WorkingNation celebrates International Women’s Day

WorkingNation celebrates the women who are bridging the gaps in today's workforce that we've been honored to feature in our stories.

Happy International Women’s Day!

March 8 is a day for honoring the achievements of women worldwide. WorkingNation has collected quotes from the amazing women featured in our stories. They have charted new career pathways, climbed to the top of the C-suite, are working to improve female representation in their industries, and are major players in organizations providing solutions to today’s workforce.

We begin with the women whose programs and organizations are committed to bridging the gaps in today’s workforce.

Heather Prill. Photo – Jonathan Barenboim

“One of the things that I love about HBI is they do job placement. Once the servicemen or women get done with the program, HBI helps place them in a role that is going to be meaningful for them. But they also make sure that the employer understands who they’re getting. They’re an organization that’s been around for 50 years, and they know what they’re doing. They are definitely the experts in this space, but we also can bring the power of The Home Depot behind them and if they’ve got opportunities for growth, opportunities for learning, we can provide those opportunities to them.”The Home Depot Foundation Senior Manager of Strategic Partnerships Heather Prill in Constructing a Career: HBI turns soldiers into skilled trades workers.

Mary Williard is the Director of the Alaska Dental Therapy Education program.
Dr. Mary E. Williard, DDS. Photo – Jonathan Barenboim

“The Dental Health Aide Therapist was a really reasonable way to think about providing care in Alaska because we already had community health aides. Creating a dental component in that system just made sense.” — ADTEP Director Mary E. Williard, DDS, in Service With a Smile: Alaska’s solution for America’s dental care crisis.

Photo of Amy Dodson from Hire Heroes USA.
Amy Dodson. Photo – Jonathan Barenboim

“I think the difference between a career and a job is [veterans] want to feel valued. They want to feel like they’re giving back to their communities. And they want to feel like their skill sets and what they learned in the military is being utilized.”Amy Dodson, area manager for Hire Heroes USA’s California office, in Salute to Skills: Workshops for Warriors and Hire Heroes USA.

The Last Mile Co-founder Beverly Parenti.
Beverly Parenti. Photo – Jonathan Barenboim

“My dream was to take that money and spend it on education, so children would have a better chance to be successful and not go down that generational cycle, the incarceration that plagues society.”The Last Mile Co-founder Beverly Parenti referring to the billions California would save by reducing the recidivism rate by 5 percent over the next decade in Free to Succeed: The Last Mile trains the incarcerated to become coders.

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo's Real Jobs RI initiative is the primary funder of the Commercial Fisherman Apprenticeship Program.
Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo. Photo – Jonathan Barenboim

“We have a large and vibrant commercial fishing industry. The reality is that it’s a family business. People will pass the boat down through generations, but it’s an aging industry. We see that. A lot of commercial fishermen were coming to us, saying, ‘Help us to attract young people and new people to the business. Help us to train them.’”Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo in Fishing for Talent: An apprenticeship for the future of commercial fishing.

Jennifer Carroll. Photo – Jonathan Barenboim

“What we found in our communities that there was an excessive number of skilled individuals who were finding they were out of work, particularly in the automotive industry. At the same time, we had a major employer, Dow, who had a need for chemical process operators.”Delta College Director of Corporate Services Jennifer Carroll in Delta College Fast Start™ programs ensure local talent is not for export.

Beth Hein. Photo – Jonathan Barenboim

“Whether they themselves have an artificial limb or some sort of orthopedic brace, that’s what’s drawn them to the profession itself. Or they’ve had a family member or someone they’ve known close to them that has worked within the industry.”Century College Dean of Nursing and Allied Health Beth Hein Ph.D. in The Right Fit: Century College serves the Orthotics and Prosthetics industry.

Claudia Finkel is the JVS SoCal COO.
Claudia Finkel. Photo – Jonathan Barenboim

“We actually had to write the curriculum ourselves. We had to create it from thin air. There was nothing out there that you could take and translate to actually taking people who had no skills or ability in the banking industry and move them into successful candidates for the banks, and so we hired Lisa Meadows.”JVS COO Claudia Finkel in Banking on Your Future: JVS BankWork$ delivers quality workers for the banking industry.

