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march 2013

THE HISTORY OF WOMEN’S

NATIONAL WOMEN’S

hall of fame

Fashion sw inspire

MAUREEN MANEY ARia VANDREASON MEAGAN MARTIN

In the name of family: JULIE CECILE MAKES MOVES IN CNY w w w. s y r ac u s e wo m a n m ag . c o m

syracuseWomanMag.com ::march 2013

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For patients who can’t have open heart surgery, TAVR is more than a procedure. It’s hope. For years, inoperable patients with aortic valve disease have had no other treatment options – until now. St. Joseph’s is proud to be the first and only Central New York hospital to provide hope in the form of the new Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) procedure – a less invasive alternative to open heart valve replacement surgery. To learn more, visit www.sjhsyr.org/TAVR, or call 315-703-2138.

301 Prospect Ave. Syracuse, NY www.sjhsyr.org/TAVR St. Joseph’s Resource Line (Physician & Program Information): 315-703-2138 Follow us on Facebook and Twitter: stjosephshealth

St. Joseph’s is sponsored by the Sisters of St. Francis. Franciscan Companies is a member of the St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center system.

March

ETC 7 PLATTER CHATTER: YUMMIES CHEESECAKES

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FASHION FORWARD 10 WISE WOMAN: BERNADETTE RELLA

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SPECIAL FEATURE: VERA HOUSE’S WHITE RIBBON CAMPAIGN 14 FABULOUS FINDS: IRISH PUBS OF CNY

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HEALTHY WOMAN 20 FITNESS 22

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WBOC LEADING WOMAN: DEBBIE BILELLO

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COVER STORY: JULIE CECILE

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FOR A GOOD CAUSE

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IN HER OWN WORDS: MATILDA JOSLYN GAGE 32

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MIZ MATCH 34 I AM THAT LADY 38

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SYRACUSE WOMEN INSPIRE 41 SPECIAL FEATURE: EXECUTIVE WOMEN’S GOLF ASSOCIATION OF CNY

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SYRACUSE WOMAN MAGAZINE EVENTS

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CALENDAR OF EVENTS 47

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SPECIAL FEATURE: WOMEN’S HALL OF FAME

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QUEEN OF ARTS: SHANNON HOLMES

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26

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OUR TEAM...

Publishers

Kelly Breuer Barbara McSpadden

Editor-in-Chief

Barbara McSpadden

Editor

Farah F. Jadran

Letter from the editor

Creative DIRECTOR

“The history of the past is but one long struggle upward to equality.” ­-- Elizabeth Cady Stanton

graphic design

Kelly Breuer

Casey Jabbour Melissa Meritt

Photography The month of March is Women’s History Month. But aren’t we making history every month? Yes! Syracuse Woman Magazine is not only celebrating women’s history in Central New York, but also we are recognizing women who are “making moves” in our community as well. You’re on page six now so you’ve noted this month’s cover woman, the Hon. Julie A. Cecile. Born and raised in Syracuse and now serving the county on the Family Court bench, Julie knows a thing or two about Central New York. Julie took us inside her court chambers and inside her home as well. The transition between work and family life might be a challenge for many, but for Julie and her husband Jim (a judge himself), the path from the courthouse to home is seamless. Turn to page 26 to read more about Julie’s mission for child and family advocacy and see how she’s helping make waves in Syracuse.

Cindy Bell Raine Dufrane Kelly Kane Jussara Potter

Contributing Writers Amanda Bishop Farah F. Jadran Carolyn Jannetti Alyssa LaFaro Catherine Wilde Jenna Schifferle Susan Dutch Lauren Greutman Sally Wagner

In honor of this special month, we wanted to remind (or make aware) Central New Yorkers that this region is full of women’s history. On page 48, you will read about the National Women’s Hall of Fame located in Seneca Falls, N.Y. Each year the NWHF inducts several women who are changing the world. As well, on page 10, you will read a piece on the Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation which is bursting at the seams with not only history, but diversity.

advertising Sales

Also in this month’s edition is a prime example of how men in our community step up and help spread a message in the name of ending sexual and domestic violence. On page 14, you’ll read about three local news anchors who are spreading this message for Vera House’s annual White Ribbon Campaign: No Excuse For Abuse.

Advertise with us...

And with March brings times of celebration for St. Patrick’s Day. With many neighborhoods rich in Irish culture and history, CNY is no stranger to pubs and restaurants dedicated to the holiday’s sentiment. Flip to page 16 to check out this month’s Fabulous Finds and decide where you want to be when celebrating March 17 or March Madness for that matter! Go ‘Cuse!

Each issue includes articles on health, fashion, fitness, finance, home matters, dining, lifestyle and personal perspectives, as well as a spotlight on local Syracuse women.

Renee Moonan Linda Jabbour

for advertising information:

Please contact Renee Moonan (315) 657-7690

Unlike any other publication in the Syracuse area, our feature articles address major topics that interest local women.

Carrying on the Irish tradition further into the month is the Shamrock Animal Fund Celebration that will be held March 23. Read about the Fund and what it recently did for a Syracuse pup on page 31. This story will show you that even Christmas miracles need a little “luck of the Irish”!

Ads are due on the 15th of the month prior to publication. The print magazines will be distributed locally in over 350 locations and will be in your inbox electronically by the middle of every month. The publication is available free of charge.

If you’re not already staying up-to-date with us online, visit www.syracusewomanmag. com to sign up for a free online subscription. Also, you can connect with us via social media: www.facebook.com/SyracuseWomanMagazine and @SyrWomanMag. Also, stay caught up with me for SWM exclusives on Twitter: @FarahJadran.

Contact our home office 315.434.8889 2501 James Street, Suite 100 Syracuse, NY 13206 info@syracusewomanmag.com

Farah F. Jadran

ON OUR COVER… Photographer Cindy Bell, of Focus Studio, 900 N. Salina St., in Syracuse, shot our cover woman, the Hon. Julie A. Ceclie, inside her Onondaga County Family Court chambers and her Syracuse home.

Download our media kit at www.syracusewomanmag.com The magazine is published 10 times a year by InnovateHER Media Group, llc. and Eagle Publications, 2501 James Street, Suite 100, Syracuse, NY 13206. Copyright © 2013 InnovateHER Media Group, llc. No part of this magazine may be reproduced or republished without the consent of the publishers. Syracuse Woman Magazine is not responsible for unsolicited submissions, manuscripts, photos or artwork. All such submissions become the property of InnovateHER Media Group, llc. and will not be returned.

etc... march movies...

BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S

The 5th Annual Miss Central New York Spring Fashion Show will take place at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 13, at Destiny USA.

When small-time magician Oscar Diggs (James Franco) pulls one flimflam too many, he finds himself hurled into the fantastical Land of Oz where he must somehow transform himself into the great and powerful wizard— and just maybe into a better man as well.

The 2013 pageant contestants will be walking the runway in fashions from Dick’s Sporting Goods, Macy’s, Gap, Francesca’s Collection, Aeropostale, H&M, Pac Sun and NY Forever Bridal. The day also features fitness, a workshop with Junior Achievement, a day of worship and a day of service. There is no charge to attend.

3/8

3/16

3/22

3/22

Superstar magicians Burt Wonderstone and Anton Marvelton have ruled the Las Vegas strip for years, raking in millions with illusions as big as Burt’s growing ego. But lately the duo’s greatest deception is their public friendship, while secretly they’ve grown to loathe each other. Facing cutthroat competition from guerilla street magician Steve Gray, there’s still a chance Burt and Anton can save the act if Burt can get back in

A prehistoric comedy that centers on the caveman Crug, who cautiously leads his family beyond his comfort zone after an earthquake destroys their home. While attempting to navigate the dangerous and unfamiliar world, Crug butts heads with a nomad, who charms Crug’s clan — especially his eldest daughter — with his (relatively) modernminded ways.

When the White House (Secret Service Code: “Olympus”) is captured by a terrorist mastermind and the President is kidnapped, disgraced former Presidential guard Mike Banning finds himself trapped within the building. As our national security team scrambles to respond, they are forced to rely on Banning¹s inside knowledge to help retake the White House, save the President and avert an even bigger disaster.

5 TH ANNUAL MISS CENTRAL NEW YORK SPRING FASHION SHOW

Hope for Heather & Showoffs Boutique presents Breakfast at Tiffany’s: Fashion Show, Shopping and Brunch to benefit Ovarian Cancer Research on Sunday, April 14, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.

There will be literature about local awareness and support available at the show along with boutique shopping. The show will feature local artists and fashions, raffles, and a silent auction including a Vera Wang gown. This year’s featured speaker, Shannon Routh, the “Teal Diva,” will share her remarkable journey: surviving Ovarian Cancer and then climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. The Hope for Heather Organization was inspired by Heather M. Weeks, daughter of Frieda and Gary Weeks who are now leading the mission. Heather was a longtime advocate for spreading awareness and she was so dedicated she even worked at the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (OCRF) as assistant to the CEO. Heather passed away after a tough battle with colon cancer, but her spirit becomes brighter every year thanks to HFH’s focus on continuing her mission. Tickets for this event will sell out, so be sure to purchase your tickets by calling Kellie 4714636 or Frieda at 657-7879. For more information on HFH, visit

hopeforheather.org.

www.

