SVP, Retail Operations Williams Lumber and Home Centers
The number one action our society can take toward empowering women is by nurturing children and supporting motherhood. We should make better efforts to provide care and support for mothers in the workplace. Removing that stress would make for more productive and healthy employees.
In your opinion, what qualities make a “Power Woman”?
The strongest quality that makes a powerwoman is her honesty. It requires strength, integrity, and fortitude, but it is well worth it.
What benefits and advantages does a company with positive gender equality have over a male dominated workplace?
Studies have shown that companies with gender diversity at the leadership level are more successful than male-dominated companies. I believe this wholeheartedly as gender diversity offers varied perspectives and experiences which are essential to a company’s strong foundation and continued growth.
Is there one particular thing in your life you are passionate about? Something that overides all of your objectivity?
I am passionate about all things Christmas. I love everything about the spirit and the season. As a child I loved the Christmas displays that many department and specialty stores would set up even if they did not sell Christmas merchandise. Few retailers have displays like that anymore which is why we have a large Christmas display with trees, trains, and a miniature village in our Rhinebeck, NY flagship store every year. I believe we are continuing an important and special tradition.
What do you think is the number one action we as a society can take toward en-powering women and gender equality? (e.g. affirmative action)? What can we do to continue to support and enhance the growth and presence of women in high profile positions?
The number one action our society can take toward empowering women is by nurturing children and supporting motherhood. We should make better efforts to provide care and support for mothers in the workplace. Removing that stress would make for more productive and healthy employees. Women carried more of the burdens of child care and home schooling during the pandemic and as a result have returned to the workplace more slowly. These facts highlight that we need to do more to support mothers so they can succeed as parents as well as in their careers.
Can you tell us a short story in which you encountered a block due to your gender?
I am a woman in the building supply and lumber industry since the 1980s. More than a few times I have encountered bias or assumptions based on my gender. I never let it affect me. I feel it made me a more confident, competent, committed, and professional leader.
Do you think that asking previous salary requirements in job interviews contributes to the pay gap between women and men? Should we push for a nationwide ban?
New York State has passed legislation that states employers cannot ask applicants about past salary requirements. I believe this has helped address the gender pay gap.
Should the USA reduce its role on the world stage?
I do not feel that the USA should reduce its role on the world stage. In fact, we are a world leader. The problem is we need to act more like it. We should remain an example.
Was there a defining moment or experience in your life that led you to where you are today? What was it?
The most defining moment in my life which led me to where I am today was deciding to work for my family’s business. It was not expected of me; it was my decision. Once I made that decision, Williams Lumber and Home Centers became my life.
Have you seen changes in the political landscape for women over the past few years? If so, what are they?
As a leader you must be mindful of politics. I am proud to say that I have seen positive changes in the political landscape for women. For instance, my good friend, Senator Sue Serino, represents the 41st district. She has served based on core values since 2015.
Is “Education, education and education” one of the top three responsibilities of a civilized society? If not why not? If so why is it prohibitively expensive? Also who should decide on the curriculum?
I believe in education but in addition to the education that is taught in a classroom, I value real world experience and common sense. Classroom education should pursue a “basic” core curriculum of math, science, history, language, and writing.
If you could have someone else’s job for a day, who and what would it be?
If I could have someone else’s job for a day I would like to water the flowers at Disney World. I enjoy gardening. I find it relaxing and rewarding. Maintaining the flowers is an important job that that needs to get done and is fulfilling to perform. Many people enjoy the flowers and landscaping in such a setting without necessarily appreciating the effort that goes into it.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
The best piece of advice I was ever given is, “Don’t be afraid to ask. The worst answer you will receive is no but at least you will know”.
What is your favorite book (fiction or non-fiction)?
My favorite book is Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss.
What do you most value in your friends?
The trait I most value in an individual is honesty.
Which trait do you most uncomfortable in yourself? In others?
The trait that I am most uncomfortable with in myself is being demanding. I have high expectations for how I conduct myself. This can be detrimental at times if I do not keep my expectations in check. In others, I find hypocrisy to be a distasteful trait.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
The most overrated virtue is wisdom that is not practiced. Telling people to do one thing but doing the opposite is a sure way to alienate people and sow conflict.