JVSWorks Associate Director and JVSBankWork$ Instructor Lisa Meadows.
Lisa Meadows. Photo – Jonathan Barenboim

“These are people who really want a long-term career in banking, and what they’ve done is put their lives on pause for eight weeks. They studied hard and tried to make a difference in their own lives by achieving something that they didn’t think they could achieve.”Associate Director of JVSWorks® and JVS BankWork$ instructor Lisa Meadows in Banking on Your Future.

EnCorps STEM Teachers Program Founder and former Paramount Pictures CEO Sherry Lansing.
Sherry Lansing. Photo: Jonathan Barenboim

“I started to think about all the people who were employed originally in math and science fields. People who were employed at Qualcomm, or people who were employed at the Bank of America, or Genentech, and who are now in their 60s or 70s, perhaps burnt out from their job. Perhaps just being forced out even as companies downsize. I started to think, wow, those people would be excellent teachers.”EnCorps Founder Sherry Lansing in Educating from Experience: EnCorps brings STEM pros back to school.

Creating IT Futures Executive Director Sue Wallace
Sue Wallace. Photo – Jonathan Barenboim

“Instead of helping get somebody into a role that’s a help desk or entry-level technical support, maybe we’re going to train people towards software testing. Or adding in an entry-level project management certification with CompTIA Project+. Or maybe we’ll move along another role, a technical role to give somebody a different access point into the IT industry,” Creating IT Futures Executive Director Sue Wallace, in Cracking the Code: IT-Ready opens the tech industry door.

Qualcomm Thinkabit Lab instructor Jennifer Manfredi. Photo – Jonathan Barenboim

“I’m saying go build whatever, go design whatever with whomever you’re working with and collaborate and share. The product from each group is totally unique and different. What that tells me is we shouldn’t be limiting our students on what their imagination should be. We should allow that creativity to say, ‘Go Invent.’” — Qualcomm Thinkabit Lab instructor Jennifer Manfredi in Creating the Next Generation of Inventors.

Diana Navarro – Photo via

“Before Girls Who Code, I’d never met a female software engineer. After connecting with and learning from so many females working in technology, I was inspired to pursue my interest in Computer Science. I now plan to work as a software engineer after I graduate!”Girls Who Code alumna and founding sister Diana Navarro in Girls Who Code: Nurturing the Next Generation of Engineering Leaders.

Monique Ellington. Photo – Provided.

“I had excellent examples of selfless service around me. My grandmother was the local babysitter in our neighborhood. She cared for all the children in our community. My mother was a single mother. She was devoted to helping other single mothers raise their children. So service and the essence of community has been a driving force in my life. I have been committed to sharing my gifts, talents, and strengths with every person I encounter.”Service Year Alliance Chicago Director Monique Ellington in A Day of Service for MLK Day 2018.

WorkingNation has also featured women who are leading their multinational corporations into the 21st Century.

Saadia Zahidi speaks at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2017 in Davos, Switzerland.
Zahidi spoke about the Fourth Industrial Revolution at the WEF Annual Meeting 2017 in Davos, Switzerland. Photo – World Economic Forum/Sandra Blaser via Flickr

“We can set people up for success by helping them better understand how they can productively build on what they know already and what the best, realistic options are. We should be wary of thinking of lifelong learning as a chore, imposed on us by changing technology. In fact, there is a lot of creative and liberating potential in moving towards a culture in which it is the norm for all of us to continue developing ourselves, our expertise and knowledge throughout our working lives.”World Economic Forum Head of Gender, Education, and Work Saadia Zahidi in Shaping the Future Workforce.

Susie Armstrong. Photo – Lauren Radack/San Diego Magazine

“I liked biology. I liked math. I liked the sciences, and I was exposed to them in high school. I took my first programming class and it was like a puzzle, and I was hooked. It was quite a nice combination of being captivated by computer science and then understanding it was a field very much in need.” Qualcomm Senior Vice President of Engineering Susie Armstrong in Shaping the Future Workforce.

“When we talk about our Thinkabit Lab program, we refer to it as a STEM program. It’s really a STEAM program. If you look at one of the things that engage these students, it’s the creativity in creating their own invention. It’s the creativity in going up and getting feathers and tongue depressors from the craft wall,” Armstrong said in our Do Something Awesome mini-doc, Creating the Next Generation of Inventors.

