Politics/Community Involvement

In addition to a traditional focus on the public realm of governance and power structures, this theme should also reflect a feminist understanding of “the personal as political.” We are interested in women’s opinions, values, and activities as they relate to a broad sphere of social relations.

Leanore Bona

President, League of Women Voters Worcester; lawyer, community volunteer

When I was working for the medical society, a lot of the community outreach I did, over and above working with the clinics directly, was with what I called, ‘shadow communities.’  Those are people you wouldn’t even know exist in this city, but there are thousands of them.  You know, all the people who work in the kitchen of a restaurant, that kind of thing.  And I’m sure—I never asked, I never asked—but some are illegal, most are not, just trying to seek out a living on the first generation level so the kids can do a little bit better later.  So those are the people I worked with.

Leanore F. Bona, known by most as Lee, was born on Long Island, New York in 1949. Lee is the President of the League of Women Voters in Worcester, Massachusetts. She defines herself as a nontraditional woman who has never married or had children, but rather has dedicated her life to helping those around her.

Interview Date: 
Sun, 10/18/2015
Name Sort: 
Bona

Amanda Beaver

College of the Holy Cross Administrator

There's actually a quote that I love and I never get it quite right, but it’s something along the lines of,  "Life is the constant act of juggling balls. You just have to know which ones are glass." I think that is so beautifully said because my family is always that one I can't drop. But the other ones, sometimes it might be that I don’t get to pay attention to the Republican debate or I don’t get to go listen to this. It doesn’t mean that it’s not important, but it just, it didn’t rise to the top quickly enough.

Amanda Beaver was born in 1981 and currently lives in Natick, Massachusetts with her family. She holds a bachelor of arts in German from Holy Cross and a MBA from the University of California Irvine.  She now works at the College of Holy Cross as a Leadership Giving Officer and for the Holy Cross Fund, which is their annual fund. Amanda also addresses the issue of priorities in work and life, her volunteer activities, singing, and running the Boston Marathon.

Interview Date: 
Mon, 11/16/2015
Name Sort: 
Beaver

Victoria Waterman

CEO, Girls Inc.

I would say that women have made a tremendous amount of progress.  Some things haven’t changed, the way we love our families, and the sisterhood that happens among all of us is--that hasn’t changed over the years and generations.  All of that still remains.  When you educate a woman, you educate a family. 

Victoria Waterman was born in Providence, Rhode Island in 1963 and is now the CEO of Girls Inc.

Interview Date: 
Wed, 10/22/2014
Name Sort: 
Waterman

Gloria Hall

Community Organizer

Gloria Hall was born in Moncrief Quarters, Sylvania, Georgia in 1954.  Her mother’s mother then raised her in the countryside in Millhaven, Georgia.  When it was time to go to college, she attended Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, Georgia for three years.  Then she decided she didn’t want to be a nurse and moved to Boston where her sister was living.  While in Boston she worked for a real estate company that was based in Worcester.  She met Joseph, her husband, when she sold him a house in Worcester.  After twelve years of living in Boston, Gl

Interview Date: 
Fri, 11/21/2014
Name Sort: 
Hall

Ellen Dunlap

President, American Antiquarian Society

I also feel that when you’re responsible for a big organization and lots of people’s livelihoods depend on me and the success of this organization, I kind of have this responsibility not to wallow in any frustrations, shortcomings, or trials.  You just got to—you know a lot of people are counting on you.  And this institution is two hundred years old, and we have a lot of continuity to maintain, so it kind of puts whatever I’m going through in perspective, and I think that’s useful to get a grip on what are the big issues here, not the little ones.

Ellen Smith Dunlap was born in Nashville, Tennessee in 1951.  She currently is President of the American Antiquarian Society [AAS] in Worcester, Massachusetts, an historical organization that was awarded the 2013 National Humanities Medal at a White House ceremony.  She married Art Dunlap, became widowed, and remarried Frank Armstrong.  They have a daughter named Libby Armstrong.  They moved to the Worcester area in 1992 and then relocated to West Boylston, Massachusetts.  Before moving she had lived in Waco, Texas and Lawrence, Kansas with her parents.  She th