This fashion show is a part of the four-month preparation the contestants experience before the June 9 pageant that will take place at the Palace Theater. During the four months of rehearsals, the young women will work on their talents, also work to improve their communication skills and poise, with help from other members if the community. Beginning in March, Mia Adams McSherry works with the young ladies of the pageant, rehearsing their performances and honing their craft. The DeWitt Library in Shoppingtown Mall makes space available, which has been a great help, according to Mia. “This is one of a number of cases where the involvement of the community has really made the girls feel that their efforts to improve their lives are valued by everyone”. For more information about the Miss CNY Pageant,

visit

www.facebook.com/

MissCNY. Photography by Mitch Tiegel.

chatter ::platter 8

march 2013 :: syracuseWomanMag.com

Yummies… ‘Starting over’ never tasted so good

BY farah f. jadran I PHOTOGRAPHY BY KELLY KANE When she was 18 years old she was already a pastry chef. “I went to BOCES in high school and received my first job at an Italian restaurant,” said Dianna Bellaire, owner of Yummies Cheesecakes LLC. Dianna had several pastry jobs over 10 years including positions at the MONY Towers, Williams, Onondaga Golf and Country Club and Wegmans.

“I always loved baking,” she said. As a Utica native, Dianna says she grew up with “the best bakeries around.” After having her first child, Dianna opted to go back to school for her business degree rather than re-entering the workforce. Since the food industry offers odd hours, and many hours to boot, she decided to become a loan officer at a credit union. This offered a schedule that worked with being a mom. But after 15 years at the credit union she was devastated to lose her job. “I didn’t know where to turn next,” she reflected. “However, one day I was thinking about a memory of my deceased father. We weren’t close due to divorce but, when I was 18 he asked me to make my specialty dessert.” She made him a cheesecake that day. He told her, “Your cheesecake is better than Manny’s Cheesecake (in Utica). Someone should go into business with this recipe!” Her father always wanted to open his own restaurant and believed that Dianna was talented enough to do so. And if you revert back to the beginning of this story, Dianna is the proprietor of Yummies, which highlights her sweetest talent-- cheesecake. What makes Yummies stand apart from the rest? “All of my cheesecakes have cake bottoms. “I never liked graham crackers or cookies on cheesecake,” she said. “They were usually greasy or soggy.” Also, she adds her “secret whipped frosting” to the tops of her cheesecakes. “My cheesecakes are always fresh and many people have stated they are very light and creamy.” Dianna says she also has many cheesecake products that aren’t available anywhere else: Cheesecake lollipops, tiny cheesecake platters, cheesecake brownies and a line of savory cheesecake dips. And it isn’t always about being the sweetest. Yummies offers an array of sugar-free cheesecake flavors. “We won the Taste of Baldwinsville last year for best appetizer with our Buffalo Chicken Cheesecake Dip,” Dianna said. And without a doubt she added, “We take cheesecake to a new level.” Recently the bakery rolled out its new “Cookie Creations” product line. Dianna has five basic cookie doughs and customers can add toppings of their choice. And this Easter, Dianna says she will bring back the Spumoni Cheesecake. “I get restless with ideas. I am constantly thinking of new ideas,” she says. “I am working on a ‘fusion dessert’ with combing two desserts together with cheesecake.” As a home-based business, you will see Dianna’s pastry perfection at many local restaurants and catering companies such as Avicolli’s, Pier 57, Kelley’s, Bayberry Seafood, Diamond Catering, Oncenter, Events Company and Dough Boys Pizzeria. “These businesses gave me a chance and people recognize my cheesecakes because of these fine businesses.” Besides sharing her passion for pastries, Dianna reiterated that she started her life over at age 40. “You are never too old to do what you are meant to do,” Dianna said. “If you have a passion for something, forget about the money and forget about what people will think. If you follow your heart and your passion, the rest will take care of itself.” For more information on Yummies, visit www.yummiescheesecakes.com.

forward ::fashion

BY FARAH F. JADRAN I PHOTO COURTESY OF THE SENECA FALLS HISTORICAL SOCIETY

In 1851, Elizabeth Smith Miller donned the first pair of pants for women everywhere. She was well known for her “bloomers” which were a style she saw in Europe. Miller was not only starting a trend for women everywhere in the United States but more specifically right here in Central New York. Miller, a profound force and advocate for the women’s rights movement, was the daughter of Gerrit Smith. The Smith home is still located in Peterboro, and was a station in the Underground Railroad.

for women and French designer Paul Poiret created the first loosefitting, wide-leg trousers for women called harem pants.

In the Elizabeth Smith Miller collection, available at the New York Public Library, she describes the moment she wanted to throw out the concept of women only wearing skirts. She stated, “In the spring of 1851, while spending many hours at work in the garden, I became so thoroughly disgusted with the long skirt, that the dissatisfaction -- the growth of years -- suddenly ripened into the decision that this shackle should no longer be endured. The resolution was at once put into practice. Turkish trousers to the ankle with a skirt reaching some four inches below the knee, were substituted for the heavy, untidy and exasperating old garment.”

During World War I, men went into the military and women won jobs for that period of time. Women who took on public positions still wore skirts while women working in factory jobs were able to wear pants. At this time, the very idea of women wearing trousers was seen as an oddity and as a representation of masculinity. In the 1930s, many Hollywood leading ladies began sporting pants to gatherings and on movie sets. And by 1939, Vogue magazine for the first time published photographs of women in trousers. And with the coming of World War II came a new wave for women in the workplace and another wave of popularity in trousers for women.

Soon after, Miller ventured to Seneca Falls, to visit her cousin Elizabeth Cady Stanton who also shared her disdain for the “crippling fashion.” Miller stated, “I wore the short dress and trousers for many years, my husband, being at all times and in all places, my staunch supporter. My father, also gave the dress his full approval, and I was also blessed by the tonic of Mrs. Stanton’s inspiring words: ‘The question is no longer [rags], how do you look, but woman, how do you feel?’”

Although the 1950s can easily be seen as a decade where women’s femininity was encouraged more than ever, the style for women’s casual wear and runway style most definitely included pants. Plus, we know that no matter what generation we grew up in, we all have at least one pair of bell bottoms somewhere in our wardrobe.

The idea that we were finally considering how we felt was just the beginning of how women’s (acceptable) fashion evolved and how we approach our own wardrobe choices today.

So, next time you’re getting dressed for the day, whether it’s for work or leisure and you’re putting on one pant leg at a time — say a little “thank you” to Elizabeth Smith Miller for having the audacity to establish a skirt as an option, not an obligation.

During the early to mid-1900s, Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel stepped out in one of her boyfriend’s suits and began designing pant suits

This groundbreaking fashion trend for women is more than a century old now and pants and trousers continue to be a preferred choice when we know we’ll be working a lot. While skirts and dresses can be fun, we can all admit there are days when pants are just far more functional, comfortable and ideal for any day of the week.

By the 1990s, women in the United States were wearing trousers to work several times a week and today that fashion trend is seen more, if not every day.

PRESENTS

Thursday, March 14 • Friday, March 15 Saturday, March 16 • Sunday, March 17 New York State Fairgrounds 400+ Exhibits in 2 Buildings For directions and details visit HBRcny.com

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::wise

women

Summer muSic camp Sunday, July 14– Friday, July 26, 2013

Jazz I StringS Voice I guitar

11th Annual

World-class music programs in the breathtaking Finger Lakes, for middle and high school students

For information please visit esm.rochester.edu/keuka

feature ::special

BY FARAH F. JADRAN I PHOTO BY CINDY BELL

Every year since 1994 the Syracuse community has taken a pledge. This promise is a call to action, a call to make a difference and put an end to domestic and sexual violence.

Bellso’s co-chairs, Buster Melvin, Vera House Board Member, and George Kilpatrick, Vera House Men’s Outreach Coordinator, share similar visions for this year’s campaign. Melvin has been involved with the campaign since 1997 and has seen many levels of success. However, he says he’s especially excited about the possibilities this year because of the leadership and involvement of this year’s honorary chairs, Dan Cummings, Matt Mulcahy and Michael Benny. “All three of these men demonstrate the sincerity and dedication necessary to promote the White Ribbon Campaign’s goals of raising awareness about domestic and sexual violence and raising the funds necessary for Vera House to continue its mission,” Melvin said. And as a former honorary chair himself, Kilpatrick says he’s looking forward to the collaborative participation. “I am excited that my colleagues in media have lent their voices to the chorus of men standing up to end domestic violence,” Kilpatrick shared. Meet the 2013 White Ribbon Campaign Honorary Chairs: MICHAEL BENNY CBS5 News Anchor & Managing Editor “When Vera House asks, I say ‘yes.’ I’m proud to be a small part of this annual effort.” Saying no to domestic and sexual violence is important to Benny, but he affirms that it should be important to all of us. “On any given day I am reading news stories about horrifying abuse and neglect,” he said. “If my involvement in this effort shines a bit of light on the problem

DAN CUMMINGS WSYR NewsChannel 9 News Anchor “Vera House asked me to play this role in the White Ribbon Campaign, and I was honored to be included.” Cummings says he’s always had tremendous admiration for the work their staff and volunteers do in our community. “It’s been 35 years since I began to report the news in Syracuse and Central New York,” Cummings shared. “Unfortunately, during all those years, I’ve seen and continue to see the effects of domestic abuse as reflected in far too many news stories. Beyond that, the undeniable coarsening of culture and cheapening of relationships appears to lay the groundwork for such abuse to continue.” However, Cummings strongly believes there needs to be more conversation among young people and young adults in our community. With that, the message of respect will be established as they enter into meaningful relationships of their own. With the resources and multiple platforms of NewsChannel 9 and Vera House, Cummings says he’ll be seeking to tell stories about the causes and effects of relationship violence, ways to prevent it, and point people towards, the help they need. MATT MULCAHY NBC3 & CW6 News Anchor & Managing Editor “I have long followed the work of Vera House and know how critical it has been to making our community safer for all victims of abuse.” Mulcahy has covered stories involving Executive Director Randi Bregman and Vera House for nearly 20 years. When Bregman said she needed some help with this year’s campaign, he didn’t hesitate to accept. “There is no place for abuse in our community. Women, children and men deserve a sense of safety and security in their lives. No one should take that away,” Mulcahy said. “Men, in particular, need to understand violence, intimidation or other abuse is not a solution to any problem.” Mulcahy says he will be talking about the campaign on the CNYcentral television stations, as well as utilizing Facebook and Twitter @mattmulcahy to engage viewers and followers in important discussions about “Saying No to Abuse.”

