Op-Eds for women’s history month

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Successful women support women

By Eileen Tyznar,Greater Sayville Chamber of Commerce President, TEACH Consulting Services Inc., Sayville NY 631 244-7280

With life’s twists, turns, and ever-changing events, I now feel I can share a little piece of my business experience on how women can maximize their full potential and have a successful career and personal life at the same time! When I started on my journey in planning my future, the path changed ever so much, but I was able to find a career that I would not have ever believed would bring me here today. 

When you are young and entering post-secondary education, you think that your career is mapped out perfectly. Then... life happens. Marriage, moving to a new home, having children, sometimes changes your journey. When I speak to other women, they tell me, “I wish I would have done this,” or “I always wanted to open up a business.” I immediately say, “Nothing is impossible... let’s make it happen for you!”

Choose a passion—write down the short- and long-term goals of the business that you wish to open. Think of your personal life. How much time can you put forth that fits into your family or personal life? Then, develop a business plan.  For instance, I was proud to be a stay-at-home mother of a special-needs son. After being a part of the Special Education PTA, I learned all the ins and outs of special education law by attending seminars and conferences while my son was at school. I was able to help other parents, and I had decided there wasn’t enough resources or advocacy to help families. Hence, I decided to do a startup consulting firm to help parents of special needs and gifted children at home. Next step was establishing a business plan, location, funding, etc. So much to learn, but you must be willing to access all resources to assist you on your business venture. 

Resources are key for women who wish to start a successful business.  There are grant opportunities available for women that I was able to procure. One such resource, with free accessible programs and services, that assisted me personally, was the Stony Brook Small Business Development Center. Attending the free workshops and seminars is the best way to bring your business to its fruition. 

Gather information to be successful in all areas of the business you wish to grow.

Having a small business and a career has opened the doors to so many other opportunities for my business. Personally, the chamber and other civic organizations have helped develop long-standing relationships and roots in my community, which has also grown my business and can do so for you!

There is a mantra I carry with me. In the words of Gloria Vanderbilt, “I’ve always believed that one woman’s success can only help another woman’s success.”

Celebrate the beautiful you

Franziska Bernhard, Owner of luxury spa studio, RadianZ, Former model

Beauty standards may change, but the relentless pressure to fit them doesn’t. Add the newest trendy Instagram filter, retouched ads and surgically altered celebrities; that ideal is just impossible to achieve. 

You must let go of the idea that beauty is perfect! You are not a plastic doll; you are a living being, with pores, scars, stretch marks. Don’t fall for the beauty trap! Remember the multi-million-dollar beauty and fitness industry wants you to believe that you’re not enough. How else would you try to transform yourself at the expense of your time, your mental and physical health, and most of all, your money?  

Do you want to know the secret to beauty? Self love! Start accepting your wonderful, glorious, wild self! Take time to cultivate that and stop being so critical of yourself. Those voices are lying. Don’t compare yourself to others; there is only one you, and you are exactly how you’re supposed to be. We are all conditioned to focus only on a perceived flaw, to obsess over it and to think that our whole life would be better if only that nose was smaller, the thighs thinner and the skin clearer. Please look at the whole picture—all of you, your kindness, your talents, your warm smile, your amazing cooking, the way only you can make your loved one feel better, your artistic talent, your warm embrace. Ditch the often-dangerous pursuit of a ridiculous ideal and use that time and funds for self-care. Activate the parasympathetic nervous system by spending time in nature, getting a massage or facial, practicing meditation, playing with animals or children, practicing yoga or tai chi, trying progressive relaxation, receiving reiki, or doing your favorite hobby. By strengthening your parasympathetic nervous system, you cause a relaxation response in the body and you lessen anxiety. 

There are few things that adversely affect your looks and your vibe like stress does. Meditation is my favorite way to bring mind, body, and spirit together. This alignment promotes less stress, more overall happiness, and vibrant beauty from within. Research shows that meditation reduces the body’s cortisol levels, reducing acne and slowing down the aging process. 

Support your body and skin by starting a simple routine. Dry brush twice a week in the morning before you shower. This helps get rid of toxins, boosts circulation, aids in lymphatic drainage, exfoliates, and plumps the skin. After the shower, use a good moisturizer. Start a simple skincare routine. Three to four products are all you need: an appropriate cleanser, a vitamin C serum, a moisturizer and SPF. Do not follow TikTok advice, but go to a trained skincare specialist to get customized recommendations. This is the perfect time to practice being kind to yourself. As you are applying the products, say loving affirmations and words of gratitude and appreciation. Celebrate the unique, special, extraordinary beauty you are.

Community invests in each other

By Carol A. Seitz
Owner, Therm-A-Trol,
president, Bayport-Blue Point Chamber of Commerce

Community is a group of people who are continuously investing in each other, all the time. That could be time, money, helping each other get business through referrals. We’re all in it to help each other. And when it comes to supporting your community, and even empowering other women, it’s contagious. If you receive empowerment and positive feedback from other women, you’re more likely to go out and give out that same level of energy, positivity, and encouragement to other women and others around you. It’s the same financially. If you put resources into women-owned businesses—or minority-owned and underrepresented businesses—they’ll be able to go out and continue to have a legacy within their communities.

It’s 2022—it’s no secret that women continue to excel professionally. One main reason for this is that women make exceptional leaders.