Jolen Anderson. Photo – Twitter

“From our CEO down, we believe that being a diverse and inclusive workplace — in which our representation reflects the communities and businesses in which we operate — is critical to helping us ensure that we’re developing the best innovative solutions that are going to continue to drive our business forward.”Visa Inc. Chief Diversity Officer Jolen Anderson in Shaping the Future Workforce.

Jennifer Crozier. Photo – IBM

“I think we’re all clear that the skills gap is one of the biggest issues facing every government today, not just in the United States, but around the world.”IBM’s Vice President of Corporate Citizenship and President of the IBM Foundation Jennifer Crozier in Shaping the Future Workforce.

Debra Plousha Moore. Photo – WorkingNation

“It has always been important to me that the people I work with represent the community we serve.”Carolinas HealthCare System Chief of Staff Debra Plousha Moore in Shaping the Future Workforce.

Lisa Davis. Photo – Siemens

“We must prepare ourselves for the digital economy and make sure everyone has a pathway to develop the knowledge-based skills that exemplify our digital economy.” Siemens Corporation Chairman and CEO Lisa Davis in C-Suite Solutions.

Lorna Donatone. Photo – Sodexo

“We have so many fantastic career stories of individuals who started frontline and rose their way up. There are so many accessible jobs for individuals regardless of educational level. And that’s one of the challenges in the workforce today, the availability of jobs where people can advance. We have those jobs in which somebody can provide a living for their family, and they can move through the ranks.”Sodexo CEO of Geographic Regions Regional Chair for North America Lorna Donatone in C-Suite Solutions.

WorkingNation’s Editor-in-Chief Ramona Schindelheim spoke with women who are helping close the gender gap in the biotech industry

Kate Haviland. Photo – Blueprint Medicine

“I mentor women here at Blueprint, and I also mentor some younger women at other biotech companies in the Cambridge area, as they think about developing their careers and which step to take. I think having that kind of connection with a woman who is in a C-Suite position, or an executive leadership position, really allows people to envision themselves there.”Blueprint Medicine Chief Business Officer Kate Haviland in Closing the Gap Through Diversity.

Liz Lewis. Photo – Takeda Pharmaceuticals

“I have been so incredibly blessed that I had amazing mentors. A strong female mentor helps you have a vision of how to get where you want to be.” Takeda Pharmaceuticals Chief Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer and Head of Patient Advocacy Liz Lewis in Closing the Gap Through Diversity.

Shamim Ruff. Photo – Sarepta Therapeutics

“I think women bring a different perspective and, I’m generalizing it, but I think women see the world slightly differently. We have, in many cases, some softer skills that men may lack. I think that balance is critical, and the way we look at science, the way we look at problems, the way we handle problems, I think it’s different.” Sarepta Therapeutics Senior Vice President of Regularity Affairs and Quality Shamim Ruff in Closing the Gap Through Diversity.

Heather Golding. Photo – Sobi

“I think that women have an obligation to be mentors. I’ve asked the questions: what are my next steps, can I really do this, or am I qualified for this? And I had mentors who had more confidence in me and said what are you thinking? Of course, you are, 100 percent.” Sobi Vice President and Head of Legal and Compliance, Heather Golding in Closing the Gap Through Diversity.

Women are using the skills they learned through innovative training opportunities to enter new career fields. WorkingNation’s Do Something Awesome series tells their stories.

Lowery at work at NYOS Charter School
Lowery uses the technical skills of her college major with the teaching skills she learned from UTeach. Photo – Jonathan Barenboim

“I think the moment that I saw the photo of myself from UTeach teaching that I realized that every moment that I’ve spent in a classroom, and every moment that I’ve spent in my UTeach classes was enjoyable for me and that I actually was having fun doing that.”UTeach graduate Kira Lowery in A Talent for Teaching.

ADTEP Student Anna DeGraffenreid is practicing to become a Dental Health Aide Therapist.
Anna DeGraffenreid. Photo – Jonathan Barenboim

“I worked hard all my life. I went through this program, sacrificed a lot that it’s all going to be worth it, and going to have a good paying job, be respected in my community, and be an awesome role model for everybody that sees me being awesome.” — Alaska Dental Therapy Education Program (ADTEP) student Anna DeGraffenreid in Service with a Smile.

