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.

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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Erin Williams

City of Worcester’s Cultural Development Officer and Executive Director of the Worcester Cultural Coalition

It is part of my heart and soul. It’s not work it is living.  And that is where it’s not a negative it’s a positive experience where the challenges of how to bring people together through art is something that I look at every day. And with my coalition and with the city we try to build partnerships around that to see what is best for the city.

In this interview Erin Williams, born in 1957, discusses the many challenges she faced throughout her life, and how those challenges molded her into the woman she is today as the City of Worcester’s Cultural Development Officer and also the executive director of the Worcester Cultural Coalition. As an “artist embedded in city hall,” Erin helps find ways for people to express themselves openly, and bring communities together through the use of art and culture.

Interview Date: 
Fri, 10/14/2016
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Kathryn Crockett

Architect, Lamoureux Pagano & Associates

I was really fortunate to have landed the position at Lamoureux Pagano because that firm, I just fit with it.  It worked for me.  I was able to contribute and as I said, Dick Lamoureux and Mike Pagano were the ones who hired me.  They were the ones, principles of the firm, and they also—similar to my parents—I never once remember them saying, “Well you should do this because you are a women or only do this or….” There was none of that.  They encouraged me sort of in an objective way.  It was what skills I brought forward and what I could do.  They continually advanced my career as I was able to prove myself basically. So when I graduated it was 1993 and then the next step in terms of becoming an architect is becoming registered, you’re not done with your education. You have to have practical work experience.  You have to work within the field, at that time it was three years and then you could take the exam and the exam was a four or five day exam in Boston one day after another and it was all these different components including: structural engineering, programming, site design, building design, and so I studied for that.  I’d get up at 5:30 am every morning and study and then go into work—for a year—and then I went in to take this exam and in between I had my daughter so it was a lot going on at that point.  My daughter was born in 1993.  So that career is very intensive.  I think a lot of people think that architecture is a sort of, I don’t know,  a lot of people will come up to me and say, “I’ve always wanted to be an architect,” and I’ll say, “Well yeah, it’s a great career,” but  I don’t think most people understand what it takes to become and architect.  

Kathryn Crockett was born in 1957 in Pittsfield Massachusetts, and now works in Worcester, Massachusetts.  In this interview, she talks about her journey into the field of architecture, her thoughts on service to the community, and her love of education.  Kathryn is a motivated, hard working, loving mother and wife.  Education has always been an important aspect of Kathryn’s life.  She started her professional schooling at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts, where she majored in American Studies.  After graduating, she began to work at the Worceste

Interview Date: 
Mon, 10/03/2016
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Linda Raffaelle-Moyen

Nutrition, Health, and Education Professional

I majored in education, specifically Family and Consumer Science Education. And I graduated in 1979. I graduated magna cum laude. I always tried to excel and be perfect at everything. I thought that would give me that “over the rainbow life,” [laughs] but of course now I realize that was not the case.  So that was my major which was interesting because you know my parents weren’t that keen on the whole thing. So in my dad’s mind I think he thought, “Oh she’s going to school to learn how to be a housewife anyways.” [laughs] But it was funny. I used to drive this old car that would break down all the time and one of those days he had to come almost all the way out to Framingham to get the car.  He stops to get lunch and the guy at the coffee shop—you know my dad was friendly and talked to people and so he was talking about what he was doing out there, going to get my car at school.  And the guy asked what I was studying and he told him kind of, and this guy went on to tell him that, “You have no idea. Do you realize the classes she has to take?” And he started telling him, she’s got to take organic chemistry and she has to take all these psychology classes and started to tell him what I was really up to.  Not learning how to cook and sew or whatever.  And it was funny because after that I could see that he had a new perspective. He actually understood more and kind of took some pride in the fact that I was working and putting myself through college and doing well and all of that.

Linda Raffaele-Moyen was born in Leominster, Massachusetts, in 1957. She attended Leominster High School and went on to study at Framingham State, married her high school sweetheart, and had three children. She later divorced and never remarried. Although her education led her to become a teacher, she ended up opening her own business in order to better support her family.

Interview Date: 
Sun, 02/19/2017
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Kellee Kosiorek

Program Coordinator, Seven Hills Global Outreach & the International Center of Worcester

I’ve been there since June.  So it’s still less than a year and [I’m] learning a lot, but now I work for Seven Hills Global Outreach which does development projects in eight different countries including Bangladesh, Haiti, Jamaica, Syria, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia and .. Guatemala. Then I also work for the International Center of Worcester which is kind of the inbound programs, and so what we do is mostly work with the State Department and mostly bring visitors here to the U.S to do professional development training so [laughs] I’m kind of all over the place.

Kellee Kosiorek was born in 1992, in Lebanon, New Hampshire.  She moved to Worcester to attend Clark University, where she double majored in cultural psychology and international business and then earned a master’s degree in non-profit management.  Although she had primarily been exposed to her conservative, white family and neighbors growing up, attending Clark opened her eyes to a variety of different cultural backgrounds.  Since then she has fallen in love with exploring other cultures.  Her dream is to join the Peace Corps, but for now she works for the Seven Hills F

Interview Date: 
Fri, 02/24/2017
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Isabelle Jenkins