Think about it… we all know at least one wonderful woman in our lives who has stood out in a professional setting or leadership role. Perhaps a female family member or friend owns her own company, or your wife is a lead nurse at a local hospital. There is something to be said about women’s leadership skills and the unique dynamic that they bring to the world of business.  I myself was in the nursing field prior to running our local HVAC family-owned business.  I can definitely relate to the leadership roles for woman, back to when was in charge of in the medical field.  Here is what I have noted that woman bring to the table, so to speak:

• Women bring new and innovative ideas to the workplace

• Women are successful at promoting cooperation rather than competition

• Women are excellent at communicating

• Women use relational knowledge to problem solve

 

Some marketing tips that I have for other local businesses:

First and foremost, have an excellent digital presence! That means getting yourself on as many platforms and having as much traffic going to your business as possible. Facebook, my affiliation with our local chamber of commerce, Alignable and Nextdoor has been huge for me. They are great marketing tools. We provide all HVAC services from installation to service, there’s a lot of draws to it for people in my direct neighborhood and community. A lot of people end up supporting me as a business owner on these platforms because I’m local, I’m women-owned. Look within your own community for sources of exposure because I think there’s a real customer loyalty that comes forward when you’re local. 

A woman’s place is… in business and government

By Senator Alexis Weik

During Women’s History Month, we recognize the important role women have played in helping to build our society, institutions, and American way of life.

Historic women, like determined suffragettes of the past centuries, inventors, educators and more, play an important part in our reflection. Recognizing the achievements of women in today’s society is equally important. That’s why I’ve taken the time in the past few weeks to acknowledge some of the women leaders in our own communities and small business. There, women play a leading role in building up and improving the kind of communities we call home.

Less than half of businesses in America are now owned by women. Only 41 of the nation’s biggest companies are run by a woman at the top. Clearly, there’s room to grow!

In government, too, we have seen a growing number of women taking the reins. Today, 24 women serve as heads of state. Women make up 31 percent of state legislators, and in the New York State Senate, there are now 18 women serving out of 63 senators.

Women in elected leadership roles helps elevate women’s concerns, needs and priorities, and ensures that more voices are added to important public discussions.

There are many ways that women can stay engaged or become more involved in the civil and political life of our communities. Here are some starters:

First, know who your local representatives are. Contact your leaders and let them know about issues you support. Social media is great, but writing a letter or email is an even better way to make sure your point of view gets through.

Get involved with local civic, community, or political groups that you can support. Nothing contributes to making positive change more than volunteering your time and efforts for causes you support. You may find others feel as you do.

Whether your interest lies in getting involved or understanding how local representation supports and empowers the women of our shared community, know your reps, be heard, and be active! We all have a civic responsibility.

Women should get involved and stay active

Angie Carpenter,
Islip Town Supervisor

I have had the privilege of being involved in local government for many years, back to my years in school governance, PTA, community governance, Little League, Scouts, etc. It might appear a little odd to cite community involvement as relevant to my roles in government, but it helped me to be a better-elected official.

I worked in the private sector as a small-business owner, yet always found time for community engagement. As a member of the Chamber of Commerce, and founder of the town wide Chamber Council, I felt it important that small business have a voice, interacting with local government officials.

It is important for women, and everyone, to keep growing. Little did I realize when volunteering at the local nursing home, I would eventually serve as the board chair of the Continuing Care Division of a health system, giving me invaluable experience that I have used over the years in my various roles in government.

Keeping ties to the community is very near and dear to my heart, as I still volunteer, and find it so rewarding. Being open to opportunities is something I live by and encourage everyone to practice. You sometimes have to go out of your comfort zone; it is worth it. As a small-business owner, working in the town I love, never did I envision working in government, let alone three different roles: first as a county legislator, then as county treasurer, and ultimately accepting the position of town supervisor. Little did I realize when coming to the town, that I would be making history as the first woman supervisor in its 339-year history.

Based on this experience, I encourage all women to get involved and stay active. You never know where it can lead. My own desire to better my community has led me to the rewarding role of town supervisor, something I truly love, and hope the residents see fit to allow me to continue when I ask for their support again in November of 2023.

Encouraging women in art

By Beth Giacummo,
Executive Director,
Patchogue Arts Council

I would love to encourage women to develop, create, engage or observe arts! The arts have the power to influence our lives in ways we may never have thought possible. You can develop your own arts practice by learning more about the creative process and creating a new experience for yourself and expanding your awareness and perception for the world around us. Get inspired by a specific medium or discipline that has always intrigued you or that you’ve lost touch with. Painting, drawing, photography, music, dance, or the literary arts can give new or strengthen skills that support creative problem solving and innovative thinking that is useful in all aspects of our lives. Join other like-minded individuals and share your art by joining in a local group like the Patchogue Arts Council (PAC) Sketch, Crit Group, or PAC Photography Group. There are a number of local resources to take a class, connect with others interested in developing their art practice more , or just to experiment with art in a way that speaks to you.

Engage in the arts by taking advantage of arts programming offered right here in your own backyard. Patchogue Arts Council offers a number of free programs where you can engage with the arts: Learning to Look or Wining About Art will give you a chance to learn about a specific time period or style of art; and Coffee with a Curator offers the opportunity to hear directly from artists currently exhibiting with us. Dive deeper with us and listen to what moves them and why they are creating the works we see.

Observe the arts! Take in a new exhibition at MoCA L.I., visit one of our satellite galleries, attend an arts festival like Arts on Terry or an immersive open-air museum event like MoCA L.I.ghts, and you can connect with others and the community through an exciting shared experience with the arts!

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