ASSEMBLY ADVISORY COUNCIL ON WOMEN
"Testimony on the topic of women in business"
Committee Room 8
State House Annex
Trenton, New Jersey
October 15, 1998
MEMBERS OF COUNCIL PRESENT:
Assemblywoman Rose M. Heck, Chairwoman
Assemblywoman Marion Crecco, Vice-Chairwoman
Assemblyman Scott E. Garrett
Assemblyman Gerald J. Luongo
Assemblywoman Carol J. Murphy
Assemblywoman Nellie Pou
Assemblywoman Loretta Weinberg
Miriam Bavati Deborah K. Smarth
Office of Legislative Services Tasha M. Kersey
Council Aide Assembly Majority
Technology Concepts Group, Inc. 2
Mary C. Lang
Yu & Associates, and
Board of Directors Member
American Society of Civil Engineers 15
U.S. Trust Company of New Jersey, and
Board of Trustees Chair
The University of Medicine
and Dentistry of New Jersey 27
President and CEO
Technolog, Inc. 27
Marie C. Flynn
President and CEO
Corinthian Capital Management Co., Inc. 41
Faber Associates International Marketing, and
Board of Directors Chairman
World Trade Association
of New Jersey 50
Linda A. Roberts
Acting Department Head
User Interface Technologies
Bell Labs 58
TABLE OF CONTENTS (continued)
Letter addressed to
Council Aide Miriam Bavati
from O. Lisa Dabreu
Bureau of Policy
Division of Civil Rights
New Jersey Department of
Law and Public Safety 1x
ASSEMBLYWOMAN ROSE M. HECK (Chairwoman): First of all, I'd like to welcome you all here today. This is the first time I've been in this meeting room, so it was a little out of the way for me. I was upstairs waiting for the Environmental Committee to begin because our bill for creating a Women's Heritage Trail is up today, so we are very excited about that. That's Assemblyman Luongo's bill and myself. It's a very exciting bill I think to honor all of the women who have made such an impact in the State of New Jersey and nationwide, in particular, my very favorite person, Millison Vinwick (phonetic spelling), so it will be-- I spoke to a few of the members there, and I don't think it is going to have any problem whatsoever moving out.
ASSEMBLYMAN LUONGO: I hope not, Rose. We'll have to go fight them.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: And I am going to begin now because I know your time is limited. But I want to tell you how important I think this meeting is for women. I think that we have to look at the positives and where we have come and what we should be doing to promote more women and their accomplishments and to decide, by listening to your testimony today, what you think we should be doing more of or what we haven't done enough of.
So I am going to invite Avis Yates, the President of Technology Concepts Group, to come forward and give us some of her expertise.
We noticed on television yesterday -- I'm not sure if it was Dateline or one of the shows -- talking about young people in our schools today and that women makeup 20 percent of the computer classes and the technology classes, which is kind of pathetic. I thought we were pretty good on that Internet and communicating. So I think that is very important for us to look at why the young women are becoming so frightened.
Personally, I felt the one teacher who spoke kind of had a somewhat negative approach: that, after all, this is not the field that women ordinarily choose, etc. So just hearing her say it in that way seems to be a downer and not encouraging to women to go into that particular field.
So I think again this is a very appropriate meeting for us today, so I again am so pleased you took time out, and we will move it along, but I did want your input.
A V I S Y A T E S: Thank you so much, Chairwoman.
My name is Avis Yates, and I am President of Technology Concepts Group. We are a consulting firm headquartered in Newark, New Jersey. Technology Concepts Group is just two years old, but it is a spin-off of a business that I have owned since 1985. Following an 11-year career at Exxon Corporation in New York City, when Exxon decided to sell its Office Products Division in 1985 to the Harris Corporation, I then decided that my next career move that would be best for me would be to continue to support my customers. I felt that strongly about the relationships that I had established with my customers or corporations in the Wall Street area.
Having only, also, worked for Exxon right out of college, I just could not feel comfortable going to work for another company that may have been a competitive one. So the decision that I made was to branch off on my own, and I have been an entrepreneur for 13 years.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Wonderful.
MS. YATES: They have been truly enlightening years. When I was at Exxon, I was -- I did have the benefit of many different work associations and in many different capacities and departments, all of which I felt helped to round out my skill set. But after being in a particular position for a while, I always felt that there was more of me that I could give, that I wasn't truly fulfilled because I was expected to work within a job scope and an area of responsibility, and there wasn't much room to move beyond that.
This is back, you know, early '80s, so keep that in mind. I think it is much different today in major corporations. But having been an entrepreneur for 13 years, I will never say that there is more to me to give ever again. I am fully fulfilled -- entirely fulfilled, in fact, always wishing that there was a few more hours in every day. So that is my background. I am from New York. I have lived in New Jersey for the last 15 years.
There have been a lot of challenges to the success of my business and myself as a business owner. And I'll just share with you a little bit of what those challenges have been. The reason why I spun off a new business, Technology Concepts Group, was in an attempt to get back into the private sector market. We had become, almost totally, a Federal government contractor. And it is so easy to do that once you enter the 8A Program, which is the Federal government's Procurement Program for small, disadvantaged businesses, and you are able to negotiate contracts under a certain dollar threshold and not necessarily have to compete openly for them.
And the contracts that the Federal government gives are normally a lot larger dollar volume contracts. So, although you are trying to balance private sector-public sector, you can't always find a $15 million contract in the private sector to balance against one of those in the public sector.
So during the time of budget battles and shutting down of the government, it became real clear to me that I best begin to look to put some eggs in a different basket. And that's when I began Technology Concepts Group.
We have two service areas which are totally divergent. One is technology related because I am a technologist, it's all I've ever done. And the other one is more market customer-care-type driven, but both born of needs of specific corporations. And it's important as an entrepreneur to find an area of service that somebody is going to need that 51 million other people aren't already providing. There enlies that challenge.
But PSE&G came to me a few years ago and said, "You know, we are doing a massive roll out of all of our personal computers. We will have thousands of computers that we won't know what to do with except fill up our barns, if you will." And we created a program to take all of their computers in what we call remanufacture them, wipe out all of the old information, provide minor repairs if necessary, upgrades, and clean them up, and then manage the disposition of those assets for them.
They had also signed an agreement with the State of New Jersey to donate over a million dollars of used computer equipment to urban area schools and nonprofit organizations. So we managed that donation in the corporate name for them. We also run in-house warehouse sales for the employees, so they are able to get used computers at very affordable prices for home use, and they are very excited about that.
And once that particular program matured, we began marketing it generally and have since signed many major corporations to take advantages of those services, which are self-funding because we generate revenue that pays for our services, and it provides a solution to a dilemma about what do I do with tens of thousands of computers. In Merrill Lynch's case, we can't give them away. First of all, we don't want to blow all of our proprietary information out there for anyone to see. And, secondly, we don't want to be known as a junk dealer to just give away a truckload of things that may or may not work. It's not going to do any good to the recipient organization because they cannot just throw them away. So that program is called RAMP, and it's running very successfully, and it's fulfilling a need.
The second one was born out of a need--
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: What are you doing with those computers?
MS. YATES: We are remanufacturing them--
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Yes.
MS. YATES: --and then we are either donating them to nonprofits as fully functional and operating pieces of equipment and providing the--
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: You see now the businesses in the business community.
MS. YATES: Nonprofit organizations such as schools, churches, day care centers--
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Oh, okay.
MS. YATES: Any type of an entity that is nonprofit and has a tax- exempt certificate can write in for a donation. So the libraries, the museums, schools, churches -- many of these types of organizations have been recipients.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Very nice.
ASSEMBLYMAN GARRETT: Can we take those for our Assembly office? (laughter)
MS. YATES: You're nonprofit.
ASSEMBLYMAN LUONGO: It might work better, right, Scott -- some of them.
MS. YATES: As a matter of fact, the State has tons of equipment that they need to get rid of, too.
Secondly-- A second method of disposition is we sell them, either on the general market or to their employees in a closed type of a sale. And different corporations' employee bases have different needs of that equipment. The Merrill Lynch folks have that type of equipment at home typically, and so they haven't been as aggressively taking advantage of this opportunity to buy the equipment for home use. On the other hand, PSE&G has a different type of workforce, and they can take advantage of that.
What we are trying to do now-- Because what we are finding as our barns are filling up, because the program has been so successful and it is fulfilling such a need, our supply is beginning to mount. And so we are faced with the same dilemma. What do we do with that equipment? Other than donating it, we are also looking for individual small businesses and home use for school-aged children, and we are beginning to work with school districts in rolling out a program at each school, and instead of maybe the PTA selling candy, they can do a computer drive, and we can donate a portion of the proceeds to the PTA.
So we are beginning to work on those types of programs, and we've also asked a few other corporations who may have similar employee bases who have not yet embraced technology at home to help us to disseminate the information within their corporation, either through their E-mail or their Internet or methods of such communication vehicles, so that we can begin to make those pieces of equipment continue to move.
We also are forced to find some foreign markets for that equipment and we are working-- I personally went to Guyana last year in the attempt of finding a market, and we are working now trying to move some of that equipment to Mexico.
