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Woman Power In Bethpage

Close to 200 women went to Briarcliff College in Bethpage to attend the Fair Media Council’s Women’s Empowerment Summit with keynote speaker Bernadette Castro, COO of Castro Convertibles and former New York State Commissioner of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

The morning opened with Castro delivering the key note speech followed by six breakout sessions with an impressive group of panelists from all different fields including some elected officials, CEO’s, doctors, lawyers, writers, bankers and media executives.

“Your career track is not based on 9-to-5,” Castro told the audience. “If you want to get ahead get in 20 minutes early and leave 20 minutes late, return e mails on the weekend and be available by cell phone.”

After her keynote address, Castro talked about why she decided to be a part of this event.  

“I share those things — getting in early, leaving late, dressing professionally, contributing and taking the difficult jobs, take the difficult assignment or the trip to hell no one wants to go to — those are easy to do when their children are not born or are older,” she said. “What I didn’t get to say today that I wanted to say was that if you become indispensable to your boss or supervisor then when you need to take the time out your boss will say, ‘it’s fine, how many hours can you give us?’ You will never get that response if you don’t care and you are only there for the paycheck. You show up, do your job and you leave. You don’t want to be bothered on the weekend. Those days are gone. The Internet and the email system has given our supervisors and our colleges access to us all the time so we have to accept that. It is a good tool for those of us who are ambitious and want to go places.”

Beth Meixner, founder and president of Moxxie, a mentoring and leadership group, shared her views on Castro’s speech.

“I respectfully disagree with Castro on the views she took on getting in early and staying late,” said Meixner. “The rules of business were created by men and women don’t have to fit into those rules. It suited them [men] personally, their skill sets and innate talents, but it doesn’t suit our own. It is like trying to put a square peg into a round hole. This is why many women have created their own businesses that are more family friendly.”

A lively dialogue ensured afterward which seemed to split along generational lines, with the younger members agreeing with Meixner.

Moderator of one panel, Diane Masciale, executive producer of WNET/WLIW 21 said overall the event was a wonderful experience for women of all ages.

“I think this is a very instructive event for women whether you are young or old or in between,” she said. “I am a woman leader, I run a business, I have a staff, yet I learned a lot of things from this conference that I can apply every day at work. I thought some of the comments from the panel were very informative, such as be your own person, don’t be afraid to be a woman and a leader, don’t say you’re sorry all the time, don’t use the word ‘just.’ This kind of conference where women come together, help one another, support one another and give advice is invaluable.”

Linda Armyn, senior vice-president of corporate stategy at Bethpage Federal Credit Union, said women lucky enough to witness the seminar walked away with some useful professional advice.

“This is a great event bringing a lot of smart people together to share ideas and help each of us become better,” said Armyn. “I have known Ms. Castro for 11 years and have worked closely with her and have seen her in action. She walks the walk, what she says is what she does. She is a very successful woman so even if you take a couple of her tips it can only make you better.”

News

One local playwright and his company — The Plainview Project — seem to be headed to the big leagues.

Claude Solnik of Plainview, the Plainview Project’s writer, is married with two children. While he has a master’s degree in dramatic writing from New York University, after graduating he ended up going into journalism, which currently remains his day job. But in his free time he indulged in his true passion, hammering out numerous play scripts until the day they he realized that he needed to stop sitting on these works he was creating and put them in the hands of actors that could give them life.

Even as they hoped the parties would reach a last-minute settlement, commuters across Long Island were scrambling last week to devise alternate plans for getting to work if Long Island Rail Road’s 5,400 workers go on strike July 20. And they were vocal in their anger with the Metropolitan Transit Authority. The strike, it seems, has roused commuter ire over a wide range of LIRR issues, from timeliness to cleanliness to costs.

“I’ll have to figure out a new way home from work,” said Marco Allicastro, a 20-year-old Queens resident waiting for a train home at the Bethpage station after a day’s work at the local King Kullen. “Long Island doesn’t really have a lot of options in terms of transportation. Maybe I should get a new job.”


Calendar

Sonny And Perley

Saturday, July 26

Women Artists You Should Know

Thursday, July 31

Adult Summer Reading Club

Through Aug. 7



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com