Interested in having Matt as Master of Ceremonies, Celebrity Auctioneer or another role for your event?
Interested in having Matt visit your school group? Visit coordinators...
Interested in having Matt as Master of Ceremonies, Celebrity Auctioneer or another role for your event?
Interested in having Matt visit your school group? Visit coordinators...
As with any speech I give, the actual delivery deviated slightly from time-to-time from the script.
Welcome – and thank you for welcoming me. Thank you for extending to me the opportunity to rewrite YWCA history, simply by inviting me to stand on this stage and honor you – our Women of Achievement in the Merrimack Valley. You see, from what Kathleen tells me, when we look back on the history of keynote speakers from the two dozen years this luncheon has been held, my face, it turns out, will be like that one conspicuous item in the old Sesame Street game - “One of these things is not like the other.” So, the pressure is on: I'd better represent. We have 12 amazing women we're paying tribute to here today...all of whom will blow you out of the water...and for the men – I'm our one shot in 24 years. And I'm a weatherman, no less. The fate of more than two decades of my gender's image at this event rests on the shoulders of a man who, as described by countless fellow shoppers I've met at Walmart and the grocery store, can be wrong 50% of the time and still keep his job, and who gets paid to lie to millions of people, nightly. We're in trouble.
Of course, in so many ways, I'd like to think I'm the perfect “man for the job,” so to speak, because I recognize, first and foremost, that I would not be here today – nor be even a shadow of the man I am – without women just like the ones we're here to honor. You are my mothers, grandmothers, aunts, cousins, close friends, bosses, teachers, the mother of my child and you are the women beside this man. I am the child who grew up with a plaque his mother hung on his bedroom wall that held the words of Hodding Carter, who was, when I was born in 1979, still “Anonymous.” Those words read, “There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One of these is roots, the other, wings.” That quote stayed on my bedroom wall until the day my mother moved out of the house – through elementary school, middle school, high school and college. And before I came to see you today, somewhere between her loving wishes for the luck of a golden tongue and reminding me of the important goals still ahead of the modern day woman, she reminded me of those words, yet again, some 34 years after hanging them on my wall. So, in a very real sense, there is no man better – though very likely others equally suited – to stand before you today and have the sincerity to say, “Thank you for my roots, and thank you for my wings.” In those words of appreciation, however, I hope you hear the echo of generations of men and women alike – nearly all of whom would not have been the people they were, left the impact they did and made this world a better place if not for the roots and wings of innumerable women history books may have forgotten, but the heartbeat of every family and each individual never has, and never will.
This day is in no way, shape or form about me, but understandably, as the first man to stand before the YWCA Tribute to Women Luncheon, you may want to know a bit about who I am. I'm the son of a State Trooper and a School Teacher, born and raised in Haverhill, who went away to school and then came back home to settle one half of a mile down the road from the house I grew up in. I wanted, more than anything, to be a State Trooper like my Dad when I was a child, but even through my high school years at Phillips Academy in Andover he'd plead, “Please don't be a State Trooper.” And I'm not – but my respect and love for those who are is unparalleled. I always had a love for sharing...I suppose I was brought up to cherish that feeling that warms your soul when you share something you love dearly with others, and perhaps there's no better way to describe what my mother, a school teacher, has done – sharing the knowledge she so passionately held dear, knowing she was sharing with each student the key that can unlock so many doors in life. I know, just as well as anyone, how she cherished that love of sharing and teaching, because, as it turned out, my Mom was my homeroom teacher from second grade through eighth [explain how that happened]. Seriously - a father who was a State Trooper, my mother as my teacher for all of those years - I'm still waiting to have my first drink. After high school, I'd take that penchant for knowledge and sharing knowledge west by about 350 miles to Cornell University, in Upstate New York, where the wanna-be State Trooper mentality would help a young man who was neither a gifted mathematician nor physicist push through a Meteorology Bachelors of Science curriculum that was heavily calculus and physics based.
I still remember the college application process with lucid clarity: it started when I determined in my junior year of high school that, indeed, I would respect my father's pleas and cast intentions of a career in law enforcement aside, at least for the time being. The abandonment of that childhood dream led to some soul searching – how often, I wondered, had I seen my parents come home entirely happy at the end of the day? Though I believe my Mother's penchant for teaching, and my Father's dedication to right wrongs where he could fueled both of them from their cores, I couldn't say that either came home in love with their jobs. Of course, I was well aware by 11th grade that there are truly very few who come home enamored with their job at the end of most days – but I wanted to be one of the few. My hobby had always been tracking the weather, ever since Hurricane Gloria blasted through in 1986, and a seven year old boy stood transfixed in the front doorway, ignoring Mom's repetitive pleas to stay away from the glass window, and instead watching the trees bend...then break, our driveway and street wash out, my Dad's apple tree split and the power to our home fail for what would be an eight day stretch that inspired the purchase of a generator that still powers that house to this day. Somewhere in my sophomore year at Phillips Academy, I wrote in our required daily journal: “I love the weather, but I'd never do that for a job. I'll be a doctor, or a State Trooper.” Sometime prior to my Senior year it hit me - the key was to make my hobby my job. Maybe then, I could love what I do everyday.