As the new computer prices continually free fall, it provides now an additional challenge of why do I need to buy a computer for $400 that may be two years old when I can buy one for $800 or $900 that is brand new. So it will continue to be challenges that we overcome in answering those types of questions.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: How many computers have you moved out? Roughly.
MS. YATES: I would say in the last two years at least 10,000.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Wow.
MS. YATES: We are now doing this in four locations in the state. I have a warehouse in Elizabeth, New Jersey. I'm headquartered in Newark. So we can take advantage of being in an Urban Enterprise Zone and only charge 3 percent sales tax, so that helps. And we can also train in employee local residence, that's very important to me.
We are also operating out of the PSE&G Resource Recovery Plant in Paulsboro, which is where we started this program and continue to run it out of. But that's only handling PSE&G material. And we also operate out of the Bristol-Myers Squibb, Hopewell Research Institute. And again that's just handling the customer's equipment at their location. And we are also on-site at Merrill Lynch over in the World Financial Center.
So we are trying to accommodate a lot of needs with those folks who are in those different locations. So--
ASSEMBLYWOMAN MURPHY: How many employees do have, Avis?
MS. YATES: I have 75 full-time employees in 13 states. The largest piece of work we have is with Bell Atlantic, and that's not technology related, that's marketing related, again born out of a need where they -- now that they are beginning to face competition want to sure up the relationships that they have with existing customers. The consumer marketing group went out with a polot project to bring in mentors -- my folks are called mentors -- and they sit desk side with their customer service representative so that you are-- When you call in Bell Atlantic because you are either moving or you need an additional line or you have a question on your bill -- any reason to call that number on that bill gets you to one of the people who my folks are mentoring, helping them to understand the nature of customer service and that the customer is looking for them to be a consultant to them. So that we should be asking them in different kinds of ways how else can we meet your communications needs and generate, hopefully, some needs in the customer's mind for Caller I.D. and Call Waiting and all of those other ancillary services that Bell Atlantic provides.
But the underlying premise is that if we strengthen the root of that relationship with our existing customers, then they are less likely to go away in the face of competition with the first telemarketing call. So that particular project now has 60 of my 75 employees, and Bell Atlantic has a 13-state footprint, so I have folks from Maine to West Virginia. And we are running basically a virtual company with a small administrative staff in Newark.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Did you want to say anything?
ASSEMBLYMAN GARRETT: Just one question.
When you started up your business, did you rely upon or take advantage of any New Jersey State programs?
MS. YATES: Absolutely. I am a product of the Small Business Development Center. The one that is still based in Rutgers assigned to us, consulted to us a CPA who helped us to write a business plan and prepare our financials and use that vehicle as our first funding source from the Union County Economic Development Corporation. So the Small Business Development Center is funded, I believe, by the State of New Jersey.
We utilize the minority business development centers and all of those resources that are there for the benefit of entrepreneurs, and typically, the cost for services are free or minimal. So as a new entrepreneur, I am anxiously starting to take advantage of those.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Thank you.
MS. YATES: I would say-- Just to share with you what some of the challenges that I have experienced firsthand in trying to grow a business in the State of New Jersey is initially not being taken seriously, but coming from a sales background in the financial market, so I am going to finally get through that I am here and I'm here to stay and I need to be taken seriously. But then limited access to capital. Even after 13 years of growing a company, you're still faced with, okay, you need money to run a business and to grow a business. And you can't go from zero to sixty or seventy-five employees and from zero dollars to six million dollars in two years without the benefit of some type of financing vehicle.
So thankfully I have been able to establish relationships over the years from working on boards of councils and chambers, etc., where bank heads are, that I was able to kind of circumvent the normal process of going after a loan, where I just went to the President of the bank and said, "I need your help, Don," and Don was there for me. But that's not the way most folks have to do it or can do it. So some kind of way of easing -- helping to ease the credit crutch for women entrepreneurs I think it is very important, as is the lack of role models and/or mentors. You know, when I'm still relatively young and I'm out there looking for mentors and role models and, in turn, am the one who is the role model and the mentor, so it makes it increasingly difficult to have someone to be able to share with and to bounce ideas off. I think that is very important when you are in a position that I'm in.
The critical issue of balancing work and life and the things that we talked about-- Balance, that whole idea of balance is critical. Growing a business is not without its share of sacrifices, personally. Thankfully my youngest is almost 12, and so he has grown up with his mom as an entrepreneur. But it still doesn't make it any easier when I'm gone for eight days or ten days or constantly.
Supporting-- Continuing to support education is a recommendation that I would make because more women should be -- and this is not something that happened to me -- but more women should be made aware of early in life the opportunities of entrepreneurship as a career choice or other nontraditional technology-related career choices.
I just left Hightstown with an opening of Tech 2000, a public-private partnership between Bell Atlantic and Mercer County Technical Vocational Schools, where a major corporation is funding a curriculum within a high school so that folks can enter into these entry-level jobs upon graduation. Because they, in turn, hire these people, and that's the reason for the investment in a program such as that.
But as I speak to young people, either in high school or college, across the years, I am always encouraging them to consider entrepreneurship as a career choice right from school. Working in a major corporation provided me with a well-rounded background and the ability to interact with people at various levels. But I just think that if I had known that there was either corporate sales opportunities or entrepreneurial opportunities at any earlier age, I probably would have realized that was the bug that was growing in me for the 11 years that I was in Exxon.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Assemblywoman Weinberg.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN WEINBERG: Thank you. My apologies for being a little late. I missed the beginning portion of your presentation, but you just said a couple of things in your summation that triggered some questions and or comments.
When I was driving down here today, I heard a report on the radio on how few women yet still are members of boards of directors of various corporations. And you talked about how you used your networking on boards and other places in order to get access to capital. Of course, if we don't encourage women or get them involved in this networking, which you used to a very good positive advantage on behalf of your own business, they don't get a chance to be around people to do networking.
So I think you raised a very important point, and I'm just putting it together with this report I happened to hear on the radio today. I know it's nothing we can legislate, but we certainly can talk about encouraging corporations to look for women to be on their boards of directors. Women generally are the purchasers of most services for their families, at least from what I have been led to believe. I know I am for my family. So getting that view point is important to their ultimate marketing strategies, certainly.
And I just want to comment that I thought that was an extremely important point that you kind of talked about with the way you used it -- the lifestyle balances having come through something myself very recently. You know we talk about family being central to most of our lives. We don't have a family-friendly society necessarily, and we are called upon to make those choices all the time, and I was most recently for some short length of time.
I don't know what we as a Legislature other than the family leave kinds of things that -- and we've got a fairly good family leave law in New Jersey, which I hope never to see lessened; although, there are those interest who would like to move it a little backwards.
Pardon me while I do a little politicking on that subject. (laughter)
Anyway, I appreciate that comment, and I just didn't want to let it go by without notice that this is an important part of being an entrepreneur, of getting into the business world, of being able to network. And it's only recently that women are getting in any kind of a position to take advantage of to be able to network.
MS. YATES: You're absolutely right.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: And I just would like to add that the conference held in Washington just recently with the State Chamber, and Joan and you were involved-- That really went very well, and there are many conferences taking place all over the state. I think women talking to women, and men talking to women has been most instrumental in moving us along over the years. And I think we are on a very assertive mode right now in the sharing. Because not all women would share what they learned because it took so long for them to get there. So we had what was said to me about 10 years ago. We used to have the queen bee syndrome. I'm the only one here, and I'm not sharing it with anyone else. But now we have moved beyond that, and we are sharing with one another.
At the Governor's Economic Conference last year, we met a couple of women in high places. One of them asked us in the leadership conference to raise our hands if we owned stock in a company. Only one woman in a room of almost two-hundred women raised her hand. They had invested in saving accounts and things but not stock. And she was very strong in her approach. She said, "Do you know what you're doing to us," meaning women.
When you buy stock, even if it's one stock, you have a vote. And you can write to that group and say why are there no women on your boards? You have power by owning stock in a company. And it's something that women should do to help women -- other women, even if they don't know them.
MS. YATES: Absolutely. Because those are not the things you can legislate.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: That's right.
MS. YATES: The corporations have to recognize the value of bringing diversity to their corporate boards, not just with women, but people of color. Because their customer bases are changing, and they have to be reflective of their customer base, and their supplier base has to be reflective of their customer base. So I spend a great deal of my time crisscrossing the country talking to corporations about the value of diversity with women and people of color as a supplier and on their boards of directors. Because that is the way we are going to open up more opportunities for more of us to come along with us.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Absolutely.
MS. YATES: I, too, enjoyed the New Jersey 300 retreat in Washington and was privileged to be in that number. I think that that is going to be the beginning of something good because I found on that train several people who could clearly be a mentor for me.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Oh, absolutely.
MS. YATES: Clearly, Carol. (laughter)
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: It was a wonderful experience, and we brought back those names, by the way, and Tasha and Deb utilized the material already.
I think it's a wonderful resource, those minibiographies, and we've all begun to use them. I think communication and collaboration is so important, and that's one of the reasons that this particular hearing was suggested to me by staff. That even though legislatively we might not be able to do anything, but we could promote through various departments in the bureaucratic system and the educational system certain needs. And certainly you have given up some of those points from your own life experience, and we will pass that along.
