The 2013 Women’s Roundtable

Linda Rohrer
President, Rohrer & Sayers Real Estate


JoAnne Epps
Dean, Temple University Beasley School of Law


Amy Goldstein
Chair of Family Law Department, Capehart Scatchard


Mindy Holman
President/CEO, Holman Automotive


Renee Reese
CEO, JadaReneeStyle and wife of WIP sports anchor Ike Reese


Gabriela Mosquera
N.J. Assemblywoman


Heather Simmons
Gloucester County Freeholder


Angela Snyder
CEO/Vice Chair, Fulton Bank of New Jersey


Ann Baiada
Director, Bayada Home Health Care


Theresa Hovnanian
Fundraiser and wife of Peter Hovnanian of J.S. Hovnanian & Sons


Deborah Hays
Partner, Archer Greiner


Renee Pinardo
Director, The Bridge


Toni Pergolin
President/CEO, Bancroft


Lynn Paolantonio
Assistant to the President, Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce and wife of ESPN Correspondent Sal Paolantonio



On their mothers…

My mother only went up to her second year of college and she had to drop out because she got pregnant with me. Her mother was a lady who washed clothes for other people. At a young age, my mother knew that she did not want that life for herself, and she never wanted that for me. So her wishes and her dreams for herself were given to me, and I took that and became who I am now. -Gabriela Mosquera


My mother was an accountant. She never had her CPA, so she said to me, “There are two things you’re going to do. You’re going to get your CPA before you do anything,” which I did, and she said, “The second thing is you’re going to learn how to play golf, because all these accountants golf and you’re not going to be the only one in the office who can’t golf.” So the two of us took golf lessons. I was her introduction to the man world. It’s interesting just how influential our mothers were in many ways and to think about how we’re influencing our children. -Toni Pergolin


My mother was a nurse and she seemed to be the most important person in our neighborhood, because nothing happened in our neighborhood that my mother wasn’t called to help. All the most important things I’ve learned in life, I learned from her, and everything was about giving back. I remember one time we were taking — it sounds so silly now — beer and donuts to the convent for the nuns. We were in the car and I said to my father, “Why are we always the ones that have to do all this?” I know now why: because she taught us the greatest joy you can get is giving back. I just naturally became a nurse because what else would I do, as did my sister. Both of us just polished our shoes, put the cap on and became nurses. -Ann Baiada


I still remember my mom, who was a single mom, used to say to my sister and me, “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. You can’t stand by and watch something when you know in your heart it’s wrong and not say something. You have to stand up for those who are defenseless, stand up for women who can’t protect themselves.” -Deborah Hays


When my mother graduated high school, her father said to her, “You want to be a doctor? No. Do you want to be a lawyer? No. Okay then, you’re going to get a job being a secretary,” and that’s what she did. My mother didn’t have the opportunities that she gave me, so she said, “Heather, when you grow up you will do anything you want, because I couldn’t.” I was raised to think I could do anything, and our mothers really weren’t. -Heather Simmons


I was born and raised in Camden. No one in my family before me had gone to college, but my mom saw that it was important and wanted to make sure I went, and we found the means to make sure that I did. I grew up saying, “I can’t” because of the environment I was in, because of what was surrounding me. My mom just kept saying, “You can.” -Angela Snyder


On their mentors…

My father was my mentor. He challenged me but not in normal ways. For example, I got involved in banking because he would come over on a Friday night when I was single and wanted to be out and doing something else. He would say, “Here, I want you to read this.” “You want me to read these papers on a Friday night? You have nothing else to do? You want me to read these finance papers on a Friday night?” but I did. I sat there and I read them. He was always, always challenging me and I accepted the challenges. -Linda Rohrer


When I went to law school, I had never met a lawyer — not a man, not a woman and certainly not an African American woman. I graduated from law school without knowing an African American woman lawyer. So, I spent much of my career not seeing ahead of me someone who was at all like me, but I’ve had others who have made sure they reached out for me. And interestingly, most of them have been men. Most of them have been white. I have been the beneficiary of people who have tapped me on the shoulder and suggested things for me that I never thought to pursue for myself. -JoAnne Epps


My dad is my mentor. I was surprised because I didn’t really pay a lot of attention to the business when I was growing up, and I thought all car dealers were like my dad. He’s mild and understated, and my dad — he’s like the nicest guy in the world. So he taught me that having integrity, caring about people and putting others before yourself can go hand-in-hand with being a successful business person. -Mindy Holman


On feminism…

I’ve been practicing law for 30 years, and we felt a responsibility to the cause, because we were the first wave that was going to prove that women could do what men do. I remember shouldering that responsibility and really having to go that extra 10 miles. I don’t see that with younger women, and in a way I feel good that they don’t feel that pressure. I mean, that is progress. But on the other hand, there’s a little bit less drive also that goes with that. -Amy Goldstein


I think feminism started out saying women were supposed to be the same — equal to men. I think that’s baloney, because women are different than men, and I think that’s something to celebrate. I think that’s something to be encouraged; then, feminism can mean so many different things. -Mindy Holman


I don’t believe I was ever a feminist. I went to work as a singer at a very young age. I was in a band that played all across the country for 15 years. I worked and rehearsed every day. I was always dressed up in a gown and high heels. It was all very glamorous, and I felt very special as a woman. Then I married into a very traditional European family, and it was always more about being the mom, being the person at home behind the man. I’ve never regretted any of that. Of course, now I feel very differently having two girls. My job at home was to basically help them be wonderful people that I could send into the world to make a big difference. I never felt any need to strive to be any more than what I was already. -Theresa Hovnanian


I’ve never given any thought to feminism. I think it’s what you’re willing to accept. When I look at my mom, she trained my father to be very dependent on her. So because I saw what I didn’t think was smart, I made sure that before I married my husband, I knew he could feed himself, so I didn’t take on the responsibility of having to feed my husband. And I made sure my daughter knew how to feed herself by a certain age. Even at a year old, I gave her the option: Do you want the bottle now or the cup? You make the decision, honey. All the decisions in your life are yours. So, I can’t even relate to the topic of feminism. I’m a child of the ’70s, but I never even thought of it. -Renee Pinardo


Feminism doesn’t have to have one face or one voice or one mission. -Deborah Hayes


On having it all…

Can you have it all? I guess it depends on what your “all” is. I had it all in college without kids, without a husband and responsibilities, and I was traveling and everything. And I have it all now in the sense that I have a supportive husband, great kids and I have my health. But my career has to be minimized and molded around my children and my husband. So, you can have it “all” – just in moderation. -Renee Reese


We can have it all, but we don’t necessarily have to have it all at the same time. For me, I’m a single person. I am not married. I own my own house. I don’t have children, and right now in my life, I really don’t want to have children, but that’s my choice. So do I feel like I have it all? Yeah. -Heather Simmons


Do I think I have it all? Well, I feel like, yeah. I’m really lucky. You work hard every day and you pay attention to the relationships that mean a lot to you. We got married, and we made it work. I was always really honest with myself. I said, “This is what I want, and if I can’t get it by marrying you, then I will wait and meet somebody else and fall in love with somebody else who wants those same things.” Love isn’t the only thing that makes a successful marriage. You have to want the same things, so we were lucky. -Lynn Paolantonio


May 2013
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