AARP Foundation Women’s Scholarship Program deadline is 03/30! Learn more about eligibility requirements or apply online, http://ow.ly/9cgwu
Nominations and applications are now being accepted for the Business Awards Program. To nominate a business http://ow.ly/95eiU
Interested in interesting girls in STEM careers? Then join http://ow.ly/92ach
The Indiana Commission for Women wants feedback from every county in Indiana regarding our Hoosier INsight initiative. This includes conducting 17 women’s issues listening sessions throughout the state, and also gathering information through our online survey. During the sessions, we allowed participants to list anything and everything women struggle with on a regular basis, be it transportation, childcare, healthcare, etc. Using the lengthy list, participants used three stickers (votes), to prioritize the top *three issues for them. When the group’s top three issues were identified, the participants broke into 3 small focus groups to consider a series of questions in order to start developing a plan of action for how we should work to overcome these challenges in Indiana:
1. What are the critical components of this issue?
2. What should be addressed first?
What’s in Place Now?
3. Are there any existing programs in place to help solve this issue?
4. Are there any agencies or organizations who currently deal with this issue?
Who should be involved?
5. Who are the people/organizations that should be involved in this issue?
6. Who should be responsible for strategizing ideas and implementing solutions for this issue?
7. How can the community work on solving this issue?
8. Is this an issue that should be addressed statewide? How?
9. What resources are needed to work on this issue?
10. What are the next that should be taken to address this issue?
To view the participant responses, you can visit our Hoosier INsight page. A compilation of the results from both the listening sessions and the online survey will be available, when we receive feedback from all 92 counties. We have received feedback from 74 counties. If you can help us spread the survey to the 18 remaining counties, we would greatly appreciate your help! We need responses from Benton, Clinton, Pike, Orange, Fulton, Grant, Jackson, Jasper, Marshall, Miami, Montgomery, Noble, Newton, Putnam, Starke, Switzerland, Vermillion, and Wabash. Copy and paste the following website to get feedback from more Hoosier women! https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/WomensIssues2011 All responses are anonymous.
*Some smaller groups chose to only focus on the top two or top one issue.
You can make a difference in your community by volunteering your time, talent or treasure to the issues that matter most to you. Even if you start out volunteering once a year or once a month, giving back or paying it forward can truly have an effect on your life and the lives of others.
Helping any organization has to do with three things: time, talent and treasure. If you are short on time, think of donating regularly to an organization you support. If you are short on money, giving your time to listen to someone, roll up your sleeve to lend a hand or help to build a home can be one of the most important things you can do. If you have talent, consider ways to share it with an organization. Talent can take many forms. If you have expertise like strategic planning, financial management or programmings, seek out ways to serve on a board of directors or a committee.
Volunteering is not something you can blow off if something better comes along…it is like any other job. Treat it as such. If you tell an organizer you will be somewhere at a certain time, honor your commitment. Someone is counting on you! If you do have a conflict and cannot keep your commitment to serve, make sure to let someone know ASAP. If you lend a hand during a special event, make meals to feed the hungry, or read to children at the library, add these relevant activities to your resume. Employers will value your willingness to volunteer.
Many organizations are always looking for dedicated volunteers. To choose the right one for you, look into organizations with a focus on something you care about. For example, you recently noticed there is a need for female mentors your area; check out organizations that already offers these services such as Girls Inc., the Girl Scouts of America, or volunteer to coach a girls’ sports team. Many young women and girls are joining STEM clubs to promote Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Discoveries Unlimited, in the Valparaiso area, is a mentoring organization that provides a unique mentoring program for girls interested in the STEM subjects.
If you are really serious about your volunteer work, consider joining a volunteer organization such as the United Way or Junior League. The United Way is an international organization with affiliates working in local communities throughout Indiana. These organizations can lead you to a local nonprofit that needs your help and that meets your needs as a volunteer. The Junior League is an international women’s organization, “committed to promoting volunteerism, developing the potential of women and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers.” There are local leagues in Evansville, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, and South Bend. These women form strategic partnerships, create innovative programs and raise funds for exciting initiatives in their communities.
Many volunteers are great leaders. Volunteerism exposes people to new situations and challenges, requires creativity, and practicing real compassion. If someone has ever helped you or given you something when you had nothing, you should pay it forward. This is how we make the world a better place. Even one little act of kindness can change someone.
Anne Jacoby emanates personal strength and empowerment. From a young age she learned the value of dignity, respect, rights and limitations. When she was five years old, her father was in a car accident that left him paralyzed in a time prior to the Americans with Disabilities Act. “He set the framework that we really do have control over our own destiny and we can go as far as we want.” That experience set the framework for the rest of her life.