MS. YATES: Thank you.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: And we have the ability to do that.
MS. YATES: Thank you very much.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Thank you very much for coming.
Mary C. Lang, Vice-President, Yu and Associates.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN MURPHY: Another alumni.
M A R Y C. L A N G: Good afternoon, Madam Chair. As a you will find out, as an engineer, I am a little efficient. I do have some written testimony that I would like to distribute.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Certainly.
MS. LANG: My name is Mary Lang. I am a civil engineer and a Vice-President and partner in a small business firm called Yu and Associates. I want to thank you for inviting me here today because most people do not know that there are women civil engineers. And, yes, there are, and we are alive and happy to say.
Being asked to talk today about women in the business, I felt it was very important to talk about women in a specific business, and that's mine, a civil engineering profession. I'm going to fill you with a little bit of facts and statistics here so -- to give you an idea of how far we need to go in this profession.
By the year 2000 the Bureau of Labor Statistics tell us we are going to have 50 percent of women in the workforce; however, that is not the case for women in civil engineering. In the 1800s, civil engineering women were very few. It wasn't until 1970 where we started graduating about 1000 women engineers of all disciplines. And it wasn't until the 1980s till we got that graduation number up to 10,000. Currently in the '90s, 7 percent of the engineering workforce are women, and that's across all disciplines. The civil engineering field is much less.
If you were to look to the women civil engineers that are in management, that is less than 5 percent. One of the statistics I wanted to bring today and was not able to get was to look at our own State agencies, the Jersey Turnpike Authority, the Highway Authority, and the DOT, to see how well they are doing with having women in engineering and women in management.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN WEINBERG: I can make an educated guess.
MS. LANG: I would strongly suggest this Council may want to ask that question because I think you'll find that the number is less than 5 percent are certainly there. I think I know which authority does a better job than others, but it's there.
My background-- Just to give you some context on where I come from in business and why I am a small business owner. I graduated in 1984 from the University of Dayton in Ohio. My first job was working as a resident construction engineer for the Ohio Department of Transportation. I was the first woman engineer that they hired within the district, and I think I was the fourth engineer statewide within the DOT.
My first three years within the state were interesting enough to make anyone want to leave the profession and go back to school and do something else, but I persisted. Moving back East, I worked with several different consulting engineering firms throughout the state, some very large, some not so large, some public transportation firms, some firms that specialized in private land development. Until just recently I decided that it is time for me to be an entrepreneur, and so I joined an old colleague of mine, Peter Yu, and became his partner. We have a 10-person consulating firm. We're growing. We expect to be 20 by the end of next year. That's provided that there are civil engineers to hire.
Out of all the places where I have worked, I have been the oldest technical woman engineer on staff. So as far as role models go, as to where to go to talk to and ask, it wasn't there. Besides work, we had mention of them being on the corporate board of directors. I am very much-- One of the things taught to me in school was I need to get back to my profession. I sit on the Board of Directors for the American Society of Civil Engineers. That's the oldest nonprofit civil engineering organization in the world. We have 120,000 members worldwide, of which 4000 members are here within the State of New Jersey. I am the youngest, and I am the fourth woman to sit on the Board. And it's only been in the last nine years that we've actually had women on the Board.
My term expires as of October 21, which I am thankful for. However, as we look forward to the next year of Board members, it's back to an all male board. And it's something that really caught our attention this year and I am happy to say as a national Society we formulated a high-level task -- committee on women in civil engineering to try to figure out why are we dropping out, why are they not stepping up to leadership positions, and what can we do to help them. As you may have guessed, I am the Vice-Chair of that committee. (laughter) And so with that I had the ability to pull some data and some statistics together on why there are so few of us in the field.
Yes, it's a nontraditional field, but it's a field that is open to many opportunities. And with the diversity of the workforce and with the challenges that are required, to build the state's infrastructure here go beyond just bricks and mortar. You need women, you need people of different ethnic backgrounds to not only understand the design and the solutions, but to be able to take those solutions to the community and let the community understand truly why projects are needed. And I think that takes a design team made up of diverse backgrounds, women, men, different nationalities, different race.
My career has been kind of interesting, and I want to talk to you about some of the personal things. I mean you hear one of the issues and the obstacles challenging women today. Well, I think I have hit them all, from sexual harassment in the workforce at my first job-- I was actually required not to be on-site alone. This is back in 1984-1985, not too long ago really. I had some great bosses there who said, "No, we have some problem contractors. When you work, one of your inspectors will work. If he sits in the trailer and does nothing with you late at night that's okay, we'll pay for that."
I have had people-- I turned the presidential quote that says walk softly and carry a big stick. One of my inspectors on the project was very much concerned with me. So he went out and got a piece of rebar, which is steel that goes into a building, an inch in diameter, taped up the handle and said, "Put this in the back of your truck." So I drove around with the little stick in the back of my truck. Fortunately, I can say I never had to use it, but you knew it was there to give me a piece of my mind at 21 years old going into the field where as soon as I walk on a site everything stops.
It's nice to say the times have changed. I can send my entry-level women engineers in the field and production still goes. We've come away. The Legislature, you have passed laws. They have been great laws. They have helped us. I think we have overcome that obstacle or close to it as much as I think we can by legislative.
But there is the obstacles of isolation, of negative peer attitudes, of the failure to be recognized or promoted, or the support from the CEOs. Those obstacles are still there, and in the 1990s, what I have found is the era of political correctness has made it more difficult for women to overcome some of those barriers because there is a lot of lip service out there. Some people do practice what they preach. I'm here today, and I am successful because of some very good male mentor CEOs that stood up and made a difference for me.
But I think, what can we do? I mean, how do we change this? I read in a model that was proposed from an engineering society -- and it was meant for educators in the university, but I think I want to talk about it today because it's a model, as this committee (sic) and this Council begins to look at the issues, that it does give some good points.
The model proposed is that in order to be self-efficient there are four factors. You need to be able to observe and understand your performance and accomplishments. You need to be able to have someone to observe and learn from. You need to have freedom from anxiety with respect to work and conduct in the field. And you need the persuasion and support for others. Now, the first two -- and this can go across male or female. But the first two are very easy, and women can do that today. You work, you know when you've done a good job and whether or not you're recognized for it. There are ways to just sit back and listen and you can learn.
Freedom from anxiety is a tough one. It's a tough one that I battle each day in a profession. As an owner in a company I call up, the first reaction from a male sometimes is, "Oh, you are the marketing coordinator. When do you want the President to come in?" "No, my partner and I will be there." So there are still the perceptions, and there is an anxiety that women face as part of that. Now, how can we go about this?
We've talked about the N.J. 300. I want to touch on that. I sat on the steering committee of that. And I think it's the first time since a lot of us that are succeeding in the field and are saying here we do not have a role model. It's an organization that took the senior-level women and said let's go horizontally. Whether I'm a civil engineer, I'm a banker, I'm an entrepreneur, we all have a common thread, and that is where there is really no women to look up to in our specific industry to say, how did you do it? So we talk among ourselves, and we are beginning to form a network amongst ourselves that allows us that opportunity.
Why do you say that's needed? Well, I think in the workplace we just look at numbers. Men have the chance to play the basketball leagues in the evening and go catch a beer and be able to say, hey, how do I get here? They have the golf courses to go to and the locker rooms and the different opportunities where men can dialogue with men.
I'm married to a civil engineer. I will not profess that I have the statistics, but women do think differently than men, especially in the practice of engineering. I can say that because I have a husband that will attest and say that's true. We usually fight for about three hours before we come to the same solution. So I think that type of networking organization is good. Now that works for the women that are in the field. What do we do about the promotion? We need to encourage our CEOs to stand up and promote and encourage a mentor and not just say that they do and not point to statistics that we have 20 percent women in our office, but to really be a part of mentoring young folks coming through. If it had not been for a certain CEO within this state and a CEO within another state, I probably wouldn't be where I am at the age of 36. They really were-- Though I did not work for them, they were always there, they are always a phone call away. And that's what is important.
But for the future engineers, there are issues here that we need to talk about, and the mentoring is one. The ability for the corporate culture and for the leadership within the state to stand up and say that we need to do a better job, what you're doing, I commend you for. But one of the problems that we see in bringing the best and the brightest in talent and that goes back to our school systems, that goes back to our education.
Studies have found that in order to excel in a science and engineering field, you really need to get to the students by middle school. That's the time and period, especially in a girl's life, where self-confidence, peer pressure is very -- can sway what you are going to do and what you'll be like. We have teachers in schools that are not math and science friendly. And I will say that again just based on my personal observation. In college we had a roommate -- six of us were living together. Three education majors, two engineers, and physicist. Well, the three of us on the technical side had to sit up at night and give the three education majors simple mathematic one-on-one lessons on how to do fractions so that they could complete their mathematic portion of their education degree.
They are wonderful teachers. They will be the first to admit. However, they need help. They need help within the school systems to be able to create new programs. The programs can be for mentoring. One of the things that I do within ASE is we make it a point to get out to the elementary schools and show people what we do in the industry and how that applies to math and science and physics and some of the stories. Most of the times when I go, there is nothing but positive reception from both the boys and the girls. But the girls specifically never met a civil engineer that is a woman. I think it's great.
