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Lillian McCormick

If you googled Lillian McCormick's name to find out more about her, you would discover there are several women with that name. However, the Port Washington Lillian McCormick stands out in many ways. There's her appearance at close to six feet tall and her southern accent which she hasn't lost after living most of her life north of Washington DC. She grew up in Florida, attended college in Missouri and North Carolina and in Pennsylvania she received her master in social work. More importantly her activist résumé spans almost her entire life, starting when she led protests against the racist policies of Stephens College where she attended.

On Sept. 17 at the Manhasset Bay Yacht Club starting at 6 p.m., Lillian McCormick will be honored for co-founding Women on the Job and leading that organization for 27 years as its executive director. She retired just this past December. Also in December a year ago, Women on the Job became a project of the Long Island Fund for Women & Girls. WOJ's work will continue under the direction of new executive director, Laurel Parker West. The office has moved from its longtime 382 Main Street location in Port Washington and can now be found in the historic Elias Hicks House in Jericho. If you visit the WOJ website www.womenonthejob.org you would see this mission statement: By offering Long Island women the resources, references and collective support of our task force coalition, we hope to provide them with the necessary tools for solving problems and finding new paths to progress in the workplace.

McCormick started this organization because she saw a need as she did with all of her many projects, including the first group home for children who could not live at home in 1973 , the first shelter for battered women on Long Island in 1979 and the renovation of a school which has become a model for usage as a community center and affordable senior housing, The Landmark on Main Street. In 1981 she founded Women on the Job, an education and advocacy organization addressing issues such as fair pay, sexual harassment and equal opportunity for advancement.

When asked why she chose women's workplace rights she responded that when WOJ was founded in 1981 the two paycheck family was not as prevalent as it is now and that many women were working in female dominated fields that were consistently undervalued and underpaid. She sought to correct systemic patterns of discrimination women experienced in the workplace through her work at WOJ. The name, Women on the Job, was thought up by Lillian's co-founder at WOJ and longtime friend, Charlotte Shapiro.

McCormick has always led causes that would benefit the disenfranchised and promote justice. She is the recipient of over 10 awards including the Long Islander of the Century 2000 from Newsday, the 2006 Barksdale Brown Award for Volunteer Accomplishments and Long Island Achievers Award, David K Kadane Leadership Award and Congressional Achievement Award. She has a record demonstrating that community opposition, myths and stereotypes can be overcome and is best known for reaching out to strong leaders rooted in the community to join the cause and strengthen the mission. As a result, McCormick has left in her wake positive results in many communities nationwide. Throughout the years, she has also directed and served numerous organizations including the United Community Chest of Port Washington, Women's Center in Port Washington, Mobilized Community Resources, Group House of Port Washington, Coalition Against Domestic Violence (first shelter for abused women on Long Island), Landmark on Main Street (affordable senior housing and community center) in Port Washington, the Family & Children's Association and more recently the LI Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (LICADD). When asked about her retirement, Lillian commented that "I'm working more now than ever. This is not really retirement but a way of moving on to other important things."

"Although McCormick has retired as executive director of Women on the Job, she leaves a legacy that will encourage those whose lives she has affected to follow her pursuit towards a just workplace for all women," said Fran Medaglia, McCormick's assistant. "Her work to achieve pay equity, equal opportunity for advancement, women's representation on corporate boards and in the trades, a zero tolerance for sexual harassment and helping women to know their rights will continue and be expanded to include other women's issues under the leadership of the Long Island Fund for Women & Girls."

If you would like to send a note of congratulations to McCormick that will be included in a Memory Book or would like to send a gift contribution to the Lillian McCormick Legacy Fund to continue the work of Women on the Job, please contact Fran Medaglia at (516) 396-9857 Ext. 9 or email wojtf1@optonline.net.


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