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"Women at Work" Panel a Huge Success

by Joe Sommo ’03 with contributions by Lauren Klein ’19 and Deepa Gopaul ’19

Students, faculty, and parents filled the Ralph DeChiaro Theater on April 11th to witness Molloy’s first ever “Women at Work” Panel. The after school event, originally conceived by Assistant Principal Ms. MaryAnn Safrey, invited several alumnae in the workforce or in college back to Molloy to share their experiences and give advice on how to be successful in the current professional landscape. The panel included Christy Dey ’16Marcella Kocolatos ’08Camille Pajor ’05Jessica Petschauer-Attanasio ’04Ashley Regazzi ’04Jennifer Safrey, and Devin Triolo.

Christy, a student at Barnard College, is an Economics major with a minor in Environmental Science. She is also a part of the JP Morgan Smart Start Scholarship Program, which is a financial program open to college students interested in business, engineering, and computer science. She also recently took part in a research and development trip, where she helped create a trash disposal system for a community in Gautemala. Her advice: “You have nothing to lose, but everything to gain. Every opportunity, big or small, you have to be willing to put yourself out there.” When later asked for her thoughts on the panel, Christy said she was “impressed by the turnout and interest shown by Molloy’s student body.”

Marcella, a graduate of Macaulay Honors College at Hunter, is a staff attorney at A Better Balance: The Work & Family Legal Center, a national non-profit legal advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring that workers may care for themselves and their families without sacrificing their economic security. She has advised hundreds of workers on their rights related to pregnancy, sick time, family and medical leave, and anti-discrimination. During the discussion, she stressed the importance of having compassion for others in any line of work. “Have empathy,” she urged.

Camille is the Title IX Coordinator of the Julliard School, where she is responsible for leading the school’s response, education, and compliance efforts relating to sexual misconduct. She is also a returned Peace Corps Volunteer, having served in Ukraine from 2009-2011. Her advice: “Relentlessly go after your dreams.”

Jessica, a graduate of Brooklyn College with a Masters of Fine Arts in Arts & Business Management, is the licensed Brands Coordinator at Disney Theatrical Group, managing the branding and business strategy for Disney on Ice worldwide. She also has an extensive background as a stage performer and once served as Director of The Stanner Players. Her advice on facing discrimination: “Don’t listen to what other people tell you.” She also suggested “Googling” everything to be best prepared for any interview.

Ashley, who participated remotely from California, manages a research team at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Ashley’s team develops new treatments and tests for cancers of the urinary tract. She has co-written articles for Nature Magazine, the American Cancer Society, and the Journal of Clinical Oncology. She is a graduate of Columbia University and is a frequent volunteer with their Alumni Association (as well as Molloy’s). Ashley encouraged Stanners to “never assume that their application or resumé has been read” and to “talk about your experiences as much as you can” during job interviews.

Jennifer, daughter of MaryAnn Safrey, shared her experience as someone who switched careers. She originally worked as a news copy editor for the Boston Herald, eventually leaving to publish five novels. After taking time to further reflect, she realized her “comfort through everything” was yoga. She went on to open her own yoga studio called Emerald Yoga. “The world is constantly shifting. One day, the world will need your gifts in a way you can’t even begin to fathom right now. We need you,” said Jennifer.

Lastly, Devin, a family member of math teacher Ms. Danielle Jones, was not present, but Ms. Jones spoke on her behalf. Devin is the owner and founder of SHOP SIDE OF GUAC, a women’s online retail platform. Devin is responsible for handpicking clothing items, hiring models, taking pictures of said models, editing photos, uploading content, and many more parts of her business model. She has worked her way to establishing relationships with Lord & Taylor and Dillard’s, giving her the opportunity to handpick clothing items to be sold in their stores. Ms. Jones highlighted Devin’s work ethic as a business owner as a strong one to emulate.

In closing, we share the following excerpt from an article written by juniors Lauren Klein ’19 and Deepa Gopaul ’19:

“A very common theme throughout the event was the place you start off isn’t always the place you’ll end up in. Your passions will change, your interests will change, and your dreams will change. And that’s okay. “Take every opportunity with a positive attitude,” said one of the panelists. A lesson learned: you have to pursue your own passions and make a dream for yourself. Do what makes you happy and, “relentlessly go after your dreams.” This event as a whole was uplifting and inspiring for all spectators. It was immensely motivating to see several strong independent women share their experiences and advice. Without a doubt in our minds, the future is in fact female.

Thank you to Ms. Safrey, all of our panelists, and to teachers Ms. Kobinski ’04, Ms. Jones, Ms. Massowd ’07Ms. HenningMs. Callagy ’05Ms. Akter, and Ms. Winters ’06 for their support of this event.