I have a unique scientific background and innate skills set that I believe make me qualified to run for political office.
My Masters in Biochemistry and a working Doctorate without thesis in Neuropharmacology prepared me for work in two Manufacturing Multinational Corporations.
I was hired to become Ford’s expert in Paint in 1976. I headed the task force implementing Ford’s anti-corrosion program. Integrating 300 new products, along with their specifications for best manufacturing practices. To follow the process from conception to implementation, I started a weekly newsletter to track Dept. Heads and their progress toward product implementation. Once the products were implemented, I fine tuned our process by redesigning all sheet metal for cars and trucks, after which I received a commendation from the Ford operating committee. I loved working in the plants; it became part of me and I aspired to be a plant manager. At 37 yrs of age in 1979 male chauvinist America, this was a laughable desire. I wasn’t asking for immediate promotion, merely a path toward my goal. I had no options left and sought employment elsewhere.
I scoured the papers and found a Headhunter who worked for Pfizer Pharmaceuticals and wrote her of my wish to return to work in NY. She found me a job at Pfizer’s Brooklyn Plant in Williamsburg. I became the Manager of Diagnostic Products. My scientific skills plus a keen analytical mind helped me streamline their production, making it profitable for sale to Warner Lambert. I was a tough compassionate manager and had no problems understanding the manufacturing process. One error on the line becomes many errors; I was taught to correct and control the process on a continuous basis. Through my efforts, Diagnostics went from a loss to profit.
Both Ford and Pfizer were employee centered. Employees were treated with respect and time was taken to train and assure that employees were able to follow procedures. Our goal was zero defects and zero accidents. At Pfizer my department’s accident rate achieved zero!
Unlike Ford, Pfizer was non union. However, they paid union wages and benefits and had a commitment toward maintaining an inquisitive thinking work force. Generations of families worked for both companies.
My manufacturing background increased my knowledge base. I was now capable of managing hundreds of people and implemented many facility improvements. At Ford, I recommended and they built a $180 million painting facility for cars. I thought I’d stay at Pfizer. I’ve seen politics at work in science and industry and noted the characteristics of the managers I wanted to emulate. They never raised their voice; they knew their business and when they found problems in the manufacturing process, they corrected them instantly before cars or pharmaceutical products were destroyed. At both places, I had the authority to stop a line from running, with cause. Taking charge of situations was not new to me. I was trained to think analytically, to understand the system and to control it cost effectively. That was half of my responsibility. People’s well being and their ability to perform in a demanding environment was an on ongoing responsibility. No one wanted a disgruntled or ineffective employee. I treated my employees with respect and compassion.
Next, I was recruited to work for Bankers Trust . They met my salary demands and hired me as a Vice President in charge of three diverse groups, which I acknowledged, after resolving their individual problems, should have been broken up and absorbed into more appropriate corporate departments. When you’re working in banking, money is fluid. The accountability I had in manufacturing was lacking in our Mercantile Bank. I changed that with an order from the Chairman of the Board.
On my watch, I had eight direct reports, including an Assistant Vice President and hundreds managed by me, as their Department Head. We found the error in the brokerage system causing our losses. We also uncovered five instances of fraud, that the Bank could choose to prosecute. In 1986, I found the “same” movement of “dead accounts”, that Mary Jo White found 15 yrs later. I was listed in Marquis’s Who’s Who Of American Women and Who’s Who Of American Bankers.
I left Banking in 1986 and entered the family business. We were Union Flooring Contractors. My Dad and Mother, though young, were not in good health. Smoking four packs of cigarettes a day killed my father at 75. Until he died, he and my Mom were a team. They drove to work everyday in separate cars; she was the bookkeeper and he was the boss. It was hard work. He put in 12-hour days, getting contracts, assigning labor, and purchasing material. We had 100% accountability for our labor and materials. When I came into the business, it took me one year to implement technology and less than a year to find and fire Dad’s foreman for theft. I, too, worked long hours and for less pay than I received at Bankers. However, I had teenage kids and was happy to work with my parents. I was part of the “squeezed” generation. Teenage kids needed as much supervision and nurturing as any job or parents. When they were younger, as a single parent , I took them with me to all my schools and jobs, familiarizing them with my life and work.
What have I learned on my path to leadership?
I interacted with agencies of government both at Bankers and at my place of business, Merit Carpets , Inc. I bid federal contracts and worked with many of the NYC agencies and the Federal Government. I know how to bring about win-win negotiations. I am a unique candidate and have gained a lifetime of skills that lend themselves to political office.
I was raised and taught to conduct my personal and business life with honesty and integrity. I have compassion and respect for all people and I have great respect for the Rule of Law. And I’ve worked with all ethnic groups. My Dad’s shop was a first stop for immigrants entering our great nation. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why I don’t fear or hate people who are not like me.
I’ve experienced anti-Semitism and I have been held back professionally as a woman. Yet I’ve never stopped persevering and moving forward in spite of these difficulties. I’ve never let anything stop me from pursuing any goal!
I feel the same today. After writing about some of the things I’ve accomplished in my lifetime, I realize how capable and prepared I am to pursue a life in politics. And I know that together, my Friends, we can change our “State of Inequality”.