For more information on the 2013 White Ribbon Campaign and how you can get involved, visit www.verahouse.org.

feature

According to 2013 campaign co-chair and Vera House Foundation Trustee David Bellso, this mission is about redefining the word, “man.” In his second year as a co-chair, Bellso says this is his turn to really make a difference. “Don’t let other men be abusers, help stop bullying in our schools by setting good examples for our children and know when enough is enough,” Bellso said. Ultimately, he wants Vera House to continue to be a “safe place” for women, children and men to come when they are being abused. “[Vera House] will continue to educate people about the rights and wrongs, the ‘appropriates’ and ‘inappropriates’ and all the while putting an end to domestic violence and sexual abuse.”

Eager to start spreading the message, Benny immediately announced his appointment as honorary chair via Facebook and Twitter. “There will be more to come on social media for sure, especially Twitter.” Be sure to join the Twitter conversation with @MichaelBenny.

::Special

While each campaign in the name of Vera House has seen more involvement and an increase in funds raised, the true goal of this year’s White Ribbon Campaign is to instill a sense of responsibility in the men, young and old, and even women. This year’s campaign will run from April 12 to 21. It kicks off with the annual noon “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” on April 12 in downtown Syracuse.

and provides meaningful information that can be used to help stop it, I’ve been successful.”

finds ::fab

fab

WAYSIDE IRISH PUB This historical pub was first built in 1830. Although it endured a few structure fires, was rebuilt and changed hands a few times as well, the establishment remained on the same street corner in Elbridge, N.Y. Now known as the “haunted Irish pub,” Wayside offers a full menu, brews and a lot of history. The story behind the haunting is that a traveler who stopped in the popular stagecoach stop died of a heart attack and “his spirit never left the hotel again”. 101 W. MAIN ST., ELBRIDGE, N.Y. I (315) 689.0040

BLARNEY STONE

The Blarney Stone is a neighborhood bar that was purchased in 1989 by Steve Dorsey and his late sister, Judy Dorsey. Their idea was simple: provide a comfortable, relaxed atmosphere that has a consistent schedule and food offering that was hearty and easily affordable. Customers rave about not only the beer but the burgers too! 314 AVERY AVE., SYRACUSE I (315) 487.9675 I WWW.BLARNEYSTONESYR.COM

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march 2013 :: syracuseWomanMag.com

RILEY’S

::fab

The dark bar atmosphere of Riley’s is tucked away in a quiet neighborhood, but it’s quite lively inside! There’s an array of beer and wine choices as well as a menu that changes daily and offers something for everyone. If we’ve heard one thing about Riley’s, it’s this: “Definitely go, have a beer and hang out!”

finds

312 Park St., Syracuse I (315) 471.7111

KITTY HOYNES

Kitty Hoynes friendliness and unique atmosphere appeals to all age groups, whether for dining, sipping a pint or enjoying great live Irish/Celtic music. This genuine Irish pub is said to have the warmest hospitality with 100,000 welcomes. Patrons can enjoy a perfect pint of Guinness, fine creative food and friendly service, along with terrific music. It is a great place to wind down after work, crank it up at night, or just stop in for a pint, a good meal, and pleasant conversation. 301 W. FAYETTE I WWW.KITTYHOYNES.COM I (315) 424.1974

CURLEY’S RESTAURANT

From the unforgettable red suspenders of founder “Curley” Dello Stritto to the unvarying quality of the bounteous menu, Curley’s is an Auburn tradition. There’s an atmosphere and a bill of fare to suit your mood anytime at Curley’s. Good friends have been getting together at Curley’s since 1934 to share good times and relax over generous drinks. Curley’s has a full range of domestic and imported beers and a tavern menu that includes, among other items, juicy burgers, chicken wings, and a world famous pizza. 96 STATE ST., AUBURN I WWW.CURLEYSAUBURN.COM I (315) 252.5224

syracuseWomanMag.com ::march 2013

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Great thrifty finds for you, your family and your home! One Coupon per customer. Coupon not valid on day of special sales. Cannot be combined with any other discounts. Expires 3/31/13.

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Featuring

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Check out our fresh look for Spring! New lines coming in every day!

Your Dream Dress... Is Here! Shop Bliss for an endless selection of fashion-forward dresses to suit your style for the 2013 Prom. cocktail dresses • floor length gowns headpieces • shawls • jewelry shoes • handbags

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woman ::healthy

COURTESY OF THE SYRACUSE BEHAVIORAL HEALTH CENTER The newly opened behavioral health center operated by Syracuse Behavioral Healthcare on North Salina Street is significantly improving access to behavioral healthcare for women. The new center features state-of-the-art care for women. It offers not only the counseling associated with mental health, substance use and gambling disorders, but also a health care suite that addresses health management issues like medication management and other screenings, as well as a childcare component. The childcare component allows women to leave their child with qualified staff while they are in counseling or medical appointments at the center. Women often require addiction treatment after extended histories of abuse than men require because of their caregiving roles to children. This prevents them from accessing treatment. Moreover, having a robust spectrum of behavioral health services under one roof allows the easier management and coordination of those services for people already challenged with busy, often overloaded schedules.

Experience has shown that children whose parents get help for behavioral health issues experience less trauma after the treatment. Additionally those parents are better equipped to see the warning signs of disorders that may emerge in their children. The positive impact for women is not an accident. SBH CEO Jeremy Klemanski shared that “in the vision for the new center, a primary concern was removing the barriers that often prevent women from accessing behavioral health services.” SBH operates other specialty programs for women because it has a strong commitment to the concept of improving families. “We noticed as we surveyed program designs that many did not account for the needs of women specifically,” Klemanski said. “We thought if we designed programs that did we could change the disparity in some forms of behavioral health care for women.” For more information on outpatient services and any other SBH program, log on to www.sbh.org. If you would like to learn more about SBH, please contact Jason Torreano at jasont@sbh.org or call (315) 474-5506, ext. 221.

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::fitness BY CATHERINE WILDE

If you’re looking for a half-marathon that’s not too hilly and traverses the east side of Syracuse, the inaugrual Syracuse Half Marathon is just for you. Taking off on March 24, race director Ken Hammond says the time of year and terrain attract many novice runners. The event falls the weekend after St. Patrick’s Day and closes out the month of March in an exciting way. March also holds the Tipperary Hill Shamrock run and the St. Patrick’s Day parade so Ken praised the half marathon for bringing business into Syracuse for four straight weekends. Syracuse needed a good spring half-marathon, said Ken, and he thinks the end of March promises better weather than the beginning of the month. When plotting the course, Ken decided to keep it relatively flat. The course starts and finishes at the Oncenter, running up State Street and through the Eastwood area, to the inner harbor area. Going up James Street, after State Street, will be the biggest hill and over with early, he said. “It’s kind of in and done with right off the bat, which is good because it’s a long, gradual uphill,” Ken says. Marketing Manager at Fleet Feet in Syracuse, Liz Knickerbocker, said the Syracuse Half Marathon was the motivation she needed to get back into her running. Liz has four marathons under her belt, but says she does not do it competitively. Instead, she loves the health benefits it provides and expects the Syracuse Half Marathon to take her about an hour and

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40 minutes to complete. “I clearly love just being out there, it’s honestly therapeutic,” Liz says. Her husband will attest to the benefits of running for her, saying she is a different person when she comes back from a run than she is before she starts one. Liz also was excited about running through the east side of the city, saying most of the city’s other races instead tour the university area. Ken said the race takes highlights from other races, including attractive areas like Armory Square, the inner harbor and Eastwood. Post race, runners and spectators will enjoy highlights such as bands, awards and a pancake breakfast. Both Liz and Ken tout the benefits of training for a half marathon over a full marathon because the training is more manageable. In her current training, Liz does speed work once a week and longer runs of up to 10 miles on weekends, keeping her weekday runs to about five miles. This is a much different commitment than training for a full marathon, she said. The longest she needs to be out on any single run training for a half marathon is an hour and a half, said Liz. Training for a marathon will call for three-and-a-half-hour runs and a more consistent weekly running regimen. “For me that’s a lot easier to commit to training wise,” Liz said, calling half marathons the “perfect distance.”

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Top 5 Race Day Training Tips! 1. Practice proper hydration & fueling during training so your body is used to it on race day. 2. Train on terrain that is similar to the race. That means practicing hills if the race is hilly. 3. Prepare your mind. Visualize your race and consider both good & bad scenarios. This prepares you for anything. 4. Show up at least an hour early. Allow time for parking & registration. It’s never fun to watch a race start from your car. 5. Have Fun! If you are enjoying yourself your stress levels are lower and you’ll have a better experience! Fred Joslyn is the Training Programs Manager at Fleet Feet in Syracuse.