I'm still waiting for the day when I hire my first woman engineer who says I saw you and I met you in third grade. And I'll say, well, here is your thank you letter. (laughter) I hope your writing has improved.
Those are just some of my thoughts and concerns. It's challenging. I think the world is changing and we are making strides; however, we have a long way to go, and certainly in the engineering profession I think is one that is lagging behind more than others.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Very interesting. Any comments? (no response)
One of the things I can say that still exists today, even when women are promoted, that you'll get the promotion, you'll get the title, you'll get the money, but you won't get the power. And that happens oftimes.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN WEINBERG: You usually don't get the money.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Well, in some cases they get the money but not the power -- not the authority that you want that is commensurate with the position.
MS. LANG: That is true, and power is gained in twofold. One, it has to be given to you in the large corporations. But, two, you need to reach out and take it.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Well, my feeling is that power is never given, you have to take it.
MS. LANG: Absolutely.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: But again women must be taught that, and that's why I think that women in competitive sports, even at a young age, have an advantage over women who never competed in sports.
MS. LANG: Oh, absolutely.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Yes, Assemblywoman.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN WEINBERG: You got to the question I was going to ask actually in your last paragraph about education.
MS. LANG: Right.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN WEINBERG: Perhaps I'm wrong, but you seem to agree in what you said here that probably, in the elementary and middle schools, girls are not led into, or not expected to, excel in math and science and those kinds of things that would lead them to become engineers. And that maybe one of the things we can do is take a look at, as we're in the era of talking about core curriculum, and so on -- to make sure that our education systems, starting in those early grades, will recognize that certainly girls have the capacity whether or not there are any biases in the education.
Teachers aren't always well trained, as you well pointed out just with your own personal experience. And perhaps that is something that we could inquire of our Education Department or our Education Commissioner of what is going on in that field in terms of making certain-- Particularly this kind of educational requirements where we don't see young women going to-- I have a cousin who is a civil engineer -- a female cousin. She lives in Texas, though. But perhaps we could just inquire through the Education Department if they are taking these kinds of things into consideration as they prepare the curriculum.
MS. LANG: That is a very good point. One of our workshop sessions, and go back to N.J. 300, was on education and are girls being cheated in school? And we had a wonderful professor come in to give us-- And it's the subtle things that you and I -- even I do it, that I don't realize, and it goes back to just putting gender issues and girls play this way and boys this way. That I think, if nothing else, in their education department if there was some training for teachers, especially in technical field. It's difficult to teach math and science, especially, one, if you are not comfortable in that subject, and to get people excited with it.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: But there are innovative ways to do that now.
MS. LANG: Absolutely.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: And there are gifted people who can make it exciting.
MS. LANG: Absolutely.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Any other comments or questions?
ASSEMBLYMAN GARRETT: On a lighter note, does your husband ever suggest that there is a reason why you as a woman don't approach civil engineering from the same way that he does or something like that?
MS. LANG: We've talked about it, and this is something that we are going to be studying as part of this task committee on a national level, what makes women engineers think differently than men? Personally, it is more about what our experience in life is. For example, when I am part of a project team and little things-- I did a corporate executive office building once, and I was in a design team meeting, and we were talking about the executive level floor and they were talking about the bathrooms. And one of the comments made by the owner was can we put some shelving in the men's room because the men have to shave, they stay there, they need black tie affairs, they want to shave, can you do that?
Now again, a civil engineer, I am never of afraid of going into a building on architects' turf and say what about the women's room. And everybody just looked at me. I said, "Well, women go to the same affairs as men at that level." And I said, "Certainly our make-up and our curling irons and things certainly take up a little more room than just a shaving kit." And they all stopped and said we never thought of that.
So there are-- Just again, I think it's personal experience that brings something to a table when you begin to look at things. I tend to look at things in more of an overall view, balancing the whole picture, where my husband will start from one point and work his way through in a more straight and narrow-- I think part of that is because I am a woman, not because I am an engineer. There are studies, there are lots of literature out there, and it's pros and cons, and that's just my gut feeling.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Any other comments? (no response)
Thank you very much.
MS. LANG: Thank you.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: I appreciate it.
Isabel Miranda, Senior Vice-President U.S. Trust Company of New Jersey, and then Marsha Dubrow who has to leave, President-Chief Executive Officer, Technolog.
Now, who are you?
I S A B E L M I R A N D A: I'm Isabel Miranda.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Good. And, Marsha, are you still here? Could you wait a few minutes?
M A R S H A D U B R O W: Absolutely.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Thank you very much.
It is a learning experience here.
MS. DUBROW: My calendar is clear.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Thank you very much.
MS. MIRANDA: Good afternoon. I think we are all graduates of the Washington trip, so it nice to be here, and I appreciate Tasha's invitation.
As you said, Assemblywoman Heck, I am Senior Vice-President of U.S. Trust Company of New Jersey, but I also the first woman and the first Hispanic to serve as Chair of the Board of Trustees at The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.
Growing up, I was raised by two women, my mother and my nanny, who weren't the traditional role models because it was a single-sex household. Two women who worked all day, helped me with homework at night, did the sewing, did the cooking and the cleaning, and then on weekends, by the way, hung curtains and laid down carpeting and did all the usual chores that sometimes we think of as male oriented. We lived in an apartment so there was no grass to cut.
Which is no wonder that I grew up not realizing that there were jobs that only women did and jobs that only men did because I never saw that at home. I attended a single-sex high school, where the women were the mentors and they were the leaders, and at that point I decided that I wanted to be a businessperson and have a career. I never gave thought to the fact that it might be challenging for a woman to enter a career in finance and law, which are both historically male-dominated professions. In fact, I was the only woman in my graduating class at Fordham University to graduate with a degree in finance. It wasn't that long ago, it was 1977. I am older than my previous colleague.
Law degree in hand, several years later I arrived in the real world of banking prepared to do anything a man could do, so you can imagine my reaction when the first gentleman I worked for said, "Well, you wear a skirt; therefore you do the typing." This is a lawyer at a bank.
Four years after that I was the first professional woman in my division to have a child and return to work. And again I raised some eyebrows because both of my children were products of labor onset at the bank. My colleagues were understandably worried, but more importantly, my boss said something that was very important at that point. She was a woman, and she was the first woman in banking to run a trust department, which is the job I have now. She said to me, "You can't have it all. When I came out of Harvard Law, I had to make a choice, career or marriage, and I chose career and I don't think you can juggle everything."
So with that sort of pressure, I proceeded and said, "Well, these are my choices, and I'm certainly going to give it my best shot." I've learned some hard and valuable lessons as I have become increasingly more senior in the corporate word. And I also know that my experiences mirror many of those of women in other high-level positions in corporate America, women who work hard, made sacrifices in their personal lives, took risks, and aggressively pursued positions in either public or private employment.
Many bright, capable, talented women today have broken through the glass ceiling into management positions in which they do influence corporate agenda and global issues. In fact, our boss, to whom those of us at U.S. Trust Company of New Jersey report, whose name is Maribeth Rahe, is Vice-Chairman of U.S. Trust Company of New York, and she is on the newly published list in Vanity Fair magazine of the 200 most influential women in America, women in every industry who were viewed as legends, leaders, and trailblazers whose contributions go beyond gender.
In sharp contrast, however, I've also been told by some professional colleagues that despite outstanding performance reviews, they didn't get as big a raise as their male colleagues because their husbands work and they don't need the money. That's pretty pathetic in my view.
I would like to bring you up to date on how women in academic medicine are doing. A study in this month's issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine indicate that women do ascend the ranks of medicine more slowly and to lower levels and with smaller paychecks than their male colleagues, despite the fact that more women are now being admitted into medical school and more are selected for residencies in specialties, such as surgery and orthopedics, which were, until very recently, the male bashings of medicine. And only six of the one hundred twenty-five deans of accredited medical schools across the country are women, and only 10 percent of the schools' full professors are women.
I am pleased to report as Chair of UMDNJ that I do bring you some good news in New Jersey. Not only do women comprise more than half of the University's 10,000-plus workforce, 61.5 percent, but 55 percent of the University's middle- and upper-management positions are held by women, with 28 percent in higher-level positions, such as vice-presidents, and 45 percent in directorship positions. We are committed to incorporating consideration of diversity as a major factor in our recruitment of highest level of academics. In fact, both the New Jersey Medical School and the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School have a significantly greater percentage of women on their faculty than the national average for other medical schools, 30 percent for us verses 25 percent for the rest of the medical schools across the country.
Are the problems greater for women in academic medicine than in any other profession? Well, a 1996 study by the Center for Creative Leadership found that gender issues that influence promotion process in academic medicine are not so different than those found for Fortune 500 companies. In the study, researchers define promotion as a change in pay with a corresponding increase in responsibility and status. For both men and women, the researchers found more similarities than differences in judging promotion or the employees.
For both genders, all promotions were based on a combination of proven competencies such as credentials, experience, track record, skills, work ethic, ability to work on a team, and interpersonal skills. But they also found major differences in the undefined factors that had an impact in an executive's confidence in the candidate.
Male executives said that they were more confident about male candidates because they felt more comfortable with them and they felt that they would know how the male executive would react in any given situation. Male executives had confidence in women if they perceived a personal strength, a willingness to take risk and to accept responsibility. Yet, in contrast, the study also found male executives had a tendency to promote women to jobs that they had already had some familiarity with. Their explanation was that continuity and familiarity would relieve the stress that women already experience in having to work harder at a job to establish their credentials with their peers.
What this and a multitude of other studies show is that gender bias in the workplace is much more subtle today than it was in the past. It certainly is alive and well as we approach the millennium. And far too many women are still nursing the headaches caused by the glassceiling phenomena. Are there solutions? Well, I believe that the solutions begin with each of us. The glass ceiling can only be broken from above, not from below. And so it behooves those of us in higher positions to reach out a hand to those who are junior to us and to take the time to mentor our younger colleagues, rather than focus on the trials and tribulations that we ourself survived in getting there.
Each of us has an influence not only in our own lives, but in the lives of others. Psychologists have named this influence with a (indiscernible) affect. You may recall this from the Broadway musical My Fair Lady. For the sake of this conversation, let's define the concept simply as that when you hold a picture of an individual or group in your mind and you treat them that way, you actually get them to act the same way as you are treating them. To some degree, I expect that each of us can respond as guilty as charged when reflecting on our preconceived notion of others. If we want to change perception based on bias, the first step then begins with each of us. Whether you are president of the company, whether you are the janitor, or whether you are the assembly line boss, it really is how we look at people that counts.
As to legislation, I think we have some really strong legislation in the state that is adequate; however, policing and vigilance is now critical. By vigilance I mean, for example, for those of us who serve on boards, one of the questions I always ask when people come to us with contacts is, how many minority and business applications did we have for this job? Did anybody bother to apply? Did we look at those people? It's one-on-one and it's slowly, but I think it's one of the things that we personally can undertake to do aside from the mentoring that I already spoke about.
So what comes next? As anthropologist Margaret Mead said, the only appropriate response to change is more change. I know I will keep fighting bias in the workforce because I want to help to create a legacy for all of the young women who are coming behind us. My goal is that when they enter the workforce, gender is no longer an issue, and they are only limited by their own aspirations and capabilities.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Very nice, thank you.
MS. MIRANDA: I'd be happy to answer any questions about UMD or about banking or anything else you may have.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Did you want to say anything?
ASSEMBLYWOMAN WEINBERG: No, I'm really happy to just be able to listen to--
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: I just love the information that she just gave us about her cultural background and the fact that she went to a one- gender school. I think that has a great impact on education because everyone is equal, and you can just rise as high as you would like. And the cultural background does have a lot to do with it.
But yours is a positive, but there are many negatives--
MS. MIRANDA: That's true.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: --in certain cultures.
MS. MIRANDA: I certainly believe in single-sex education. Both of my daughters are at a single-sex school because I think that it is very important to have mentors that have the same paradigms as you do.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Absolutely.
MS. MIRANDA: And I have been there before, so--
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Any comments?
ASSEMBLYMAN GARRETT: No.
MS. MIRANDA: Thank you so much.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Thank you very much.
And now we have Marsha who is the President, Chief Executive Officer of Technolog, Inc.
MS. DUBROW: Hi. I also am part of the New Jersey 300, so I recognize some of your faces.
Chairwoman Heck and Vice-Chairwoman Crecco, in absentia, and distinguished members of the Assembly Advisory Council on Women: Thank you very much for inviting me to present testimony before you today. My name is Marsha Dubrow. The subject of my remarks will focus on the opportunities and challenges for the women of New Jersey, specifically in the arena of entrepreneurship.
I speak to this Women's Advisory Council of the New Jersey State Legislature as a seasoned woman entrepreneur and an entrepreneurial mentor to women for many years. Since 1985, I have served as President and CEO of Technolog, Inc., an information technology consulting company serving major corporate clients headquartered principally in New Jersey. From the beginning, the choice of entrepreneurship for me was a lifestyle choice as much as a career choice.
A single mother with a small child in the days of no corporate day care, I found, back in the early days of the mid-'80s, having my own business to be the best way to integrate professional requirements and family needs. As I grew and learned what it meant to be a business owner, so I began to recognize the need to share my knowledge with other women who were seeking guidance and direction. I also came to understand that many other women were coping with the same challenges of raising a family and making a living. Over the course of the past decade or so, I have been a passionate advocate of women's economic empowerment through entrepreneurship. The women of New Jersey have had, and continue to have, many opportunities to learn about starting and managing their own businesses. Through public sector programs, such as those sponsored by the United States Small Business Administrations Office of Women's Business Ownership, where I served as one of the first mentors in the women's network for entrepreneurial training program, and the New Jersey Department of Commerce Small Business Division's conference, where, for example, I presented programs on aspects of entrepreneurial success, as well as the Department's excellent information resources and certification program, women have received information and guidance crucial for their success.
Through private, not-for-profit training programs, such as the New Jersey Association of Women Business Owners' Excel program and the New York City-based American Women's Economic Development Corporation's excellent series of programs, which include, "Starting Your Own Business," "Managing Your Own Business," and the "Million Dollar Roundtable," women have created entrepreneurial peer support groups which have endured far beyond the formal term of a given course.
I participated in an AWED course over a decade ago, and I and my peers still convene to review and consider aspects of our businesses across all functional areas. Even trade associations, such as the National Association of Procurement Management, have sponsored conferences at which entrepreneurial training has been a key focus.
A few years ago, I presented a workshop on minority and women business enterprises mentoring minority and women business enterprises. This was at a Procurement Management Association regional conference in Atlantic City. Some private sector, large corporations, such as IBM, have recently begun to deliver seminars on topics of interest to women entrepreneurs such as e-commerce. I recently participated as a panelist at the Unisys Corporation in a program about entrepreneurial opportunities outside the company for the company's female professional employees, which I thought was a particularly fresh model given that the company was not downsizing at the time. Everyone, it seems, has been catching the entrepreneurial wave and seeing its benefits.
Why have women chosen the entrepreneurial path, and why are women now forming businesses at twice the rate of men? The reasons are many, but there are a few key salient ones. Women ran up against the glass ceiling problem, women became victims of downsizing, women got tired of earning less and having a lessor title than their male counterparts, women had to work and raise children, and ultimately, and in summary, women simply wanted to gain mastery over their paycheck and their destiny.
So here we are nearing the end of 1998 and approaching the millennium. The work profile of our country today is a very different one from the past. Women are starting their own businesses at twice the rate of men, and by the year 2000, it is predicted more than half the businesses in America will be women owned.
And I now correct my statement of in absentia. I'm Marsha Dubrow, Assemblywoman Crecco. Thank you for inviting me here today.
Women have become recognized wealth creators for themselves, their employees, their communities, and their state. Women entrepreneurs are beginning to significantly increase employment opportunities in the state, as well as fueling the nation's GNP.
So one might say, "We've come a long way, baby." And actually we have, both individually and collectively. When I first founded my company, there were relatively limited learning opportunities around. Today there is a plethora of information available. Now the bookshelves are bursting with books on all types of entrepreneurial subjects. Local colleges all have courses now in entrepreneurship. And as sited previously, there are many training programs and general information sessions being offered: live, printed, and electronic. And there are now many successful women entrepreneurs who have survived the first two years when most businesses fail and have even made it past the five-year mark when only about 10 percent typically survive. So where are the gaps, and where might this Council look to make recommendations?
It seems to me that the two greatest challenges facing women entrepreneurs today are access to capital and access to markets. Just as there persists a glass ceiling in the corporate world for corporate women, for women entrepreneurs today there are glass walls. Financing the start-up and growth of a company can be a daunting challenge. While there are some exemplary exceptions, the banking community in general has been slow to respond to the needs of women entrepreneurs with special lending and empowerment programs targeting to this population. For the most part, even where SBA loans and other debt financing instruments are available, there are truly limited communications vehicles in place to inform and capture the imaginations of potential or existing female entrepreneurial customers.
Moreover, traditionally bankers as lenders have been too numbers oriented, not really focusing on the other elements of entrepreneurial success in seeking out and harnessing this potentially important customer base. I think there is a need for improved public sector-private sector linkages. As a 1990 fellow of Leadership New Jersey, a program of the Partnership for New Jersey, which is a public sector-private sector initiative that addresses significant New Jersey issues, I have seen the power of synergy when the two sectors work together.
Our Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Authority have excellent programs and resources in place. The banking industry can take advantage of these resources to assist women entrepreneurs in achieving their debt-based financing goals. In the equity-based lending arena, another idea that I think would be very powerful in this regard would be the establishment of a New Jersey Women Entrepreneurs Venture Capital Fund. Again, working in partnership, the VC companies could team with the New Jersey Economic Development Authority specifically to fuel growth for New Jersey-based, women-owned companies.
Traditionally, women have been at the forefront in meeting our own needs. When no banks were lending to women, the first Women's Bank was established. Relatively recently, the first Women's Venture Capital Fund was put in place, owned, and managed by women. New Jersey would be taking a lead in the venture capital arena by promoting and facilitating the establishment of a venture capital program for women, inviting the New Jersey- based companies to participate in the initiative and forging a strategic partnership to economically empower New Jersey's women entrepreneur community.