Photo of The Last Mile coding student Stacy Orue.
Stacy Orue. Photo – Jonathan Barenboim

“What excites me the most about The Last Mile is it is perfect timing for me at my point in life. I know almost every job opportunity is computer-based. Any technical skills that I can gain, I feel I would be a foot-up on the other competition. The Last Mile is exactly what it is for me; it’s the last mile of my incarceration. It’s the end of my journey. I’m hoping that this will allow me to become independent and start making decisions for myself.”Stacy Orue in The Last Mile.

Amy Boutchee. Photo – Jonathan Barenboim

“A career is something, to me, that is more fulfilling, more rewarding. It means something both to the people that you’re working with and to yourself.”Century College graduate Amy Boutchee in The Right Fit.

Each JVS BankWork$ graduate is introduced and given a brief explainer of their progress through the program.
JVS BankWork$ graduate Janet Romero shows off her certificate of completion at her graduation ceremony in April. Photo – Jonathan Barenboim

“That’s what really gave me relief knowing that this program is here to help you and not just put you in debt or anything like that. That really meant a lot to me. It really did.” JVS BankWork$ graduate Janet Romero in Banking on Your Future.

Head shot of Erika Parker, long-term substitute teacher and EnCorps Fellow.
Erika Parker. Photo: Jonathan Barenboim

“With EnCorps, it’s continuous. They continue giving you newer tools, better tools, and provide great quality personnel with the people they invite to speak at their summer residential or spring residential programs where you get to learn all these tools on what to do, what not to do, and how to make you successful as a teacher.”EnCorps teacher Erika Parker in Educating From Experience.

Evelyn Scott. Photo – Jonathan Barenboim

“The success, it’s through hard work. Be yourself, treat people right and be fair to everybody. Sometimes you need to be patient too. You work hard now and I know someday that it will pay off.”7-Eleven Franchise Owner Evelyn Scott in All Hands on Deck.

Takara Larsen. Photo – Jonathan Barenboim

“I feel like there are no limits. I feel like as long as I keep on working hard and performing well, that I can do what I want to do. I’m excited to see where that goes.” Akamai Technologies Quality Assurance Tester Takara Larsen in No Experience Required.

Noelia Salgado. Photo – Jonathan Barenboim

“[The apprenticeship] gave me a look at my career path. It gave me my fundamental skills, it gave me the exposure and it gave me the education that I need to get to where I want to be, not just at the end of two years when the program ends. It helps my career path five years from now, ten years from now.”Zurich North America apprentice Noelia Salgado in Insuring a Career.

Jennifer Treman. Photo – Jonathan Barenboim

“To know how proud my family is of what I’ve accomplished makes it that much more worth it to get to where I am now and to continue to succeed. I want to be the best aircraft mechanic there is. I want to be the best role model to my kids, to everybody else, guys and girls out there. It’s never too late to start.” Timberline Helicopters shop technician Jennifer Treman in The Sky’s the Limit.

Linda Mindaye. Photo – Jonathan Barenboim

“I think if we change the way that we do teaching, [we can] have a space to include different kinds of experiences without just running past some experiences.”College for Social Innovation participant Linda Mindaye in First Boston. Next, the World.

Sydney Boardman. Photo – Jonathan Barenboim

“I’m only 20 years old and I’m participating in things that could potentially change the world or just be a really new experience for urban areas.” – College for Social Innovation participant Sydney Boardman in First Boston. Next, the World.

Thank you to the women who have participated in WorkingNation’s mission to educate people about the future of work. Their goals are our goals and we hope that they serve as the guiding light for the workforce.

We also salute the incredible women of the WorkingNation team: Jane Oates, WorkingNation President; Joan Lynch, Chief Content and Programming Officer; Ramona Schindelheim, Editor-in-Chief; Melissa Panzer, Executive Producer of Video Content; Theresa Collington, Director of Digital and Audience Development; Kristin Falzon, Digital Producer; Jaimie Stevens, Associate Producer and Project Manager; and Eve Bilger, Research Associate.

Additional thanks go out to the women of the WorkingNation Advisory BoardSusan M. Armstrong, Senior Vice President, Engineering Qualcomm, Inc.; Ellen Hughes-Cromwick, Interim Associate Director, Social Science and Policy Senior Economist University of Michigan Energy Institute; Gretchen Koch, Executive Director of Workforce Development Strategies, Creating IT Futures; Dr. Mona Mourshed, Executive Director, Generation; and Shirley Sagawa, President & CEO of Service Year Alliance.

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