Monday, March 30, 2015

Women's History Month Q&A: Molly MacGregor

History has many lessons to teach us if we take the time to reflect and seek an understanding. The national observation of Women's History Month comes to a close after today. During March we pay tribute to women and acknowledge their influence in shaping the nation. Women continue to add to America's narrative and that is something we must remember and celebrate the other 11 months of the year. 

With a focus on women's history I'm pleased to share an interview with Molly MacGregor, the executive director and co-founder of the National Women's History’s (NWHP) Project. The organization recognizes and celebrates the diverse and historic accomplishments of women by providing informational services and educational and promotional materials. The enduring goal of the NWHP is to “make history” accurate by continuing to recognize and celebrate women’s authentic contributions through its current and future projects.
   
Q: Why did you co-found the National Women's History Project?
A: I wanted to encourage the discovery of the rich history of women revealing the amazing accomplishments of women while providing role models for girls and women and for boys and men.

Q: What lesson(s) do you wish someone told you early on in your career?
A: I hadn't planned on women's history being my career. It actually became my mission. Women's history is an important vehicle to encourage girls and women to feel stronger, bolder and to have better sense of what they can accomplish as well as encouraging boys and men to respect women.

Q: What do you think is the most significant advantage to female leadership?
A: Possibly, women know the importance of listening, because we have often not been heard.


Q: What is your favorite inspirational quote?
A: "We must do the things we think we cannot do." - Eleanor Roosevelt

Q: What legacy do you hope to leave?
A: I am not particularly interested in my own legacy. Instead, I hope that learning the stories of women's lives will encourage girls and women to believe in themselves and that boys and men will only respect women, but also the female experience.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Connecticut: Is it Coming or Going?

This past Sunday, the Hartford Courant published, "Are We Coming or Going?" It was the cover story of the opinion section. I finally read the piece today. I myself am a proud "Nutmegger," but I wanted to see how my fellow residents viewed the state of Connecticut. I wasn't that surprised by the commentary but it did reinforce how I thought people were feeling with their love and hate relationship of the state. In a nutshell here are where the people's gain and pain points with Connecticut.

Pro-Connecticut residents pointed to benefits such as:

  • A great landscape
  • Arts and culture
  • Good schools
  • Entertainment options
Critical Connecticut residents pointed out drawbacks such as:
  • High taxes
  • Lack of job creation
  • Utility costs
  • Bad public transportation
  • Bad schools

Who's right? As I went back over the comments, I saw myself agreeing with both perspectives. I identified with both points-of-views. 

Connecticut has good schools, some of the best in the country, but all that depends on you zip code. Many of our young people from the cities aren't getting the top notch education their peers who grow up in towns like Branford, Glastonbury, Simsbury, or West Hartford get.

We do pay high taxes, but we also offer a lot of good social services that you won't find in states that have lower taxes. Navigating our systems isn't easy, but that is a universal problem all states struggle with. 

Is Connecticut a good state to live in? My answer is yes, but I also know it can be better, especially for those who work hard, yet struggle to make ends meat due to the high cost of living.

It's very easy to get and stay down on the state. However, that mentality won't help us address the issues we know we have to address if the state is going to grow and be a place people want to call home. The reality is there are no easy answers or quick fixes to the problems that plague Connecticut. 

I know I'm not going anywhere anytime soon, so between the good, bad and the ugly I have to figure out my role as a change agent to help my state and my community.

If you live, have lived or visited Connecticut, what would you like to see changed?