Associate Director of Community Based Learning, College of the Holy Cross

I would say the people are what makes Worcester so distinct. I think it’s a city filled with people who are really passionate about bridging difference. I spend a lot of time working with organizations that work with refugees and immigrants and that’s where I see Worcester shine the most. I think it is such a welcoming city in that sense and I think people are really great about opening their arms and minds to that. I feel like anybody who I know who’s lived in Worcester and has lived here for a long time, I just have never really seen in other places people have that much love for a place. Just really, there’s some sort of intimate connection people have with the physical you know place of Worcester that I think is really, really wonderful and inspiring and makes me want to engage with the city even more. And I’m just so lucky because I get to see so many different sides of the city with my job. You know I work with 35 community partners, I work a lot with Worcester public schools and a lot with like I was saying refugees and immigrants. I just see a lot of people who are really passionate about seeing this city—not only seeing this city becoming great, but believe that it’s already wonderful and great and, because it is. I mean it doesn’t necessarily look like, it’s not gentrified, it’s not it doesn’t look like downtown Boston, but I there’s so many great things about it already that it doesn’t need to be something different. I mean I do think all the influx of restaurants and the new construction’s great too, but I think, I just think it’s such a shining gem of a place and it’s wonderful to work with so many people who care very deeply about their neighbors. You know neighbors physically, but also just the people in their own community, so I think that’s what makes Worcester really special.

Isabelle Amy Jenkins was born in 1988. She grew up in both Gill, Massachusetts, and New Milford, Connecticut. Her childhood was slightly different from others, since her neighborhood was the boarding school where her mother worked. In her predominately white, middle class town, the boarding school brought diversity to New Milford. She attended the College of Holy Cross for her undergraduate degree and Harvard’s Divinity School for her graduate degree to become a chaplain.

Interview Date: 
Fri, 02/17/2017
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Lauren Grover

Mental Health and Substance Abuse Clinician

It means a lot.  I think it’s an opportunity for me to use my skills and my knowledge from my years of schooling, but I get to connect with people on an individual level on a daily basis, and really have the honor of [their] telling me their struggles, working through that with them, and giving them the skills to be their own therapist in the future so they don’t need to come back. It’s also really important to me to have work/life balance, because I do have two little kids, and the work I do gives me the ability to be home with them when I need to, and work when I want to.

Lauren Grover was born in1984, in Worcester, Massachusetts, and grew up in Holden, Massachusetts. At the time of the interview, she had been married for five years and had two children.  In 2003 she attended Assumption College to pursue a major in Psychology and a minor in Social Rehabilitation Services.  During her time at Assumption she volunteered at the Reach Out Center, which helped her to choose which career path she wanted to pursue.  Lauren also did internships during the summer, which allowed her to learn important lessons that she could apply to her career.

Interview Date: 
Thu, 03/02/2017
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Jennifer Wood

Owner of Amethyst Point Massage

I was working in retail and I hated it, and I wanted to do something else, but no one would hire me to do anything else because I had been doing retail for so long. And I realized I needed another skill and I had been interested in massage off and on for a while.  So I went to a massage school, and that’s all she wrote. My last day of school was my last day of my job I was done immediately.  It’s financially a struggle. It’s been a real—it’s been a big struggle over twelve and a half years. Luckily I don’t have any children otherwise I would not have been able to take the path that I took.  I made massage my full time job right out of the box even though—or out of the gate—I should say, even though I had no clients, no experience I just made myself available as many hours as possible and made it my full time job. But I had only myself to support. So when I hire people who are right out of school I make sure I explain to them what my path was. What I did. And if you cannot do it that way, if you have children, if you have things—if you need money, you need to have another job while you're building a practice. Don’t do what I did. It’s hard, it was very hard.

Jennifer Wood was born in 1973. Jennifer and her parents have both lived in Worcester their whole lives. Jennifer attended three different colleges, Franklin Pierce, Worcester State, and New Mexico University, but ultimately decided to pursue other interests. Currently, Jennifer owns her own massage business called Amethyst Point. In this interview, Jennifer reflects upon on how her massage business has been a financial struggle, but a recent move has made it easier. She speaks of how her staff is like a family and has helped motivate her through tough times.

Interview Date: 
Mon, 10/24/2016
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Susan Wobst

Consultant, Nonprofit management; Managing Director of Vital Voices Global Partnership

Well, success for me would be, if I had a headstone, I would say, "She tried to do some good." And in terms of my devotion to nonprofits, it's the core of everything.  Its mission, why they exist, why they were founded.  If I like the mission I will really go gung ho for that,  So it's trying to do some good through the work as well.

Susan Wobst was born in Detroit, Michigan, and attended Hillsdale High School and the University of Michigan where she earned four degrees. She is bilingual and her fluency in Russian led to many jobs in government and nonprofit organizations.  She also taught Russian at the college level and participates in several community organizations.  In this interview, Susan discusses her family, her career, and the community of Worcester.

Interview Date: 
Wed, 10/05/2016
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Faye Smalley

99 years old; Owned neighborhood grocery store

I'll tell you before the war [World War II], women took whatever jobs they could get, whether it was factory or whatever. But a lot of the girls joined the Worcester Women's Army Corps.  When they came back, they had a little more push, and they were able to get better paying jobs, because the pay years ago wasn't what it is today. Today they’re fighting for a $15 minimum wage [laughs]. I worked for a year in a bake shop, and I earned $12 a week. For a 60-hour week. So it came to about 25 cents an hour. And then I advanced, I did bookkeeping and cashiering in a men's and boy's wear. And I advanced to $16 [laughs]. And by the time I finished, when I got married I had to go in with my husband, it was 1951.  My highest salary was $30 a week. Today you work two hours for $30.

Faye “Fannie” Kravitz Smalley was born on January 17th, 1917 and has lived in Worcester her entire life.  She lived through a time where men were the ones with the jobs and women were the ones who took care of the household, but she was different than most women her age and seemed to do both of these things.  She worked for her family business at a neighborhood marketplace and she took care of both her parents as well as her husband as they faced serious illnesses.

Interview Date: 
Sun, 10/02/2016
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