You’ve come a long way, baby. This slogan, part of the iconic Virginia Slims advertising campaign launched in the late 1960s, heralded a new age as women threw off the shackles of their conventional stay-at-home status and entered the working world in droves. Things have certainly changed in the past four decades, too. For years now, women have been routinely crashing through the glass ceiling to snag top management jobs and pursue traditionally male-dominated fields from medicine to law to engineering — and everything in between.
So where are we today? Well, women still lag behind men in many arenas. According to Catalyst, a nonprofit dedicated to expanding opportunities for women, only 3.8 percent of Fortune 500 CEO positions are held by women (and we’re thrilled that one of them, IBM’s Virgina Rometty, is based right here in the Hudson Valley). In addition, in 2011, professional women’s median weekly earnings were still about 25 percent less than men’s earnings. Still, opportunities abound. And today’s women have increasingly turned their attention from “Can I do that?” to “Can I have it all?”
Here, we introduce you to our inaugural class of women in business: 11 one-of-a kind females who have found their way in the working world — whether it’s striking out on their own or rising up the ranks to become a CEO. Read on to hear their inspiring stories.
Martina Arfwidson, President & Gun Nowak, Founder and CEO
Meet our 2012 Women in Business: Martina Arfwidson, President, and Gun Nowak, Founder/CEO of FACE Stockholm in Hudson
Cecilia Dinio-Durkin, Owner
Meet our 2012 Women in Business: Cecilia Dinio-Durkin, Owner of Women’s Work
Mary Kay Vrba, Executive Director
Dutchess County Tourism
Meet our 2012 Women in Business: Mary Kay Vrba, Executive Director of Dutchess County Tourism
Nancy Gold, President and Founder
The Gold Standard
Meet our 2012 Women in Business: Nancy Gold, President and Founder of The Gold Standard
Mary Madden, President and CEO
Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union
Meet our 2012 Women in Business: Mary Madden, President and CEO of Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union
Mindy Kole, Director
Darlene L. Pfeiffer Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at SUNY Ulster
Meet our 2012 Women in Business: Mindy Kole, Director of Darlene L. Pfeiffer Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at SUNY Ulster
Maureen Kangas, General Manager
Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel
Meet our 2012 Women in Business: Maureen Kangas, General Manager of Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel
Kenya Gipson, Account Executive
Clear Channel Radio
Meet our 2012 Women in Business: Kenya Gipson, Account Executive of Clear Channel Radio
Heidi Kirschner, President and CEO
YMCA of Kingston and Ulster County
Meet our 2012 Women in Business: Heidi Kirschner, President and CEP of YMCA of Kingston and Ulster County
Beth Blecker, CEO
Eastern Planning, Inc.
Meet our 2012 Women in Business: Beth Blecker, CEO, of Eastern Planning, Inc.