With respect to access to markets, while much progress has been made in recent years, there is still much room for improvement. Many large corporations have established special procurement programs for women-owned businesses, but often these programs are cosmetic. Companies appear at conferences, such as those run by NJAWBO, and women-owned companies eventually make it onto their vendor lists only to discover that they receive few bid requests, or even if the RFPs are forthcoming, all too frequently these requests are wired.
The old boys' network unfortunately has not yet expired. The good news is that the new girls' network is alive and well as more women have succeeded in achieving positions of authority in larger corporations, so the opportunities for women entrepreneurs to do business with these corporations have increased. Once again, any programs that could be developed in New Jersey to further facilitate the possibility for women entrepreneurs breaking the glass walls for market entry and penetration would be a breakthrough. In the early '90s, during the Florio administration, I served with many CEOs of the State's largest corporations on a body established by executive order called the New Jersey Business and Higher Education Forum. Its goal was to explore ways in which these two sectors could achieve a win-win and further empower the State's economic base by strengthening the linkages between the two sectors.
I would like to see the establishment of a New Jersey corporate and women entrepreneurs forum, perhaps through legislation, perhaps through a recommendation of this body, with a similar mandate. Women entrepreneurs are a tireless, inspired, ambitious, motivated asset for the State of New Jersey. They are all too often marginalized, trivialized, and even made invisible in ways that are subtle and often covert. This human capital is a precious resource that needs to be preserved and strengthened. It is a significant source of economic growth for the state that needs to be nurtured.
I hope that the ideas I have offered here today will serve, along with the recommendations of my fellow citizens also presenting testimony on the subject, to inspire this body to be a catalyst for change with respect to New Jersey's women entrepreneurs.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Thank you very much.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN CRECCO: Madam Chair, I want to apologize for being late.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: I understand.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN CRECCO: I apologize to everyone.
And I appreciated your talk and your description. It is true, I am no longer an entrepreneur, but I did have my own business for 15 years until I was here a little while. But you do describe the women very accurately, and I think that's what makes them so successful. They do have that drive and they just have that goal and they do a marvelous job. So I feel that it may seem a little slow, but if you have the initiative and you can do the work, you know, if you have this desire and you have the ability, of course-- We are making good strides, and this is good to have this testimony today from all of you because I think, as the Assemblywoman said, we need to stay together and continue to work for women. But I appreciated listening to that because that's how I felt, and it was so much fun to be so successful within your own business.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Any other comments? (no response)
I thank you very much, and certainly we will take that under advisement -- the suggestions you made -- because there is a thread running through here to continue that communication.
MS. DUBROW: And I would be happy to make myself available for any further questions.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: I appreciate that.
MS. DUBROW: Thank you very much.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Now we have Marie Flynn, the President of Corinthian Capital Management Co., Inc., and then Joan Faber who is the President of Faber Associates International.
So Marie Flynn, please.
M A R I E C. F L Y N N: May I pass out my testimony?
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Please.
MS. FLYNN: Thank you.
Assemblywoman Heck, members of the Advisory Council: I want to thank you, first of all, for allowing me to testify today. My name is Marie Flynn, as you said. I am President and CEO of Corinthian Capital Management Company. We are an investment advisory firm located in Morristown.
You are no doubt aware of the number of women in New Jersey who have started their own businesses, we've been talking about that. I plan to focus my comments on women leaving the corporate world and going into business for themselves. I would like to share with you my experiences in starting that journey and in going along with that and to provide some suggestions as to steps that perhaps we could take to help women who want to do that themselves, also.
My first point is that women need to be encouraged to continue their learning at the formal education ends. Twenty-eight years ago I responded to an ad in the Wall Street Journal for an analyst position with a small hedge fund on Wall Street. I was only a few years out of college. I had a BA degree in languages. There were very few-- Well, there were really no female mentors at that time and very few women on Wall Street. I kept my eyes open and tried to learn as much as I could and continuing to try to do that.
At that time, associations were forming, including in the financial area. One of them was the Institute for Chartered Financial Analysts. So over a period of the next several years, I poured every spare moment I had into studying for that charter. To get that charter entails taking a full-day exam each year for three years. The pass rate is about 65 percent, so very competitive. The third exam that I was ready to take turned out to be set for the day that our first child was due. I was determined to take that exam. I studied for that thing. I was going to take it.
But the Institute had very strict procedures that the exams could only be given at a certain location that they had set. But, as I said, I really wanted to get that exam done -- the last one. So I prevailed upon them to allow me to take the exam in the hospital. And so, as it turns out, our daughter was born two days before the due date, and there I was in the hospital, I took the exam. I fortunately passed it. I was so happy to have that done.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: That's called determination.
MS. FLYNN: I was calling it some other things at the time.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: You missed this, Loretta. This lady wanted to make sure she took this test, and she was expecting her child, and she had her baby two days before the due date and convinced them to let her take the test in the hospital.
I love it.
MS. FLYNN: I know I was the first. I might have been the last one to take an exam like that.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN WEINBERG: A test for what?
MS. FLYNN: Charter Financial Analyst.
In 1978, I joined an investment management firm -- a corporate investment management firm -- in New Jersey as a portfolio manager. And over the next 18 years rose to position of Vice-President and head of the Private Clients Group with the firm. Despite heavy responsibilities, I continued to try to learn as much as I could within the profession, including receiving the Certified Financial Planner designation along the way. I guess the question is, did continuing professional education pay off? And I think it really did. It is what was so helpful to me when I wanted to start up my own firm, the company that I am running now.
The second point that I think I want to make is that women need a source of advice when they are faced with a choice of whether or not to become an entrepreneur. Three years ago I left the corporation where I had worked for 18 years in order to set up Corinthian Capital Management Company, which, as I mentioned, manages investments for corporations, foundations, and individuals of both here in New Jersey and across the country.
I was fortunate in that I left my employer under very pleasant circumstances. Its proposed restructuring of its business allowed me to carve out a piece of its existing business to use as a base for my own. But the opportunity arose quite suddenly, and I was faced with many business decisions that I really wasn't prepared to make. I had to tackle areas that previously my employer, the corporation, had handled. Setting up a corporation, what sorts of insurance do you need? Worker's comp, unemployment, etc. What phone system to install? What computer system to use?
These aren't the things that you learn in business school. The decisions had to be made quickly. I mean the fact that I am still in business today and the business is thriving means that on the whole I guess most of the decisions I made were correct, but it was a very difficult period.
My experience has taught me two things. First, continuing professional education is very important for women, and we should try to encourage it as much as possible. How to do that? There are perhaps many ways, one might be some kind of tax relief for unreimbursed personal funds spent on continuing professional education leading to professional certifications. That would be helpful.
For women going into business for themselves such education and certification is very important. One of the complaints that women business owners had -- and we've already heard it this afternoon -- is that they are not taken seriously. Professional credentials help alleviate that problem I think.
The second thing that I have learned is that while we may know our profession well, we are often not prepared to suddenly tackle the details of starting up a business. In this era of downsizing and restructuring, many women must make quick decisions -- and I emphasis the quick part there -- as to whether or not they will set up with their own businesses.
We need to showcase the programs that are available that can impart basic information on starting a business. The program would need to be presented on a regular ongoing basis, since such need for information arises again rather suddenly and rather quickly, as it did in my case. The challenge in making the programs known is that most people don't think about needing them until they actually need them yesterday.
There are some programs available, but when I started up-- When I called SBA, I said, "What do you have about details of starting up a business?" I didn't need financing, but I just needed the nitty-gritty. There was no turnkey operation, no--
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Example.
MS. FLYNN: Thank you. Yes, example of here is what you do, here are some steps that you have to look at. So it was hit or miss, here or there that I was able to pull things together. But I think something like that people would know about would be very useful.
Maybe one way that such programs could be better advertised would be that when a company is going through a downsizing, they frequently have officials come in to talk about here's unemployment, here are your options. They could talk about here are some programs. If you think maybe you want to go off and set up your own business, here are some programs that are available and that are out there. I think everybody knows SBA and financing, but it's those nitty-gritty that I think we need to focus on.
And last, but certainly not least, and it's a theme that I am hearing today, is the need for women's forums. The upcoming Governor's Conference on Women: Economic Pathways to Power, next week, is going to have 80 workshops covering a number of different topics. I think this is a very good example of a forum for women which provides knowledge about business. But I think what we can perhaps do is to set up -- to pick three or four of the panels that are the most popular and considered the most useful and present them either on a county level or a regional level to women. I think that would encourage attendance, allow more people to attend, and would be useful to that. Not only would information be provided, but it would give new or potentially new women business owners access to women who are already starting their own businesses or who have already done it.
So with that, in summary, I would just say thank you once again for allowing me to speak today. And everything that you can do to encourage women to get professional education, help in setting up their businesses, and access to other women will certainly help the women of New Jersey.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Thank you very much.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN WEINBERG: I just had a delayed reaction to what you said. It was two days after you had the baby? (laughter)
MS. FLYNN: Yes, it was.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN WEINBERG: It took me a few minutes to get my mind back.
