Archives for the month of: August, 2016

By Jennifer Lynn Robinson

On Monday, July 25th, The Genevieve Society held a reception for delegates, elected female officials, and invited guests at the The Oar Pub at Park Towne Place. The Genevieve Society is a state-wide non-partisan 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to increasing the political and professional power of women in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

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One of the founders, Eleanor Dezzi of The Dezzi Group, Ltd., indicated that years ago, “only the suits had the parties.” So seven years ago she and others grouped together to found this organization, naming it after Genevieve Blatt– the first woman elected to Pennsylvania State Office. Their mission is to assist women of both parties to run for office, to help women be elected to more corporate boards, and to raise consciousness.  Currently, men attend their events to support the cause and, as Dezzi light-heartedly suggested,  “looking for votes.”  They are the only female-run organization to hold a reception for the PA Society each December. Chair of the Membership Committee, Bonnie Squires of Squires Consulting, said the organization provides “an opportunity to grab women who are committed, active and interested.”

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Eleanor indicated she is excited for this election because, “We cracked the Liberty Bell and now we are going to break the glass ceiling.” Squires is excited to showcase Philadelphia arts and culture as well as architecture to visitors this week. Guest Michael Adler from the Law Offices of Michael Adler also discussed the excitement around showcasing the art scene in our city. He is encouraging visitors to look for the Donkeys Around Town, a collaboration between Art Jawn and the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program and the brainchild of Ed Rendell. There are 57 Donkeys around town showcasing the work of many artists who hand painted each one. Learn more here: http://artjawn.com/dnc-donkeys/

gen2Guest Jenaye Munford of Urbicus is excited to showcase Philadelphia as a diverse city of neighborhoods with great culture.  Jasmine Sessoms, an attendee who works for the Mayor’s Fund, was excited that our city has so many diverse people from different walks of life.

I also spoke with the President of Gwynedd Mercy University, Dr. Kathleen Owens. The university ran a contest that involved both an essay and interview process to select one student to attend the DNC and another student to attend the RNC. The students will share their experiences through a series of programming in the Fall.

As any successful event, the well-attended get together included lots of great local snacks from Franklin Fountain, Parc, Metropolitan Bakery, Federal Donuts and Termini Brothers. Everyone loves treats!

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gen5To learn more about The Genevieve Society or to become a member, click here: http://genevievesociety.org/

by Jennifer Lynn Robinson

On Sunday, July 24th, the historic Fairmount Water Works hosted nine women who were recognized as “firsts” in their fields. This event was created by The Walnut Club, founded by Marla McDermott in 2015. The Walnut Club is a community of over 100 diverse, forward-thinking, professional women. You can learn more about this organization here: walnutclub.org. The event was scheduled to help kick off the DNC in Philadelphia.

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The event included a VIP reception, tours of Fairmount Water Works, performances, great local food, and more. A highlight included Lynn Yeakel speaking about her organization Vision 2020 which was a beneficiary of the event. Learn more here: http://drexel.edu/vision2020/
Denise Fike was also on-hand to help attendees celebrate the event by creating beautiful sketches of each woman. There was even an appearance by former Mayor Michael Nutter.

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I asked some of the winners about the biggest challenge of being “first” in their fields.

Cynthia Link, first female Superintendent of Graterford Prison:

“When I started thirty years ago there were only three other women employees at the prison. It is tough to navigate your way through the male dominated mindset and still be who you are authentically. You have to find some sort of common ground. For me that was looking for acceptance and making sure I was not too different. Without the support of men in my field, I would not be where I am. They reached back and pulled me forward.”

The Honorable Renee Cardwell Hughes, first African-American woman to be appointed CEO of the American Red Cross, Eastern PA Region:

“People underestimate you and that is both a challenge and an opportunity. It is an opportunity to exceed expectations, make a difference and crack the mold.”

I also asked some of the winners about what they were excited to showcase this week about the city of Philadelphia.

Marilyn Russell, award-winning morning personality on 95.7 Ben FM and the creator of the groundbreaking “Woman of the Week” series:

“I think since so many people visit the Rocky statue we should have a “Rocky ambassador” to welcome people to Philly and tell them what else they should be visiting while they are here. I think I should have the job. I’m a native Philly girl, I’m street smart, and I would rock it!”

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Leslie Richards, first female Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation:

“I want the delegates and visitors to see how vibrant and how easy it is to get around the city of Philadelphia and the state of Pennsylvania.”

Joan Shepp, a retail pioneer and fashion-authority in Philadelphia for over 45 years

“I want to show people what a friendly city we are. It has always been important to me to showcase both fashion and causes. Everything I do is for a cause. I encourage visitors to view our window displays and stop in for a free gift while they are in town.”

The event helped to toast this groundbreaking election and brought together some of the most accomplished women in all aspects of business, media, arts, science, and politics to champion each other’s achievements.

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by Jennifer Lynn Robinson

On the evening of July 24th, there was a packed house at Tired Hands Fermentaria in Ardmore, Pennsylvania to hear from Mara Liaason and Rachel Martin from NPR.  The discussion was moderated by Eugene Sonn, the Director of Audio News at WHYY.

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I was able to speak to Liaason after the impassioned group discussion. She shared what she considers to be the best part of covering a convention: it’s “real politics” and not everything can be “controlled.” She was sad that she would not really be leaving the Convention Hall all week, as Philly is such a foodie town, and she wished she would be able to eat in some of our fantastic establishments. She mentioned El Rey and Talula’s Garden as some of her personal favorites.

Tired Hands sponsored the event, and the food was remarkably tasty. I ordered the street corn and the chicken tacos. Check them out in Ardmore! They even have a beer named after one of NPR’s hosts. 

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The event was arranged by WHYY