Anne’s mother subsequently went back to school to become a teacher and took on a professional role when there weren’t a lot of professional women. “As I get older I really look back on my mom and say wow – you were a role model for women.” Her experience and her family taught her not to stereotype roles according to gender and to instead look at what roles fit that person’s needs and desires.
Anne went onto become a very accomplished professional woman herself. Most recently she was the assistant vice president of Community Services at Vincennes University and executive director of the Area 13 Agency on Aging. She reflects on her time as an executive director with nostalgia, “I was really paid for a passion I have…our bosses were the people we were serving, not the people paying our paychecks.”
With all of the achievements in her life, Anne professes that her greatest accomplishment has been her daughters. “It will always be our daughters. That we were able to raise them to be individuals, to stand on their own two feet, [and to] not look at mistakes as mistakes, but as opportunities for learning.”
Anne loved her professional life, but knew that it was time for her next adventure. She is now retired, but still lives a life of purpose and feels strongly about making Indiana a better place to live, work, and raise a family. She is currently serving as treasurer for the Indiana Commission for Women (ICW) and is passionate about making tomorrow better than today.
In her role as a commissioner for ICW, she is hopeful about the future. “We might be small in the scope of the world, but we are mighty and we are mighty because there are still needs out there that we need to address and we are going to stay true to our mission and values.” While she recognizes that some may feel frustrated that we aren’t moving as fast as they think we can or should, we are still making progress. She is quick to point out that “The progress we’ve made is strong and stable and it’s mission driven.”
Anne hopes that one day we will be able to live in a world where life is viewed through the needs of individuals and that we no longer categorize things according to gender, race, or disability. She would like to see an environment where there is no longer a glass ceiling, there is equitable pay, and where policies in the workplace are gender neutral.
She knows that there are times in life that require that you go out on a limb, to be strong, and to be willing to express what may not always be a popular viewpoint. She encourages women to do just that. “We should be telling our elected officials what we want. It shouldn’t be what the hierarchy is saying we want…Women need to have a voice.”
Women in Indiana have an important role to play. You can make a difference by:
- Voicing your opinion
- Serving as an advocate for women
- Pursuing higher education
- Mentoring another woman
- Learning more about the issues that affect women in Indiana.
Go to www.in.gov/icw to learn more about the Indiana Commission for Women and their current initiatives.
Last month, the Indiana Commission for Women (ICW) traveled to Bedford, Elkhart and Lafayette to participate in Advancing Women in Business as the closing presentation. These one-day seminars focused on entrepreneurship and featured successful women business owners from the local community. Presented by the Lt. Governor and the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs and sponsored by the Indiana Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and local Chambers of Commerce, the seminars were a great opportunity to learn, network and engage with other women interested in making a difference here in Indiana! As the Lt. Governor stated in a recent newsletter recapping the seminars:
“It’s always encouraging to me to see so many women who are making their mark on the business community. Indiana needs every one of us to do our part, so we can put an end to these difficult economic times, and move forward into a new time of prosperity.”
Women business owners are definitely doing their part to make Indiana a better place to live work and raise a family. In January 2011, ICW published two fact sheets – Women-Owned Businesses in Indiana and Women-Owned Business in the Great Lakes Region – based on the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2007 Survey of Business Owners which had been released in July 2010. According to this survey, approximately 129,500 women-owned businesses in Indiana account for 27% of all businesses in the state and generate over $20 billion in sales and receipts.
The Indiana Minority & Women Business Enterprises (MWBE) list nearly 1,400 certified Women-Owned Businesses in Indiana. These businesses qualify for MBE/WBE subcontracting opportunities on state contracts in Indiana and receive notification of state business opportunities. Next week, the MWBE is holding its Central Indiana Resources Fair on Tuesday, July 12, at the Indiana Government Conference Center. This matchmaking event is a great way for business owners to speak directly with buyers from the public and private sector and gather essential resources that can assist them in winning their next contracting opportunity. For more information or to register, go to: http://www.in.gov/idoa/2352.htm. We hope to see you there!
Resources exist to help individuals with a great idea for a small business. The SBDC provides assistance to entrepreneurs at every stage of business development while local Chambers of Commerce work with their communities to enhance economic development opportunities. Other nonprofit organizations like NAWBO-Indianapolis and the Women’s Bureau in Fort Wayne are also available to help women succeed in business. NAWBO-Indianapolis’s mission is to impact, influence and propel Indiana to be a leading state for women-owned businesses. The Women’s Enterprise at the Women’s Bureau works to promote the growth of women-owned businesses through programs that offer business counseling, mentoring, training and technical, financial, and procurement assistance. For more business resources or upcoming events focused on women business owners, go to the ICW Business page.