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woman ::wboc’s leading

BY ALYSSA LAFARO I PHOTO BY CINDY BELL

“I’m a little late to the party in being a business owner,” admits Debbie Bilello. No matter. Her 25-plus years of experience in office management and administration have brought her up to par. Not only is she the proud owner of almost 3-yearold Virtual Office Solutions -- a business in which she helps clients with any bookkeeping, paperwork, or other administrative tasks they might need done -- but she holds the position of Administrator on WBOC’s board of directors just after a few years of membership. “Because of my experience with administrative tasks and bookkeeping,” she explains, “I was approached early on for the administrator position by the board.” And that’s not all Debbie has achieved so far through WBOC. She also had the honor of presenting there. She spoke this past November on mobile technology for businesses. “I gave an overall presentation on apps that might help small business owners or entrepreneurs become more efficient in their time management and task management.” But how can someone so “late to the game” be so efficient with technology? Because she lacks the fear of it that many of her fellow baby boomers just can’t seem to kick. “Plus, a lot of my business is done virtually,” she adds. “I have to have things in the cloud through sites like Dropbox or Google Guide. I really enjoy technology, and it’s so much fun to dive into those kinds of programs. I like to think I can help others become less afraid.” Debbie has had enough experience conquering fears that it’s no surprise she handles technology with such grace. In 2009, Debbie was informed that she had lost her job at a local municipality. And of all days, it was New Year’s Eve. “Luckily, I had made a connection with Joanne Del Balso, a WBOC member. We had met through my brother, who owns a golf course. I did his bookkeeping, and she was his tax accountant. After I lost my job, she said to me: ‘Why don’t you just do this on your own?’ She was my first point of contact with WBOC.” In the fall of 2010, Debbie attended her first meeting. “I could not believe how much positive energy was in that room,” she recounts. “I thought, ‘This is a dream come true.’ I had all these successful business women around me who were really supportive of other women in business. I thought, ‘I can do this.’” And she did. Today, Debbie works five consistent clients a month and a handful of others intermittently. And WBOC has stuck with her all the way. “The referrals alone are unbelievable,” she explains. “Everybody looks out for everybody else and really encourages growth within the organization. If someone at WBOC is looking for a bookkeeper or office administrator, both the WBOC board and members will refer those people to me. I can honestly say that most of my business has come from a connection to WBOC.” Debbie says she’d love to increase membership in getting younger women in business to join the organization. She says WBOC is already working on this goal, but she’d love to help out more if possible. “I think of my situation and how much later I came into WBOC as a business owner. Just imagine the possibilities for young women entrepreneurs. If they could eliminate the fear of being young in the business world and get the encouragement and support early on, then nothing could stop them.” But is being late to the party really such a bad thing? Debbie Bilello looks good doing it. The WBOC is a local non-profit organization that has been providing support to women and access to innovative events and workshops for 20 years. Whether running our own business, working for an employer or launching a new endeavor, women are connected through their entrepreneurial mindset. Syracuse Woman Magazine is a WBOC signature sponsor that aims to promote a common mission. For information on how to become a member, visit www. wboconnection.org.

::cover

story

::cover

story

BY FARAH F. JADRAN I PHOTOGRAPHY BY CINDY BELL

When they’re walking together down Montgomery Street in Syracuse and someone calls out, “Hey Judge!” neither Jim nor Julie Cecile know who they’re speaking to. This has become a regular dilemma since Julie has entered the judiciary system as the newest addition to the Onondaga County Family Court on Jan. 1. Her husband Jim has been serving the 5th Judicial District of the City of Syracuse for 11 years. Born and raised in the Strathmore area, and now living only miles away from her childhood home, Julie truly is a Syracuse Woman. She knows the challenges of the area, as well as the goodness of this salty city. For more than 20 years, Julie has never hesitated to get involved and serve her community, especially the children and families in the area. For10 years, Julie ran a private practice and for some time, she fought for indigent defendants as a member of the Onondaga County Assigned Counsel program. By 1999, Julie became an assistant welfare attorney for the Onondaga County Department of Social Services. Almost a decade later, Julie’s passion for child and family advocacy expanded into a more precise focus when she took the executive director position at the McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Center in Syracuse. By this time, Julie says she had already been around hundreds of court cases regarding child and family issues. And through her time at McMahon/Ryan, the number of real life situations concerning the welfare of children only increased. And while Julie’s longtime dream has been to sit on the Onondaga County Family Court bench, leaving McMahon/Ryan was not a decision she took lightly. “It was the opportunity,” said Julie about a seat on the bench opening up. “I always knew that I wanted to be a family court judge, work with families to find solutions for families.” And without question, her past professional and volunteer work experience all easily lends to her new judiciary position. “I felt that if I didn’t take this chance (to campaign for the bench) now,” Julie said. “I might not have that chance again for several years.” On The Bench

Now that Julie is the judge and not standing before one, a day in the courtroom is a different one than she’s accustomed to. “I have to be impartial and that’s obviously very important in judiciary.” But again Julie says her extensive background in the field of family law was always about that — discovering all the evidence and making an informed decision for her client or a child she was advocating for. Only this time, she’s the one making the ultimate (informed) decision for everyone concerned. “I have that experience,” Julie said, “because I can see all those opinions and the effects on all the lives at hand.” Because this is a new role, Julie is taking everything one day at a time. “I have a lot to learn,” she said. Despite her many years of experience and her educational background, she admits this truly is a new experience, one she knew was destined for and always wanted. “A lot of it is new,

but it’s all good and it’s exciting. I’m glad I made that choice to run.” Another aspect Julie has been most thrilled about is that she knows many of her fellow Family Court judges very well and feels she is joining an “already-effective team.” One part of this new team has a strong meaning for her as she is now serving alongside her mentor, the Hon. Michele Pirro Bailey. Plus, with Julie’s recent appointment to the bench, the Onondaga County Family Court’s 5th Judicial District now has three out of the four seats filled by women. Julie’s fellow judges besides Bailey are the Hon. Martha E. Mulroy and the Hon. Michael Hanuszczak. And the Hon. Martha Walsh Hood holds the position of District Supervising Family Court Judge. Julie says it’s refreshing to see the transition the judicial system has endured, especially right here in her community. “When I first started in family or city courts, or courts alone…I think back to when the only women on the bench were Sandra Townes and Minna Buck. They’re the only two judges in this area that I can remember during the last 20 years.” And now? Without hesitation, Julie smiled and said, “It’s great to be in a court with other women judges.” Because of so many professional and articulate attorneys before her, Julie says she’s thankful to these women for paving a path for her and other women alike. “It’s still, I think, in a lot of ways difficult for women,” she said. “We’ve had a lot of wonderful women attorneys to allow us to get to this point.” Julie says she hopes her daughters have this same passion as they get older. “I hope that we’re exposing them to experiences so they’ll always have that passion,” she said. “I’m hoping my son sees the strong women in his life and doesn’t have those preconceived biased views. He can think a girl can do anything because she can.” Julie As A Child

Inside the “big ole house” on Robineau Road in Syracuse’s Strathmore neighborhood lived Julie, her parents and her three siblings…and a total of 20 foster children over the years. Most of the foster children were from Vietnam and did not speak any English. Julie said her parents were fostering children during a time in which many parents overseas would send their children to the United States alone. These children would be sent on a boat with their parents hoping they would all find one another someday, be united with family that already made the trip or find a group of refugees. “They were survivors,” she said. The foster children would stay as short as a week with her family and the longest stay was more than two years. “Having that experience really sparked my passion to want to be able to be a part of that judicial system to especially help juveniles.” Because many of the foster children she met were unaccompanied minors (teens), an attorney would make regular visits to make sure the proper steps were taken to advocate for the children. That attorney inspired Julie. She saw this person helping the kids when they first came here and she saw a difference in their life being made right before her eyes.

knew since sixth grade that she wanted to be an attorney. Julie was so certain that she wrote an article about becoming a lawyer when she was attending St. Anne’s Elementary.

::cover

story

And before the Allen Family started having foster children call Strathmore their home, they adopted Julie’s youngest brother, Andrew, from Korea. In addition, they accepted many exchange students too. Overall, Julie says the diversity of culture and language in her childhood home was perfect, she would never trade it for anything. Julie and her two other siblings, Kathleen Allen and Matt Allen, were exposed to different people all the time — an experience that they’re grateful to have had. The Cecile Family

“I don’t think I would have liked growing up with both parents being judges,” said Jim Cecile. Family dinner conversation is never dull at the Cecile home. Both Jim and Julie know their children have been exposed to some different life experiences because of their jobs. “They have heard some stories and have visited the court on occasion,” Jim said. “I believe that they will be ready for anything and very little will catch them by surprise.” The Cecile children, Hannah, 14, Bobby, 10, and Emma, 8, were all on board for this month’s photo shoot. Despite a little shyness once the lights were set and shoot was ready to start, all three kids participated with genuine enthusiasm. It may be hard to put into words but you could see the excitement they each had for their mother’s accomplishments, and their dad’s too, for that matter. The conversation was lively and they all encouraged one another as we moved around the Cecile home for the cover shoot. “Our kids have been exposed to a great deal,” Julie said. Jim is a former Assistant District Attorney and now a city court judge, and the kids have an aunt and uncle that are former Syracuse City police officers. And on top of all of that, Julie was the executive director at McMahon/ Ryan where she dealt with some very horrifying but real day-to-day situations involving children. “It could be good and bad,” said Julie, but like her husband, she thinks they will be ready for just about anything. The Cecile kids all attend city schools, an aspect of life the parents feels is very important. In the Syracuse City School District, Julie says the kids are not just exposed to diversity but to an array of situations. “We are conscious about what we talk about [in front of the kids] and never go into detail about cases,” Julie said. “But if there is something in the news that provides a teachable moment, we do talk about it.” The family also was tested when it came time for Julie to campaign for her seat. Everyone was involved to support Julie. Noting her great success at McMahon/Ryan, Jim knew that Julie’s voice and strength in the community was one that would benefit the 5th district Family

