Remember the phrase "You've Come Along Way Baby" (used of course to market a certain item)? Well, it definitely applies to the women in the new PBS series Makers: Women Who Make America. The program focuses on important and memorable moments in American history that were shaped and/or changed by women. Women like Gloria Steinem, Oprah Winfrey, Faith Ringgold, Hillary Clinton and others who we will never forget. They faced and shut down scrutiny, prejudice, sexism and countless other hardships only to rise to the top and pave a way for women in generations to come!
In celebration of this new documentary (airing Tuesday Feb. 26 at 8 p.m. on WNED-TV) we decided to honor women at our organization who have made noticeable strides in their careers. In our monthly WNED | WBFO digital guide, you will find a brief biography of the four women including: Nancy Hammond, Chief Financial Officer; Sylvia Bennett, Senior Vice President of Development and Corporate Communications; Eileen Buckley, Assistant News Director of WBFO 88.7 FM; and Lori Bannister, Director of Foundation and Community Development. I sat down with each of them and briefly discussed their journey to career success.
"Who were a few of your role models or people who inspired you when you were younger?"
SB: "My parents. They encouraged me to do anything I wanted to do". Maya Angelou (author/poet). She inspired me to think great thoughts. Joseph Conrad (author). He inspired me to think outside of the box."
NH: "One of my former bosses John Murray (Director of Guidance for Buffalo Public Schools). He encouraged me to go to college. Ann Forti-Sciarrino. She taught me the value of having a good work ethic. Ken Stone (Buffalo Public Library). He encouraged me take a position at WNED. My husband Paul who has always been very supportive."
EB: "My mom. She mentored me and steered me towards a career in communications."
LB: "My grandmother.”
"What were some of the challenges you faced early on in your career?"
SB: "Being paid equally as men. Learning how to make my achievements standout (being too modest to accept recognition for work achievements). Learning how to speak my mind and contribute to discussions and learning how to take myself seriously so that others did as well."
NH: "I was never expected or encouraged to go to college. I was expected to work as a secretary, get married and have kids. Eventually I took it upon myself to work and go to school at the same time."
EB: " Being young, sounding young and not having enough on air experience."
LB: "Balancing home and family with work."
"How are things different for women in the work place now than before?"
SB: "There are more opportunities now. It is no longer unusual for women to be in positions of authority. There are more opportunities for cultural diversity. We need to keep an eye on that and continue to make certain that it grows."
NH: "There are more women in higher level positions. Women are finally gaining respect for having these leadership roles."
EB: "In broadcasting now, there are more women in management roles. There are more women reporters making more decisions on covering the news and what to cover. Also, the media is realizing that the female audience and their feedback is equally as important."
LB: "The period I became a work professional, several women had already paved the way for me. However, there is still pay inequality."
"What is the secret to your success?"
SB: "Hard work and being relentless. Not being afraid to take advantage of opportunities."
NH: "Motivation, drive, being goal-oriented and determination."
EB: "Having passion for what I do, staying focused, being fair and treating people with respect."
LB: "Hard work and taking advantage of networking opportunities."
"What advice do you have for young women today who are entering the workforce?"
SB: "Work hard, keep your eyes open for good opportunities, know your field, don't be afraid to speak out and voice your opinion and don't be afraid to ask to be paid what you are worth."
NH: "Never underestimate what you can do. If opportunities are not given to you, seek them out. Don't give up."
EB: "No matter the field, make sure you can multitask, communicate well, listen and learn from those who are successful. Stay current with what's going on in your field. Find someone who can mentor you."
LB: "Put more into your position than you expect to get out of it."