MY WORK.


Kelly Jenkins-Pultz

Kelly Jenkins-Pultz

- California

The Women's Bureau is like your older, wiser sister – she's seen some things go down at work and pulls you aside to give you a heads up – particularly when it comes to getting the salary you want, negotiating your benefits and planning for retirement. The Bureau's briefing papers and forums about earnings, workplace flexibility and retirement have been critical to me at various stages of my career.  They helped me understand the benefit of making a job change into a new industry and emboldened me to take a new job that increased my pay by one-third. A few years into my new job, my family was considering a geographical move, but because I understood how workplace flexibility could be negotiated and knew the critical value of vesting in my pension, I navigated carefully. First I researched my employers' workplace flexibility policy and then pitched a trial remote work assignment.  This had the dual benefit of extending the geographical representation of our organization while giving me another year of work to fully vest in my pension – twenty years later, the arrangement still works beautifully. The Women's Bureau's research, policy, and educational events have had a significant, positive impact on my career.

 


Denise Brouder

Denise Brouder

- New Jersey

A good friend is someone that has your back, that listens to and hears what you say and that advocates, for you.
We've found a great friend in the purpose and mission of the Women's Bureau. We think deeply about the challenges that women face in the world of work and how we can create solutions.
I find it incredibly encouraging that our collective voices have a seat at the policy table through the efforts of the Women's Bureau.
I find it incredibly inspiring that we all have an opportunity to reflect on the hard-fought achievements of women over the last 100 years. #WB100
A path forward to a gender-neutral world of work is framed in the efforts the past.

We can do it! Again.
We are all Rosie the Riveter.


Christine Carter

Christine Carter

- Maryland

As an advocate for working mothers and the creator of Mompreneur and Me – the nation’s first free mommy and me professional development event – I’m very inspired by the work the Women’s Bureau has done these past 100 years. Though women say motherhood is an important part of their identity, nearly half say their career is their identity outside of motherhood.

The successes of the Women's Bureau inspired me to unite these two worlds for women, creating a free program for mothers, which taught them professional development skills to advance their opportunities for employment.


Jude Antonyappan

Jude Antonyappan

- District of Columbia

My brilliant mother couldn't even complete eighth grade, because of customs that devalued women's contributions in domains outside their homes. I dared to dream of becoming a lawyer someday. Each step was a struggle, riddled with obstacles that seemed insurmountable. My mom reminded with a smile, "Live in infinity" I tried. With each setback, the next step unfolded with an uncanny sense of hope steeped in faith-with a sliver of happiness. I got my doctorate from one of the top universities in the world, raised my three amazing children with an unshakable belief in their sense of self and goodness to respectable stations in life; became a tenured professor; dedicated my work to help first-generation learners get their degrees; and finally, in my 60th year, I am going to become a LAWYER! Naysayers aside, with enormous goodwill for justice and service, I raise my voice and dare to argue, mastering the art of advocating zealously the case of another human who needs an empowering voice! Oh, Amma, how I wish you were here. I share the hope you gave me with your granddaughter and mine and with countless other women who need hope above all else. WHB!


Sarah Dow

Sarah Dow

- Alaska

At age 19, I began working as a laborer for a construction company in Anchorage, Alaska. I worked at this small construction company for five summers and would go to college in Boston in the winter. These five years shaped me by instilling hard work in everything I do. Both in the classroom and in the field I needed to be both smart and tough. Perseverance and a job well done was the measure to define my career. I have been in the construction field for 23 years and believe hard work and the ability to adapt to changing work environments has made me an asset to our workforce. I believe reaching out and helping future generations of workers is critical to keep building our great nation.


Rachel Newman

Rachel Newman

- Texas

While looking for opportunities to pay off student loans, I began working in industrial power plants during maintenance shutdowns. There I was able to interact with safety personnel opening up new career opportunities for myself. From there I began working in construction and mining safety roles. After a downturn in mining, I was laid off, but this allowed me to start my own safety consulting business. I now have the flexibility to spend more time with my children, yet still be productive in a professional working world.