That same year, my college counselor at Andover sat me down to have a frank talk about what schools were within reach, and what schools were not. Cornell University, he told me, was not. Not only was the school unlikely to accept me, but the combination of my weakness in math and struggles in some of my classes made me such a poor candidate that I need not even apply for acceptance. Of course, this young man, just starting to come into his own and raised with the respect of his roots but curiosity of how high his wings could take him, was not going to give up without even trying to fly in the first place. So, I applied. My parents knew of the counselor's advice, and fully supported the application – I had nothing to lose. I was accepted Early Decision. I'm not sure I'll ever know what the factor that tipped the scale was – perhaps my time rowing on Andover's Crew and my intention to do the same in college helped. Maybe it was one or both of the interviews I had – I remember the first interview was a general Cornell University interview with an alumni. In that first interview, I did what I always did when talking with anyone – without planning or scheming, I took an honest and genuine interest in the other person's life. I asked the man interviewing me about his son, and that led to a conversation about his son's coursework, social life and childhood. Before I knew it, the interview was over, and I hadn't said much more than the cursory introduction of myself – the rest of the time, I had listened. As the interviewer looked at his watch he proclaimed, “Matt, I've really enjoyed talking with you – this has been my favorite interview all day!” Thereafter, I'd meet with the Meteorology Faculty at Cornell and I'll never forget sitting across from the professor as he looked me in the eye, leaned in and asked, “Are you good at math and physics? Because in meteorology, you have to excel in both.” Now, remember, those were my weakest subjects. I paused, met his stare and said with all the confidence I could muster – some genuine and much more feigned – I replied, “I'm good enough.”
As it turns out, I was just barely good enough. Of the three advanced calculus classes I'd need, I failed twice and withdrew once in my time at Cornell, making it six tries to get my three successes, one of which was actually accomplished during a summer session at Northern Essex Community College, where I understood more in that one semester of calculus education than I did in the other five combined at Cornell.
Though my lack of proficiency in advanced mathematics may explain the quality of my forecasts from time to time, I share these stories – of the college counselor, the interviews, and the calculus classes – because, while standing in front of you today, one of these things may not *seem* like the other, there are deeply engrained, unforgettable life lessons we share. Anyone who has found success – man or woman – has likely been told somewhere along the line, “you can't.” In fact, not only “you can't,” but furthermore, “don't even bother trying.” Though at times I wonder if masochism was a contributing factor in pushing forward, I think we all know it's something deeper that drives us – it's the challenge to rise up and do something unexpected by the mainstream, but fully within the realm of our dreams, hopes and...therefore...our expectations. And anyone who's achieved something great – whether man or woman – has likely failed at times in the pursuit. We know, collectively and individually, that it's the bitter failure that accentuates our sweet success in the end.
In a perfect world, the story could stop here. Acknowledging and recognizing that hard work, dedication, dreams and a strong heart are the tools to get us where we want to be, and are sufficient to realize even the wildest imagination, we would smile and part as new friends, united by a passionate common cause to make the world better by turning vision to action. That's the world in all of our hearts and souls, and that's the world I was raised in – where neither gender, nor color, race, ethnicity, sexuality, social class or any other attribute matters, just as long as your character is upstanding and your heart is pure. Someday – perhaps if my three year old son, Brandon, is ever asked to speak here, that will be the world we live in. I'd like to think it will not take until my grandchild. We cannot deny, however, that the cold and harsh reality of the world we live in falls far short of the ideals in our hearts and souls, and hopefully, that we demonstrate in our homes. Those ideals are beautiful, and growing up enveloped in them dons a pair of glasses that are a beautiful rose shade, which can last years until the realization that not all around us see the world with the same hue.
