These are not ordinary times. What happened to George Floyd and other Black men and women in the past few months, as well as other Black men and women over the years, is unspeakable. As I have read and listened to others, I feel it is time for me to speak my truth. Before sending this out, I have read many stories and statements of others, wrote an initial draft, and circulated it among trusted colleagues to be sure my message is clear.
I am not Black, so I do not have the same knowledge or experience of what Blacks have gone through in navigating their lives. Yet, based on the stories I have read and my observations during my lifetime, I can honestly say I wholeheartedly support #BlackLivesMatter.
The turbulence of the past few months caused me to reflect on my experience – and my mission in life. If my story can help others in this time of need to find a possible path for inclusion, eliminate bias, and ensure diversity in the workplace and life, with the treatment of all as equal in rights as human beings and celebrate our differences, so we can come out of this crisis in a better place.
For many years I have done my work to empower my clients to see their worth and help showcase it to get the job they want. I help people step into their own space, and I enable them to articulate the unique gifts they offer to potential employers by creating career documentation to get them the job they want. That is my role as a Resume Writer and sometimes Career Coach. Even in these times, I see that as my mission in life – and I am currently empowering diverse leaders (including Black senior leaders) to grow in their careers at the highest levels in government and industry.
As a White female, I was born to a middle-class family and had the privilege of an MIT education. I have never been poor, have always had the money for my next meal, and a roof over my head.
That said, I have experienced and survived discrimination. I am likely on the autism spectrum, which has manifested itself in being teased and physically attacked up through high school and bullied at work. After graduating from college, I took a job and moved up the ladder at a Fortune 500 company. However, in the end, they fired me since they were not ready to promote a woman to the next level. I consulted a lawyer who advised me that it might take years of litigation to protest their decision, so I decided to pass. Years later, at another large company, I stood up for myself and other women against overt discrimination and possible criminal harassment against women, and I hired a lawyer. I resolutely withstood the substantial harassment from the company explicitly directed at me that followed, which in the end resulted in change. For the first time, all the company’s employees received Diversity and Inclusion training. I, along with other women, got the promotions to management or senior engineering/scientist levels we richly deserved without having to sleep with the boss. Later, likely directly from my actions, which changed the company culture, the company chose a female Chief Executive Officer, who following a subsequent merger, became the CEO of a Fortune 500 company.
I am Jewish and have grown up always knowing about the Holocaust. Some of my relatives, including my great-grandmother, perished in the concentration camps. My parents sponsored refugee relatives who had survived the concentration camps to relocate to the United States, including a cousin and her daughter, who lived with us until they could find their own home. I grew up knowing their stories. I remember the horror I felt when my cousin explained why she had a tattooed number on her arm. I knew many people who had changed their names, so they would not be discriminated against when they applied for jobs, including my grandmother’s family. Additionally, many of my friends, my Aunt, and several of my cousins had nose jobs so they would not have a “Jewish nose” to avoid discrimination. I did not have a “Jewish nose,” so I felt lucky about that. Note, growing up in a community with many other Jews, I was mostly insulated from discrimination at the time. However, still, non-Jewish bullies called me names not suitable for publication here.
As an adult, I traveled to Israel with my Grandmother and other cousins to explore our roots, where I met many other relatives who had survived the Holocaust and had eventually relocated to Israel. During my life, I have taken a stand for Judaism. I led a Hadassah Chapter. The international Hadassah organization selected me as one of their 20 Hadassah Young Leaders, and they sponsored me for an incredible second journey to Israel. Additionally, I supported my sister and her wife during her advocacy for same-sex marriage.
As a sole proprietor without employees, I do not have employee policies. However, I have inclusively hired and mentored Black contractors and interns for my business during my nearly 15 years in business. Additionally, I have regularly donated my time to write resumes and provide interview coaching at homeless shelters with mostly Black residents. I firmly believe it is my mission to empower people (regardless of their race, religion, country of origin, disabilities, or sexual orientation) to give them a voice to their own stories to get the job they want. I will continue to support efforts to remove discrimination and increase inclusion in the workplace and all other aspects of life.