“Work” is a value-laden term that has changed drastically over time, particularly in relation to women’s daily lives. Despite a legacy of opinions to the contrary, WWHP views women’s work as inherently valuable, whether taking place in the formal structure of paid employment or the private realm of home and family. We seek to understand each woman’s work on her own terms in her own words.

Vanessa Bumpus

Exhibition Coordinator, Worcester Historical Museum

I would say don’t try to do everything.  Do what you know you can do well and do it to the best of your ability. You don’t need to be the women who has a job, and raises children, and plays sports on the weekends, and cooks gourmet meals, can fix her own car, and you know fixes the toilet when its clogged [laughs] and do all these things. You don’t need to have to do everything. If you can do one thing well and find out how you can use that skill to help others, to help your family, to help people who don’t have access to that, then I think you’re successful. It’s all about how you feel about it and how you can use that skill to help others feel just as proud as you are. That’s how I raise my kids and think of success.

Vanessa Bumpus is an exhibition coordinator at the Worcester Historical Museum.  She was born in1975 in New York City.  She attended Marymount Manhattan College for her undergraduate degree and the University of Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for graduate school.  After getting married to her husband, Joseph, she had two children.   Vanessa tells of life growing up in New York and her move to Massachusetts as a teenager.  She also discusses how her family pushed her to succeed in life, which led her to many career opportunities including interning for David

Interview Date: 
Fri, 11/13/2015
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Melanie Bonsu

Girl Scouts Administrator

Again, nothing is permanent and you are responsible for your own happiness. So I have to focus on that and I can’t wallow in misery when I have two other people that I am responsible for, and I don’t want to be a poor role model for them. I don’t want them to see work is stressing my mom out, “Oh my god, I don’t want to get a job when I’m older.” Because I don’t want them to think that life is tough. I don’t want them to think I’m weak either. So that’s my biggest—it’s not the best thing in the world, but I try not to be emotionally upset around them, and they’re always around.

Melanie Bonsu is a thirty-four-year-old bi-racial woman who has spent the majority of her life in the Worcester area. She loves Worcester and states it is a big city with a small town feel.  Her father is from Ghana and her mother is from Philadelphia, PA.  Melanie has a close relationship with her parents to this day and relies on them for a lot of support. She had her first child when she was a senior in college and moved back to Worcester for the support of her parents.

Interview Date: 
Fri, 11/06/2015
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Leanore Bona

President, League of Women Voters Worcester; lawyer, community volunteer

When I was working for the medical society, a lot of the community outreach I did, over and above working with the clinics directly, was with what I called, ‘shadow communities.’  Those are people you wouldn’t even know exist in this city, but there are thousands of them.  You know, all the people who work in the kitchen of a restaurant, that kind of thing.  And I’m sure—I never asked, I never asked—but some are illegal, most are not, just trying to seek out a living on the first generation level so the kids can do a little bit better later.  So those are the people I worked with.

Leanore F. Bona, known by most as Lee, was born on Long Island, New York in 1949. Lee is the President of the League of Women Voters in Worcester, Massachusetts. She defines herself as a nontraditional woman who has never married or had children, but rather has dedicated her life to helping those around her.

Interview Date: 
Sun, 10/18/2015
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Amanda Beaver

College of the Holy Cross Administrator

There's actually a quote that I love and I never get it quite right, but it’s something along the lines of,  "Life is the constant act of juggling balls. You just have to know which ones are glass." I think that is so beautifully said because my family is always that one I can't drop. But the other ones, sometimes it might be that I don’t get to pay attention to the Republican debate or I don’t get to go listen to this. It doesn’t mean that it’s not important, but it just, it didn’t rise to the top quickly enough.

Amanda Beaver was born in 1981 and currently lives in Natick, Massachusetts with her family. She holds a bachelor of arts in German from Holy Cross and a MBA from the University of California Irvine.  She now works at the College of Holy Cross as a Leadership Giving Officer and for the Holy Cross Fund, which is their annual fund. Amanda also addresses the issue of priorities in work and life, her volunteer activities, singing, and running the Boston Marathon.

Interview Date: 
Mon, 11/16/2015
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Victoria Waterman

CEO, Girls Inc.

I would say that women have made a tremendous amount of progress.  Some things haven’t changed, the way we love our families, and the sisterhood that happens among all of us is--that hasn’t changed over the years and generations.  All of that still remains.  When you educate a woman, you educate a family. 

