ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)—Not only is March Women’s History Month, but Wednesday is International Women’s Day.
“When you look at leadership, you want to see yourself reflected and that’s why we’re very, very focused on diversity everywhere, but you know women’s history month— let’s make sure women are at the front table,” said Roberta Reardon, New York State’s Labor Commissioner.
And they are, at least in New York State Government. For the first time ever, New York State has an elected female governor.
Kathy Hochul is showing women too can do the top job, but she’s not the only female helping to lead the state.
“There’s a real sisterhood in the cabinet, in the chamber, around the governor, and around state operations, that I love,” explained Jackie Bray, Commissioner of the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services.
The Commissioner of the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, the Commissioner of Labor, and the Senate Majority Leader are just a few of many women in powerful state positions.
Jackie Bray is the first female head of her department and at times, is the only woman in the room.
“If you’re a young woman and you want to get into a field that is dominated by men one, don’t be deterred, and two, find other women, create that sisterhood it will serve you really well.
Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins also made history.
“Never thought I’d be the leader. Didn’t aspire to. Obviously, no woman was a leader before me. But I was so happy that when an opportunity presented itself, it was presented by a male colleague and again, the majority of my members are still males—-that they had the confidence to do something different and to elect me and allow me to lead.
Stewart-Cousins said she is grateful for not only the progress women have made but for the men who support women in leadership roles.
Whether it be protecting from domestic threats, working to ensure equal pay, or working to codify reproductive rights in the state constitution, each of these leaders have goals to help better the lives of women in the state.
They shared advice for future female leaders.
“Don’t do the thing that’s comfortable. Do the thing that makes you reach beyond your comfort zone because that’s really where you test your strengths and learn about who you really are,” shared Reardon.
“I think that the future is bright for female leaders and I always tell people, just believe in yourself. Focus on what your goal is,” said advised Stewart-Cousins. “Don’t listen to someone who tells you you can’t achieve something because you can. If it’s for you, you will have it and just go full speed ahead.”