Working as a safety professional has truly been a rewarding career for me. I have had the opportunity to interact with multiple different crafts, industries, and people. I have seen the best and worst aspects of our working environment. Even though this was not the career path I was looking for, this career found me and has molded me into a far more professional, accountable and caring person than what I could have ever envisioned.


Toby Nadler

Toby Nadler

- New York

The initial connection to the Women’s Bureau began in the mid-1990s with my creation of the NorthEast Women-In-Business Association, headquartered in Rhode Island. I was appointed to the Rhode Island Commission on Women, became the president of other leading women’s organizations and launched the first women’s business conference held in Rhode Island. As the unique NorthEast Conference grew to attract thousands of owners, executives, professionals and nonprofits, the event garnered prominent recognition. The Women’s Bureau, through its special Boston team, actively contributed and supported this successful regional conference. It was an exciting period to acknowledge and publicize the accomplishments of working women and to encourage and promote new regional networking relationships.
As the founder of WomenInBusiness.org based in New York, my entrepreneurial passion continues to create opportunities showcasing working women. With official 2005 and 2016 ceremonies at the Kensico Dam Plaza, Valhalla New York, trees and two bronze plaques honoring all U.S. women role models and mentors were dedicated for eternal public display. In 2019, WomenInBusiness.org celebrated our 20th Business Salon by inducting distinguished women Associates for their SweetSuccess – moral leadership beyond the attainment of wealth, power, fame. At the 2019 Summit, we proudly honored Erica C. Wright, the Women’s Bureau Acting Director.


Nacol Palmer

Nacol Palmer

- Mississippi

Driven by my love of numbers, I always wanted to be a banker. Keesler Federal Credit Union, in 2005, gave me an opportunity to start my career. I have always been motivated to succeed and advance myself—accompanied by a strong desire to serve as a good role model. During my career, I have strived to continually learn, and this drive led to increased responsibility and eventually a promotion to Branch Manager. In 2018, Keesler Federal offered me the opportunity to further my knowledge through its apprenticeship program, which allowed me to continue my professional journey. The coursework furthered my personal development and also enabled me to help others with their writing skills and interviewing tips. Seeing my peers advance encouraged me to follow my long-desired career path into information technology. I took the leap and landed the job. I credit Keesler Federal’s apprenticeship program for opening doors and allowing me to make a career move. Today, I am even more driven to advance my education and plan to enroll in college in the near future.


Kate Torgersen

Kate Torgersen

- California

As a mom of three and the founder of Milk Stork, the first-ever breast milk shipping company, my mission is to normalize pumping and motherhood in the workplace and to advocate for working mothers. Milk Stork was founded out of a personal need while on a four-day business trip away from my twins, and today, moms have trusted Milk Stork to get more than 3,200,000 ounces of breast milk home to their hungry babies on almost 60,000 trips. I am inspired by the commitment, grit and hustle that working mothers devote to breastfeeding and pumping for their babies in the face of innumerable obstacles – whether it’s the degrading experience of having to pump in a bathroom due to inadequate workplace facilities, or unpaid pumping breaks, or harassment or just the sheer endurance required to pump/breastfeed every three hours for a year. It’s my mission to ensure that our workplaces and society not only support breastfeeding mothers but also that they are celebrated for their commitment to nourish their babies while they also pursue their ambitions.


Evelyn Jorgenson, Ph.D

Evelyn Jorgenson, Ph.D

- Arkansas

Community college higher education is my passion. I have worked in education since 1976 and specifically community college education since 1986. During those many years, I moved from part-time to full-time and from an entry-level educator to a community college president.
When I became president in Missouri in 1996, I was the only female community college president in the state. I feel so fortunate to be a part of and be witness to the changing roles of women in higher education and to see the steady progression to impactful, leadership roles. During my tenure of 24 years as a community college president, I am pleased to say that I’ve seen the recognition and acceptance of women presidents rise considerably. It’s exciting to live in an era where there are women in nearly every leadership role. Potential is being permitted to flourish!
I personally have come a long way, from little farm girl to a first-generation college student to a community college president. It’s been an interesting journey and it is wonderful to see the progress that women have made, and continue to make, in all facets of our society. We need female leaders and we are creating them!