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Court bench. “Julie helped McMahon/Ryan grow into one of the most modern and child-friendly child advocacy sites in the state,” Jim said. “Through her work, she has raised the level of community awareness about child abuse and helped countless survivors on the road to a better life. The Syracuse community and the folks that appear in Family Court are lucky to have her.” And since there is no campaign trail to follow at the moment, the kids also have been seen as Julie’s No. 1 fans at local road runs in Central New York. Julie took up running before she began her run for office to relieve stress. She loves being able to step out of her home and run in the neighborhood. And now that her chambers and courtroom are located in Downtown Syracuse, she will take any chance she can get to take a walk outside. “I just go out just to get the fresh air,” Julie said. “Sometimes I just need to breathe.” Jim and the kids cheered her on at the Strathmore Run last year, one she will repeat this year, and she will count on them when she runs TEAL There’s a Cure this summer in honor of her late friend Maureen O’Hara. Jim & Julie Cecile

Although they both grew up in the Strathmore neighborhood and lived minutes apart as children, Jim and Julie did not meet until they were both studying the law at Syracuse University. While there is one husband and wife “judge couple” in the Binghamton area, Jim is positive there has not been such a dynamic in this district…until now. It’s quite the distinction for each Hon. Cecile. “He has a spark about him,” Julie said. “He was funny, he made me better, encouraged me and gave me the strength to do so many things I never thought I could. He believed in my dreams.” This support came at times when she took on assigned counsel work out of law school or when she owned her own practice and didn’t make much money. “It was great,” Julie said. “He told me it was fine and that I needed to follow my dreams.” Jim views his wife’s new position as an exciting endeavor. “Julie is truly a good person,” Jim said. “She cares about those around her and always tries to do the right thing. It is easy to be supportive of such a caring and intelligent person. The world is a better place with her in it.” Jim says that having the same career allows for lively conversations and they don’t need to explain the background to each other. Are there any challenges? “So far, with both of us being judges it’s that I receive quite a bit of her email.” And if you haven’t already noticed, Julie does indeed hold a superior judiciary seat than her husband’s. Now that must create some conflict, right?

“People ask me all the time what how I feel about Julie being superior or a ‘bigger’ judge than me,” Jim said. “She has always been taller than me, so I’m used to her being superior.”

::cover

story

::for a good

cause

BY FARAH F. JADRAN I PHOTO COURTESY OF SHAMROCK ANIMAL FUND

When it’s Christmastime, we think of tall evergreens covered in lights and ornaments. But this past Christmas brought more than holly and mistletoe, it brought the “luck of the Irish.” More specifically, the care and support of the Shamrock Animal Fund for a four-month-old puppy. One month after Kathy Wilson got her dog Trixie, the unthinkable happened. On the night before Christmas Eve, while Kathy worked the night shift, the Bichon-Shi Tzu mix chewed a plugged-in electrical cord burning her mouth and singeing her lungs. Alarmed about the situation, Kathy began calling every veterinary clinic in the phone book as soon as she returned home from work. From the start, Kathy knew the vet care would be costly. She was waiting for her next paycheck to pay for Trixie’s care. Kathy openly admitted how disheartening it was to call one veterinary office after another with the same response, “No.” Whether it was the Christmas Eve holiday or Kathy’s inability to pay for all the services, she said it was difficult to hear that no one would help. But when Kathy dialed Fairmount Animal Hospital on Christmas Eve, she was more than surprised. “It was a great relief,” she said. “They told me, ‘no problem, bring her in.’” Dr. Eileen Fatcheric, of Fairmount Animal Hospital, said there were many reasons why they said, “yes,” to Kathy’s call. “Kathy was very honest and upfront about how much she could afford and she told me she was turned down from many other vets,” Dr. Fatcheric said. “She was well-meaning, very concerned and at the least she wanted to get Trixie in for an assessment.” Within minutes of taking a look at Trixie and performing a chest X-ray, Dr. Fatcheric found that in addition to the burns in the dog’s mouth; also she had respiratory distress, lung abnormalities and some complications with her blood vessels. Dr. Fatcheric donated the cost of the X-ray. That still left Kathy with more costs to cover. Enter, the Shamrock Animal Fund.

Being that it was Christmas Eve, the challenges were still coming. Founders of the Shamrock Animal Fund, Matt and Jamie Mulcahy, were near Lake Delta in Rome, N.Y., with on-again-off-again cell phone reception. They communicated with Dr. Fatcheric trying to determine an affordable care plan. The Shamrock Animal Fund offered to help pay for Trixie’s care, but emergency hospitalization remained cost prohibitive. Dr. Fatcheric tried to find a way she could treat the lung issues in a way that Kathy could afford. She came up with a plan: Trixie would go home with a makeshift oxygen tent, her dog crate wrapped in Saran Wrap. She would require a full 48 hours of oxygen critical for her survival while inside the carrier. Fairmount Animal Hospital arranged to have Lincare Inc. bring a supply of oxygen to Kathy’s home. However, no Christmas miracle is that simple. During a conversation with Kathy, Jamie discovered only eight hours of oxygen was delivered. That would not be enough to keep Trixie alive over the Christmas holidays. “I left a message on Lincare’s answering machine and I didn’t think anyone would call back at 7 p.m. on Christmas Eve,” Jamie said. But to her surprise the call was returned. It took a few more calls and a new order from Dr. Fatcheric. At last, Kathy received a new delivery from Lincare with the right amount of oxygen for Trixie. “It really was a miracle,” Jamie said. Thanks to many calls, text messages and a team of dedicated people with a “never give up” attitude, Trixie received veterinary care when it didn’t seem possible. Trixie is now doing well, so well that she was featured in Shamrock’s Celebration 2013 promotion on CNY Central. The annual fundraiser takes place at 6:30p.m. on Saturday, March 23, at King & King Architects in Syracuse. Tickets are $50 each and must be reserved by March 15. Further details, online reservation and payment for Shamrock’s Celebration fundraiser or to donate to The Shamrock Animal Fund are available at www.shamrockanimalfund.com.

::in her own

words

Where can you hear a Haudenosaunee chief talk about treaties, a Sikh and Muslim explain their faith traditions and an AfricanAmerican Griot tell stories? And where can you witness 20 teenage Girl Ambassadors for Human Rights explain the similarity between their gender issues and those of their Sri Lanka and Chilean Facebook friends? All this is happening at the Gage Center for Dialogue, where you can also help create a national model for dialogue on one of the most contentious issues of our times: “Who should decide whether or not a woman births?” The home of social justice activist Matilda Joslyn Gage is not your typical dusty museum. It’s been open to the public for two years after a 10-year, million-dollar purchase and rehabilitation. Visitors are asked to follow two rules: Check your dogma at the door and think for yourself. You’re invited to sit on the furniture, take pictures, eat and drink and touch the artifacts, guests are also encouraged to write on the whiteboard walls that are waiting to receive ideas, reflections, and suggestions. You can even sit at Matilda’s desk, help transcribe one of her letters and leave her a note. With this bold, innovative and relevant mission and practice, the Gage Center is developing a national reputation, receiving, the Mid-Atlantic Museum Association Katherine Coffey award for museum excellence last year. Each room in the restored home carries one story of Gage’s work for equality and justice:

Haudenosaunee. Adopted into the Wolf Clan of the Mohawk nation, Gage wrote with admiration about the superior position of Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) women and was inspired by them. In return, she supported treaty rights and native sovereignty, and acknowledged the model of democracy the Haudenosaunee had provided the founding fathers. Women’s Rights. Gage engineered a non-violent civil disobedience campaign to win the vote in which thousands of women voted illegally, refused to pay taxes, petitioned, protested and penned a Woman’s Declaration of Rights, which they presented at the Centennial celebration, despite being threatened with arrest. Oz. There probably would not be the Wizard of Oz without Gage. It was she who urged son-in-law L. Frank Baum to write down the bedtime stories he told his children and provided him with the vision of a matriarchal world of peace and justice that developed into the feminist utopia of Oz. The Gage Center is the only home in the country open to the public where Baum lived. Abolition. Pregnant with her third child, Gage defied the federal

government and publicly offered her home as a station on the Underground Railroad, risking six months in jail and a $1,000 fine ($23,000 in today’s money). This is the only Underground Railroad station home in Onondaga County open to the public.

Religious Freedom. She decried sex trafficking in women, exposed the fact that Catholic priests (and Protestant ministers as well) were sexually abusing children, challenged the religious teaching of women’s subordination, warned of the danger of letting religion seep into the government and envisioned a true religion that would “set people free” -- in 1893.

“No wonder she was written out of history!” guests exclaim. Gloria Steinem called Gage, “the woman who was ahead of the women who were ahead of their time.” Visit the Gage Center for a self-guided tour from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, book an elegant high tea or hold an event. More information is available at www.matildajoslyngage.org.

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march 2013 :: syracuseWomanMag.com

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BY SUSAN DUTCH

It has been said that the best way to predict future behavior is to look to the past. Therefore, in honor of Women’s History Month, it seems fitting that we examine our “love history” to determine how our past encounters with love have helped us find it. For many of us, our father’s love was our first love. For others, it was their first disappointment. Either way we would be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge how that relationship has affected our pursuit of love — good or bad. Next, came those crazy schoolgirl crushes. My first (of far too many) was on a boy in my kindergarten class who had rosy cheeks and a full, yet much defined upper lip (aptly named the Cupid ’s bow). I somehow had the notion that you must look like the person you married, therefore I spent hours in front of the mirror pinching my cheeks until they were flaming red, and squeezing my top lip together to try to reshape it like his. Once I thought I had nailed the look, I got up my nerve to tell him that I liked him. Completely grossed out, he pushed me off the monkey bars and ran away. That experience taught me just about everything I needed to know about love by the ripe old age of 5: Rejection is quite painful. Love can terrify to some men. Time (and a good cry) heals all. And most importantly: Never, ever change your appearance (or who you are) for anyone else but you. As I continued on my journey to find love, I realize now that I let some good ones go along the way, sometimes for silly reasons (Can a guy actually be “too nice”?) and suffered through a lot of heartbreak and betrayal from those not-so-good-ones I thought were right for me.