ASSEMBLYMAN LUONGO: Good, Loretta.
MS. FLYNN: I nursed the baby, the proctor came in.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: And you thought of her in her bed.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN LORETTA: Forty-eight hours.
MS. FLYNN: Nowadays that's right.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN WEINBERG: Under a couple of years ago, you would have been home by then anyway, so it would have been irrelevant.
MS. FLYNN: That's right.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Any questions?
ASSEMBLYMAN GARRETT: Just one. Don't we already have a number of those programs? I mean the woman that came before, the first woman, I asked a question, what did you rely on? She mentioned some of the technology-based groups, and we have some -- I can't give all the acronyms for them, but small business-based organizations. Also that is on the public sector. And on the private sector you have paid-for consulting businesses that if you wanted to, you can go out and hire a firm and say give me consulting here. Or as you did-- I'm not sure exactly what the Chartered Financial Analyst is, but I assume there are, as in most professions, trade associations or what have you that you can link up with. So isn't that all out there to a degree?
MS. FLYNN: It is out there, but the problem was that when I called -- and I called SBA. I said, "What do you have?" I was not told of any program that was just the nitty-gritty of setting up a firm like that, the details that I talked about. They said, "Do you need financing?" "No, I don't need financing. I just want some real basic data on setting up a firm," and I was not led to anything.
ASSEMBLYMAN GARRETT: How about a thing like SCORE? I see that-- They are advertised by me all the time. The woman in the back is saying no.
MS. FLYNN: That it would probably be one area to look at. When I had called, I needed something immediately, and I was told, "Well, we will get to you." So my focus is the idea I need something, you know, rather quickly. Because for many women--
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: You need a road map when you begin, and it is difficult if you want to do something to find that. I think perhaps we should be looking at and speaking to the Division on Women or Joan Verplank through the Chamber to ask them what they are doing and what we can do to make this more readily accessible statewide. There may be little pockets and little areas that have that networking ability and that information- giving ability. But you do need a formula, and it gives you more confidence when you know that there is a guideline and this can happen.
Thank you very much.
MS. FLYNN: It's my pleasure.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Yes.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN WEINBERG: Some 20-odd years ago, when I worked for the county, I set up a seminar for women- and minority- owned businesses to help them to bid on county public bidding, those things that the county purchased. And it was from that seminar that we learned that -- and I'm going back as I said 20 years--
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Yesterday.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN WEINBERG: Just yesterday. I feel like it's sometimes-- Sometimes it feels like it's 120 years ago.
--that we learned that the biggest problem that was facing these businesses was getting performance bonds. And in the county, at that point, we did away with performance bonds for certain types of bids. Obviously you need a performance bond if you are building a bridge, i.e., the civil engineer. But if you are delivering pencils, you don't really need it because you don't get paid until the pencils are delivered. So we did away with a requirement, which we were allowed to do under State law -- the requirement of performance bonds for those kinds of items that you could appropriately do it. And I'm wondering if the State and counties -- always being 20 years ahead of my time, whether the State and counties might be doing the same thing now in terms -- after all of their tremendous purchasers of services and goods to run these types of seminars to particularly attract women- and minority-owned businesses to get their names on vigorous lists and to learn what the services are that are being purchased.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: I can tell you, on one of our projects and we -- the 21st Century project on light-rail, the HBLRT -- that part of that is minority- and women-owned businesses. It is an educational piece. So many millions of dollars within that project has moved into that particular area. So in some areas it is being done.
But we can check on it, right, Miriam? (affirmative response)
ASSEMBLYWOMAN WEINBERG: It could be a worthy project for the Women Division to undertake.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: And see if it's the norm or this is unusual.
Thank you very much.
MS. FLYNN: Thank you very much.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: And Joan. Is it Faber? (indicates pronunciation)
J O A N F A B E R: Yes, Faber.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: And then we have Franchesca Northern and Linda Roberts.
ASSEMBLYMAN LUONGO: Excuse me, Madam Chair.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Yes.
ASSEMBLYMAN LUONGO: I have an appointment.
MS. FABER: First of all, I want to compliment this group on picking a chairman that is always smiling.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Thanks. Thank you.
MS. FABER: I'm another refugee from Washington.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Isn't that exciting?
MS. FABER: At times.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Yes.
MS. FABER: Not always.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: I think meeting one another was very exciting.
MS. FABER: Yes.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Yes.
MS. FABER: I thank you for inviting me to speak today. My name is Joan Faber. I am President of Faber Associates, which is a consulting company for international marketing. We plan strategic planning for companies that want to fund and export to foreign markets. I am also Chairman of the Board of Directors of the World Trade Association of New Jersey. I am on the Board of the Association for International Business, and for 25 years I have been on the Board of the Hospitality Committee for United Nations Delegations in New York. I've worked all my life. Well, I've worked for 52 years, but started my own company 20 years ago at the age of 52.
I am going to limit my remarks to women in business, entrepreneurship, and some future trends. I can't talk about corporate ladders because I never climbed them and it never appealed to me.
I would like to start by talking about women's groups. Twenty-five years ago we needed all kinds of support groups for women because of the very idea of women in business. We still need them, but the focuses changed in its needs that focus must be more on training than hand holding. Years have past, and with them have gone many stereotypes. If we keep the mentality of the past, nothing will be accomplished that is meaningful for the year 2000.
While I encourage the idea of support and training groups for women, I do not see the relevance of industry-specific women's groups, for example, women in packaging, women in world trade. Just the title of these groups extends the gender gap. If women have already made a mark by being part of an industry, they must concentrate less on gender and more on the work to be accomplished. The job is the same for men and women.
If I am shipping 10 containers of auto parts to Africa and have to make sure that there is a bill of lading, that there is a letter of credit, and so forth, I don't write them differently than a man does. So what I'm saying is the emphasis should be on the skills in the job rather than the gender of who is performing it.
I see the object of all help as making help superfluous. Let me give you an example of that. Years ago, in Argentina, I met a brilliant group of women from Washington who had come to a very small village in Argentina to help the women in business. There was one Argentine woman so shy, so drawn within herself, with a little girl in her hand, and she was too shy to pick her head up to say her name. The Washington group didn't come down saying we are here to help you and we are going to tell you how to do it, quite the contrary. They met many times with the women in the village and taught them how to look around their own community to come up with ideas for businesses that were both feasible for them to do and appropriate to the community. And they came up with three great ideas. One was a catering business to supply lunches to the factories. One was a garment business to make the uniforms which were obligatory to wear in the factories. And the third was to reupholster the insides of old cars because old cars were the only things that were available in the community.
The most satisfying thing was coming back a year later to a meeting that was organized by the village women to introduce this whole idea to other village women, to other villages. And my shy, little lady with the little girl in her hand was standing at the microphone, tall, proud, full of strength, saying, "Does anybody have any questions?" And you can be sure that little girl is going to grow up with a role model who is not complying, so forth, and so on.
I see a vital necessity for all women to learn about the Internet. It's here, it's not going away, it's taking us over. And while most of us know it-- In one sense, I think we haven't really absorbed the idea completely and that people who say, "I can't handle a computer," or something like that, if you take us back to 1900, they are the same people who said, "Well, there is a telephone down the street, why do I need one in my house?" Only we are moving faster than that. It's not going to take 100 years by any means.
Anyone older than 25 did not grow up learning to use computers in school, and of course, I am one of them. But if I can learn at my age, anyone can. We must not only make computer training a vital part of all women's education, but we must also find ways to help fund the purchase of computers for women starting their own businesses. It doesn't help anyone to train women for yesterday's jobs, and it's essential that they have access to 21st century equipment.
In this regard, I would like to speak of micro loans to women. And this is something that is-- I am not the first one talking about it in this group today. Everyone had talked about availability of capital. We have to look in a very broader way at all these questions and look around the world at what other people are doing. Some of the best programs for funding women's business has been going on for quite a few years now in Third World countries. And, by god, if Third World countries can do it, why can't we?
It started years ago in Bangladesh with the Gramine Bank (phonetic spelling) where they make to loans to women, and small groups of women get together and they monitor themselves. They are there once a week to give each other support, share expertise, and someone is checking off who has paid back to the bank. They borrow $100 first. When they pay it back they can borrow $200, then $300. And it's amazing what kind of a business you can start with $100 in Bangladesh, but you can start one for $1000 here.
In South Africa, we have a Small Enterprise Foundation. In India, the Self-Employed Women's Association. The Bank ole Sol (phonetic spelling) in Bolivia. They are all doing incredible things from the ground up to meet the absolute basic needs. We get involved in a lot of things that, yes, they are important, but I think that there's got to be a system with priorities. Stress, and, so forth, and so on, everybody has stress in their life and at different, different levels. We can't throw everything into the pot of helping women if we are not going to concentrate on skills and getting them money to get started, some of the basics that they can't get help with anywhere else. There are plenty of groups to help with stress and to help manage your time so you can do your job and the family and blah, blah, blah, blah. There has got to be some kind of priorities here.