Laura Lindsey

Laura Lindsey

- Texas

I am a retired African American woman who served active duty in the U.S. Air Force from May 29, 1984, until my retirement on February 1, 2014 (30 years). I was raised by my grandmother who did not have a high school education but instilled a strong sense of perseverance and endurance in spite of circumstances. I attained my associate degree, Bachelor of Science degree, and a Master of Science degree.
My grandmother raised 8 children of her own and 5 grandchildren. My grandmother encouraged me to join the U.S. Air Force, although I was hesitant of the unknown.
As a result of her encouragement, I entered the Air Force and was eventually promoted to the rank of Chief Master Sergeant – which is the highest enlisted rank in the Air Force. I was the second African American woman promoted to the rank of Chief Master Sergeant in the history of the Air Force Recruiting Service.
I am currently an Aerospace Science Instructor at Western Hills High School in Fort Worth, Texas, where I have been employed for the past 6 years, firmly believing I can help students also realize the potential that is within them that they sometimes cannot see in themselves.


Debra Machado

Debra Machado

- Texas

I work as a Safety Manager for a retail thrift company with 1,800 employees. Our group is very diverse across the United States. I came into this company and position to teach employees as well the company that we can all champion safety together and it will take all of us to keep our employees safe. I am an active participator with the employees at the store level as well as the owners. Having a passion for safety, I was able to bring change to the work culture to an environment of safety actions instead of the old habits that had existed. The employees now work in a culture of "they have the power to stay safe", and in turn, this creates success for the business.


Gail Black

Gail Black

- Virginia

Although it has been over 30 years since I raised my right hand to serve in the U.S. Army, I have been truly blessed to have the privilege and honor to continue serving long after I've retired. Today, I currently work as a Citizen Soldier For Life Career Counselor with the Virginia Army National Guard and serve on the Board of Directors at Ft. Lee Women's Museum. I'm also a member of my local VFW in Colonial Heights, VA. I'm currently an active member of the Band of Brothers & Sisters Vietnam Support Group in Richmond, VA, and serve with a number of other veterans groups across Virginia; I thoroughly enjoy spending time in the school system helping children to better understand and respect our soldiers and veterans. I call my life's work, "Living The Legacy."


Amanda Vicinelly

Amanda Vicinelly

- Pennsylvania

I’m here to share my story as a daughter and mother. Growing up, my mom raised me working two jobs while going to school. We bounced from small apartments all over York County while she completed her education and added to her resume. I watched her as she struggled to build the life she has today. She now owns and operates a successful staffing agency in Charleston, SC. She lives a beautiful life enjoying camping and spending time with her grandchildren. I am thankful for her guidance and strength as my role model. She succeeds in the face of adversity and I am proud to be her daughter.


Haydeé Acebo

Haydeé Acebo

- Nevada

My name is Haydee Acebo and I was born in Ecuador. I moved to the United States when I was 18-years old without much more than dreams and hopes for a better future.

Twenty years later, I am in a global role at an amazing company that supports me in everything I do. What continues to motivate me is wanting to make a difference with everything I do, whether through hard work, having good relationships with others, and being kind. The family and friends I left in Ecuador who are cheering for me along the way are the ones at the heart of it all. As they inspire me every day, I hope to bring honor to them.

I feel so blessed to be able to do what I do today and use my bilingual skills to reach a wider audience. I want to inspire other women and let them know that anything is possible with hard work and the help of a proper network. I am an odd case, and I am making a difference with the help of so many.


Tiffany Budzinski

Tiffany Budzinski

- Ohio

The progression of self-discovery through various professions has given me the opportunity to create lasting impacts in the community. It began when I started working as a busser and continued working in the food service industry throughout high school. From fast food to banquets, I learned the intricacies of the food industry that spanned from drive-thrus to dining etiquettes. Three years later, I entered the beauty trade industry and obtained a manicurist license. By the age of 19, I helped my mom open a nail salon while working towards a baccalaureate. Aside from the technical skills required to excel in this trade, I also applied problem-solving, management, leadership, and customer relations that proved to be paramount for later professions in both the private and public sectors.