The reality is, modern day America has come a long way, in so many respects, and I think few would deny that. That said, in some respects, it seems time has stood still. While yesterday marked the 50th Anniversary of the Equal Pay Act, signed by President John F. Kennedy with the intent to eliminate wage discrimination based upon gender, all is not equal in modern day America. No doubt everyone in this audience has heard the statistic that women are paid 77 cents to the dollar earned by men. 50 years later and we still haven't achieved pay equality? Perhaps it's not as bad as it seems, argue others – when accounting for factors such as occupation, experience, and time outside the labor force to care for children, the Department of Labor found that women earn 95% as much as men do. The median salary of single, childless women under the age of 30 was 8% higher than their male counterparts, determined the analytics firm Reach Advisors in 2010, largely because more women are going to college than men. It should be noted: that is quite literally the only group of women who have a pay advantage - single, childless women under the age of 30 - and the American Association of University Women has found when we account for education level, that pay advantage disappears. Once children enter the equation, the statistics very clearly show women fall behind in earnings. Some have drawn the conclusion from these pieces of data that no gender gap exists – it's simply different choices, not discrimination, that have led to differing wages.
One thing you learn in my profession of meteorology, however, is it's easy to get lost in the numbers. In a science that requires intense calculations of ever-changing atmospheric parameters that can produce dramatically different results depending upon the information used in that calculus, you come to learn that individual numbers and statistics are useful and necessary, but can never override the benefit of viewing an evolving weather system on the larger, global scale. The “big picture,” so to speak. And the big picture on women in modern America and the world yields the following:
Perhaps as a bright note, the median male vs. female earnings for a non-managerial role has seen the gap close to 8%, and on its current pace, is expected to close in the year 2040. Some 77 years after the Equal Pay Act was signed.
Woman executive officers in Fortune 500 companies have virtually stagnated in recent years at just over 14%. In our nation's top 200 companies, women's representation in executive roles have actually dropped slightly over the last decade, totaling only 8%, with almost half of the top 200 companies in America seeing executive management entirely comprised of men
Six of those top 200 businesses have a woman as the chief executive, 92% of the directors are male
In law firms, women comprise 19.5% of partners.
In the public sector, we're doing a bit better – women now make up 38% of senior executives, 46% of lower level managers and 31% of judges and magistrates, according to the Bureau of Statistics
But, again, enter the concept of family: The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has seen a steady increase in pregnancy and maternity discrimination charges since the late 1990s
40% of moms are breadwinners – and the majority of those are single moms
Men work twice as long as women in paid employment, women work twice as long as men, unpaid, at home
92% of elderly citizens being cared for by a family member are cared for by their daughter, rather than a son
Worldwide, two thirds of the 774 million adult illiterates are women – the same proportion seen over the last 20 years
Worldwide, women account for just over 25% of all scientific researchers
14% of our world's nation leaders are women and, of course, we're still waiting here in America
Of course, we are still waiting for the Equal Rights Amendment to be passed, and that's enough to shatter anyone's rose colored glasses. Introduced in 1923, the Equal Rights Amendment has three, fairly simple sections:
Section 1: Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.
Section 2: The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
Section 3: This ammendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.
This proposed amendment to the United States Constitution would guarantee equality under the law for women. In the 1970s, it came close to the ratification. By the early 1980s, the work of Phyllis Schlafly - a Radcliffe graduate – is credited with providing sufficient opposition to stop the amendment dead in its tracks. Among the chief concerns expressed were that this Amendment would:
Jeopardize the traditional family (considering one of the most popular shows in America today is “Modern Family,” I think we've seen a shift in what was considered traditional, and it has not brought our society crashing down)
Remove legal protection of wives
Subject women to the military draft
Remove barriers to women in combat
Promote abortion on demand
Open the door to homosexual marriage
Require that public restrooms be unisex
In recent years, we've seen many of these fears and concerns play out as reality, and indeed, the new normals in our society, and this has been much to the delight of many men and women alike, not to the detriment of society. In today's 113th Congress, with a record though still underrepresented delegation of women – 20 senators and 81 representatives, for a total of 20% and 19%, respectively – the Equal Rights Amendment has been reintroduced, as it has been every year since 1982. And it has yet to be passed.
Of course, I'm well aware that I make my living on the same silver screen that plays a major contributing role in defining women in our modern society. From unequal screen time in movies to TV shows, to the trend toward sexy presentation in the television industry of even the daily news, it's no secret that sex sells. That's not to say that the television industry, and particularly the news industry, are selling women out. In fact, I'm proud to say that women are a huge part of the management branch at a station like NECN – my Vice President/Station Manager is a woman...as is my News Director, my Managing Editor, my Executive Producer and several of our Producers. These are accomplished, intelligent, proud women who make a powerful positive impact not only shaping the daily delivery of news and information to our public everyday, but also serve as role models for young women and girls looking at the television news industry and immediately seeing that, without question, you can run the show – figuratively and literally. But there's also no denying that women in our industry – like in so many industries – feel the pull and push of a culture of objectivity. One of the first examples women on-air in the television industry will raise as evident sexism by the viewing public, at large, is the frequent feedback received by viewers that revolves around clothing. Criticism and support, alike, flows in via email, letters and phone calls, based almost solely upon the clothing, makeup or hair the women in our industry broadcast. The initial estimate of some women in television will be to draw the contrast with males, who receive feedback based upon the merit of their work, instead. I have a secret that's not really a secret to most men in broadcast: the vast majority of the feedback I receive from viewers is about....my clothing, hair and style. So, rest assured that shallow and superficial judgement is doled out equally when in a business of presentation.
