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.

Andrea Goodman

Computer Science Professor

Now part of the reason my life went as well as it did was because I created my own business. At the time I worked at Digital I’m sure I would of have hit a glass ceiling if I had stayed in the corporate environment.  I only didn’t because it was my own business and it’s still my own business. But I would say to women, you know, what’s made me successful is always doing what I was passionate about and finding a way to work at something that I enjoyed and I think that can be true for anybody, not just women. I also think that if you don’t want to get outsourced to India become a plumber. But other than that, to get as much education as you feel you want and to just go for whatever you want. Just assume you’re going to be able to do well at it.

Andrea Goodman lived in Chicago, attended college at the University of Illinois Champaign Havna and moved to Worcester in 1974 after she got married.  She has been living there ever since and says it’s a great place.  She has three children two twin boys and a daughter.  Currently she teaches computer science at Assumption College but she talks about many other jobs she had prior to this one pertaining to the business world.  In this interview she also talks about the hardships she went through to be able to get a better high paying job as a woman, and all the diff

Interview Date: 
Wed, 10/10/2012
Interview Focus: 
Name Sort: 
Goodman

Nellie Toney

Program Coordinator of the Diversity and Equal Opportunity Program in the UMASS Medical School; Nipmuc Tribe
Interview Date: 
Sun, 10/21/2012
Interview Focus: 
Name Sort: 
Toney

Amy Gazin-Schwartz

Professor of Anthropology at Assumption College

So, the most difficult transition, it took me maybe most of my adult life was to—even though I tell you this whole story about how I grew up in a family which truly encouraged me to be myself and had no sort of set idea of what as a woman I was allowed to do, and I went to college in the same type of environment—it was to learn to trust myself. And to not always question whether I was good enough at what I was doing. It took most of my life to figure that out. So that was the biggest learning curve I had to go through. A transition to being a mother was not actually that easy. I mean it’s hard to go from not having a kid to having a kid who is there 24 hours a day and depends on you. So that was a transition but it was okay. The transition to being married was not big once we had decided that we were just done. We knew we were going to be married so…not to say we always got along, but the commitment was such that it didn’t matter if we were fighting. It was, that was it we knew we were going to be together for the long haul.

Amy Gazin-Schwartz was born in Troy, New York in 1952. After her father graduated from college and got a job in Massachusetts, she moved to Natick, Massachusetts and later Duxbury, Massachusetts where she enjoyed both elementary and high school, constantly reading and exploring the outdoors. Amy discusses the importance of developing oneself freely and becoming whoever we are destined to be. The development of self is something she still encourages young women to recognize in growing up.

Interview Date: 
Tue, 11/13/2012
Interview Focus: 
Name Sort: 
Gazin-Schwartz

Sharon McLaughlin

Owner, College Admissions Counseling Business

I love doing what I do because I get to meet with students and talk to them about what their career goals and college plans are—help them find the college that they’re going to be comfortable at and help them be able to afford it. You know talk them into different scenarios and help them along the way. It’s nice to see kids go and really kind of blossom in college. You know, the ones that the parents worry about, “He or she is too shy to do this” or not going to adjust well to living out of state or taking care of themselves and they come back in December and say, “I can’t believe what a different kid this is” [laughter]. So, that’s where I get my fulfillment.

Sharon McLaughlin was born in 1958 in Worcester, MA and attended Burncoat Senior High School. Her father was a professor at Worcester State College and her mother a homemaker. Sharon runs her own college admissions consulting business which was inspired through her father’s love of education along with her own passionate interest in adult education. In this interview, Sharon discusses some of the struggles she encountered in her career and personal life. She gives insight on finding what you love to do and the emotional adversity she has faced with an ill boyfriend and aging parents.

Interview Date: 
Fri, 03/16/2012
Interview Focus: 
Name Sort: 
McLaughlin

Sarah Kelly

Owner, Worcester Academy of Music

Women, a lot of us deal with self-esteem issues just for a million reasons, and just gaining that confidence and who you are, what you are capable of doing. Know that you are capable of being anything you want to be. I mean that’s a message for everyone, but I think especially women. Because I think we get kind of pushed in certain directions. “Oh no, you need to stay home, and raise a family. Get married. Raise a family.” Or, “No you can only be a secretary.

Sarah Kelly was born in 1979 in Texas, and in 2004 moved to Worcester. Sarah had studied music all through her life, and became a major in flute. After working in the music business, Sarah moved to Worcester to open up the Worcester Academy of Music. In this interview, Sarah discusses the challenges and advantages of her music business in Worcester. Sarah had studied music all through her life, and in college pursued a flute major. From there she worked in the music business, but after the economic downturn decided to be her own boss.

Interview Date: 
Tue, 02/28/2012
Interview Focus: 
Name Sort: 
Kelly

Katherine Mangsen

Funeral Home Director

To not listen to the old rhetoric of men saying you can’t do this and you can’t do that. You can do whatever you want to do and you can have a career and you can have kids and you can do it all.