Nine years later, I founded Ellsa Group, a women-owned, minority business enterprise consulting agency, and returned to the beauty industry. This time, I worked as a project development consultant and assisted the DOL and its grantee, BPSOS, in achieving its mission by creating an occupation safety-training program to train hundreds of nail salon business employers and workers on occupational safety in the workplace.

 

Heidi Turner

Heidi Turner

- Arkansas

I started a career in welding and got my first job as a structural welder. I decided to continue my education as a certified welding inspector, which landed me a safety director position while pursuing my Certified Welding Inspector certificate. I love that there is such a vast amount of opportunity for women in the construction industry.


Seaira Goetz

Seaira Goetz

- New York

I am a first-generation college student who grew up in Central Florida. I moved to New York in 2015 to pursue my education in conservation biology. I have volunteered on many organic farms as agriculture is very important to me. I am deeply passionate about feeding people healthy food and sustaining a better environment for the future.

After college, I took a seasonal position with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as a Plant Protection Technician. I quickly climbed the ranks and took a term position as a Plant Protection & Quarantine Officer. I now coordinate fieldwork for up to 80 employees and cover pest detection surveys in Western New York. I also serve as a representative for women on the PPQ EEO Committee.

I am proud to help cherry farmers and protect American agriculture. Sometimes I look back and cannot believe I have come this far. I am thankful for the teachers who encouraged me to attend college and look beyond life in my little hometown.


Stephanie Bahar

Stephanie Bahar

- Missouri

As a woman who grew up during the beginning of the woman’s movement, we have been sandwiched between choosing a career and choosing a family. We have had to navigate the way without much history for guidance and have faced much discrimination. Now, as a woman in a predominately-male field (automotive), I find what personally drives me is keeping the memory of women who have fought for equal rights alive by mentoring and coaching other women.

My joy does not come in meeting company or departmental expectations, but in knowing I have planted seeds in other women and am helping strengthen the next generation.

Each day, I arrive to work with passion knowing I have an opportunity to tell a story, to pass on knowledge, and to coach women who are on their own journey. Yes, there are days that I still experience the “ole boys club,” or being talked down too or ignored. However, this only makes me more determined to continue to stand tall as a leader and encourage fellow women in the industry.


Tracy Jordan

Tracy Jordan

- Washington

It was an honor to work at the Women’s Bureau, helping to carry out the mission of promoting the welfare of wage-earning women and advancing opportunities for profitable employment. I was initially intrigued by the men and women who worked to passionately promote the agenda of the agency, and I was inspired by how the Women’s Bureau collaborated with local, state, and Administration Officials to help support women veterans and equal pay initiatives for women. Without the opportunity afforded me working in the Women’s Bureau, I may not have been able to help promote the advancement of working women in such an effective way or excel in my personal career in the ways that I was able to. The Women’s Bureau was instrumental in guiding my career path and has offered others in the Department a window into how they, too, can excel in their careers while pursuing their goals and serving and giving back to others.

 


Krystal Kerr

Krystle Kerr

- Virginia

After graduating college, I was hesitant to join a male-dominated industry that I had longed to be a part of for many years – law enforcement. My parents were twice as hesitant because they believed I was chasing what they viewed as a dangerous line of work for a young woman. The lack of representation of women in law enforcement pushed me even harder to achieve my goals. Now, as one of only two females on security detail for a federal government principal, I’ve found something I am truly passionate about. I am so grateful for organizations such as the DOL’s Women’s Bureau, which has fought for our right to be part of career paths that were never traditionally viewed as “female friendly.”


Marisela Douglass

S. Marisela Douglass

- Virginia

I grew up in Guyana, where few women had the opportunity to work. My mother was the first woman in her family to work outside the home. Before starting her fashion design business out of our garage, she worked as a secretary.

At 19, I came to America with my younger brother. An uncle, who was granted amnesty under the Reagan administration, sponsored us a decade earlier. We landed in the Bronx; rented a basement; and found jobs. My first job was as a cashier at a 99 cent discount store. Thereafter, I worked as a full-time bank teller and moonlit as a clerk at a video store in Times Square..

To pay for college and graduate school, I worked two to three jobs concurrently as a resident advisor, financial aid counselor, and writing tutor. After graduation, I worked at the American Red Cross and Deloitte before starting my career at the U.S. Department of Labor.