It's what's far more subtle, but far more damaging, that is the difference between how women and men are viewed in my industry. You see it when countless men stop me in public to discuss the physique of the women I work beside. You see it when countless women stop me in public to discuss how much the men in their lives like the physique of the women that I work with. Excitement abounds over the sexy nature of women in our industry, and it's reached a point where it's not only accepted, but actually seems to be considered cute by the women in their lives. Now, that's OK when it really is just cute – surely there are a large number of people who find a newscaster attractive or appealing – male or female – and when simply expressed as a fun admiration, no harm, no foul. The deeper issue is that, when examining the media industry, at large, an interesting trend appears. Social media – specifically Facebook and Twitter – have made for an interesting study to the size of a following individual talent have, at least in the online community. So, a few months ago, before I was invited to speak with you today, I set out on a bit of a fact-finding mission of my own: I focused only on my specific sector of broadcasting, meteorology, a science in which Masters and Doctorate degrees can be earned. I looked at both men and women who are broadcasters of meteorology, on the local, regional and national level, and I set out to find – what makes for the largest following? I was not surprised at the results, but surely somewhat saddened to see just how crystal clear they were – the greatest following for men went to those who shared almost solely weather information: reports of tornadoes, thoughts on how a weather situation would evolve, and the like. Women who followed the same course of action had the least followers of woman broadcast meteorologists, while those who posted pictures of themselves, their outfits, cute poses and information about their lives garnered the most. Not as many as the weather information male counterparts, but by far and away the most among women online. The comments for the male meteorologists ranged from questions about the forecast to formation of weather systems, and while the comments for the female meteorologists were not devoid of such inquiry, the majority addressed the pictures or snippets of personal life that had been posted and shared.
It's a more confounding question that one might initially think to ask: what is it that women are supposed to do? Though the television industry is one example, surely we know women face a similar conundrum in industries across the board – an increasing number of daughters are being taught, thankfully, to cherish themselves and their identity and their intelligence and embrace who they are as a well-rounded person....but what do we tell these young women, even those who hold true to these ideals as they enter the working world, only to find that those who are “doing it right,” so to speak, are meeting with less success and less acknowledgement? On principle, we can say, “just keep holding strong – you are an inspiration and a role model whether you know it or not,” but even the most principled person has to see that if it is a woman's goal to reach as many people with this philosophy as she can, but societal expectations are limiting who she can reach by adhering to these ideals, then eventually she faces a true identity crisis. We see countless women augmenting their dresses to fit their bodies tightly, or augmenting their bodies to fill their dresses, and on principle one can raise issue, but in practice, one also has to concede that pressure to do so is immense when we see the public respond to these changes by watching, by encouraging and by increasing popularity based on looks rather than merit.
The damaging end result spreads farther than first glance might acknowledge – in a culture of objectification that only exacerbates that very real crisis of identity. Are we, to go back to the Hodding Carter quote, giving our daughters roots, but living in a society ready to clip their wings when they really try to spread them with grace and dignity? Of course, we can ask this question of both daughters and sons, and the questions revolve around:
Body image versus objectification: We hope that our children – boys and girls – and adults, men and women alike, value themselves based upon their character, but we also hope they are proud of themselves, comfortable in who they are, and have positive body image. At the same time, we contribute to the success of those who are beautiful, furthering their popularity and notoriety, sometimes only or mostly because they are beautiful – it seems this is a mixed message to send.
Self-respect versus sexism: We surely want our children to grow up with a healthy respect for themselves and their peers, regardless of gender, and we encourage them not to give in to sexual pressure...but I can tell you the number of young people is quite high – and only growing steadily among young adults – that have shared stories of uncomfortable positions they've been in and compromising decisions they've made, in an attempt to feel accepted and acknowledged. Though I see this in both sexes, there's no question it's stronger in young women, and the numbers not only are rising in recent years, but some of the decisions and activities our young people are engaging in are downright dangerous, all in an effort to be accepted in an over-sexed society.