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(Note To Self: Never go into a relationship thinking you will change the other person). But I have no regrets — because without risk, you learn nothing about who you really are and what you want or need to be fulfilled and happy in your life. I like to compare the pursuit of love to trying on a million outfits before figuring out which one we’ll wear that day, which happens a lot in my house. Just like our quest for the perfect outfit, in our perfect someone, we’re searching for what fits us best, and makes us feel good about ourselves. In certain situations, we might push a tad outside of our comfort zone (who wants to ‘settle’ for boring?) but we try to avoid mishaps and malfunctions or those bright red flags. The outfit/potential love must accentuate our positive features and not cause us to obsess about our flaws. And more than anything, a really great outfit (and partner) will stick with us through thick and thin. What’s a little crazy is that sometimes we end up going back to the first outfit we tried on. We trust our instincts, or our gut, which in the case of the outfit, is reduced by our favorite shape wear and other times we choose a combination of them all. The worst part of the process though, is hanging up all those rejects from your closet and people from your past. Next, you get into the mindset of not allowing yourself to look back, wondering “what if?” Chances are that until you finally find the relationship that fits you perfectly, you won’t truly understand why all the others who came before him didn’t work out. What are the top 5 attributes you look for in your ideal mate? Go to www.mizmatch.com and join the conversation! Susan Dutch is a freelance writer from Syracuse who blogs about love, dating, marriage and relationships at www.mizmatch.wordpress.com. Email her at mizmatch@mizmatch.com or follow her on Twitter at @mizmatchblog.

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lady ::i am that

BY LAUREN GREUTMAN

As women, we always want to do more, be more, and contribute more to our families. Most likely you may feel this way when it comes to finances in your home too, because at one time in my life I did. Many women, whether you work or stay at home, have guilt when going through financial troubles. They often feel inadequate that they cannot help out financially. But I beg to differ! Six years ago when my husband and I were in $40,000 of debt, I had the desire to be a stay-at-home mom even though we couldn’t afford it.   One night after crunching numbers, we found a way for me to stay home, but I still needed to find a way to contribute financially to the monthly budget. I calculated how much money I would make at a part-time job after adjusting for child care expenses, and it simply wasn’t enough. I figured if I could save the same amount of money I were to make each week, it would be the same thing as bringing home an income. It was still money in my pocket that I had freed up to pay off debt, or to spend on another much-needed expense. This is when a whole new world of couponing opened up to me. I spent a few hours online one night researching meal planning and couponing and I was surprised to see stories of women actually making a very small grocery budget work for their families.  I was inspired and determined to do the same for mine. I began to think of meal planning

and couponing as my ‘part-time job’, a way to contribute financially to my family. Instead of going out of the house to work, I stay in the home with my children and cut pieces of paper to save money. I figured if I could take two hours per week to plan out my grocery shopping trips and save $80 per trip, which was the same as making $40 per hour tax-free! This is when I decided to stop complaining about our financial situation and do something about it; so that night I got on the computer and started typing about how to save money on groceries. The March edition of Syracuse Woman Magazine is all about women making history and making moves in Central New York. If you are struggling and feel like you are not contributing to your family’s finances, I would encourage you to take control of your grocery bill. You have the power to change and contribute to your household budget; you have the power to make a change in your financial blueprint. You have the ability to add a $50 income to your family’s net income every week just by following a few simple rules: Plan your meals around sale items, only use coupons when those items are on sale, shop with a list and stick to it, and plan, plan, plan your food for the week!   I am always here to help you learn how to do this on my website or on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and Pinterest. You can’t miss me! Lauren Greutman is the owner of THAT Lady Media LLC. Visit her site, www.iamthatlady.com and follow her online: www.facebook.com/ iamthatlady; @iamthatlady.

Total Tans co-owner Cyndi Leonard understands the value of providing a unique customer service experience. Because of her fierce commitment to exceeding clientele expectations, Leonard and her husband Keith are fast-approaching the tenth anniversary of Total Tan’s existence. In a mere decade’s time, Total Tan has expanded across 29 locations in four major WNY cities as well as in Albany, Keith’s hometown. Leonard, a Buffalo native, and her husband opened Total Tan in 1993 after taking note of the lack of quality tanning salons in WNY. They were the mentees of a close friend who was running a successful indoor tanning operation in Albany. The venture proved to be a wise move as the Leonards are even today scoping locations for future salons. Doubtlessly, part of Total Tan’s ongoing success can be attributed to the Leonards’ continual striving to see satisfied clients. “I love seeing the customers happy after they’ve achieved a tan,” says Cyndi. She works hard to ensure her salons

equipment is not only on the cutting-edge of technology, but also equivalent to the highest possible standards of cleanliness and safety. “We have a lot of options,” says Cyndi, “and we maintain a friendly and enjoyable atmosphere. Our staff is certified and trained. We work to listen to our customers, understand what they’re looking for and find out what’s best for them.” At Total Tan, customers have a wide array of products and equipment to choose from. Depending on preference, tanners may opt for a brand of lotion that will meet their individual needs-whether it’s an option offered by Australian Gold, Swedish Beauty, Designer Skin, California Tan, or Cal-Tan Sunless. Customers may also want to take advantage of the popular Mystic HD spray-tan. With this option, tanners can select a level that is customized by body size, skin type and color. Five minutes after the mist (which is compared to “tiny magnets” in the way it functions) is applied, customers can leave the salon dry and with a fresh new look. Whether you’re looking to prepare for a vacation, special event, or would like to experience the countless benefits of Vitamin D needed to aid the human body, Total Tan is the perfect location for you. Visit http://www. totaltancorp.com/ to peruse locations, hours, offered services and pricing.

Inspire

syracuse women

MEAGAN MARTIN

Founder, Bikers For Life Foundation

BY FARAH F. JADRAN I PHOTO BY JUSSARA POTTER

When a tragedy occurs, an almost immediate feeling of despair and helplessness kicks in. No matter what we do, it tends to not feel like it’s enough. For Meagan Martin, figuring out what she could do for those around her became clear during a time of mourning. In the summer of 2011, she lost two friends in motorcycle accidents, both within only a few days of each other. “As I was sitting at home after one of the funerals trying to wrap my head around what had happened, I decided that I wanted to do something for the families involved,” Meagan said. “I couldn’t imagine losing a child, father, brother or friend so unexpectedly and tragically.”

With action in her mind and passion in her heart, Megan decided to design rubber wristbands with “RIP Fallen Riders” on it, similar to the “LIVESTRONG” wristbands. “I knew it was something both men and women wouldn’t mind wearing,” she said. “’So, I told my biker friends what I was doing and that I will give them two weeks to order one at $5, and whatever money was raised would be split between the families to help offset funeral costs.” After all was said and done, people kept asking about the wristbands and where they could get them. “I knew I wanted to do more to help the biker community.”

Meagan happily grew up around motorcycles. “I used to ride on my father’s 1977 Harley SuperGlide since I could reach the pegs,” Meagan said. “It’s been a huge part of my life and my family for as long as I can remember. When my father passed away, I had my uncle ride my father’s bike, as well as a few of his other friends ride motorcycles in his funeral procession.” And for the last few years she has become accustomed to her boyfriend riding a sport bike, on which she has ridden passenger several times. Since their close friend Pete Perry lost his life in a motorcycle accident, Meagan’s boyfriend only rides “Track Days” in a controlled environment on race tracks all over the country and will no longer ride on the street. “If I were to learn to ride myself, I would do the same and only ride on the track.” With Perry’s accident on her mind, she still has both sadness and celebration in her heart. “Every once in a while I will see someone who resembles him, and I often see a single yellow bird in my backyard in the summer (the color of his motorcycle), and it always brings a smile to my face and makes me think of him,” Meagan said. “It still just seems very unreal.” When she first started selling the wristbands, the money raised was to be split between the Perry family and that of Jayson Killian, the second tragic death Meagan and her circle of friends experienced. While Killian was not a close, personal friend prior to his passing, she become very close with his family, and they have been helpful in spreading the word for Bikers for Life Foundation. There have been other riders who have benefited from the money raised who unfortunately were injured this past summer. (continued on page 44)

inspire

“It is incredibly satisfying for me to use my experience and skills to come up with a solution for that client.””

::sw

MAUREEN MANEY

President, Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York BY CATHERINE WILDE I PHOTO BY KELLY KANE

Maureen Maney has always cared about women’s issues and as president of the Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York (WBASNY) she now plays a pivotal role in affecting change. As partner at the Syracuse law firm Hancock Estabrook, LLP, Maureen enjoys a position not many women lawyers statistically rise to. Although women now comprise about 50 percent of law school grads, only about 15 percent of law firm partners are women, something Maureen wants to change. By supporting legislation that promotes pay equity for women, providing mentorship positions for female lawyers and encouraging women to rise to become judges, WBASNY advocates on behalf of women both in and outside the field of law. Now, in her 12th year at Hancock Estabrook, Maureen speaks passionately about a career she loves and has aspired to since she was a child watching her father as a trial lawyer. She considers herself fortunate to work at a law firm she describes as collegial and with such a large representation of female lawyers. She enjoys the intellectual challenge of the law and the everchanging nature of her work since clients come in with different issues. The cases Maureen handles may range from labor and contract issues, to medical malpractice suits or an environmental contamination issue. “When a client comes in with a problem, it is incredibly satisfying for me to use my experience and skills to come up with a solution for that client that will please them and be a great result for them,” she says. One case in particular stands out in Maureen’s mind. She represented a woman somewhat marginalized in society, speaking English as a second language and dealing with the recent loss of her husband in a wrongful death case. “I ended up getting a really fabulous result for her,” Maureen recalls proudly, adding that any case in which she surpasses a client’s expectations, remains with her. As an academic, Maureen has always loved the intellectual challenge of law. The fact that law is constantly evolving means she is constantly stimulated by the study. As an undergraduate at Le Moyne College, where she graduated before attending Albany Law School, Maureen was a women’s studies minor. This piqued her interest in women’s issues as she started engaging in intelligent discourse about the preconceptions women face. Even today, Maureen sometimes finds herself subjected to these preconceptions with the occasional client who seems unsure of her abilities. She quickly proves herself with her tenacity and competitiveness, she says with a laugh.