I have always valued the importance of work in activating a sense of purpose and promoting socio-economic empowerment. Fortunately, I have felt supported throughout my entire working life. Founded 100 years ago, the Women’s Bureau continues to support women in the workplace, and I personally understand the impact their work has for women across the country. Happy Centennial!


MY LIFE.


Kate O'scannlain

Kate O'Scannlain

- Maryland

As I stated at my confirmation hearing, it is not lost on me that I serve as the highest-ranking woman at the Labor Department. That is not a responsibility I take lightly. I pledged then – and continue each day in my role as Solicitor – to bring the totality of my experiences to bear upon the unique challenges facing today’s modern work place and to lead the Solicitor’s office with integrity, hard work, and grace. The experiences that inform my service to the Department include more than a decade of private sector law firm work; the demands of (and devotion to) raising my four children with my husband; a strong commitment to mentorship of attorneys and colleagues; and a deep faith. 


Charmaine Davis

Charmaine Davis

- Georgia

As a little girl, I can recall seeing the heartbroken look on my mother's face when she was forced to resign from a job she loved so she could take my grandmother, who was battling breast cancer at the time, to doctor's appointments. My father and I struggled to find the words to say to comfort her.

I am so grateful for the work the Women's Bureau has done to expand access to job-protected paid leave that workers can use to care for family members when they are sick. I was especially appreciative of this work when 27 years after I witnessed my mother's forced resignation, I was able to as an adult take 3 weeks off to be there with my mother when she was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2018.

Thanks to the work of the Women's Bureau I was able to be by my mother's side as she fought and beat cancer without fear of losing my job or going without the necessary payment to maintain my household. From generation to generation the Women's Bureau continues to improve the lives of working women!


Dama Brown

Dama Brown

- Texas

Eternal gratitude to the DOL Women's Bureau and the many trailblazing women who secured for me and other generations of women the right to inherit, own, and control property; to engage in trade, commerce, and professions; to be free from physical abuse at the hands of a spouse; to vote, hold office, and serve on juries; to secure housing, employment, and pay parity; and to control my own bodily integrity.

Not all of these rights were available to women in the 100 years before I was born, and we must be vigilant in safeguarding those rights for the next 100 years.


azra kermali

Azra Kazim Kermali

- New York

My name is Azra Kazim Kermali and I am a small business owner. My parents founded our company in 1974, after my birth. It was inspiring to see them grow their businesses without compromising our family and community. I started working at our company during my undergrad years, and instantaneously took on responsibilities as if it was my own. Despite the struggles we faced with a sluggish economy, I found the challenge very satisfying. It felt like I was keeping our family legacy alive. Around 2010, I approached a keynote speaker at an AMCC event. She was impressed with my request of featuring our products in her magazine; instead, she gave us the cover feature in Azizah Magazine. The support I received from Tayyibah Taylor, completely changed my perception of the power women have in assisting each other. Shortly after, I was fortunate that a micro-lender, ACCION introduced me with Tory Burch. The Tory Burch Foundation ensured I received additional education, loans, mentoring and featured me in her New York Times bestseller ToryBurch:In Color. I was awarded as a minority business enterprise by the National Minority Supplier Development Council and the Integrity Award by Accion. Women can empower other women and it will be paid forward!


Brandi Jones

Brandi Jones

- Maryland

As a single mother of two in a small town of Salisbury, Maryland, I knew in order to elevate in life that I had to make a change. Although most jobs in this area are either retail or warehouse jobs, I yearned for something more. So I researched and researched I came across the Lower Shore Workforce Alliance who helped me decide exactly what I wanted to do. They gave me a list of things that I can do to get certified in welding and just stood out to me. So, I asked questions, I completed all the tasks that were required in order for me to even get consider into the program, and once I achieve those tasks I realized that this is something that I love doing. Once completed I felt so great about myself and I was just so happy for my kids and everything that was set forth in this new process of elevation that I have going. Coming from a dead-end job into a career in less than six months, it’s quite amazing to me and I’m grateful.


Dr. Lisa Dubose, Ed.D.

Dr. Lisa Dubose, Ed.D.

