Monday, November 21, 2016

Balancing Act: Cupcakes and Happiness



          I own [The Queen’s Cups.]  So I do all the baking and everything else here.  For me it’s a lot more than the cupcakes.  I think it’s awesome that I believed in myself and went for something because a lot of people get scared.  I was definitely scared, and I had no idea what I was doing.  And even now, two years later, I sometimes feel like I don’t know what I’m doing.  But to be 25 and work for myself, and run a successful business, that means the world to me.  And it’s also awesome because I have young girls who work for me.  And I coach basketball, so I’m connected to these younger girls who want a role model to look up to.  I have a lot of people who come in and say, “I read your story, I follow your story, I see your Instagram and it’s so cool, but I love to bake at home.  And I really want to do what you do.  And you just went for it.”  So that’s meaningful, too. 

 
It’s definitely difficult [to balance priorities] because when you own a business, that’s obviously your first concern always.  I work 75 hours a week, sometimes more, especially with the holidays coming up.  So it’s difficult and, especially in the beginning, I just tried to do everything myself.  And you can’t do that; you’re only one person.  And I just was unhealthy.  I wouldn’t eat or just eat really late at night.  And I wasn’t taking care of myself and I was miserable.  Now I just try to really make sure that I find something for myself every day.  Whether it’s yoga, or Pilates, or something, just to clear my mind.  Because it can be consuming, you know, people are always contacting you, or you’re working.  And there’s not a lot of time for yourself.  I think as time has gone on, I definitely have tried to focus on having some time for myself, and making sure every day I do something that I enjoy.  You can work all you want, but if you’re not happy as a person you’re not going to do well at your job. 

 
  Renee King, Owner of The Queen's Cup bakery
excerpt from In Her Shoes
 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

I've Never Missed an Election



I’ve never missed an election in my entire life. I vote in presidential primaries, I vote in all primaries. I’m a member of the Democratic Party and I go to the caucuses. I’ve been to Democratic Conventions. [My husband] was an American History professor at Holy Cross for many years. He was also in politics. He was a member of the Worcester City Council for 22 years and the mayor of the city of Worcester. So I’ve always been involved in politics and my uncle was the mayor of Worcester. [James O’Brien] I’ve always thought one advantage I had is that I grew up in a very feisty political family. So, I tend to think politically, and I think that can be helpful.
Mary Lou Anderson
in Voices of Worcester Women
 
 
 
 


Friday, August 12, 2016

Olympian

After we qualified [for the 1952 Olympics], the team all got together and they issued us uniforms, and things like what you see them wearing in the opening ceremonies. And then we got on a plane and went to New York, and then we flew from New York to Helsinki, Finland, and the training out there in Finland with the pool, 50 meters was really great, kind of scary [laughs]. It was fun, when you come out of your dormitory there would be little kids hanging around... [whisper], “Can we have your autograph?” Then we got transported every place, and went and got taken to the embassy, and but I think the most goose pimple part of the whole thing was the opening ceremony when you all march in and because they do it alphabetically, the United States was the last one to go in. And by then the whole stadium was roaring and that was really goose pimply [laughs].
Coralie May O'Connor,
Olympian and gold medal winner of the 1955 Pan American Games in Mexico City
Interviewed November 2015 for Worcester Women's Oral History Project
 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Finding Her Own Path: Entrepreneur in a New Country


I never thought I would stay here [in America].  It just happened.  I am from a Communist country.  We are not allowed to go anywhere, so you have no comparison.  You cannot talk with other people.  You are not allowed to go to other capitalist countries.  If you don’t know, you don’t miss stuff.  [A hard transition] for me [was] the language.  First immigrants face always the worst [laughs].  It’s easy for my children.  They have the houses, they [are] educated, they think differently.  That was my goal and it was solved.

Urszula Wierbik
Excerpt from In Her Shoes

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Passion Project: Fighting for a Cause


And so there were several projects that I got involved with, in addition to teaching.  As part of the Massachusetts State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, I was one of the people who worked on the booklet for sexual harassment that was aimed at employers to let them know why they needed a policy and what sexual harassment was.  I was involved in the American Civil Liberties Union in Vermont, the state affiliate, and I ended up being head of the state affiliate so that I could help get things done.  And we ended up doing the first conference that there was in the state on women’s issues.  And when I was teaching, there were two of us that were interested in teaching a class called “Issues of and About Women.”  Well, it’s hard not to be involved with women’s issues.  At least, I don’t see how you cannot be.  By being female you’re involved in women’s issues, in one way or another.  Whether it’s formal or not. 
Joan Webster
Excerpt from In Her Shoes

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Balancing Act: Everything to Everybody


I’ve come to accept who I am and what my role is.  I think for the longest time I thought I can be everything to everybody.  You’re just supposed to work, work, work, work, work, work, work, work all the time.  I worked at work, I worked at home.  I walked through the door and I was doing laundry, and I would do dishes, and I was chasing kids around, and cleaning out backpacks, and doing all the things you would imagine.  Running from work to some kind of school event, trying to appear—maybe to myself, maybe to everybody else, I’m not sure—that I could be everything.  And I think, over the course of time, you start to figure out, wait a minute.  Wait a minute.  And it’s interesting because if you look at my career, from the point [of] mid MBA, I started gaining more and more and more confidence.  My job has gotten enormous.  I was managing three or four people, and now we have 1,500 people on our staff, and another 1,000 volunteers.  So, there’s a direct correlation between gaining confidence and feeling solid about who you are, and letting go of these predisposed notions that you have to be everything to everybody.
 
Angela Bovill
excerpt from In Her Shoes

Monday, April 4, 2016

Finding Her Own Path: An Immigrant Story

America spoils me with freedom because, even when I was in Vietnam, I always hungered for freedom.  So when I met Phillip, when I first came here, I realized my goodness this is worth dying for.  You see America gave me the freedom to be who I am, and also gave me the resources so that I can get what I want.  Also, American people gave me an amazing example of giving themselves to others.  I came from a culture where life was so, so hard. 
Ahn Vu Sawyer
excerpt from In Her Shoes