Work

“Work” is a value-laden term that has changed drastically over time, particularly in relation to women’s daily lives. Despite a legacy of opinions to the contrary, WWHP views women’s work as inherently valuable, whether taking place in the formal structure of paid employment or the private realm of home and family. We seek to understand each woman’s work on her own terms in her own words.

Stacy Lord

Art Teacher; stART on the Street Volunteer; Owner of the largest LEGO collection

It kind of saved my life in a way. I had a learning disability growing up and I didn't speak until I was in first or second grade and school was very difficult.  My parents have always been wonderful and just encouraged me in whatever I did.  So I would draw and draw and draw and they’d buy me whatever paper, pens, paint to draw.  They took me to the Worcester Art Museum as a kid to take classes there even though they didn’t have a lot of money. And full circle is when I got into high school I ended up teaching there.  So here I am eight years old taking classes and seeing my artwork up on the wall and then high school I get accepted to teach at the Worcester Art Museum. So I see the benefits of the arts and I grew up in music as well and how it can change someone’s perspective from being, “Ugh, I can’t do this, I’m a failure,” to “Oh, guess what, you can attempt and you can do things.” As long as you can find that niche of something to keep you going, that passion, that drive, that place where you can fall back on when things get tough.

Stacy Lord was born in Holden, Massachusetts in 1969, grew up in Princeton and moved to Worcester in 1996. She attended Wachusett High School and Anna Maria College where she discovered her love for the arts. Stacy is a loving partner as well as mother to two boys. Throughout her life, Stacy had many jobs involving the arts and now is a devoted middle school art teacher in Worcester.

Interview Date: 
Fri, 09/29/2017
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Julie Holstrom

Senior Project Manager, Worcester Business Development Corporation

My work has been very rewarding in this job in that I’ve been able to see change happen in a community that I love and be a part of that change which is really exciting for me. I was just talking with a group of students a couple of weeks ago and they asked why I liked my job and I said because I love being able to be a part of something that you can see. And I always say that I don’t know that I would be able to do my job as it is today in Boston. Because I have lived in Boston, but I do not have that type of connection to Boston. I grew up here and being able to improve an area where you grew up, that’s something special. That is one of the highlights of my job.

Julie Anne Holstrom was born on August 4th, 1981. An only child, she grew up in Auburn, Massachusetts with caring, loving, supportive parents. Julie often visited Worcester as a child and holds fond memories of the city close to her heart. Julie went to the Auburn Public Schools, got her undergraduate degree in political science from Providence College, and after graduating earned her master's degree from Clark University in public administration. Today, Julie is a senior project manager for the Worcester Business Development Corporation.

Interview Date: 
Thu, 10/05/2017
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Andrea Goodman

Computer Science College Professor; Computer/Software Entrepreneur

If money’s your motivation, you’re not going to stay in business for real long. If you don’t love what you’re doing, it’s going be tough. There’s an old trading saying, bulls make money, and bears make money, and pigs get slaughtered.  You make very different decisions when you’re in it for the long haul, or the short haul. And my advice would be, if you guys are interested in starting businesses, you want to be in it for the long haul. So don’t be in it for the money, be in it for whatever is your passion.

Andrea Goodman was born in Chicago Illinois in 1952. Andrea met her husband Richard Goodman while in graduate school, in an automata theory class about the mathematics behind computing. Richard wound up moving to Worcester before graduating the program because of a job position he was offered, while Andrea decided to move to Worcester after the two got married in 1974. After teaching at Clark University, as well as working for Digital Equipment Corporation for a couple of years, Richard asked his wife to come and help him run his up and coming software business.

Interview Date: 
Thu, 11/09/2017
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Courtney Ross Escobar

Lawyer; Member Worcester County Commission on the Status of Women; 40 under 40 Awardee

Courtney Ross Escobar was born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in 1978 and now lives in Worcester, Massachusetts. Courtney lived in south Florida until she attended undergraduate studies at the University of Massachusetts, Boston in 2002. After graduating from the New England School of Law in 2010, Courtney worked with Kids in Need of Defense, before opening her own law firm that concentrates in small business compliance regulations and family law cases. She is a lawyer in Oxford, Massachusetts, and has many ties to the Worcester community. Courtney is on the advisory board for the Worcester County Commission on the Status of Women, and she was just named to the 40 Under 40 list by the Worcester Business Journal. Courtney also balances family life with her career and strong ties to the community. She is married to Christian and they are raising two children. In the interview, Courtney attributes her success to her strong grandmothers on both sides of her family. Courtney is proud of her career achievements so far, but she also discusses her goals for the future, both professionally and for the Worcester community. Finally, Courtney’s advice to everyone is “Whatever it is you think you can’t do because you don’t have time or you don’t have the skills or you don’t- whatever it is just- it sounds like a Nike commercial- just do it.”

I would say that women’s experiences in Worcester have probably been the same that they are anywhere else. I think women face the same struggles in whatever community they’re in. So, I don’t like—clearly there’s systematic sexism [laughs] and you know things like that. I don’t think Worcester is incubated from those things. But  I see so many women doing so many amazing things and Worcester embracing those women and so, I’m hopeful that our experiences in Worcester are more positive than women’s experiences other places.