Interview Date: 
Fri, 11/07/2014
Name Sort: 
Dunlap

Louise Charbonneau

Director, Holden Senior Center

We work for the government, okay?  But we make a difference every day.   And we can see it.  We never have the same day two days in a row.  Here.  Ever.  But because we deal with people and their lives—okay, we deal with the elders, we deal sometimes with their families, trying to help the elders.  We get a lot of feedback that says, especially after someone’s lost a spouse, “I don’t know where I would have been if you people in this building weren’t here.”  So you make a difference every day.  And that’s important to us.  And it’s gratifying.  It really is.  They are a very grateful population, I mean a lot of people will say, “How do you do what you do?  Old people are cranky.”  And yes they are, some of them, but not all of them.  In fact, a very few of them are.  Most of them are quite good-natured and very happy just to be able to come here every day.  It's important to me to make a difference.  And I can honestly say that my staff and I do.   

Louise Charbonneau was born in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1954.  She is the daughter of Blanche and Wallace Seager, of Swedish and German decent, and originating from Holden, Massachusetts.  Louise grew up in a Protestant home where she attended church every Sunday.  She has two older siblings, one brother, and one sister.  Louise started her working profession for WPI [Worcester Polytechnic Institute] as a secretary for the president.  She married soon after graduating from a two-year college, Becker Junior College, continuing to work for WPI.  Some years lat

Interview Date: 
Mon, 11/17/2014
Name Sort: 
Charbonneau

Erin Bradbury

Lawyer; Owns law firm; Community Volunteer

My father  was the one who prepared me for college. He, from the time I was in the fourth grade and he realized that I had skills for academics, took me out – I’m sorry I’m crying – and purchased a  desk for me. And we didn’t have a lot of money, but he went out and bought me a brand new desk that I picked out because being a student was my only job. Excuse me, he encouraged me to look at Smith College. I wasn’t looking at any other single-sex schools and he asked me to look at Smith College and took me around to all my college interviews and helped me prepare the tape, my audition tape, for all the schools. He’s the one [who] went out and bought the equipment to be able to make a recording, I recorded a Mozart concerto and I played the flute part and then I learned the piano part which was condensed for an orchestra score and he recorded both parts. So, I accompanied myself on this audition tape. So my father was a huge contributor.

Erin Bradbury was born in Grafton Hill in Worcester in 1972. She attended Wachusett Regional High School, Smith College and Suffolk University Law School. She is a lawyer currently practicing law and owns her own practice in Holden, Massachusetts. Erin is a mother of two, a wife, and an active volunteer, and also has musical abilities. In this interview, she discusses her family aspects and how much they mean to her and how they influenced her life decisions. For example, she discusses how her mother was a “great debater” and how she taught her to stand up for herself.

Interview Date: 
Fri, 02/28/2014
Name Sort: 
Bradbury

Judith Wilchynski

Physical Therapist; Volunteer Abby's House, Girl Scouts
Interview Date: 
Thu, 12/05/2013
Name Sort: 
Wilchynski

Polly Tatum

Lawyer; third woman and first person of color to serve as President of Worcester County Bar Association

That was the challenge. Sleep deprived; didn’t have computers back then, so I typed everything out on a word processor, so I used my secretarial skills. The challenges were working full time, raising a family, having three children, my husband at the time was just new to the police force, so he was working nights, and just trying to balance everything. It was a struggle, but – so I guess from undergrad to law school because I went straight through, it took me ten years; and anything worth having…you have, you fight for it, so that’s what I try to instill in my own daughters. But to do it all over again, I wouldn’t have the energy to do all that. 

Polly Tatum was born in Leominster, Massachusetts in 1964, where she lived from childhood into adolescence with her adoptive parents.  In this interview, Polly talks about the challenges she faced during her many years in education.  She enrolled at Worcester State College, achieved her undergraduate degree, and went on to get her JD while simultaneously raising a family of three daughters.  Polly shares a message of motivation and strength in professional and personal lives.  Being adopted as an infant, Polly also emphasizes the importance of family.  Polly had bot

Interview Date: 
Mon, 11/25/2013
Name Sort: 
Tatum

Carleen Roy-Butler

Director, Reach Out Center, Assumption College

If you look back on your life when you are 70 years old you will probably say you had it all, but you didn’t have it all at once.

Carleen Roy-Butler was born in Rhode Island in 1974.  She moved to Worcester six and a half years ago when she got the job as the director of the Reach Out Center at Assumption College.  After studying Sociology at St.

Interview Date: 
Sun, 09/29/2013
Name Sort: 
Roy-Butler

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