Family versus career: We teach our children, sons and daughters, alike, to be good family members. “Teach your children well” is a virtue we hope to pass down to our kids, and we stress the importance of strong family values and being great parents. Aren't we setting up a juxtaposition here, though, when we're stressing these values on our daughters and girls, only to be raising them in a world where, if they make that so-called “decision” to raise a family, they will likely find a significant roadblock to their career, and a reduction to their pay over a career? We need to work together and move forward to eliminate these roadblocks, so the virtues of family we instill don't have to be mutually exclusive to a woman having a successful career. One of the greatest accomplishments – perhaps THE greatest accomplishment – of the women we're here to honor today, is nearly all of them have found a way to straddle that line – to walk that tightrope – finding tremendous success in their professions, and also being loving members of our community and their families. This is an extremely difficult balance for the modern woman to find, one we need to make easier to find in our society, and one that we honor these women of achievement for today.
Leadership versus the demographic of leaders: This probably is self evident from the statistics on women in leadership roles I shared earlier, but again, we are planting the roots of strong leadership and initiative in our girls and young women, encouraging them to lead but accepting an elected leadership that has less than 20% female leadership. As I mentioned, worldwide the percentage of woman leaders is even smaller – so we are encouraging our young women to lead, but presenting a very limited number of leading woman role models.
These issues are still very much alive, not just in this room, not just in this speech, but in the everyday lives of the women of our lives. As an example, last night I shared with my friends and family on Facebook that I'd be here today, delivering this speech. I'm Blessed to have a large number of extremely intelligent, thoughtful, motivated women in my life, and I reached out to those women to ask: what is it that YOU'D want to get across to the group, if you were giving the speech. Their answers illustrate the road ahead for our society, and echo some of the thoughts I've shared with you. For instance:
The first was succinct and to the point: “Equal pay for women.”
“Women will not be equal at work until men are equal at home. ...It's critical to have men saying that they want to be actively involved with their children.”
“Stand up for women's social and political equality as a male feminist. Imagine you have a daughter in addition to your son. Wouldn't you want to see your daughter have the same opportunities that your son will have for leadership positions and equal pay for equal work?”
“Just the fact that you asked puts you way ahead of the game!”
“Much of the socioeconomic change we need to see globally must come from men's mindsets and behaviors changing along with women's mindsets and behaviors changing. Both are better for it (and a real male feminist is still a feminist even when no woman is there to see it – and teach their sons the same!).”
“Self respect is the most essential compass any person can have. Their dreams and aspirations – what work brings them genuine joy – is what to aim for above all else, with respect for themselves and others along the way.”
“I would call on women to be sure to try and take care of themselves, too, and pledge support to make that possible for the women in your life. Because without them, you'd be screwed.”
The issues we're discussing are on the minds of motivated, inspired, intelligent women, everyday. And again, the women you see here at the head table today are truly magical – our honorees have found a way to walk the line, to find the balance, and to turn ideals to reality, everyday.
There's plenty of reason for hope, of course, and those reasons grow all the time. Take Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, for example, where a broad reaching “Feminism” campaign has taken root, involving a surge of both girls and boys at the school. This movement started when a group of girls and boys worked together to draft a letter to the school newspaper, essentially stating that while the school has worked for decades to ensure an equal environment for the success of girls equally to boys, the facts argued against any sort of resounding success. The students focused on the role of school president – president of the Student Body, elected by the students – and that only four female school presidents had been elected since girls were first accepted into the school in 1973. The most recent had been in 2004. How, the students asked, are girls supposed to truly believe they can lead and belong in leadership roles, if only four student presidents in 40 years existed as models for success. This sparked conversation, and a change to a format in which two presidents – co-presidents – would be elected. Now, you can surely debate whether this was an effective or appropriate response to the issue, but the fact remains: in the final election, the winning pair was not the boy and girl pair, but rather, two boys. Now, the boys said this was because they truly were the better candidates – for all we know, they may be right – we don't know the students and can't make that judgment. The great optimism, of course, stems from the fact that these discussions are taking place – the New York Times even picked up on that one at Andover – and both girls and boys, alike, are standing up and taking notice...then speaking out to change things. There was a great picture taken at Phillips of all the men and boys at the school, proudly wearing their feminism shirts in support of the movement.
I'll add one more point, before I finish. I am, of course, a man – you've asked me to speak with you today as a man, and I will add this: we must be careful, in our modern society, that we don't lose the magic that makes us whole, and keeps us together. Here's what I mean: I would imagine at least some of you, perhaps many, have noticed changes in our TV commercials and television shows. Lately, there has been an undeniable trend in our modern society – particularly starting with my generation - to have men take a backseat, so to speak, and for lack of a better term. You may notice this in the way men are increasingly portrayed – especially in advertisements and sitcoms – as, frankly, dolts when it comes to family and decision-making. Often, the mishaps or poor decisions are portrayed as comical or cute, but the message is not one of equality, teamwork and neutrality – instead, it's one of empowerment by inhibition. This is a dangerous course for us to take as a society. I've seen first-hand how this is playing out in the vast majority - and I do mean the VAST majority - of young couples in my generation, particularly those with young children. I can't tell you how many parties, usually with young children, that I've been to where the husbands sit quietly, patiently, and obediently, submissive to their wives and the childrens' mothers, waiting for the next order. “Can you get me this? I need that.” “Yes, Dear. Right away.” The Dads get what's needed, they do what's been asked, then they await the next directive. This stems, in my opinion, from the loss of magic. From the loss of love. And you know that magic – we all have seen it – perhaps from our parents, or...in my generation...perhaps in our grandparents, instead. That's not to say that things were better two generations ago when it comes to equal roles in society – surely all the things I've talked about today indicate that's not the message I'm sending – but rather, that we can't continue as a society to stray from the magic and the love between people, men and women, and just between one another in general, that makes us all great and gives us all power through teamwork. We must stress empowerment through equality, neutrality and teamwork between man and woman, or across any other differences, and the foundation for that is built in love. We need to work together to find, foster and maintain that love. As a society, it seems we've become so focused – men and women alike – on finding the “perfect husband,” “perfect wife,” or “perfect mother or father” - someone who, intellectually, we know provides us with what should make life happy and successful, that we're increasingly casting aside the spiritual love, understanding and mutual respect that makes our world whole.
You'll hear about the amazing professional accomplishments of all of our honorees today. Each woman who will receive an award has a long list of distinguishing accomplishments. I would contend, however, that what makes these women so successful is that all of them maintain love and respect for others in their lives. Consider, in addition to the professional achievements you'll hear about in a few moments as they receive their awards, the other aspects of our honored women's lives today:
Donna – cancer survivor who's raised over $100,000 in the Relay for Life – mother of 2 and grandmother of 2, always giving time to newly diagnosed cancer patients or struggling math students between making treats for grandsons, London and Parker
Holly – described for her “kind nature and compassion for people”...enjoys exploring caves and tunnels, then floating in a hot air balloon with her husband Mark...and she's a grandma
Freddie – Mother to 6, raising them alone after her husband died in a motorcycle accident, Grandmother to 18, great-grandmother to 12!! Practically an adopted grandmother to me after only 5 minutes of conversation, Freddie's Motto: “I'm happy when I make people happy.”
Mary – Mother of 10, legal secretary, volunteer at St. Joseph's Early Childhood Center of All Saints Parish, a Mom of a developmentally delayed child, recently honored for 50 years of service to the Greater Haverhill-Newburyport Human Services (formerly Northern Essex ARC)
Charlette – Mother of 2 sons who enjoys time with her family, including sons' karate, track and piano
Noemi – A model citizen and a role model for future generations of women in science, founding member of English as a Second Language social learning club to attract ESL students into STEM disciplines
Isabelle – diagnosed with breast cancer while 8 months pregnant, serves as faculty advisory to college's gay/straight alliance, guiding students in addressing personal and family issues as well as societal discrimination
Kay – A veritable knitting machine, following in the tradition of her grandmother, who knit socks for soldiers in WWII, Kay has knit over 300 hats for soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as knitting hundreds of items, made with love and care, for community groups throughout Massachusetts.
Jane – Long time advocate and provider of services for adults with special needs
Melinda – recognized as one of Boston's Top Doctors – left academic medicine to fulfill her passion of providing women of all backgrounds access to quality health care
Kimberly – selling to some of world's largest international bussinesses – balances life of wife and mother
Kathleen – described by those around her as a great leader, a positive attitude, with the stamina and perseverance to accomplish her goals
THESE are examples of love. THESE are the examples of magic, and we see 12 women here today who not only have walked the line and found balance to achieve their successes at work and at home, but who also – through these acts of love and kindness – have kept the magic alive. To all of the women in the room, please don't ever let go of your magic that lights us all – it's what keeps our world together, and we men would be completely lost without it.
Thank you for having me, and
congratulations to all of our recipients today.
NECN and the American Red Cross set out with the same lofty goal we do each year - to garner the same number of donated units of blood as the year. For the ninth consecutive year, New Englanders delivered - as we surpassed our goal of 2013 units to collect at least 2088 units, as of Thursday night (that tally may rise slightly as final numbers come in Friday morning). Considering the day began with 60 to 80 mph wind gusts, this is an incredible success. Immeasurable thanks go to all New Englanders who either gave, helped to spread the word or otherwise supported this mission - when you consider that each unit of blood can save up to three lives, the potential is there that, together, we saved over 6000 lives from today's generosity and community-minded selflessness.
Here are some highlights from the day, in the order they aired:
"NECN Celebrates the Gift of Life at Annual Blood Drive - interview with Donna Morrissey:"
"New Englanders roll up their sleeves for a good cause - a 16 year old donor & aspiring TV meteorologist:"
"Meteorologist Danielle Niles, her father, donate blood:"
The Final Tally is Announced - we did it!
Boston Harbor Island Alliance provides free access on Tuesday, June 19
(Boston, MA) – Tomorrow, June 19, Boston Harbor Island Alliance will offer a Free Ferry Day for visitors to the Boston Harbor Islands national park area.
Participants will be able to enjoy a complimentary round-trip ferry ride to either Spectacle or Georges Islands for a fun outdoor excursion.
WHO: All are welcome!
WHAT: Free Ferry tickets to the Boston Harbor Islands national park area. All tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Tickets are available starting at 8:00 am at the Boston Harbor Islands Pavilion. No advance reservations. Parties are limited to five. Valid only tomorrow, June 19. A return time will be assigned when tickets are allocated.
WHEN: Tomorrow, June 19, 2012
9:00am – 6:00pm; ferries depart every 30 minutes
WHERE: Boston Harbor Islands
NOTE: Boats depart from the Boston’s Long Wharf North, next to the Long Wharf Marriott Hotel, adjacent to Christopher Columbus Park, a short walk from the Aquarium T stop in downtown Boston.
For more information and the full schedule of ferry service, visit www.bostonharborislands.org
About Boston Harbor Island Alliance
Boston Harbor Island Alliance (BHIA) is a non-profit organization that supports Boston Harbor Islands national park area and is one of the few non-profit organizations designated by Congress as a partner in the development and programming of a national park. BHIA’s newest facility, the Boston Harbor Islands Pavilion on Boston's Rose Kennedy Greenway, debuted in 2011. Through partnerships with corporations, foundations, individuals and government agencies BHIA provides 150 free informative and educational island programs each summer, as well as free access to the islands for underserved communities.
I'll be hosting the 20th annual Walk for HAWC (Healing Abuse, Working for Change) - my fourth year at the event - in Salem, MA, and would love to see our NECN viewers there! HAWC provides crucial services to victims of domestic violence, including lifesaving help in emergency situations.
Guests expected to attend include Congressman John Tierney, Senator Bruce Tarr, and other local officials.
I love all of the school visits that I make, but last Friday's was something special! More than 1,600 students from Boston and surrounding cities and towns converged on Boston's Museum of Science for a day of fun in learning - "Explore Engineering Day." Organized by Raytheon Company, this day focused on STEM education - Science, Technology, Engineering and Math - and is the first of its kind with the Museum of Science, introducing students to fundamental engineering concepts by affording the kids numerous hands-on activities, and personal interactions with Raytheon engineers!
Raytheon, the Museum of Science, and InkHouse Media invited me to welcome all of the students, and speak to kick-off the big day. Obviously, STEM concepts are huge in the world of meteorology, and Raytheon has actually been a key player in developing weather technology, including the national network of Doppler radars operated by the National Weather Service, as well as new and sophisticated technology and projects, such as CASA, AWIPS, recent AWIPS expansion and VIIRS.
The Explore Engineering Day came just a short time after Raytheon announced a one million dollars sponsorship to the Museum of Science in support of the Engineering is Elementary (EiE) program, working with teachers in the Boston area to teach students creative application of science and math knowledge. The money will be used to train elementary school teachers using the EiE curriculum, expand training hubs beyond Boston, and establish new professional development centers in Washington, DC, Phoenix, AZ, and Huntsville, AL.
A hats off to Raytheon for being such a generous community company, the Museum of Science for tirelessly making moments like this possible for generations of kids, and the the students, themselves, for bringing an immense amount of energy and enthusiasm for learning.
I was thrilled to reward the kids for their dedication to learning by showing them on NECN recently - their video comes at the end of this weathercast!
And here's the raw video of their energy, on display:
And...see the actual weathercast the kids appeared on NECN in!
Pretty cool to get this update from Ski NH, alerting me to all the updates going on in Ski Country in the "off-season," which is pretty busy this year with zip-lining and the like!
NORTH WOODSTOCK, NH, JULY 2011 - Following a memorable ski season filled with plenty of soft snow falling from the sky, New Hampshire's ski areas are rolling up their sleeves and getting to work improving their resorts for guests. Following is a list of projects in the Granite State for the upcoming 2011-12 winter season.
Loon Mountain, Lincoln -Two new trails are being added to the terrain at South Peak. Snowmaking improvements continue this summer with the addition of 100 new tower guns on the main mountain and 67 new tower guns on South Peak. A new Bison X grooming machine has been added to the fleet. The ski patrol will also enjoy a new summit patrol building.
Granite Gorge, Keene - A major base lodge addition is underway for the 2011-12 winter. Among the improvements are an expanded ticketing, rental and apparel area. Guests will also enjoy new bathrooms, kitchen and dining area. The Lookout Lounge, with a full liquor license, will have an all-weather deck overlooking the mountain; on days with harsh weather, the deck has a canvas enclosure and heating. New computers will be installed to improve the customer service experience. On the hill, significant trail work is being completed with several trails being expanded and trees being removed to open up the terrain. Additional snowmaking will be added to the Sunset Trail and two new snow guns will be added to the fleet. Those looking to enjoy some serious air-time will enjoy the brand new Bag Jump, an inflatable landing area that allows skiers and riders to launch and land softly on the bag.
Pats Peak, Henniker -Guests will benefit from snowmaking upgrades at Pats Peak with the addition of 8 new SMI Fan Snowguns, 2 new HKD Turbo Fans and 3,000 feet of new snowmaking pipe. The Pats Peak Rental Shop is now a Burton Learn to Ride Center with 150 new kids and 200 adult beginner specific snowboards. All guests needing rentals will enjoy 250 new pairs of Dalbello Ski Boots. The Bear's Club Kids Program will now have its own fleet of rental ski, snowboards and boots so families can bypass the rental shop and head direct to the Bear's Den. The terrain parks continue to grow with the addition of a progression park for those just getting started catching air, hitting rails and sliding boxes. A new Freestyle Camp will also be held on vacation periods. Other improvements include additional air conditioning in the Sled Pub, fresh stain and new carpets for the base lodge, and renovated bathrooms in the Sleigh Room.
Mount Sunapee, Newbury - A new glade trail, Beck Brook Glades, is being cut, bringing Mount Sunapee's total to 9 gladed trails. Snowmaking is being added to Outer Ridge Trail, which provides an alternate route off the Upper Ridge Trail. The mountain will also become a Burton Learn-To-Ride Center. This includes a full complement of Burton rental equipment that is designed to make learning to snowboard easier for guests.
Gunstock Mountain Resort, Gilford - Gunstock spent over $2.1 million on improvements over the past year, much of it on summer activities. Among these summer improvements that skiers and riders will also enjoy are the Big Air Bag Jump which allows adventurous skiers and riders get a feeling for catching big air while enjoying a soft, safe landing on the bag. The newly installed Zip-Tour will also be available for winter guests, allowing them to enjoy zooming down the mountain through the air above the treetops.
Cranmore, North Conway - After spending $6 million last summer, more improvements are underway. Forty new high-efficiency snowmaking tower guns are being added. To keep surfaces soft a new Prinoth Bison Groomer has been added to the grooming fleet. Improvements are also being made to the base lodge, rest rooms, and food and beverage facilities. A substantial investment to upgrade rental equipment is also being made.
Black Mountain, Jackson - New air compressors will be added to the snowmaking system increasing capacity by 35%. The Sugarbush trail is being landscaped and widened. The lodge is receiving numerous upgrades including remodeled bathrooms, new flooring in guest services, a new locker room, renovated third floor eating area and expanded seating for the bar and dining area at Lostbo Pub.
Crotched Mountain, Bennington - Over the summer the fleet of Head ski and snowboard rentals is being expanded to ensure plenty of inventory and the latest equipment for guests. The terrain parks will receive many new elements, as well as an all-new park for freestyle program participants. The lodge and cafeteria also are receiving improvements.
King Pine and Purity Spring Resort, East Madison - Major improvements to the snowmaking system includes converting the operations to electric power.
Jackson XC, Jackson - Guests to Jackson XC will find 1.7 kilometers of new trail on the Ellis River Corridor along with 1 kilometer that is being rebuilt over the summer months.
Windblown XC, New Ipswich - Over the summer Windblown's logging operation will open up trails and allow for the addition of telemark and backcountry skiing.
We were able to beat the raindrops to Canobie Lake Park in Salem, NH, for Wednesday's noon show, and I got the full rundown on "Untamed" - the new coaster at the park. Find out more for yourself from Chris Nicoli, Canobie Lake Park's Manager of Marketing and Entertainment.
Want to take a video ride on Untamed? No problem! Head over to my Facebook Page by clicking here to take the ride!