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Maureen joined the WBASNY after graduating law school, working her way up in the local chapter to become president in 2006. She then became an officer on the state level, making president last year. One of the organization’s top priorities is supporting legislation that promotes pay equity for women in the workplace. Women make 84 cents on the dollar of what a man makes doing the same job. Maureen also points to the lack of women judges, in particular in the four federal district courts in New York. In the northern court there is only one woman judge and there are no women judges in the western district. (continued on page 44)

::sw

“I prayed that this was a sign of more good things to come and not a gift for her short time on earth”

inspire

AMY & ARIA VanDREASON

Mother-daughter celebrated at St. Jude’s benefit BY CAROLYN JANNETTI I PHOTO BY KELLY KANE

On Tuesday, Oct. 18, at the age of 5, Aria VanDreason woke up with a very odd symptom. Her mother, Amy, noticed that Aria’s tongue deviated to the left. Concerned by what could be the cause, they took a trip to a doctor who performed a full neurological examination. Then the sad news came. Aria was diagnosed with a 4-centimeter tumor in her brainstem. The next day, they met with a neurosurgeon and an oncologist and by Thursday, Aria received an additional MRI. On Friday morning, Aria had a special moment, a moment that brought a hopeful sign. She saw a rainbow through her hospital room window against a gloomy sky; she had never seen a rainbow before. “I prayed that this was a sign of more good things to come and not a gift for her short time on earth,” said Amy. Unfortunately the family found out the diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) was inoperable. Radiation would only prolong her life another six to nine months. Ninety percent of children only live one year after diagnosis; a small percentage will have up to five. “In that God awful moment we hit a wall and lost all hope,” Amy shared. Aria’s oncologist researched different clinical studies, one of which was at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. The family packed their bags and left for Tennessee for the next eight weeks, not knowing what to expect. The doctors and nurses at St. Jude could not have made life easier for the family. Every step of the way, they were there for Aria, not just as medical professionals, but as friends and supporters. Amy went on to tell me, “They take you in and make you a part of their life, and you, a part of theirs. They give a piece of themselves to every child.” At one point, the doctors became puzzled by some of Aria’s symptoms, which seemed abnormal for a DIPG. After another MRI, her oncologist, Dr. Cynthia Wetmore, re-diagnosed her with a juvenile pilocytic astrocytoma (JPA). With this tumor, St Jude had been more successful and Aria’s hopes of survival improved drastically. But tissue was needed to make a definitive diagnosis and the doctors could not perform a biopsy until they were sure the tumor was growing. After enjoying the holiday season back home, Aria returned to St. Jude for an MRI. Dr. Wetmore explained that the tumor had grown. In fact, it had outgrown its blood supply. The biopsy would take place at Le Bonheur, a children’s hospital down the road from St. Jude, and the surgeon would be Dr. Paul Kilmo. Aria and her mother were introduced to Dr. Klimo’s nurse, Tracy Tidwell, who quickly won Aria’s heart and let Amy know: “We got this.” Although Dr. Kilmo needed two biopsies to get the information he needed, good news came during the second surgery. He had enough tissue for diagnosis, and he could continue resecting. Eight hours later, after giving the go ahead, the doctor came out of the operating room with a smile on his face. Originally, Amy and her husband, Steve, thought he was only biopsying one of the three areas of the tumor. To their surprise he resected 95 percent of the entire tumor. To hear that their little girl had a high chance of survival after hearing only a few months earlier that she only had a year to live, was unbelievable. (continued on page 44)

syracuseWomanMag.com::::march syracuseWomanMag.com march 2013

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meghan martin

MAUREEN MANEY

AMY & ARIA VanDREASON

“Although it is a small amount, I know it has helped when times were tough paying for medical bills and other expenses.”

She does not fault the men for their positions, saying they have worked hard and she respects them immensely. But women should be represented in the workplace as they are in society, she says.

On Feb. 1, Aria was transferred back to St. Jude and her baseline MRI showed there was no evidence of the remaining 5 percent. The family returned home where Aria would receive physical and occupational therapy. By March 30, Aria’s nasogastric tube was removed, just in time for the 2012 St. Jude Dominic and Patricia Rossi Memorial Dinner. The dinner, put on every year, benefits the kids of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital fight cancer.

(cont)

inspire

Meagan says she’s aware that some bikers give other bikers a bad reputation. “I know some stunt, speed, and ride recklessly,” she said. “However, ‘some’ does not mean ‘all.’”

::sw

Her passion and focus for Bikers For Life is evident even in times of frustration. “I am very passionate about this cause, and quite frankly, I’m sick of burying friends every summer because someone ‘didn’t see them’ or they were too busy sending a text,” Meagan said. Since the original gray and black wristbands, the “merchandise” has now expanded to several different colors, as well as key chains. Also, there now are custom key chains made for “fallen riders” with their names and bike colors. Wristbands have made it all over the country — as well as in Canada. “One of my many goals with this cause is to get every single motorcycle rider in Syracuse to be wearing one.” Meagan expressed her goals to have the merchandise sold in local stores, restaurants and bars, but especially places that have a motorcycle community. Long-term plans include her hopes to create a “chapter” of Bikers for Life in other cities and states. “Right now, it only takes care of riders who reside in the 315 area code,” Meagan said. “It can only get bigger and better.” For more information, find “Bikers For Life Foundation” on Facebook and join the community of riders.

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(cont)

Maureen offers a pragmatic approach, saying there is no mathematical formula or solution to suggest that because half of law school grads are women, that same percentage should represent judges and partners. Instead she wants to foster conversations that will take steps towards closing that gap. She adds that as a female attorney, she would like to have a female role model in that leadership position. Maureen says WBASNY continues the important conversations about these disparities. “We take a look at the issue and ask thoughtful, intelligent questions. And take a look at answers to see what some of the solutions are,” she said. Maureen stresses the importance of mentors. She advises young lawyers to cultivate mentor relationships. A mentor can help you take a step back and look at a situation differently, to get perspective and perhaps find a different solution. Also, she advises women to treat others the way they want to be treated and to know themselves. “Know what you like and what you don’t like, and be able to identify that,” said Maureen. Having that strength will avoid being unduly influenced by others.

(cont)

Her return visit in May showed her brain was healing and there was no evidence of residual tumor. As of Jan. 24, Aria has been tumor-free for a full year. Amy was able to share this amazing story at the St. Jude Dominic and Patricia Rossi Memorial Dinner with all those who have showed support in donating to St. Jude. The best part of the event was having Aria alongside her as she gave her speech. The pair will speak again this year on March 16 at The Lodge at Welch Allyn. For more information on the 7th Annual St. Jude Dominic and Patricia Rossi Memorial Dinner or to purchase tickets, sponsor the event, or make a donation to St. Jude visit www.stjude.org/rossidinner.

Many modern women find themselves caught in a balancing act. Between work, activities and family, keeping up with the pace of life can be hectic. Edwina Schleider, the current leadership chair of the Executive Women’s Golf Association, says that golf is a great way to de-stress and incorporate an element of fun into your life.

Once she started playing, she “got the bug” and found herself devoting much of her time to the organization, she said. “I actually have a whole new circle of friends. Everything I do involves the ladies of the EWGA.”

“Nowadays, we’re expected to be ‘superwoman,’” Schleider said. “The great thing about the EWGA is that it affords women a little bit of stress relief.” The EWGA is a growing not-for-profit organization that is “dedicated to enriching the lives of women through the game of golf,” according to their website. There are chapters throughout the United States and Canada, as well as South Africa, Italy and Bermuda. The Central New York chapter of the EWGA was established 10 years ago and brings women of different walks of life together through golf. They aim at inclusiveness and diversity among all the members, Edwina said. This is especially important because everyone searches for something different when they join, and everyone has a different level of talent for golf, from beginners and novices to experienced golfers. “Nationally, there’s a huge push to get women to play golf,” she said. Golf is becoming more popular, and the EWGA is working with organizations such as The First Tee to help beginner golfers learn the game. They even sponsor a mentoring program that pairs experienced members with new members who then get together to play. They also host a program called Get Golf Ready to help golfers get the basics they need to play in tournaments. Kim Stanfield has belonged to the EWGA for seven years and says that joining put a new spark in her life. She strives to improve her golf game each time she plays and has been involved with EWGA programs ever since she first started. She volunteered for three years on the Board of Directors, served as chair for various education programs put on by the EWGA and is

Though Kim started as a beginner, she has improved dramatically and even went on to win her flight at nationals, Edwina said.

feature

currently the 2013 Chapter Championship Event Chair.