- Ohio

My life, my work, and my family’s trajectory were improved by standards the Women's Bureau set to challenge biased processes, promote the advancement of women/women of color, and share data regarding the availability of experienced and educated women in a variety of fields. I chose Human Resources to level the playing field for those marginalized. I use Women's Bureau data for presentations and to add statistical validity to my dissertation, "Experiences in the Leadership Advancement of African American Women."
Data Drives Decisions! The Women's Bureau has fostered 100 Years of impact to improve working conditions and promote topics of interest to/about dynamic working women across a variety of industries. The Women's Bureau has been a catalyst to provide data used for legislation/incorporation into laws.
Barriers such as the glass ceiling for women and concrete ceiling for women of color still exist, but not for long! The work by the Women's Bureau is invaluable. Please keep establishing standards to improve our circumstances! Thank you for all the efforts to manifest change thus far. Let’s keep working to eradicate for women: inequity in employment, discrimination in pay, and promote advancement in non-traditional positions and fields. Congratulations on 100 Years! #WB100 #MyLifeMyWorkMyFamily


b

- California

Throughout my career in public service for the State of California’s workforce, I had been able to lift many women who blossomed into leaders and innovators reshaping the future of our communities and influencing the world. I deeply enjoy paying forward by empowering and promoting the success of others including women and other minorities that still face several barriers. The job is not over, I would like to thank the Department of Labor’s Women's Bureau for advocating for women rights and equality through the last Century. In The United States of America thanks to the bureau’s efforts, we can stand strong and free to vote and to control our own life and body while continuing our purpose in life. Not all of the women in the world enjoy this freedom and we must continue to be vigilant to safeguard these and other rights for the next generations to come.


Stephanie Rotondo

Stephanie Rotondo

- Arizona

I was raised by a young, single, working mother. There were times when people around me implied — or in some cases, explicitly said — that because of this, I would never accomplish anything, that the statistics had already told my story. But, my mother, along with both of my grandmothers, told me that if I worked hard, I could do anything I wanted to. I’m happy to say that after graduating college (the first in my family), I did work hard and am now the Managing Editor of two association publications. I’m also happily married for (almost) 15 years and I’m doing just fine, thank you very much. I live my life as authentically as I possibly can and it’s hard to imagine that there was a time when women like me would be considered “less than” or even “crazy.” But, no matter how you look at it, I am, and always have been, more than a statistic.


Maureen Greene James

Maureen Greene James

- Arkansas

I am a sought after speaker, diversity and inclusion advisor, leadership consultant and career coach who possesses an exemplary brand for collaborating and consulting with senior executives, emerging and mid-career managers, and teams. Throughout my career as an HR professional with numerous companies across multiple industries, I’ve served as a voice to the business in the areas of inclusion, workplace engagement, and leadership development. I’m also the founder of MGJ Speaks!, where the artistry of speaking engages and inspires everyone from young emerging minds to talented senior executives.
All of the above is diminutive compared to what I’m most proud of: my family—particularly my two children. I’ve coached them on everything from my son’s delivery of his salutatorian speech to my daughter’s negotiation skills. Today, they’re young adults paving the way towards bright futures, and I feel honored that they also reach out to me to ask if I’ll help coach a friend on salary negotiation, or simply to inspire a friend to seek their own excellence.
The Women’s Bureau provides data that helps me, my daughter and her “tribe of sister-friends” determine our worth and demand it! To me, nothing is more important than that.


Alexandra Phillips

Alexandra Phillips

- Illinois

I am a woman, a partner, a mother, a friend. I am a therapist, an executive coach, a business owner, a community member, and a travel enthusiast. I am a passionate advocate for women and children. I work to empower women by helping them to discover their strengths, uncover their limiting beliefs, and address craft a plan for success.
I believe, as women, we must know our value in order to communicate that value to others. I believe that by empowering women we effect change on a systemic level because anything that holds women back holds the entire system back.
I am a mother of two girls and I want to create a better, more equal playing field for the next generation of women. Becoming a mother was one of life's greatest gifts and losing my mother when I was 38 was one of my biggest losses. I believe that WE ARE THE SOLUTION; that we are the people we have been waiting for to solve the problems we struggle with as women, families, schools, and communities. Elevate the Conversation.


