Written by Marilou Giammona, firstname.lastname@example.org Tuesday, 19 November 2013 00:00
Floral Park Memorial High School alum and former valedictorian Janis Powers (’87), an inveterate traveler who has visited more than 30 countries, tapped into her Long Island roots to create the backdrop of her debut novel, Mama’s Got a Brand New Job. Her essential message? Despite corporate America’s apparent acceptance, there’s not much room for working mothers in the boardroom.
Powers’ main character is Maxine Pedersen, a patent attorney at a high-powered Manhattan firm who has just become a mother. “She was 100 percent career before, so the math doesn’t work,” Powers says of her leading lady. “Maxine comes to the conclusion that she has to redefine herself.”
In the novel, Powers takes readers through Maxine’s tribulations, which are infused with wit and signature cocktails—Maxine is a mixology enthusiast—such as a Long Island sangria and The Gulag.
As is often characteristic of debut novels, Maxine is loosely based on Powers herself. An architecture graduate from Yale University who then went on to earn her M.B.A. in corporate strategy from the University of Michigan, Powers landed a position with Deloitte Consulting in the firm’s healthcare practice.
“I loved it because it was all problem solving and I got to travel all over the U.S.,” she said. “I learned all about the healthcare system, which is fascinating, kind of a personal passion, and I learned all about corporate America.”
Powers rose through the ranks until it all came to a grinding halt when she gave birth to her first child. Although she did return to Deloitte soon after her daughter was born, she made it clear that she couldn’t travel. After 10 months, the firm said they no longer had the budget for her position.
“At that moment, I was thinking, ‘I was a high performer, why are you not trying to retain me?’” she said. “Ultimately I wound up staying home. I have two awesome kids [and] was a stay-at-home mom for almost 10 years.”
Armed with the new luxury of time, “I sat down and started writing an autobiography because I wanted to share what happened to me with other women,” Powers said. Over a 10-year span of writing, she changed course, shifting the story from autobiography to fiction.
“The more I wrote the character, the less she became like me, but
what happens to her is what happened to me,” she said. “There are certainly a lot of aspects about her that I would like to think are like me. I absolutely wanted to create a fun, bright, intelligent, powerful woman.”
Powers is selling the message “Smart girls are fun” on T-shirts and onesies through www.mamasgotabrandnewjob.com. The book itself is available on Amazon as a paperback or a Kindle download. Readers can follow Maxine on Twitter @MaxinePedersen, and those who share a passion for mixology can get her cocktail recipes from the website.
Thursday, 14 August 2014 00:00
On Saturday, July 26, Floral Park and Hance Family Foundation supporters from more than 23 states, including from Michigan, Louisiana, and Arizona, from three countries joined in the remembrance of Emma, Alyson, and Katie Hance in the foundation’s annual Day of Remembrance. Green ribbons and balloons were tied generously around trees, lampposts, railing and garden stakes, celebrating the lives of the sisters, gone too soon.
The foundation’s Facebook page was loaded with photos and prayers and messages from around the globe, from those who participated in some way, remembering the sisters who died in a car accident on July 26, 2009, at ages 8, 7, and 5.
Wednesday, 13 August 2014 11:12
Bright blue eyes, a full head of hair, beautiful smile, and full of energy. At 5 years old, Ethan Demmers is possibly at the healthiest he will be in his life. Ethan was recently diagnosed with Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy (DMD). Typically, people with this disease live only into their 20s. Over the next few years, the disease will slowly attack every muscle in Ethan’s body, eventually causing him to permanently be in a wheelchair. Ethan’s parents are not ready to give up their hope for a cure. They are fully committed to helping find a cure for this deadly illness, not just for their own son, but for all others suffering as well.
Ethan’s father, Dustin Demmers, is an English teacher at Floral Park Memorial High School. To the student body, Demmers can be described as funny, happy, wacky, wild, crazy, and unique among other adjectives. Demmers can be found smiling through the halls, making jokes over the loudspeakers, or making his class into the ideal environment for learning.