By Gina Martinez
In an effort to help women find new job opportunities, the Center for the Women of New York held its annual job fair and panel discussion at the Sheraton Laguardia Hotel last Friday.
The panel featured successful women who have excelled in different fields of work. Sande Dunn Yules, special representative for the United Federation of Teachers; Andrea Ormeno, director of the Women’s Business Center; Lisa Boily, economist, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; ; Chickie Bucco, owner of an advertising media consulting company; Nancy Rojas, vice president of marketing and development at United Adult Ministries; and Mallory Trachenberg, program analyst at the U.S. Department of Labor Women’s Bureau, took turns at the podium to talk about their personal and professional journeys. The panel was moderated by Roz Liston, editor of TimesLedger Newspapers,a sponsor of the event.
The panelist discussed their career paths and how they ended up in their current professions. They told audience members there is not just one path to success and that they should try multiple things before they find their passion. The women gave advice to the audience, which included a group of female students from Thomas Edison High School in Jamaica. They came with their coding teacher, who said her female students were more motivated and ambitious than the male students.
Bucco told the girls it is fine to start from the bottom and build your way up
“I believed that it was OK to be a secretary,” she said about her approach to the job market years ago. “Because that’s what you had to do. You can get into a company and if you’re a secretary you can see what’s going on and how you can get where you want to go and open doors for you.”
The teenage girls of Thomas Edison High School were asked what their career plans were in the future.
While one girl said that taking coding workshops helped solidify her love of computers, another said she thought she liked computers until she started taking computer workshop.
“I’m glad I had the shop experience and computer networking because I realized I have no interest in computers,” she said. “However, I do want to go to college and pursue law and minor in business and one day own my own firm.I want to go to Binghamton University because they have great programs, and hopefully I can become a lawyer.”
Panelist Rojas, who works with seniors at United Adult Ministries, talked about her background of non-traditional work. Rojas graduated from Aviation High School in Flushing – one of eight girls in a class of 457 – in 1989 as a licensed mechanic. She told the young girls she had tough time in school, but she kept up her grades. “I can do anything a man can do,” she said.
Rojas worked part time at a senior residence while she attended the Vaughn College of Aeronautics, with the goal of ultimately managing an airport like LaGuardia. She worked her way up at the residence and ended up falling in love with the job.
“There’s so much opportunity for young people,” she said, “I don’t regret the choice I made. Just look at your passion. Whatever it is you’re doing if you put in your effort and your time and energy, you’re going to make money, but for me it was the passion. Passion is really important.”
The women’s center, founded by Ann Jawin, has offices in Borough Hall and plans to expand to a building at Fort Totten in Bayside.
After the panel there were workshops that specialized in resume preparation and job interviews.
There was also a “reality” dress-for-success- fashion show with a fashion expert who offered advice on dressing professionally.
Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmart