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10th Annual Athena Award

American Association of University Women
Fairport Area Branch
345 Lyndon Road
Fairport, N.Y. 14450
223-3791; Fax: 387-0091
Contact: Isabel Seavey

American Association of University Women
Greece Area Branch
74 Brush Creek Drive
Rochester, N.Y. 14612
Contact: Pat Rush

American Association of University Women
Rochester Area Branch
494 East Ave.
Rochester, N.Y. 14607
Contact: Edith Thoburn

City of Rochester Economic Development Department
Industrial and Commercial Assistance
30 Church St., Room 5A
Rochester, N.Y. 14614
Contact: Phil Banks

County of Monroe Planning
and Development
2 State St., Suite 500
Rochester, N.Y. 14614
428-5010; Fax: 428-5336
Contact: Rocco DiGiovanni

County of Monroe Industrial
Development Agency
1 W. Main St., Suite 600
Rochester, N.Y. 14614
428-5010; Fax: 428-5336
Contact: Rocco DiGiovanni

Engineering Women’s Club of Rochester
1454 Webster-Fairport Road
Penfield, N.Y. 14526
Contact: Josephine Amish

Financial Women International
P.O. Box 39531
Rochester, N.Y. 14604
Contact: Deborah Dibley

Genesee County Industrial
Development Agency
1 Mill St.
Batavia, N.Y. 14020
343-4866; Fax: 343-0848
Contact: Barbara Middleton

Genesee/Finger Lakes Regional
Planning Council
1427 Monroe Ave.
Rochester, N.Y. 14614
442-3770; Fax: 442-3786
Contact: Paul Howard

Greater Rochester Association
for Women Attorneys
P.O. Box 14150
Rochester, N.Y. 14614
238-8242; Fax: 238-8219
Contact: Elaine Cole

Greater Rochester Metro
Chamber of Commerce Inc.
Women’s Council
55 St. Paul St.
Rochester, N.Y. 14604
454-2220; Fax: 263-3679
Contact: Lisa Alaimo

Livingston County Economic
Development Office
6 Court St., Room 306
Geneseo, N.Y. 14454
243-7124; Fax: 243-7126
Contact: Patrick Rountree

Minority Business Development Center
350 North St.
Rochester, N.Y. 14605
232-6120; Fax: 546-8689
Contact: Beverly Jackson

National Association of Credit
Credit & Financial Development Division
Rochester Chapter
19 Prince St.
Rochester, N.Y. 14607
256-8872; Fax: 235-6393
Contact: Kathleen Mannara

National Association of Women
Business Owners
Greater Rochester Chapter
Clark Moving and Storage Inc.
3680 Buffalo Road
Rochester, N.Y. 14624
594-5000; Fax: 594-5040
Contact: Katherine Clark

National Association of Women
in Construction
Greater Rochester Chapter No. 314
82 Winding Creek Road
Rochester, N.Y. 14625
385-5978; Fax: 244-2673
Contact: Lynn Hamilton

National Human Resources Assn.
Bryant & Stratton Business Institute
1225 Jefferson Road
Rochester, N.Y. 14623
292-5627; Fax: 292-6015
Contact: Maria Pochalski

Ontario County Office
of Economic Development
2525 Rochester Road
Canandaigua, N.Y. 14425
396-4460; Fax: 396-4594
Contact: Michael Manikowski

County of Orleans Industrial
Development Agency
14016 Route 31 W.
Albion, N.Y. 14411
589-7060; Fax: 589-8105
Contact: Victoria Pratt

Rochester Area Women in Travel
V.I.P. Travel Services
144 Exchange Blvd.
Rochester, N.Y. 14614
454-7100; Fax: 454-6569
Contact: Susan Keith

Rochester Finger Lakes Regional
Development Corp.
55 St. Paul St.
Rochester, N.Y. 14604

Rochester Institute of Technology
Small Business Institute
1 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester, N.Y. 14623
475-2350; Fax: 475-7450
Contact: Robert Barbato

Rochester Professional Consultants
P.O. Box 18086
Rochester, N.Y. 14618
244-1060; Fax: 244-5818
Contact: Dave Young

Rochester Public Library
Business/Economics/Law Division
115 South Ave.
Rochester, N.Y. 14604
Contact: Carolyn Johnson

Rochester Women’s Network
39 Saginaw Drive
Rochester, N.Y. 14623
271-4182; Fax: 271-7159
Contact: Sandra Bernard

Service Corps of Retired Executives
Rochester Office
100 State St., Room 410
Rochester, N.Y. 14614
Contact: Jerry Braiman

Service Corps of Retired Executives
Canandaigua Chamber of Commerce
113 S. Main St.
Canandaigua, N.Y. 14424
394-4400; Fax: 394-4546
Contact: Charles Lewis

Service Corps of Retired Executives
Geneva Office
P.O. Box 587
1 Lakeside Drive
Geneva, N.Y. 14456
315-789-1776; Fax: 315-789-3993

Service Corps of Retired Executives
Penn Yan Office
2375 Route 14A
Penn Yan, N.Y. 14527
Contact: William Messner

Small Business Development Center
Brockport Office
74 N. Main St.
Brockport, N.Y. 14420
637-6660; Fax: 637-2102
Contact: William Bordeau

Small Business Development Center
Rochester Office
14 Franklin St., Suite 200
Rochester, N.Y. 14604
Contact: Sandra Bordeau

Society of Women Engineers
Rochester Professional Section
Rochester Engineering Society
Eastman Kodak Co.
901 Elmgrove Road
Rochester, N.Y. 14653
588-3294; Fax: 722-1214
Contact: Ronna Robertson

U.S. Small Business Administration
100 State St., Room 410
Rochester, N.Y. 14614
Contact: Peter Flihan
National answer desk: 800-827-5722

Urban League of Rochester Inc.
265 N. Clinton Ave.
Rochester, N.Y. 14605
325-6530; Fax: 325-4864
Contact: Caroline Vitale

Wayne Economic Development Corp.
16 William St.
Lyons, N.Y. 14489
315-946-5917; Fax: 315-946-5918
Contact: Barbara Harper

Webster Business and Professional
Women’s Club
P.O. Box 574
Webster, N.Y. 14580
Contact: Lois Nunes

Women in Communications Inc.
Rochester Professional Chapter
P.O. Box 39308
Rochester, N.Y. 14604
263-2700; Fax: 263-2493
Contact: Laura Sadowski

Women’s Council of Realtors
Rochester Chapter
P.O. Box 20842
Rochester, N.Y. 14692
223-6320; Fax: 223-0915
Contact: Ruth Cronkwright

World Business Academy
Rochester Chapter
50 Potter Place
Fairport, N.Y. 14450
Fax: 223-0066
Contact: Rose Ericson

10th Annual Athena Award

(Ranked by number of local full-time employees*)

Tender Loving Care Agency Inc.
69 Monroe Ave.
Pittsford, N.Y. 14534 387-8050

Number of Local(1) Full-Time/Part-Time Employees: 600/200
Gross Sales Volume Last Fiscal Year ($000): 17,000
Percent of Business Woman-Owned: NA
Principal Business: Home health care services
Owner(s): Linda, Nancy, Pam and Alfreda Underhill; Karen Underhill-Norman Panney Underhill-Adams, Jodi Underhill-Anderson, Alfred Plouffe
Year Founded: 1981
Major Clients, Projects or Contacts: Monroe County Department of Health, Monroe County Department of Social Services, private pay clients, Community Home Health Agency

Playcare Inc.
65 Hoover Drive
Rochester, N.Y. 14615 621-9120

Number of Local(1) Full-Time/Part-Time Employees: 197/26
Gross Sales Volume Last Fiscal Year ($000): 3,400
Percent of Business Woman-Owned: 100
Principal Business: 10 child-care centers
Owner(s): Sandra Alexander
Year Founded: 1970
Major Clients, Projects or Contacts: Private families, Monroe County Department of Social Services

Mercury Print Productions Inc.
50 Holleder Parkway
Rochester, N.Y. 14615 458-7900

Number of Local(1) Full-Time/Part-Time Employees: 115/23
Gross Sales Volume Last Fiscal Year ($000): 6,000
Percent of Business Woman-Owned: 67
Principal Business: Printing and high-volume copying
Owner(s): Valerie Mannix, John Place
Year Founded: 1969
Major Clients, Projects or Contacts: Xerox Corp., Eastman Kodak Co., Eagle International Institute Inc., Rochester Gas and Electric Corp.

Monroe Medi-Trans Inc.
318 Smith St.
Rochester, N.Y. 14608 454-6210

Number of Local(1) Full-Time/Part-Time Employees: 90/60
Gross Sales Volume Last Fiscal Year ($000): 4,263
Percent of Business Woman-Owned: 100
Principal Business: Transporting the ill and disabled
Owner(s): Eileen Coyle
Year Founded: 1975
Major Clients, Projects or Contacts: Home Care, Medicaid, Medicare, Preferred Care, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of the Rochester Area

Children’s Center of Brighton and Henrietta Inc.
395 John St.
Rochester, N.Y. 14623 442-7400

Number of Local(1) Full-Time/Part-Time Employees: 85/10
Gross Sales Volume Last Fiscal Year ($000): NA
Percent of Business Woman-Owned: 50
Principal Business: Child care
Owner(s): Beverly Malowitz, Marvin Malowitz
Year Founded: 1964
Major Clients, Projects or Contacts: Strong Memorial Hospital, University of Rochester

Clark Moving & Storage Inc.
3680 Buffalo Road
Rochester, N.Y. 14624 594-5000

Number of Local(1) Full-Time/Part-Time Employees: 75/25
Gross Sales Volume Last Fiscal Year ($000): 5,800
Percent of Business Woman-Owned: 51
Principal Business: Local, interstate and international relocation and storage of household goods
Owner(s): Katherine and Richard Clark
Year Founded: 1985
Major Clients, Projects or Contacts: Kodak, Xerox, Bausch & Lomb Inc.

Alphabet Campus Child Care Centers Inc.
695 Bay Road
Webster, N.Y. 14580 671-8474

Number of Local(1) Full-Time/Part-Time Employees: 72/20
Gross Sales Volume Last Fiscal Year ($000): NA
Percent of Business Woman-Owned: 100
Principal Business: Child care
Owner(s): Denise Kosel, Laurie Maio
Year Founded: 1985
Major Clients, Projects or Contacts: Working parents, Department of Social Services

Datamax Services Inc.
560 Willowbrook Office Park
Fairport, N.Y. 14450 381-8590

Number of Local(1) Full-Time/Part-Time Employees: 55/2
Gross Sales Volume Last Fiscal Year ($000): 3,500
Percent of Business Woman-Owned: 100
Principal Business: Client/server and computer telephony, software-
integration services
Owner(s): Patricia Maxwell
Year Founded: 1988
Major Clients, Projects or Contacts: Kodak, Xerox, Bausch & Lomb

Tot-al Care
P.O. Box 179
Victor, N.Y. 14564 924-8188

Number of Local(1) Full-Time/Part-Time Employees: 40/5
Gross Sales Volume Last Fiscal Year ($000): NA
Percent of Business Woman-Owned: 51
Principal Business: Early-childhood-development centers
Owner(s): Paula Waldman
Year Founded: 1983
Major Clients, Projects or Contacts: Families throughout Monroe and Ontario Counties

Janet Rich Day Care Center Inc.
1101 Clover St.
Rochester, N.Y. 14610 473-3709

Number of Local(1) Full-Time/Part-Time Employees: 40/4
Gross Sales Volume Last Fiscal Year ($000): 828
Percent of Business Woman-Owned: 50
Principal Business: Child care
Owner(s): Laura Bates, Art Bates
Year Founded: 1978
Major Clients, Projects or Contacts:ÊNA

Van Zile Travel Service
380 Cedarwood Office Park
Fairport, N.Y. 14450 223-3060

Number of Local(1) Full-Time/Part-Time Employees: 39/2
Gross Sales Volume Last Fiscal Year ($000): 13,193
Percent of Business Woman-Owned: 100
Principal Business: Travel agency
Owner(s): Katharine Van Zile
Year Founded: 1911
Major Clients, Projects or Contacts: Individuals, groups and corporations requiring travel service including air, hotel, car, tour and cruise reservations for
business and personal travel

A-R Color Labs Inc.
4199 W. Henrietta Road
Rochester, N.Y. 14623 334-3609

Number of Local(1) Full-Time/Part-Time Employees: 35/10
Gross Sales Volume Last Fiscal Year ($000): NA
Percent of Business Woman-Owned: 100
Principal Business: Professional photofinishing
Owner(s): Jacqueline Degnan
Year Founded: 1958
Major Clients, Projects or Contacts: Professional photographers, Kodak, other large corporations

Computer Confidence Inc.
1200 Jefferson Road
Rochester, N.Y. 14623 292-9900

Number of Local(1) Full-Time/Part-Time Employees: 25/15
Gross Sales Volume Last Fiscal Year ($000): NA
Percent of Business Woman-Owned: 100
Principal Business: Computer training, publishing and consulting
Owner(s): Maria Duell
Year Founded: 1981
Major Clients, Projects or Contacts: Kodak, Xerox, Citibank (New York State), Rochester General
Hospital, AAA of Rochester, Time Warner Inc., General Railway Signal
Corp., Genencor International Inc., U.S. Postal Service, University
of Rochester, Goulds Pumps Inc., Genesee County

Write Woman Computer Products Inc.
2320 Brighton-Henrietta Town Line Road
Rochester, N.Y. 14623 272-0960

Number of Local(1) Full-Time/Part-Time Employees: 24/4
Gross Sales Volume Last Fiscal Year ($000): NA
Percent of Business Woman-Owned: 100
Principal Business: Resale of computer hardware, office furniture,
audio-visual presentation products
Owner(s): Sara Kash, Janice Thompson, Diane Robbins
Year Founded: 1985
Major Clients, Projects or Contacts: Xerox, University of Rochester, New York Department of Health

Donna B’s Hair Design
1825 Penfield Road
Penfield, N.Y. 14526 385-9620

Number of Local(1) Full-Time/Part-Time Employees: 17/1
Gross Sales Volume Last Fiscal Year ($000): NA
Percent of Business Woman-Owned: 100
Principal Business: Hair salon, manicures, pedicures, body wraps,
perms, hair coloring
Owner(s): Donna Harrington
Year Founded: 1990
Major Clients, Projects or Contacts: NA

Blair Supply Corp.
785 Beahan Road
Rochester, N.Y. 14624 436-9624

Number of Local(1) Full-Time/Part-Time Employees: 17/0
Gross Sales Volume Last Fiscal Year ($000): 6,374
Percent of Business Woman-Owned: 100
Principal Business: Distributor of waterworks, sewer and drainage products
Owner(s): Loretta Blair Simmons
Year Founded: 1958
Major Clients, Projects or Contacts: Upstate New York municipal, water and sewer contractors

Rochester Scale Works Inc.
100 Sherer St.
Rochester, N.Y. 14611 235-5882

Number of Local(1) Full-Time/Part-Time Employees: 17/0
Gross Sales Volume Last Fiscal Year ($000): 1,900
Percent of Business Woman-Owned: 70
Principal Business: Sales and service of industrial scales
Owner(s): Anna Eiff, Ann Guntrum, Susan Wegman
Year Founded: 1841
Major Clients, Projects or Contacts: Kodak, Xerox, Garlock Inc., Alpco, Dolomite Products Co., Bausch and Lomb, Comstock Michigan Fruit

The Plaza Group
211 Midtown Plaza
Rochester, N.Y. 14604 232-5710

Number of Local(1) Full-Time/Part-Time Employees: 16/0
Gross Sales Volume Last Fiscal Year ($000): NA
Percent of Business Woman-Owned: 100
Principal Business: Employment and training services
Owner(s): Gloria Cochran
Year Founded: 1963
Major Clients, Projects or Contacts: Frontier Corp., Bausch & Lomb, Lawyer’s Cooperative Publishing, Kodak, Paychex Inc., First Federal Savings and Loan Association of Rochester, Fleet Bank of New York,
Hutchins/Young & Rubicam Inc.

Craft Co. No. 6
785 University Ave.
Rochester, N.Y. 14607 473-3413

Number of Local(1) Full-Time/Part-Time Employees: 14/6
Gross Sales Volume Last Fiscal Year ($000): NA
Percent of Business Woman-Owned: 51
Principal Business: American crafts retail shop, including jewelry, woodworking, ceramics, glass, metal, fiber
Owner(s): Lynn Allinger, Gary Stam
Year Founded: 1980
Major Clients, Projects or Contacts: General public

Randamax Inc.
130 Spring St.
Rochester, N.Y. 14608 546-5550

Number of Local(1) Full-Time/Part-Time Employees: 13/2
Gross Sales Volume Last Fiscal Year ($000): 900
Percent of Business Woman-Owned: 52
Principal Business: Training development and design, with emphasis on distance learning
Owner(s): Sally Schank, William Snyder
Year Founded: 1986
Major Clients, Projects or Contacts: Kodak, Xerox, Bausch & Lomb, LPA Software Inc., CIGNA Healthcare, Equifax Analytical Services/Healthchex Inc.,
Johnson & Johnson Clinical Diagnostics, NASA, United Way
of Greater Rochester Inc.

Telecomp Inc.
333 Metro Park
Rochester, N.Y. 14623 272-1160

Number of Local(1) Full-Time/Part-Time Employees: 12/60-90
Gross Sales Volume Last Fiscal Year ($000): 1,600
Percent of Business Woman-Owned: 100
Principal Business: Telephone outreach programs for non-profit
Owner(s):Kathleen Pavelka
Year Founded: 1986
Major Clients, Projects or Contacts: Brown University, University of Rochester, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Memorial Art Gallery, Morristown
Memorial Hospital

Gymnastics Training Center of Rochester Inc.
2051 Fairport Nine Mile Point Road
Penfield, N.Y. 14526 388-8686

Number of Local(1) Full-Time/Part-Time Employees: 10/25
Gross Sales Volume Last Fiscal Year ($000): 950
Percent of Business Woman-Owned: 100
Principal Business: Gymnastics and ballet training
Owner(s): Sarah Jane Clifford
Year Founded: 1987
Major Clients, Projects or Contacts: 2,000 students in the Greater Rochester area

Hafner Associates Inc.
9 Goodman St.
Rochester, N.Y. 14607 473-4600

Number of Local(1) Full-Time/Part-Time Employees: 10/3
Gross Sales Volume Last Fiscal Year ($000): 1,500
Percent of Business Woman-Owned: 100
Principal Business: Interior design and space planning
Owner(s): Beverly Hafner, Alana Hafner Sansone
Year Founded: 1961
Major Clients, Projects or Contacts: Frontier Field, Rundel Library, Monroe Community Hospital, Tropel Corp., Mobil Chemical Co., Chase Manhattan Bank N.A., SUNY College at Brockport, SUNY College at Geneseo, Rochester Sports Garden, Landsman Development Corp.,
Erdman Anthony and Associates Inc.

Northeast Benefit Services Inc.
1998 Empire Blvd.
Webster, N.Y. 14580 787-3010

Number of Local(1) Full-Time/Part-Time Employees: 10/1
Gross Sales Volume Last Fiscal Year ($000): 525
Percent of Business Woman-Owned: 100
Principal Business: Pension and profit-sharing administration and consulting
Owner(s): Sandra Zimmer, Jean Smith
Year Founded: 1983
Major Clients, Projects or Contacts: Medical groups, small corporations, law firms, accounting firms

Longaker Rimkus & Associates Inc.
2000 S. Winton Road, Bldg. 4
Rochester, N.Y. 14618 272-7770

Number of Local(1) Full-Time/Part-Time Employees: 10/1
Gross Sales Volume Last Fiscal Year ($000): NA
Percent of Business Woman-Owned: 50
Principal Business: Actuarial and administrative services for retirement plans
Owner(s): Phyllis Rimkus, Leslie Longaker
Year Founded: 1985
Major Clients, Projects or Contacts: NA

* In case of ties, firms are ranked by number of part-time employees.
Notes: Information provided by individual firms that responded to a mail and telephone survey by Dec. 26. The survey contacted woman-owned businesses in
Monroe County. The list includes businesses of which women own 50 percent or
more and have at least 10 local full-time employees.
(1)Monroe County
(2)Full-Time Equivalent employees.
Researched by Bill Myers and Sharon Balestra

10th Annual Athena Award

The Women’s Council of the Greater Rochester Metro Chamber of Commerce is very proud to present the 10th annual ATHENA Award Program. Little did we know when we introduced the ATHENA Award to Greater Rochester a decade ago that ATHENA would become the premier event honoring women in business that it is today.
The growth and continuing success of Rochester’s ATHENA Award Program would not be possible without the support of our generous sponsors. The Women’s Council gratefully acknowledges our founding sponsors, The Plaza Group and The Rochester Business Journal, our corporate sponsor Eastman Kodak Co., and our supporting sponsors Bausch & Lomb Inc., Cook Miller Associates Ltd., The Hastings Group, Marine Midland Bank, and The Document Company Xerox.
Each year the ATHENA Award recognizes and honors Rochester-area businesswomen who have demonstrated excellence both professionally and personally, have provided leadership for other women, and have effected change in their businesses and their community.
ATHENA Award nominees are evaluated by a selection committee of business and professional leaders from our community. Primary emphasis is on the nominee’s ability to produce exceptional results for her company or organization, valuable leadership in the community, and support of and involvement in the goals of professional women.
Nomination for this esteemed award is indeed an honor. The ATHENA Award is the most prestigious women’s award presented in our community, and Rochester’s ATHENA Award Program has been lauded as the best in the country by the national ATHENA Award Foundation. This spring, our community will host the ATHENA Award Foundation’s annual conference and its participants from across the United States.
Our success is a tribute to all who participate in the local program–the ATHENA Award recipient, the nominees, the sponsors, the nominators, the selection committee, the steering committee, and all of you who support this program through your attendance at the award luncheon. National recognition is also a testimony to the quality of business and civic leadership we are so fortunate to have in the Rochester community.
As you consider the ATHENA Award nominees on the following pages, we know you will agree that they represent the highest levels of achievement and professionalism. Please join us in congratulating this year’s nominees.

–Thomas T. Mooney
Greater Rochester Metro
Chamber of Commerce

–Donna Gillespie
Women’s Council, Greater Rochester
Metro Chamber of Commerce

10th Annual Athena Award

What’s more, issues that a decade ago were seen as strictly women’s concerns –empowerment, communication, balancing work and family–now are more mainstream.
As for professionals in the pipeline, in 1993 women earned 35 percent of all MBAs in the United States, up from 4 percent in 1972, according to statistics provided by Catalyst Inc., a New York City organization that researches women’s workplace issues. Women earned 42.5 percent of law degrees in 1993, up from 8 percent in 1973.
But don’t break out the champagne just yet.
Women in 1994 earned just 76.4 cents for every dollar earned by men, Catalyst reports. They held fewer than one in 10 board seats of Fortune 500 companies. And they represented just 5 percent of senior managers in major U.S. corporations.
On this 10th anniversary of the Athena Award in Rochester, executive women here are noting both how far they have come and how far they need to go.
“There is greater opportunity. The possibility and potential are greater,” says Essie Calhoun, director of community relations and contributions at Eastman Kodak Co. “What feels the same is that the struggle continues.”
Betsy Harrison, president of Career Development Services, stresses the importance of viewing women’s progress in a historical context.
“It’s important when looking at social change to look at the long view,” she says. “It’s not going to happen overnight, and we need to approach it that way.”
One thing that thankfully is history is the experience of walking into professional meetings and being the only woman there, says Wilmorite’s Hanson, an Athena Award winner who also is president of CORH Associates, which owns the Hyatt Regency Rochester.
“It’s noteworthy when I’m the only woman in the room,” Hanson says. “That says to me that things have moved.”
Further, she says, her daughter, who is in her 30s, has never had the experience that once was commonplace to Hanson.
Hanson sees more young women in middle management moving into senior positions, especially in progressive companies such as Xerox Corp. and Bausch & Lomb. She sees women owning substantial businesses, such as Katherine Clark’s Clark Moving and Storage Inc. She sees women in top banking positions and female broadcasters taking anchor positions.
“These are things that a few years ago were unheard of,” she says. “I certainly see improvement in this community.”
Indeed, some women say a new day has dawned.
“The world is not a man’s world anymore,” says Diana Cardoza, outreach manager for Rochester Telephone Corp. “We’re getting better-paying jobs, and more opportunities are open to us.”
Cardoza says Rochester Tel gives her the flexibility to develop programs as needs dictate: braille bills for the blind; special communication equipment for the deaf; and materials in Spanish for the growing Hispanic population. She feels her work is valued according to the contribution she makes.
“Companies today are looking at dollars and cents, what you can do to be an asset,” she says.
But even women encouraged by the progress of recent years see substantial room for improvement.
Hanson notes the continuing pay disparity, and the scarcity of women in CEO spots and boardrooms.
“One of the things on professional women’s agendas was to move more women onto corporate boards,” she says. “And that’s been, I think, much slower than I would have imagined.”
Further, she acknowledges the threat of backlash. Some working women still have to contend with hostile remarks, off-color language and ugly jokes.
“Women and minorities still struggle with peer animosity,” Hanson says.
Even when the problem is not overt hostility, women still may find themselves automatically cast in lesser roles.
A black, female computer expert can boast decades of experience and achievement. Yet in a project meeting, it is assumed she will take the minutes–while technical questions are addressed to someone less knowledgeable.
That is the kind of thing Juanita Simmons deals with every day.
Simmons worked at Procter & Gamble Co. for 18 years before moving to Xerox four years ago, where she is a manager of the customer services process for office network copying products.
At Xerox, Simmons sees senior managers speaking up about improving the environment for women and minorities. She finds top executives accessible and open to discussion.
But she doesn’t see parity–yet.
“I still see us fighting for respect, for jobs,” she says.
Part of the problem, she says, is that white men, who dominate positions of corporate authority, tend to identify most easily with one another. And this leads to an assumption of credibility that is not extended to women or minorities.
“It has to do with the bonding they automatically give each other,” she says. “You don’t get it automatically.”
So women who merit respect meet doubt, Simmons says. Professionals who deserve to have their talents nurtured waste energy fighting exclusion.
“I’m constantly choosing my battles, and I shouldn’t have to do that,” she says. “It hurts productivity. It impedes thinking.”
The trick is to choose battles wisely. Say someone puts Simmons in a one-down position in a meeting. She has to decide whether to confront it. She has to decide how to confront it–without spoiling her effectiveness as a team player and without making her boss look bad. And she has to act quickly.
Often, she says, she’ll decide what to do based on the effect it will have on others at the meeting.
“If I see it will influence other young managers, I’ll speak out,” she says. “If not, I’ll let it go.”
Says Calhoun: “You have to choose your moments.”
Like Hanson at Wilmorite, Kodak’s Calhoun says the days are gone when she is likely to be the only woman walking into a professional meeting. But she is still likely to be the only black woman. And as such, she says, she often feels a responsibility to contribute her different point of view.
Calhoun sees the need for systemic cultural change as a pressing one for corporations.
It still happens, she says, that a woman can make a point in a meeting and see it passed over only to be taken up when a man repeats it five minutes later. One style of communicating is heard; another is not.
It can be more difficult for women to gain notice as up-and-coming leaders in corporations, she adds. Better mentoring is needed, Calhoun says.
Further, male managers too often believe the barriers facing women are not real, she continues. Or, even if they acknowledge the problems, they do not know how to contribute to solutions.
On the plus side, Calhoun sees at Kodak a real commitment to diversity. She notes that two of Kodak’s business-unit presidents are women: Candy Obourn of Business Imaging Systems and Susan McLaughlin of Kodak Imaging Services Inc.–both Athena nominees this year. She sees more support of women by women, better pay because of better positions available, and more sensitivity to work and family issues.
Indeed, the mainstreaming of concerns once considered relevant only to women is a major point of progress to Harrison of CDS.
“In our work inside corporations we see much greater credibility for the issues with which we’re involved,” she says. “And we work with a lot of senior female people in these organizations.”
When CDS was organized as the Women’s Career Center two decades ago, most clients were new entrants into the work force or were re-entering after long absences, Harrison says. Today the organization works with individuals as well as with corporate clients.
The individual clients, 65 percent women, are especially concerned with mid-life career changes, work/life balance issues and continuous education, Harrison says.
People these days are more actively planning their careers, she continues. And employers are helping them. Part of the center’s corporate work is providing on-site career planning services.
But no matter how enlightened management grows, it remains subject to economic realities. Just as companies began to acknowledge the importance of family issues, Harrison notes, the recession made it harder to expand benefits.
Corporate downsizing gets mixed reviews from working women. On one hand it focuses management on true value delivered, letting talent outweigh testosterone. But it also dampens opportunities for advancement.
Harriette Royer has seen the effects of downsizing on recent college graduates. Director of career services at St. John Fisher College, Royer remembers a time when companies strove to maintain an active presence on campus. Xerox, for example, used to bring its top training people to run three-day business simulation programs at Fisher. Mobil Chemical Co. set up mock interviews with students to teach its managers hiring techniques.
Now they are gone. The job title “director of university relations” disappeared in downsizings five years ago, Royer says, and so did most of the corporate presence.
“Companies were much more active and upfront in saying they wanted a diverse working environment,” she says. “That is not as prevalent anymore. There is not as much active recruiting of college students or recent graduates.”
On the brighter side, Royer sees numerous Rochester women at high levels of influence working to redefine workplace values. These women, she says, recognize the stifling nature of traditional organizations and are making their companies more responsive to employees’ human needs, including the need for meaningful work.
Harrison also sees time on women’s side. Demographic trends point to smaller numbers of young adults entering the work force, she says.
“It may be a seller’s market in another five or 10 years.”
Also looking 10 years down the road, Kodak’s Calhoun crystallizes her hopes:
“I want to see women leaders prevalent and the norm,” Calhoun says. “I want to see this topic no longer discussed, because equity will have been attained and the barriers dissolved.”

(E. Catherine Salibian is a Rochester-area free-lance writer.)

10th Annual Athena Award

The same theme echoes through the halls of the National Athena Foundation headquarters in East Lansing, Mich.
To boost women’s odds of being recognized, Martha Mayhood Mertz took action. She is the owner of Mayhood/Mertz Realtors and, in the early 1980s, was the only woman on the board of directors of the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Observing that “the world was changing, and the chamber boardroom did not reflect the reality of the world outside,” Mertz launched an initiative to recognize the contributions of women to their communities and to get women into the membership of local chambers. Her vehicle, the Athena Award, was named for the Greek goddess of wisdom, a deity of resolute courage and reason.
Mertz’s intent was to honor an individual in each participating locality who had achieved excellence in her–or his–business or profession, had given something back to the community and had helped other women along the way. First given in Lansing in 1982, the award today is presented annually by the Athena Foundation in more than 300 cities.
Just as in Rochester it pays to get Eastman Kodak Co., Xerox Corp., Bausch & Lomb Inc. or Wegmans Food Markets Inc. behind a project, in Lansing the biggest boost would come from the Oldsmobile Division of General Motors Corp. A local Oldsmobile dealer had become Athena’s first local underwriter in 1982; in 1985 the carmaker went national with its support through partnerships between its dealers and local chambers of commerce. Olds was joined as national underwriter in 1993 by First of America Bank Corp.
In Rochester, the award is presented by the Women’s Council of the Greater Rochester Metro Chamber of Commerce Inc.; Plaza Personnel (now the Plaza Group) and the Rochester Business Journal Inc. are founding co-sponsors. In celebration of its 10th year locally, the Rochester organization has invited Mertz to be keynote speaker at the Jan. 25 awards luncheon.
In addition, Rochester will host the foundation’s national conference May 16 to 18.
Rosanne Stead, director of operations for the Athena Foundation, conveys the enthusiasm of an organization that is achieving its founder’s goals on multiple levels.
“This year we gave our first state awards,” she says, “to companies–one small and one large in each state–meeting our criteria for professional excellence, philanthropic and community service, and opportunities for women.” State awards were presented in Arizona, Illinois and Michigan.
The organization is choosing 50 state directors within the structure of five national regions, which “will help us focus more locally in terms of public relations and program development,” Stead explains.
Athena already has moved beyond U.S. boundaries. In Moscow, the program is in its second year, and the first Canadian Athena Award will be presented in Windsor, Ontario, in February.
“We are also in the serious discussion stage in Costa Rica, Mexico, Liberia and China,” Stead adds. Additionally, the Athena Foundation is developing leadership initiatives in areas such as team-building and mentoring, focusing on what Stead calls the “next step” in leadership.
In 1994, the foundation’s board established the Athena National Award. The award will be presented annually at the Athena National Conference to someone who meets the traditional award criteria, but with national impact.
The National Athena Society–composed of award recipients, chamber representatives, sponsors and friends–works as a network to broaden the award program, establish leadership initiatives, link resources, establish local scholarship and mentoring programs and generally enhance the quality of life in participating communities.
Sculptor Linda Ackley continues to create in her Florida foundry each individual bronze award as she did the first, using the laborious technique of lost-wax casting. Each sculpture is numbered as one of a select edition.
“All of this,” Stead says, “from a single individual award first given in Lansing just 13 years ago.”
As the international Athena organization continually adds dimension, it looks to Rochester as one of its benchmark programs, says Shirley Howard, outgoing president of the chamber’s Women’s Council and co-chairwoman of the Rochester Athena steering committee.
“The growth in attendance at each year’s awards luncheon,” she says, “demonstrates how important the Athena program is to this community. It’s taken on a life of its own.”
Howard notes the caliber of women being nominated locally, many of whom are involved in start-up companies or, increasingly, in leadership roles in larger firms.
“Many other communities announce the name of the award recipient early, as a means of promoting the award event,” Howard says. “That’s not necessary in Rochester.”
One of Rochester’s benchmarks is “the tremendous support from our corporate sponsors,” Howard says. In addition to the Plaza Group and the Business Journal, they include corporate sponsor Kodak, which prepares the photo display for the Athena presentation every year, and supporting sponsors Bausch & Lomb, Cook-Miller Associates Ltd., the Hastings Group, Marine Midland Bank N.A. and Xerox.
“Our sponsors here are companies actively involved in grooming women for positions of greater responsibility,” Howard says.
She also praises the involvement of local Athena steering committee members, many of whom have served for a decade.
“It’s a first-class event,” she says of the Rochester Athena Award luncheon. “It reflects the commitment of the Women’s Council as well as the degree of investment by our local sponsors. It’s a real tribute to the nominees and to the community.”
Marketing representatives from national underwriter Oldsmobile came to Rochester last year to benchmark the local program, Howard says; she expects that they will return.
Nannette Nocon, senior financial adviser with American Express Financial Advisors Inc. and twice an Athena nominee, sees the Athena nominations as a chance for women to share in one another’s successes. The Rochester award nominees are all profiled in print before the luncheon; in other cities, only the eventual recipient receives publicity.
“I found it inspiring,” Nocon says, “to read about the other nominees’ accomplishments. These women are pioneers, with a wide range of contributions in many different areas.”
It’s important, she feels, to have this award specifically for women, “because women still can get lost in the shuffle of corporate advancement. Not many women yet have climbed the ladder all the way to the top.”
The Rochester chamber board, by the way, boasts 13 female members–a far cry from Lansing’s lonely Mertz in 1980.
Finally, Stead notes: “We don’t like to use the word “winner” when we announce an award recipient. These women are all winners. The award is a recognition of excellence, and every participant is being honored just by being nominated.”
(Bruce Beardsley is a Rochester free-lance writer.)

10th Annual Athena Award

Top-selling books such as “Principle-Centered Leadership,” by Stephen Covey, and “Credibility: How Leaders Gain and Lose It, Why People Demand It,” by James Kouzes and Barry Posner, explore topics such as relationships, discovering oneself, appreciating diversity and affirming relationships.
“The time and emotional demands in business are so great these days,” says Shirley Howard, outgoing president of the Women’s Council of the Greater Rochester Metro Chamber of Commerce Inc., which is presenting its 10th Athena Award this year. “When you’re making decisions, they will be easier, sounder, and you’ll feel personally better if they are based upon values.”
In choosing a theme, the Athena committee singled out values as particularly important to women’s personal and professional lives. Yet, increasingly, male managers also are seeing articulating values as vital to an organization’s success.
In “Reengineering Management,” James Champy contends that issues previously defined as “soft”–dealing with people and company cultures–must be redefined as “hard” issues: those at the top of the management priority list, once dominated by questions of profit and capital investments.
Champy also states that the old, patriarchal management style makes it difficult for companies in this fast-paced business environment to respond quickly enough to meet customer needs. Consumers are no longer content to be passive receivers of products and information. They want choices–and now.
Howard is finding that many companies that recognize the need for change to a values-based system are becoming involved in ethics training.
“In my business, this issue of integrity is essential,” says Howard, a registered representative with Phoenix Home Life Mutual Insurance Co. “We absolutely have to be practicing it as an underlying principle.”
For many individuals, a return to values means looking at basic issues–“Who am I?” “Where am I going?” and “Why?” Similarly, some companies are delving deep to uncover and reconnect with their reasons for being.
In “Principle-Centered Leadership,” Covey writes that beneath values are principles: immutable, universal laws that guide all human behavior, which should be the foundation upon which organizations build core, shared values. Covey cites integrity, honesty, service, quality and human dignity.
When members of an organization agree upon and put such principles in place, Howard says, it becomes easy to make sound, consistent decisions without wading through layers of management for approval.
The emphasis on values for Barry Keesan, CEO of both Worksmart International Inc., a human-resource development company, and Good Business, a publication dedicated to values-based leadership, began in the 1960s, when he participated in peace marches in Washington, D.C.
“I recognized then how powerful it is to get a group of people together.”
A desire to live a lifestyle of shared values led him to Maine where he helped establish a communal farm. But a desire for more brought him to Rochester, where he studied at the Zen Center and acquired a sense of grounding.
In 1982, Keesan co-founded Logical Operations Inc., a computer-training and publishing firm founded upon the values he identified as intrinsic to his personal and professional life.
“It turns out it was part of a movement (in values-based leadership),” Keesan says, “although I didn’t know it at the time.”
Keesan found, too, that his principles contributed to sound business performance. Logical Operations made the list of Top 100 fastest-growing firms for five successive years until 1991, when it was purchased by Ziff Communications Co.
Keesan lists the values upon which he based Logical Operations:
1. “Contrary to popular belief, people like to work.” People are creative beings by nature, he says, and work gives them an opportunity to make a unique contribution. The secret to success, Keesan believes, is finding the fit between individual creativity and job roles. When this occurs, people do not need to be forced to work.
2. “Teamwork and community represent the most satisfying and effective means of getting things done.” Keesan believes that teamwork and cooperation are essential for both individual and organization success. But this value requires a lot of work, he says, because it is antithetical to the competition model upon which American business and educational systems are based. A supportive community structure, like the environment he helped create at Logical Operations, can teach the value of teamwork, Keesan says.
3. “Each person is unique and contributes in a special way to the success of the company.” Unlike the conventional business model that states that anyone can be replaced, Keesan believes that the loss of one person is a loss to the whole organization.
While it is possible to found a company on certain values, it also is possible to change a culture from paternalistic to more values-based and democratic.
Case in point: Three years ago, Ross Kitt hired a consultant to help his company, General Code Publishers Corp., develop a five-year strategic plan. Employees had requested a quality initiative, and Kitt invited them to interview consultants who could guide the process.
At the time, profits at his firm, a publisher of municipal code books, were flat. General Code was governed hierarchically with a downward information flow.
Kitt envisioned that the consultants would come in and give him the answers. Instead, they asked questions.
“It was a process of self-discovery,” Kitt says. “We started out wanting someone to give us the answers, but … we found the answers right for ourselves within ourselves.”
Initially, Kitt had expected that General Code would establish a mission statement, from which the five-year plan would immediately and easily flow. But that did not happen.
“Mission is not where you start; you can’t get buy-in,” Kitt explains. “It all goes back to values. So we backed up.”
The first step was to articulate values. Kitt and his wife, Nancy–General Code’s treasurer–chose to involve all employees in the process. They initiated group meetings where people talked about what was important to them, both personally and professionally. The final mission and values statements–adopted eight months into the process–hinged on the following values: honesty and integrity; efficiency; innovation and creativity; caring and concern; personal responsibility; and freedom. They are posted in the firm’s lobby for all who enter to read.
Since the process began, General Code’s profits have risen to $500,000, an improvement that Kitt sees as a result of the cultural change.
To illustrate the change in his own approach, Kitt says that he used to analyze the numbers and, to get results, he would focus on production processes. Now, he looks at the numbers from a planning perspective. But in determining how to get the job done, “that’s where the emphasis shifts from bottom-line to soft skills”–listening, giving feedback, empowerment. Employees now work in new, integrated work teams and establish their own goals.
“They set their goals higher than what we would set for them,” Nancy Kitt says.
For Cornelius Murphy, retired head of worldwide manufacturing at Eastman Kodak Co., values-based management has a somewhat different meaning.
In analyzing the value of continuing an operation, Murphy would start with three questions: How much do we sell? How much does it cost? What is our profit?
In one case, Murphy and his managers decided that, rather than make 200 products in all manufacturing facilities, each facility would specialize in five or six. Products then would be shipped worldwide.
When making big corporate changes, he would garner the input of the people on the front lines–those making, selling and warehousing the product. Part of the streamlining involved transferring important quality-control functions from a separate department to the equipment operators. As each operator grew more motivated and empowered, productivity rose and costs dropped, Murphy says.
“The tough part was we had to close the door on some people,” he says. That is where the soft skills came in.
For some businesspeople, however, soft skills don’t need to wait until layoffs hit.
For Linda Pickert, director of operations at Idea Connection Systems Inc., a consultant that helps clients grow through innovation, values might include improving work processes to stay competitive, growing people vs. seeing them as cogs, and accommodating people’s needs through flex time and job sharing.
As employee awareness rises and people live their lives in more holistic ways, Pickert says, companies need to recognize the whole employee.
While many will argue that such flexibility and sensitivity come more naturally to women, they also say values-based leadership is as important to men as to women.
“Women tend to be more value-based naturally,” Keesan says. “They are more collaborative, more relationship-oriented.
“(But) this is what men want, too,” he says. “Men are learning to communicate better. Men and women are coming to the same conclusions. People, in general, are respecting one another.”
(Mary Anne Wentworth is a Rochester-area free-lance writer.)

10th Annual Athena Award

Then Corwin Brumley took notice. Brumley, president of the company’s analytical systems division, saw Harris’ potential and helped her chart a new course.
“I had a boss early on who insisted that finance was the language of business and I should learn it,” Harris says. “He cared very much about my professional development.”
Harris rose to become one of Rochester’s most powerful female executives. As Bausch & Lomb’s vice president of corporate development, she oversees the company’s mergers and acquisitions program.
And while her position may be unique, her story is not. Many female executives in Rochester today attribute their success in part to the guidance of male mentors.
The mentor’s first role is that of coach, these executives say. He or she listens and shares the benefits of greater experience. But the mentor also may serve as an advocate, drawing attention to a protege’s potential.
Women also make valuable mentors, they say. But to seek only female allies is unwise. It chokes access to diverse viewpoints. And, with men still dominating corporate power structures, it blocks avenues to advancement.
“I wouldn’t limit myself,” says Barbara Osterman, lead coach of Frontier Corp.’s customer satisfaction center. “If you look to only women, it cuts off half the population–and the half that inhabits most executive positions in corporations.”
Julie Wegman met her main business mentor, Paul Hudson, 10 years ago. Hudson is president of Roberts Communications Inc. Wegman is the agency’s vice president and chief marketing officer.
“Early on he said, ‘I want you to grow into what I am or more,’ ” Wegman recalls.
Hudson empowers her to make decisions, she says. He teaches her the politics of the business. He lets her make mistakes and learn from them.
Further, Hudson shows her the male perspective, she says. For example, in her work, Wegman often must predict consumer reaction to an ad or brochure. And that reaction can vary by gender.
“It teaches me how to put myself in the shoes of most of the people I encounter in business,” Wegman says.
Some female executives, Frontier’s Osterman for one, are unsure whether a mentor’s gender makes any difference. Perhaps anyone who has achieved a high level of success, depending on his or her abilities and inclination, could offer equivalent help.
But Bernice Skirboll joins Wegman in the belief that men bring assets to the table women might not.
“I really have always looked at the person rather than the sex,” she says. “(But men) might be more objective because they don’t have the personal agenda.”
Skirboll is executive director of Compeer Inc., a non-profit organization that links volunteers with people needing companionship. She also is last year’s Athena Award recipient.
By “personal agenda,” Skirboll means a tendency she sees in women to evaluate their successes and failures too much in terms of gender. Women feel a need to make sure they are valued and taken seriously, she says. But that self-image of outsider can perpetuate outsider status. Men can bring a refreshing reorientation to the business at hand.
“I believe you’re going to succeed if you do a good job,” Skirboll says. “A male mentor can help keep focus on the right thing.”
Skirboll operates in a field where most workers are women. For attorney Margaret Catillaz, the opposite is true.
When she was breaking into the legal field two decades ago, female lawyers were a rarity. Landing that first job was a challenge.
One potential employer, Catillaz recalls, a male attorney in his 70s, asked her,”If I yell at you, are you going to cry?”
Not Donald Corbett Jr. He hired her as a clerk in his office and continued to advise her even after he moved on to become a judge.
“He was a pioneer,” she says. “He didn’t view women attorneys as an anomaly.”
Catillaz today is a partner at Harter, Secrest & Emery. Another key mentor she names, James Moore, is a colleague at her firm.
The two have known each other for 20 years. In the beginning, Moore helped Catillaz learn the substance and procedures of the law. He sat at counsel table with her when she was arguing motions and critiqued her performance.
Later, as Catillaz matured in her profession, her needs changed. She switched from being a trial lawyer to developing an immigration practice at Harter, Secrest. Moore helped her think about how to do that.
A good mentor, Catillaz says, gives encouragement, advice and candid criticism. The relationship must feel safe enough for the protege to expose ignorance and insecurity.
Mentoring relationships have a unique flavor at law firms, she adds. The nature of the hierarchy is different than at most companies; at the top it becomes a partnership. That means senior attorneys have a direct stake in their juniors’ development.
Indeed, Catillaz says, a real sign of success is when the client starts calling the junior lawyer instead of you. It means the colleague you have mentored is becoming ready to contribute as an equal.
But making the transition from protege to equal is not always easy. Wegman of Roberts Communication says that while she still has much to learn from her boss, Hudson, in some areas she has outgrown her subordinate status. And confronting that can feel awkward.
“I can bring more to the table now based on my experience,” she says. “(But) I can have trouble telling him I don’t agree, or I can handle this better.”
Part of what keeps the relationship whole is that Hudson accepts and even welcomes her growth, Wegman says.
“They have to be interested in you as a person.”
Picking a mentor can be tricky, Wegman and others say. Often it is the mentor who does the choosing, seeing potential in a subordinate. Sometimes the relationships develop over time, revealing themselves as mentoring only in retrospect.
Sometimes, it takes courage for a potential mentor to support someone outside the traditional power structure.
Juanita Simmons is a manager of the customer services process for office network copying products at Xerox Corp. But the mentoring relationship she recalls started earlier in her career at Procter & Gamble Co.
Simmons is a black woman working her way up a corporate ladder still not only predominantly male, but also white. Her mentor at Procter & Gamble was a white man who started out as a junior executive, then rose through the ranks.
Part of the mentoring involved coaching on behavioral norms. Simmons says that in her early professional years she was rather roughÑif somebody said something stupid, she’d let them know it with both barrels.
“I had a tendency to be very blunt and outspoken, and that needed some, let’s say, touching up,” she says, laughing.
But it took time for that private help to translate into public support. Simmons says that is not uncommon. An executive uncomfortable with his or her own power can fear getting labeled too feminist or too militant.
“He was slow coming out the chute,” she says.
But in the end he did the right thing, Simmons adds. And it made a critical difference in her career.
“We wouldn’t be here if these people didn’t say it’s the right thing to do,” she says. “It definitely takes help.”
Recognizing the importance of mentoring has led some firms to create mentoring programs. Osterman was instrumental in launching one in August as part of the Frontier Women’s Network. Training sessions define what mentoring is and is not–it is a coaching relationship, it’s not a method to guarantee advancement via sponsorshipÑand help link participants.
“Look for someone whose values you share and whose work you admire,” Osterman advises. “Define for yourself what you think success is, and look for that person who seems to be enjoying that kind of success.”
Attorney Catillaz warns against a cynical view of mentors as promotion pushers. “Seeking a mentor is not being an opportunist,” she says. “Seek out people you respect.”
Bausch & Lomb’s Harris recommends linking with perhaps a dozen mentors–male, female, older, younger. Some might help with job skills, others with corporate politics, and yet others with introductions or job leads.
“There’s no magic mentor,” she says. “What’s really important is to get a diversity.”
Further, executives in even the highest corporate echelons continue to need good mentoring, Harris adds.
“I think if it stops, you stop.”
(E. Catherine Salibian is a Rochester-area free-lance writer.)

10th Annual Athena Award

Dolin is one of five successful women and past Athena Award nominees who talked recently about the keys to their professional development. Their answers ranged from self-education to seminars, from community involvement to observation of others, from maintaining a balance between personal and professional life to taking advantage of in-house training programs.
But Dolin was the only one who mentioned sports. She swam competitively at a young age. In high school in Youngstown, Ohio, she was in a Junior Olympic program alongside outstanding swimmers who made the Olympic team. Dolin set many pool records and loved training four hours a day.
One result, she says, is that she became goal-oriented–a skill that has translated into effectiveness for her clients. Dolin also learned to compete with herself as well as others. “You may lose a race, but you really win if you improve your time,” she says.
Moreover, swimming against the best in the country taught her to be unafraid of competition, to feel she was on a level playing field.
That, too, has translated to her law practice. “Why be afraid of Kodak or Xerox?” she asks.
By contrast, women who have not competed in sports “can be thrown for a loop if they get criticized or lose a sale,” she says. “They don’t have the perspective.”
Basketball helped Dolin’s professional development, too. As the member of her high school basketball team who set up plays, she learned to be flexible and to change the plan instantly if it was not working.
“That’s exactly what attorneys do. You can’t always move straight from A to Z,” she says.
Community involvement has been important to professional development for several of the women. Virginia Allen, a vice president of Chemical Bank, says her volunteer work has been “a major, major key” to developing her professional skills.
Allen’s community activities have covered a wide range, from heading the Coalition for Downtown to serving on a Monroe County human-relations committee. She also presided over the Rochester Mental Health Center at Rochester General Hospital for two years and served on a commission that investigated moving the Downtown Festival Tent. Allen does volunteer work for her church, too.
You see different issues and learn different sides of these issues,” she says. “It’s a fantastic education you can’t buy.”
Her work on the mental health commission, for example, has been an advantage in dealing with her clients in the health field. “I learned what they deal with every day,” she says.
Skills in compromising and negotiating learned in her volunteer work “transport into your business life,” she says.
A member of a family that believed strongly in volunteering, attorney Dolin was president of a young Democrats organization and of her student body in high school, pounded the pavement in an Ohio senate primary and continued a strong interest in politics in law school and later life.
Politics has shown her the richness and diversity of people, she says. “I learned not to be afraid,” she says.
And politics opened doors for her when she came to Rochester in 1984, joining Harris, Beach & Wilcox LLP as a trial attorney. She co-founded her own firm in 1993 and concentrates on employment-based litigation and labor law, primarily representing employees but also involved with risk management.
Another key cited by Allen and others is developing a strong background in areas in which one works. Allen, who entered the banking field 20 years ago as a junior financial analyst and has worked in various areas of several different banks, makes a point of learning about her customers’ industries.
The commitment has led her to join a tool-and-die trade association, to take a mini-course on lasers at the University of Rochester and to audit a course on health care at SUNY College at Brockport.
Like Allen, Dorothy Luebke says she has worked aggressively to develop a strong background in the areas in which she has worked. A 29-year Eastman Kodak Co. veteran who now is director of employee communications, Luebke says one must spread a broad net intellectually to maximize one’s value to a company.
“Seek out the information,” she says. “Be inquisitive.”
By gaining insight into how other organizations work, she has garnered assignments as director of community relations and local contributions and as director of education and environment issues.
“That broadens your view,” she says.
Internal training programs and membership in professional organizations can be useful, Allen says, and networking skills used there can bring practical results. She met three of her current clients through activities with the local chapter of a national credit managers association.
Such memberships, she says, “give you credibility.”
Trade and professional organizations also have helped Naomi Silver, chief operating officer and part owner of Rochester Community Baseball Inc., in her development.
Silver joined the organization as a part-time volunteer in 1988. Her family has had strong ties with the team since 1957 when Silver’s father, the late Morrie Silver, spearheaded a drive to keep the Red Wings in Rochester.
She is current president of the minor league division of the Association of Luxury Suite Directors, for example.
“Luxury suites have become a major part of our business,” she says. Companies pay between $20,000 and $100,000 annually for the use of one, she says. Therefore, association meetings focusing on such topics as food service, marketing and contract requirements are helpful.
Another trade organization to which she belongs, the Stadium Managers Association, holds annual meetings to discuss concert booking, building maintenance and the like. Still another concentrates on minor league marketing practices.
That kind of help has not been readily available to Georgena Terry, founder, owner and CEO of Terry Precision Bicycles for Women Inc. Her firm designs and distributes bicycles, clothing and biking accessories for women.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and an MBA in finance, Terry worked for several years for large corporations in various positions. She was a financial analyst, mechanical engineer and account executive.
But her family roots are in small business, and ultimately she followed that path. An avid cyclist, she taught herself to build bicycle frames and went into the business of building bicycles for women.
Though many industries offer sophisticated trade publications, workshops and conventions, “there isn’t much in this business.”
Besides, she says, “I’m not a groupie sort of person.”
So a key to her professional development has been self-education. On long winter evenings, for example, she curls up with mechanical engineering textbooks. They relate to her business in a small way, she says, but mostly she does it “to keep my brain functioning.”
People with whom she has worked also have helped her development. She remembers a manager at Xerox Corp. who came into meetings and asked questions that seemed foolishly simple. “But suddenly something was uncovered that nobody had thought about,” she says.
The lesson: Don’t dismiss the obvious, and don’t worry about anybody’s perception of you.
Kodak’s Luebke also says her professional development has been helped by observing successful people and trying to emulate their leadership styles.
She has held positions in which she dealt mostly with other Kodakers and positions in which she often dealt with outsiders. But always she tried to analyze what made a group work well, then used those techniques herself. As one guides other people in a group to meet and stretch goals, she says, one hones her own skills.
Another key to her personal development has been staying on top of her own field–public relations–through reading, workshops and conferences.
Finally, Luebke says an important key to her personal development has been balancing her personal and professional life. She once reduced her hours–taking a 20 percent pay cut–to spend more time with her school-age children.
Such an action may mean a step back, she says, but “you can’t be successful professionally unless you are in balance personally.”
(Ann Fox is a Rochester-area free-lance writer.)


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