Four different Women - One passionate Voice
For the second year, I had the honor to be invited to moderate the annual Notable Women of New Jersey panel, organized by the Library of the Chathams, last March.
The guest panelists included Bonni Guerin, MD, an oncologist and hematologist and Director of Breast Cancer Treatment and Prevention at the Carol G. Simon Cancer Center at Overlook Medical Center;
Mila Jasey, representative of the 27th Legislative District in the New Jersey General Assembly as the Deputy Speaker, Chair of Higher Education Committee;
Ingrid Steffensen, former college professor, race car driving instructor and author of the book, Fast Girl: Don’t Brake Until You See the Face of God and Other Good Advice from the Racetrack; and
Kate Tomlinson, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of New Jersey Monthly and former congressional aide and researcher on Capitol Hill. She also worked as an economist at the U.S. International Trade Commission.
Every one of the panelists brought a different perspective on the current role of women and how their own experiences shaped them to become the successful professionals they are today. None of them traveled an easy road, choosing fields historically dominated by men.
More than fifty people attended the event, organized to celebrate International Women’s Month. Mila Jasey shared her story and how her background as a nurse gave her the necessary confidence to become an advocate for women’s and children’s health. On the current political situation, she highlighted the record number of women running for office and encouraged younger women to get more involved.
Dr. Guerin, who adopted three children -one of them with a learning disability- talked about her decision to become a single mother. Compassion and dedication are the main driving forces in her career and her personal life. Yet, balancing between motherhood and work isn’t always easy. She admitted that being a good listener and collaborator, traits she learned from her mother, are key elements when helping her patients.
After a long career in academia, Ingrid decided she needed to try something different. She got herself a helmet and took her beloved Mini to the racetrack. What happened afterwards was unstoppable: she discovered the addicting thrill of speed. Ingrid immersed herself into the world of men and cars, being sometimes the only woman ready to change a tire. Her experience will live forever in the pages of the memoir “Fast Girl”.