tenacity and drive of young women is a mistake many leaders don’t make twice.

“Legislators, priests, philosophers, writers, and scientists have striven to show that the subordinate position of women is willed in heaven and advantageous on earth.” -Simone de Beauvoir. Is this still a major stumbling block on the 21st century road to equality?

Constructed theories of male supremacy have been challenged and debunked, and while there are differences between individuals, these should not be the basis for any hierarchy favoring any one gender in our modern world. However, these are long-held and deep-rooted beliefs, and while it seems obvious, we need to stand against any remnants of constructs seeking to retain male supremacy.

What is your mantra? What phrase or parable best describes your approach right now?

“We relish news of our heroes, forgetting that we are extraordinary to somebody too.”
— Helen Hayes

How would you describe the changes in the political landscape for women over the past five years?

As Sheryl Sandberg said, “In the future, there will be no female leaders. There will be just leaders.” With the first woman elected to New York’s highest office, Gov. Kathy Hochul, our first woman Vice President; the increasing numbers of women in positions of power continue to normalize women in leadership and pave the way for an ever-increasing number of women to step into those roles.

Women are often placed in binaries. Strong and emotionless or weak and sensitive. How do you subvert these limitations and connect to all sides of womanhood?

I strive to create and support environments where individuals can just be themselves, and celebrate positive qualities, whether they be traditionally considered masculine or feminine. Emulating male qualities does not need to be the only path to success. Everyone deserves to feel comfortable, with opportunities to utilize their strengths.

If you could have someone else’s job for a day, who and what would it be? Why?

I would love to be White House Press Secretary for a day. This position requires confidence under fire, the ability to learn a vast and ever-changing amount of complex information and communicate those facts clearly to the world.

What advice would you give to any aspiring Power Woman?

Be open. Open to change, open to challenge.

What steps do you take to obtain a healthy work/life balance?

I’ve been blessed to work for employers who are also parents, and who are also looking for the “silver bullet” of balancing work and home life. We promised each other we’d share the solution when we figured it out… needless to say we are all on a journey to balance all of life’s many responsibilities in a healthy way. Rather than striving for perfection, we all do our best each day to balance time and energy spent on professional and personal pursuits. Some of the happiest women I’ve seen are those who meld rather than separate and balance… they let work and personal lives overlap.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

As a New Yorker, I certainly admire Eleanor Roosevelt. She was a partner, a mother, and redefined the role of First Lady; and in a life dedicated to public service, Roosevelt championed human rights and gender equality.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Even when you don’t feel confident, project confidence. More often than not, you have the skills needed for the challenge at hand.

What is your favorite book?

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion.

What do you most value in your friends?

Solid friends encourage you to show up as your authentic self.

Which trait do you most deplore in yourself?

Lack of confidence and self-doubt. In others? Haughtiness, and assuming the worst in people.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Patience. Sometimes we can’t wait to act.

“Even when you don’t feel confident, project confidence. More often than not, you have the skills needed for the challenge at hand.”

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