Wide Awake: Well Said
So many interviews, so many great moments

One of the best parts of my job is all the interviews I’ve been lucky enough to do, especially when it comes to smart, accomplished women. There have been so many times when I’ve just sat back and thought wow, I wish people could have heard every word of that.

So for this women’s issue, I wanted to put together some interview highlights – things women have said that just blew me away. Some are things I’ve brought up years later to make a point in a conversation. Others are quotes that I thought about for days, because there’s usually this one sentence that is so profound, so meaningful. I hope you see what I mean.

“I was walking in North Camden and this boy comes running to me, because they were shooting at him. He’s running toward me, and he collapsed at my feet. When I reached to see if he had a pulse, he had collapsed and died. That was the moment I said I’m going to continue to fight for this city. That’s how I got involved in politics, because I witnessed someone dying at my feet.” –State Sen. Nilsa Cruz-Perez

Sen. Cruz-Perez said this at a Women’s Roundtable, and she cried telling the story. It was an incredibly emotional moment, and I know the other women there felt honored to have her share it with us.

“Even though I have achieved so much, I work and train as if I have achieved nothing.” –U.S. Gold Medalist Carli Lloyd

I’ve learned so much from Carli Lloyd. She said this AFTER she had won her second Olympic gold medal. She always has that mindset of what she calls “emptying the tank.” I don’t know anyone like her.

“In Sept. 2010 my son Sal died of a heroin overdose. I failed my son, because every parent is supposed to protect their children and outlive them. I’ll always feel like I failed my child.” –Patty DiRenzo

This was a moment at one of our Women’s Roundtables that I remember vividly, because I so wanted to somehow ease Patty’s pain. We all did. But we also understood what she was saying.

“I shouldn’t have to worry about my father, who’s 77 years old. I shouldn’t have to worry about the men I love. I shouldn’t have to worry about people who look like me.” –Kimberly S. Reed

Kimberly said this to me during a video interview shortly after the George Floyd killing. Our talk was emotional and eye-opening. I’ve watched it more than once, because her words were so poignant.

“I went to the hospital, and they weren’t going to let me in until I let them know the doctor had called me and said he was critical. The security guard said, ‘Well I have to call my supervisor because they usually only let people up if the person is going to die.’” –Amy Breslow

Amy’s husband Brett was one of the first Covid patients in South Jersey to be hospitalized. She and I spoke only a few weeks after she dropped off Brett at the ER. Our conversation was very raw, but it was April 2020 and not much was known about Covid. Amy was on a mission to tell her story so other families had the info they might need.

“About 10 years ago, I was out to dinner, and I’m sitting next to an institutional colleague. All of a sudden, his hand is on my thigh. So I’m trying to figure out what to do about it. I move over, and he slides his chair over…Sometimes the choices we face aren’t always easy. It annoys me so much – I just don’t think women are feeling up all the guys. I don’t think they have to confront the many things we have to confront, so it adds to the challenge.” – Temple Provost JoAnne Epps

JoAnne Epps was one of the very first women to speak honestly as a panelist at our Women’s Empowerment Series. Her willingness to share such a personal story helped many women, and that is exactly why we have the Women’s Empowerment Series. When I heard her speak so openly, I knew the series would be a success. I will be forever grateful.


May 2022
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