MY FAMILY.


Rose Holandez

Rose Holandez

- Pennsylvania

I have worked for the Women's Bureau for ten years. In that time, while working to impact the lives of working women and their families, my own family life has changed and benefited by the work of the Women's Bureau. In particular, the agency's work around paid leave and workplace flexibility have affected my family and me. The WB has supported paid leave for a long time, and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to take paid time off after each birth and not worry about losing a paycheck or my job.

In addition, I am also grateful for the workplace flexibility to use leave time, telework, or other arrangements to help me balance my work and family responsibilities. Life with young children is unpredictable. One minute my week is going well, and the next I am not getting any sleep for several nights because one of my kids is sick. During these times, I am especially grateful that I have a supportive supervisor and workplace policies that allow me to take time off from work when necessary. And I am thankful that the Women's Bureau has worked and done research on these issues in the past to help bring a greater awareness of the policies and supports women and families need to thrive in the workplace.

 


Ericka Schmid

Ericka Schmid

- New Hampshire

My name is Ericka and I currently work for the New Hampshire OSHA 21(d) Small Business Safety & Health Consultation Program. I have always been employed in fields that are primarily male dominated, but this has only helped me achieve success – I'm the underdog and it fuels me! I am the first woman in my family to attend college, which was made possible by my mother and my grandmothers. They had always stressed that they did not want me to rely on anyone to take care of me and they viewed college as a way for me to become self-sufficient. Because of their sacrifices and confidence in me, I received my four-year degree, am working a full-time job that I love, and am now working towards my MBA. I would not have been able to do it without my family, and I can never thank those women enough for being role models that I will always look up to. Love you Mom, Mamaw, & Grandma.


Linda Portrum

Linda Portrum

- Mississippi

I was born in Chicago, Illinois, at Cook County Hospital and raised my younger years in the Robert Taylor Home Projects. There were six siblings born to my mother and father who had served in the military. My childhood was faced with many challenges from losing my mother at the age of two and bouncing around to family members. I ended up in Grand Junction, Michigan, being raised by my father's sister. During my childhood, I was a good student with good grades. I married while in high school and had a son. Through it all, I had faith that pushed me forward. I ended up graduating with honors, went on to pursue a bachelor’s degree and later a master’s degree (which was funded by the Thurgood Marshall College Fund). My family has continued to be the inspiration that has driven me to continue to progress my career. Now my son is grown and I have four grandchildren, which I love and cherish dearly. I have spent the last 20+ years in HR and looking forward to retirement and enjoying my grands!


Anya Cobler

Anya Cobler

- Michigan

I did not plan to be a working mother. In my dream life, I would stay at home and raise the kids while my spouse worked. But, after we had our first child, my husband went through some job uncertainty and suddenly I needed to work full time to help our expanding family. That was eight years ago. We now have three children and I’m working what feels like a dream job meant just for me.

One of the questions that I hear frequently from younger women is "How do you know when it’s the right time to have kids within your career?" I wish I could give them an answer, but as of now, our country and culture do not provide an answer. So, I tell them that there is no right time and that you do it when it’s right for your family, and you hope and pray that your workplace will help you try to figure it out. I am motivated to think that my daughters will someday have a better answer, but I am equally encouraged that our community, church, family, and friends have helped immensely to support us in the balance of life and work.


Kristen Schwope

Kristine Schwope

- Texas

Over 10 years ago, U.S. Department of Labor Women’s Bureau programming introduced me to the idea of telecommuting, job sharing, and the importance of mentorship as I created my strategic marketing firm, Class Act Creative. More importantly than how the Women’s Bureau has lifted my business is how it has impacted my mindset about quality of life. As a mother of two, a wife, an active volunteer in my community, and a business owner, I benefited from the example of women executives who chose to pursue flexibility so they could spend essential time with their family.

Thank you to the Women’s Bureau for seeing that we are not only entrepreneurs but mothers, not only leading employees but shaping our future as we guide our children—especially our daughters—to learn that together we can create a workplace that honors our business skills and our roles in our families. Happy 100th!


woman in hard hat - link to submit your story form

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