We must learn -- very vital to me anyway, the way I see it-- We must learn to expand our thinking and learn about the rest of the world and our relationship to it. Our economy depends on it. We are not an island alone in the world, though, most Americans think we are. We are part of a whole. Estonia, for example, is not that little strip of pink up in the Baltics on the map. It's a real country with real people, with a language of their own, with their own habits and tastes and expectations, with a culture of their own, and their culture -- even though they are only $1.5 million people, their culture is just as viable to them as ours is to us.
I have a feeling that the preponderance of women in New Jersey do not know how to spell global. It's just not in their vocabulary. Sometimes we hear of other places in the world, other countries that aren't familiar to us, but they are in trouble, so we say, okay, let's help them. We don't incorporate within ourselves the idea that it's a people with a culture. So we say, okay, let's help them. We'll send some stuff over to make peace. But peace is not a matter of men fighting and not fighting. Peace is bread and shelter and health and education and a chance to provide for one's family. It's the expectation that through my own efforts, I can better my life.
We must be interested in how the world sees us. And you know how they see us, provincial, culture-locked, self-sustaining, self-sufficient, and arrogant.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Joan, can I interrupt you? What is a culture-locked when we are so multicultural?
MS. FABER: Because we are locked within this multicultural American-- We go 3000 miles and people are still speaking some kind of English. Then there is an ocean and an ocean. We have had a long history of isolationism. We are self-sufficient in the fact that everything we needed we could produce right here. But the world has changed. There is an interdependent world, and we must understand that.
One of the best ways I can tell you is 25 percent of our exports go to Europe, 22 percent to Japan, 22 percent to Canada. We send product, we sell, sell, export money in. For example, Asia is having a bad time, it's rubbing off on Hong Kong. So Hong Kong hasn't got the money to import from us as much as they did before. They don't import, we cut jobs.
Now, another part of that is this. They don't import that means containers loaded with goods that get off-loaded in Hong Kong are not coming in, so there are no empty containers for Hong Kong to export back to the United States for their income, for their revenue. I just think that it's very essential that we start having a macro, rather than a micro, view of the world. In closing, let me urge you to broaden your thinking about women in business. Make use of examples from around the world. When you organize a forum, don't speak at women, but speak with them. Provide the opportunity for all to speak, to exchange ideas, to contemplate, to evaluate ideas, to reach out for the lightbulb that went off because of something somebody else said. Grab hold of the extraordinary ideas and programs that others have already devised and tailor them to the needs of women in New Jersey. The speed with which technology is moving is growing exponentially. It's changing our lives as we know it today, and we cannot know what to expect. This doubles the normal anxiety level of all.
We stand at one of those decisive moments in history when we begin to see what the late H.G. Wells called the shape of things to come. The clouds thin, the mist rises, and we see heaven or hell, we cannot know which. In approaching the millennium, we see a new world rising, a world unplanned, perhaps not even desired. But for this future we must now begin to prepare. We don't know its shape, we cannot define its practical necessities. But this we do know, that there were some ideas and ideals that were born in the morning of human time that need not perish. Many old ideas have to be abandoned, but one idea we must proclaim and defend, the freedom and dignity of man.
My father was a man of science, and he always used to say that man can live for three weeks without food, for three days without water, and for three minutes without air, but he cannot live without hope. And hope has many names, one of them is this hearing today.
Thank you again for inviting me.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Joan, how did you enter the field you chose? It's not exactly the norm.
MS. FABER: No, but neither am I. (laughter)
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: I think that I would find--
MS. FABER: I have to tell you this is my 19th life.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Okay.
MS. FABER: I've worked in many different things because everything attracts me that I don't know I want to know about. I was in -- you won't believe my first work was the ballet of Monte Carlo.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: So the world is your playground, Joan.
MS. FABER: And theater and radio and medicine and psychiatry and many, many other things. But I grew up in a very international atmosphere.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: That's marvelous. You have a lot to offer.
MS. FABER: Thank you.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: And I'd like to invite you again to share with us, and I will be in touch with you.
MS. FABER: I would be very happy to.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Thank you very much.
MS. FABER: By the way, let me just say my favorite pro bono work for the last 15 years has been at the United Nations teaching business to foreign diplomats' wives and helping them start their own businesses in their own countries.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: How wonderful.
MS. FABER: It's the most rewarding thing I've ever done.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Very exciting, very exciting.
Thank you for coming today.
MS. FABER: Thank you.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: You're welcome.
And I think we have one speaker left.
Is this Franchesca Northern?
L I N D A A. R O B E R T S: No, I'm Linda Roberts.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Linda Roberts, please, acting Department Head, User Interface Technologies, Bell Labs.
MS. ROBERTS: Yes.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Very good.
This has been a most interesting day for me listening to all you diversified women, it's exciting. It really is exciting.
MS. ROBERTS: My name is Linda Roberts, and I have worked for Bell Labs for 16 years, both before divestiture in 1984, and after Lucent Technologies spun off from AT&T two years ago. I began working at Bell Labs as a contractor in 1982 when I was a doctorate student in experimental psychology at Rutgers.
In 1984, I received my Ph.D. and continued working in basic research as a postdoctoral staff member. In 1986, I moved to R and D to one of the business units at AT&T to provide human factor support for small business communication products. Three years later I received the distinguished members technical staff award. Four years after that, in 1993, I was promoted to technical manager. In 1997, I was asked to develop a new area in Corbel Labs called User Interface Technologies. In this role, I had the responsibilities of a department head in which I managed three groups totaling 40 people, but I still have the job title and the salary and not the power. Or I have the job title and salary of my -- of technical manager.
I've had many positive experiences at Bell Labs, particularly because I had the good fortune of caring managers and mentors who thrived on career development for women. I had the benefit of significant financial support throughout most of graduate school as well as support for both my master and doctorate thesis.
I've had the opportunity to work on highly visible projects as well as encouragement to pursue patents and external publications. I've also had the chance to start new ventures and forward-looking work efforts in the company. In my capacity as manager, I've been able in turn to nurture and enable promotions for a number of talented women at Bell Labs.
I describe my positive experiences with wonderful mentors at Bell Labs; unfortunately, none of them have been women. This is because there have been very few women in middle and upper levels of management. In fact, in my organization -- current organization of about 2000, there are only two other women at my level and only one woman at the level above me.
It's true that Lucent Technologies has two very high-powered women, Carley Fiorini (phonetic spelling), who is actually number one in the survey someone else mentioned before -- number one most powerful woman in the United States -- and Pat Russo. But unfortunately their presence has not made a dent in promotional opportunities for women.
I have had three promotional opportunities at Bell Labs, and two of them I've had to be in an acting position, that means doing the work without the official recognition and salary that goes along with it, for well over a year in each case before the promotion became effective. I am not aware of any men who have had to demonstrate their abilities for so long prior to promotion, but I know of a number of women with similar experiences.
I attend meetings in which there is rarely another woman present. When I have difficulties, there are no women at or above my level who I can talk to. I feel isolated from the decision making in the company and frequently feel frustration because of my inability to be part of the old boy network.
I believe that my experiences are better than most women in AT&T and now Lucent. I know of many talented women who have had no promotional opportunities. I also believe the obstacles I have confronted have been experienced by other women managers in the company, as you will see. In 1995, I surveyed AT&T management and observed that the greatest gender differences were observed for issues pertained to stress in the work environment. Relative to their male counterparts, female managers had fewer role models, felt more isolated, experienced more stress, felt more discriminated against, felt less respected, and felt that they were not listened to by their peers. In addition, women felt that they were not represented well in their level or in upper management relative to men.
Interestingly, the male managers I surveyed perceive that women were well represented in the company and they were as likely to succeed in the company as women were as likely to succeed as men in the company. The reality is that women's representation in management has been negligible for many years at AT&T and Lucent, and I think this is true for most other similar corporations -- I'm not meaning to pick on them. And there have been no positive changes in terms of the proportion of women in middle and upper management positions for many years.
In summary, I have had a wonderful career at AT&T and Lucent and even though I have, there are many opportunities to enhance the experiences of women in the company. From my point of view, the simplest way to achieve is to somehow enable promotions for talented and nurturing women in middle and upper levels of the company so they can mentor others who follow.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Thank you. Very good observations and very good points to take into account and to try to promote within corporations.
One of the things that we find very effective here in the Legislature is the fact that not everything we do needs new laws, but it does take communication. And when we communicate our desires to certain organizations and corporations, somehow or other magically they happen. So we do know that there is power here just in the communication. So what you are telling us today will have an impact.
MS. ROBERTS: Good, good.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Thank you very much.
MS. ROBERTS: Thank you.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Now we have Franchesca, correct? Are you Franchesca Northern?
UNIDENTIFIED MEMBER FROM AUDIENCE: No.
MS. FABER: Franchesca is not here.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: So Franchesca is not here. She couldn't come. We will speak to her in another time.
This has been a wonderful experience, I think for all of us. And we thank you very much for being here, and we will connect with you again and let you know what has resulted from our meeting and the sharing of ideas and thoughts.
MS. FABER: Please, feel free to use me.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Oh, I certainly will.
You should never say that--
MS. FABER: I'm a multiplier--
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: --to me because you will be exhausted. (laughter) Right, Miriam?
Thank you very much.