Katherine Ericka (Johnson) Mangsen is a funeral director at Nordgren Funeral Home here in Worcester, MA. She is the only child in a Swedish and Norwegian immigrated family. She had lived in Worcester her entire life, but she now resides in Holden, MA. Katherine went through all of her primary schooling in Worcester as well. She went to the College of the Holy Cross for her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Religious Studies.

Interview Date: 
Mon, 03/26/2012
Interview Focus: 
Name Sort: 
Mangsen

Barbara MacPhee

Realtor, Master Gardener, Beekeeper

Growing up I felt really limited actually in what we could do and in high school. Actually I wanted to take mechanical drawing and the school committee wouldn’t allow it. They said only boys take mechanical drawing, so they wouldn’t allow me to do that. So I went before the school committee and all and they would not allow me to take it. That was a boy’s—a man’s—or a boy’s course. And I really wanted to be a mechanical engineer. But all through my high school it was not accepted for a girl to do that. And I was really mad that I was a girl throughout my education cause boys had so many more opportunities. … Now, of course, I’m a realtor. And we own a lot of property and we manage a lot of property, so if I had it to do all over again, I would be either a plumber or an electrician. Absolutely. I love either one of these, especially electricity. That is fascinating to me…It takes time to know where your talents are and where your goals might be…but the Lord will guide you. If you know the Lord, the Lord will guide and direct you.

Barbara MacPhee is a resident of Holden who co-owns a real estate business with her husband. Her early years were spent in New Jersey, and she came to the Worcester area to attend Clark University where she majored in Psychology. Barbara was raised by a father who thought it was a woman’s role to marry and have children, and college was not in his plan for his daughter. Barbara was able to support herself during her undergraduate years, and she states that her father was the proudest person at graduation when she earned her degree.

Interview Date: 
Tue, 04/17/2012
Name Sort: 
MacPhee

Laurie Tigan

Director of Literacy Volunteers of Greater Worcester; Teacher

Literacy Volunteers trains adults in the community to work with other adults who don’t speak English or cannot read. And the partnership usually takes place over the course of a year or two years. We found that we couldn’t meet nearly the number of people who wanted tutors. When I first came on the job, there were maybe 50 people on the waiting list. Today we have over 300 people waiting for tutors, so we’ve offered classes to, sort of, “keep people in the loop” while they’re waiting for a tutor. We’re finding that the Albanian population and the…[pauses] we’re seeing a lot of Somalis and folks from Nepal and Ghana and Liberia, so there’s, I would say Africa is an area that many people come from. The majority of them have some [English], but not enough really to survive in the community. So therefore they stay in their own little group so that they can support each other and not have to speak outside their group.

Laurie Tigan (née D’Amico) was born in Barrington, Rhode Island in 1951 and attended Barrington High School. She entered Assumption College in 1970, the first year that women were accepted and graduated in 1973 with a degree in History. After college, Laurie moved to Newport, RI where she worked as a teacher for 32 years, also volunteering in many after-school programs. After marrying her husband, Dr. Mark Tigan, they both moved to Worcester when he accepted a teaching job at Clark University.

Interview Date: 
Tue, 03/13/2012
Interview Focus: 
Name Sort: 
Tigan

Sr. Nuala Cotter

Assumption Professor and Sister of the Religious of the Assumption

The church is a community of people who are in relationship with Christ. And so I live my life with them and I think that gives me a lot of balance. It certainly gives me a lot of hope most of the time.

Sister Nuala Cotter is an Irish-American who was born on February 18th, 1955. As a child, she lived in Tuckahoe, New York. Her father was a teacher and her mother developed Multiple Sclerosis. She helped take care of her mother, which forced her to grow up faster than she would have liked. She attended Mount Saint Ursula High School, followed by the College of New Rochelle, University of Pennsylvania, and Saint Michaels College. Sister Nuala arrived in Worcester in 1989 to join the Assumption Sisters.

Interview Date: 
Tue, 04/03/2012
Interview Focus: 
Name Sort: 
Cotter

Nancy Dube

Human Resources Consultant

[My work] has allowed me to grow more professionally—I’ve learned to be an entrepreneur, I’ve learned that I have to work very hard… I can’t depend on anyone else for money or for support.  Anything that I want to generate has to come from within, but it’s also allowed me to have more creativity and a lot more freedom.

Nancy Dube grew up in Framingham, MA and moved to Worcester, MA in 1971 when she went to Becker College. During her school years, she faced financial issues, but was able to overcome them. She married, divorced, and is now married to her current husband William Dube. Together they have had two children. After her divorce, religion played a huge role in her life and still does to this day, which allowed her to relay her faith to her children. After she got laid off, she decided to start her own business because she didn’t want to go into corporate America again.

Interview Date: 
Wed, 03/21/2012
Interview Focus: 
Name Sort: 
Dube

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Work