Interview Date: 
Fri, 10/06/2017
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Yahui

Born in China; Research Scientist, UMass Medical School; Studied at LVGW

The kids here, I feel they have more freedom to discover their interests or to develop themselves. So in China the students had a really hard time…they have more pressure in China.  This is my conclusion to this country.  What kind of journey?  It’s a challenging journey with some difficulties, that’s for sure. Exciting journey.  To experience different culture and the environment. And a satisfied journey for self improvement…And a thankful journey for all of the help. People are so nice, I got a lot of help.

Yahui was born in Jiangsu Province, China, and works as a research scientist at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, Massachusetts. She has a bachelor’s  degree in biology and a master’s degree in biotechnology from Nanjing Normal University in Nanjing, China, and a PhD in human genetics from Fudan University in Shanghai, China. Since coming to Worcester in 2006 as a postdoctoral researcher, Yahui has established roots in Worcester.

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Fri, 07/14/2017
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Carmenza Ramirez

Born in Colombia; Rehabilitation Counselor, Studies at LVGW

I never had the American Dream. I never think to come here to live. But in 2000 my husband lost his job. He is an engineer.  My older son graduated from the high school in Colombia. My brother was living here in Massachusetts.  He say, “Carmenza, maybe your husband and Victor can come here for vacation.” [They] got the tourist visa. When my husband and Victor came here, both got jobs one or two weeks later.  He call me three months later and say, “…we are going to stay here.”  In 2001 I try to get the visa to come here, but that was terrible time for the visa with [because of] September 11.  In 2006 the visa was approved.  When I was ready to leave Colombia, I brought my money, my own money. I saved money. I’m very organized person.  I came here on April 25, 2006. Almost four months later, I bought my house.  I bought my house with the money I brought from Colombia.

Carmenza Ramirez was born in Colombia and moved to the U.S. in order to reunite her family. She is well educated and was a university professor in Colombia. She is now a rehabilitation counselor for the state of Massachusetts serving Spanish-speaking clients. She talks about enduring years of separation due to visa restrictions on the heels of Sept. 11, 2001; reuniting her sons; and trying to build a professional life here in the U.S.

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Fri, 07/28/2017
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Edna Froio

Born in Brazil; custodian UMass Medical School; studied at LVGW

I come here because I think in America, in America I have more opportunity for a better life.  My dream is speak English well, and after my citizenship, my goals is changing the job…if I have opportunity for improve myself.  One thing I like here. If somebody want a going opportunity for life, America gives this opportunity for everybody.  Because in Brazil, if somebody lose the job after forty-year, find out another job is very difficult.

Edna Maria (DaSilva) Froio was born in Brazil in 1963. Edna came to the United States of America from Recife da Pernambuco, Brazil in 2007. Her initial intention was to gain employment in the U.S. and save money to return to Brazil after three years. She needed work elsewhere, as there was limited opportunity for someone over age 40 to find good work in Brazil. She says that youth is favored in Brazil by employers and experienced adults are not.

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Tue, 07/18/2017
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Juliana DeBoni

Born in Brazil; Audiologist; Studied at Notre Dame Educational Bridge Center

I think we are very happy people although we are living in another country.  We are trying to make friends here because in Brazil we used to have many friends there and we miss that a lot.  We like to talk, we like to make bar-b-ques in the weekend, so we are trying to do it here in the America.  I know it’s hard because we don’t have many friends and we don’t have any family here, but we are trying to be more involved with things in America.

Juliana Sgobin De Boni was born in Brazil in 1973.  In this interview, Juliana discusses her journey to the United States and recounts her experience and emotions of leaving her home, her family, and her friends behind.  Her goal is to become more fluent in English.  Improving her language skills will be the key to getting a job in the health profession as an audiologist. Juliana is attending English classes at the Notre Dame Educational Bridge Center, Worcester, MA.  She currently lives in Shrewsbury, MA with her husband and her youngest son.

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Thu, 06/08/2017
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Monica Salazar Carmona

Born in Colombia; YWCA Director of Health Equality & Community Health

Little by little because I learned—I started to work here from basic.  I did every single type of job here.  And first I start to step up little by little.  Step by step.  I did a few things before to have the position I have right now.  It's been a process of believing myself, being able to do things myself, being able to do things I didn't know that I could do.  Two times I got people right here, clients or people who were prospects who said I don't want to speak to you, I want someone who speaks English, and I said, "This is why you came.  I am the only one who can help you." "Oh, you are not American." "Yes I am. I became an American citizen two years ago."  

Monica Salazar Carmona, born in Colombia, came to America at the age of 27 to marry a man she’d met on the Internet.  Although the man had promised to send her to college, Monica soon found herself trapped in a condo with an abusive husband.

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Tue, 05/23/2017
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Jasmine Jina Ortiz

Professor, Quinsigamond Community College and Becker College, Realtor, Keller Williams Realty

I'd definitely give women today advice to continue to move forward with their personal goals despite what could be going on around them and to not to lose sight of their purpose, whether professional, personal, or family goals.  To continue to be encouraged and to not let discouraging individuals take control of their minds. The loudest voice that should be heard should be theirs.

Jasmine Jina Ortiz was born in 1979, and raised in New York City. She comes from both a Latino and an African American background; her parents are both from the Dominican Republic. She moved to Worcester, MA to attend Clark University as an undergraduate. She earned an MFA form Pine Manor College. Since then, Jasmine has taught at Quinsigamond Community College and Becker College.  She also works for Keller Williams Realty as a realtor.

Interview Date: 
Fri, 03/03/2017
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