::special

BY JENNA SCHIFFERLE

In addition to helping women network, the EWGA has a charitable arm called the EWGA Foundation that helps women develop leadership skills, business skills and confidence. Their program “Women on Par” gives two scholarships to women over the age of 30 who want to go back to school and start or finish their bachelor’s degree. This year, however, the EWGA is placing extra emphasis on new memberships to keep the organization growing. This year’s events will consist of a membership drive, end of the season and start of the season tournament, a volunteer recognition event where new officers are introduced for the board and more. Last month, they hosted their annual “Winter Blues” event to bring women together after the snowy weather. And from 5 to 8 p.m. on March 15, prospective members can attend the EWGA Open House at the Links of Erie Village. It will be an opportunity for those with interest in joining, new members and existing members to learn about this years league opportunities, reconnect and learn about the EWGA and all the benefits associated with membership. “A lot of golf is confidence and feeling comfortable in the environment,” Edwina said. “Our programs give women the confidence they need to go out there and know the etiquette and Q’s and A’s of golf.” For more information on the EWGA CNY Chapter, visit www.cnyewga.com or email membership@cnyewga.com.

syracuseWomanMag.com ::march 2013

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events

::swm

events

Syracuse Woman Magazine

NATIONAL WEAR RED DAY —SYRACUSE GOES RED! On Friday, Feb. 1, Syracuse Woman Magazine and Eagle Newspapers joined numerous community members in spreading awareness for women’s heart health for National Wear Red Day. As well, many parts of Syracuse also decided to Go Red! Each participant pledged to wear red and made a $5 donation to the American Heart Association. In turn, each participant received the official Red Dress pin. The overall campaign was a success. and SWM is proud to be the Go Red For Women Syracuse campaign’s exclusive women’s magazine sponsor. We’re proud to Go Red every day!

3RD ANNUAL SLED FOR RED Skies were clear and temperatures were frigid, but the slopes were scorching from the heated competition among the cardboard sled entries racing to benefit the AIDS Community Resources Center in Syracuse. The teams creativity, enthusiasm and competitive spirit added to a wonderful atmosphere that helped raise $26,337.20! One hundred percent of the funds raised stay right here in Central New York to support the youth HIV prevention education initiatives, provide client emergency needs, extend comprehensive support services and promote sexual literacy.

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SYRACUSE WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

Syracuse Woman Magazine was proud to be a part of National Girls and Women In Sports Day and Pink Out as the Syracuse University Women’s Basketball team hosted two Big East games in February in the Dome. We’d like to take this moment to say “thank you” to the team for being an incredible group of young women who are not only inspring on the court, but they’re leading by example off the court as well. The 2012-13 season has produced the best start in SU history for the women’s team. We wish the Orange the very best in this already exciting season!

10

OFFICER NEEDS BACKUP WHEN: 1 to 6 PM WHAT: Benefit for Officer Wayne Galutz who was diagnosed with stage IV esophageal cancer. WHERE: Wysocki’s Lake Park Manor, Cicero DONATION: $15

16

ST. JUDE DOMINIC AND PATRICIA ROSSI MEMORIAL DINNER WHEN: 6 PM WHAT: 7th annual night of food, wine tasting and entertainment while helping the kids of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital battle cancer and other deadly diseases. WHERE: The Lodge at Welch Allyn, Skaneateles COST: Ticket $85; Table $850; Fran Pickle (518) 453-6800, frances.pickles@stjude.org

16

28

March

WALK ALONG FOR LUPUS WHEN: 9:30 AM WHAT: Bringing together those affected by Lupus and to raise awareness. WHERE: Destiny USA near food court & carousel REGISTER: www.firstgiving.com; 6th Annual Walk Along for Lupus Syracuse FILM SCREENINGS WHEN: 5 PM, “Vagina Monologues”; 6 PM, “Miss Representation” WHAT: Film & discussion. WHERE: 5 PM, Mawhinney Hall; 6 PM, Ferrante Hall – Storer Auditorium COST: Free syracuseWomanMag.com ::march 2013

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feature ::special

BY AMANDA M. BISHOP I PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL WOMEN’S HALL OF FAME

It’s no secret that women have been on the move for centuries, but often, the depth and breadth of women’s achievement isn’t fully realized. Many might remember learning about suffrage pioneers Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, or abolitionists Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth, but fewer know the stories of internationally renowned nursing leader, Loretta Ford, and pioneering chemist, Helen Murray Free. For more than 40 years, the National Women’s Hall of Fame has shared the stories of women, known and unknown, who have shaped our nation and the world. To date, the Hall includes 247 Inductees with accomplishments spanning the arts, athletics, business, education, government, humanities, philanthropy and science. As we celebrate National Women’s History Month and the theme of Women Inspiring Innovation through Imagination: Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, we’re proud to highlight some of our female pioneers in STEM fields. Grace Hopper (1906 – 1992)

A mathematics genius and computer pioneer, Grace Hopper created computer programming technology that forever changed the flow of information and paved the way for modern data processing. In 1952, Hopper was credited with creating the first complier for modern computers, a program that translates instructions written by a programmer into codes that can be read by a computer. Hopper went on to develop the FLOW-MATIC computer programming language (1957) and shortly after, pioneered the Common Business Oriented Language (COBOL). Stephanie L. Kwolek (1923 –

)

A trailblazing scientist, Stephanie L. Kwolek invented Kevlar, an aramid fiber that is five times stronger ounce for ounce than steel. More than 40 years later, Kevlar is used in everything from body armor and sports equipment to vehicles and fiber optics. Not only has Kwolek’s invention improved the performance of everyday materials; it has saved the lives of thousands worldwide. Kwolek is the recipient or co-recipient of 17 U.S. patents.

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Dr. Loretta C. Ford (1920 –

)

Helen Murray Free (1923 –

)

An internationally renowned nursing leader, Dr. Loretta C. Ford has devoted her career to practice, education, research, consultation and the delivery of health services. Dr. Ford is best known for co-founding the nurse practitioner model through her studies on the nurse’s expanded scope of practice in public health nursing. In 1972, Dr. Ford became the founding dean of the University of Rochester School of Nursing, where she implemented the unification model. Dr. Ford is the author of more than 100 publications and has served widely as a consultant and lecturer. A pioneering chemist, Helen Murray Free conducted research that revolutionized diagnostic testing in the laboratory and at home. Free is the co-developer of Clinistix, the first dip-and-read diagnostic test strips for monitoring glucose in urine. Along with her husband, Alfred Free, she also developed additional strips for testing levels of key indicators for other diseases. Today, dip-and-read strips make testing for diabetes, pregnancy, and other conditions available in underdeveloped regions of the United States and in foreign countries. Free is the recipient of numerous awards, including the National Medal of Technology and Innovation and the American Chemical Society’s 66th National Historic Chemical Landmark designation (2010). We invite you to visit the Hall at 76 Fall St. in Seneca Falls and learn more about women in STEM, as well as suffragists, civil rights leaders, philanthropists, performing artists, religious pioneers, child welfare advocates, labor activists, feminists, astronauts, athletes, educators, writers, educators, businesswomen, and more. Be inspired anytime by visiting us on greatwomen.org, and don’t forget to join us in Seneca Falls on Oct. 12, 2013, for the Hall’s 24th Induction Ceremony as we celebrate a new class of Inductees to the National Women’s Hall of Fame. Amanda M. Bishop is the deputy director of the National Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, N.Y.

Anthony’s Over 100,000 Women connected

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March 15th: 5 to 8 PM Weekly League Play at Accessible Locations • Business & Social Networking • Year Round Golf Educational Programs

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Visit us at our booth at the 2013 W.I.S.E. Symposium April 16th at the OnCenter

::queen of

arts

BY CAROLYN JANNETTI

Shannon Holmes grew up with dance in her blood. With great grandparents coming from Vaudeville and brothers excelling in the field, it was only natural for Shannon to follow suit. She began at the age of two and tapped until nine. As she grew, her experience expanded to the disciplines of ballet, hip hop, acro and contemporary styles. The long hours spent in the studio were worth every second. She auditioned for Dean College and was accepted into its arts program and dance company where she shined for the next four years. But then a tragic turn changed Shannon’s life. She was sideswiped by a car while crossing the street and was hospitalized for three months. Most anyone would be discouraged by such a traumatizing experience, both mentally and physically. But Shannon didn’t let it take over her life. Dance was a part of her life and she was going to keep it that way. Her passion now just needed to be channeled in a different direction. She began to teach dance at various schools in the Central New York area. “At the end of the day, it’s all about the kids.” She loved teaching and being able to give others the opportunities she once had. “With dance,” Shannon explained, “you can show what you feel during the times you cannot say it with words.” The stars aligned in the winter of 2011 when Shannon’s dream came true and she was able to open her very own studio. Located in Shoppingtown Mall in DeWitt, Shannon owns three different, beautiful studios with floor to ceiling mirrors all in one location. To make this possible, her supportive friends and family came in on their own time to help build everything from scratch. Her husband laid in all the floors and built her a space that previously seemed beyond her grasp. For teachers to be successful, they always need to keep learning. That’s what Shannon does for her students. She gives them a place to come have fun and express themselves. But also she teaches them the importance of hard work and pushes them never to settle. “If I give correction, it’s because I see potential.” She helps the girls realize that competition is healthy and that no one should just be handed a part. “I want my girls to come in to work as a team, no jealousy, no attitudes.” She is the creator, director and producer of Once Upon a Christmas, a fantastic performance opportunity for all dancers through the holiday season. She herself was the Ballet Mistress for “The Nutcracker” during the 2009 and 2010 seasons as she worked alongside Ballet Met and the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra. She also helped launch the brand new symphony, “Symphoria,” this year with group and solo performances from the Empire State Dancers. John Garland, director of the Syracuse symphony, asked Shannon to do the impossible. In 10 days, Shannon was able to produce 17 minutes of choreography with 45 dancers. Her students are performing a children’s ballet of “Sleeping Beauty” for the first time ever in the small theatre at the Mulroy Civic Center at 2 and 6 p.m. on Saturday, March 23. It will be a family friendly show!

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The company also is in need of corporate sponsors. You can send Shannon an email if interested through the studio website: www.empirestatedancectr.org. march 2013 :: syracuseWomanMag.com

(315) 699-2661


RWM March 2013 Issue