Victoria Waterman was born in Providence, Rhode Island in 1963 and is now the CEO of Girls Inc.

Interview Date: 
Wed, 10/22/2014
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Cathy Sessions

Marketing Director, Notre Dame Health Care

I know so many people define success monetarily and if you reach a certain status. That isn’t my definition of success and it's interesting in this class [Zen class] the first day, the first class, this is one of the questions that we were to ponder for the Zen and what makes a successful day for you, what makes a good day and so I’ve been pondering the question. For me it is when I go home feeling good, when I know that I’ve made a difference.  It can be the smallest of interactions, but you know that interaction made a difference in someone’s life.  I would say that is my definition of success and being a good person, being proud of the decisions you’ve made and ethical stances you’ve taken, and so that’s how I would define it.  I feel like I’ve done that.  I’ve lived a good life and I’ve treated people well. 

Cathy Sessions describes attending St. Lawrence University and being on the first women’s ice hockey team and then attending Boston University to earn a master’s in social work with a specialization in gerontology.  She also discusses her interest in alternative medicine and competitive sports.  She talks about her career path and her current position as Marketing Director at Notre Dame Health Care as well as her views on aging and success.

Interview Date: 
Tue, 10/21/2014
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Laura Pease

Animal Control Officer

I love the fact that I have been able to reinvent myself throughout my life.  It is really empowering to know that you can change if you find something that you want to do different.  Then you can actually just go and create the possibility of doing it. A lot of people get sick and they do something even when they don’t like doing it anymore because they are so afraid of not having the income or not being able to make the change that they do something they don’t love.  I have been able throughout my life to do what I love. 

Laura Lee Pease was born in North Brookfield, Massachusetts in 1957.  In this interview, Laura touches upon the ability to reinvent herself throughout the years.  Growing up in a very equal family, Laura’s father, an experienced hunter, wanted his children, regardless of gender, to know how to hunt.  These skills ended up being useful in her future as an Animal Control Officer.  An Animal Control Officer is typically a man’s job, but Laura’s skills landed her the position.  While Laura was in college, she met and married her husband and they decide

Interview Date: 
Fri, 10/17/2014
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Pauline Marois

Printer, Saltus Press and Worcester Telegram and Gazette

Full time, stay-at-home [mom].  Again, if you live according to your budget and you live lower than your income—I always sewed, I always cooked, and I felt that I didn’t bring money home, but my job was to save money.  And my husband always made me feel that half of a paycheck was my contribution as well because if he had to hire for food and laundry and day care and etc., etc., he’d have to work another part time job.  So, I was always the equal even though I was a homemaker, I was always an equal partner which is more than I can say for some. 

Pauline Marois was an extraordinary woman to interview.  She did work full time but was not paid for it, and still, to this day, she works part time and is not paid for it.  She was a stay-at-home mother and is now a part-time stay-at-home grandmother.  Pauline Marois was born in Worcester and lived in her grandparents’ three-decker with the rest of her family.  In this interview she discusses working at Saltus Press and the Worcester Telegram and Gazette, making her own clothing, marrying her husband, and raising her two daughters.  She said that her husband

Interview Date: 
Fri, 11/07/2014
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Betsy Landry

Director of Human Resources, Mirick O'Connell

I think also I would suggest that young women learn to prioritize themselves first, which sounds selfish but I don’t mean it in that way.  I think that as women we are daughters and sisters and wives and mothers and employees and we can’t do a good job at doing all those things if we don’t take care of ourselves.  And if we don’t carve out the time to exercise, even if it means getting up extra early in the morning or making sure that we can somehow fit in, literally even if it’s ten minutes a day just for yourself just to take some deep breaths or just to do something that you enjoy because again it’s so easy to get caught up in—and just constantly running from one thing to the next and you’re going to wear down at some point.  And I’ve been through that and I know what that’s like and I just had to learn to take a step back and realize that you can’t be all of those things to all of those people if you’re not taking care of yourself first. 

Betsy Landry is a 46-year-old who grew up in Charlton, MA.  Betsy is half Irish and half English/Scottish.  She is married to Richard Landry and has two daughters.  Kathleen, who likes to be called Kat, is fourteen years old, and Margret, who likes to be called Maggie, is ten years old.  Throughout Betsy’s life, she focused most of her attention on her education and her job.  She attended Assumption College for her Bachelor’s and her MBA.  She majored in Management and minored in Philosophy.  Her main concern in life was what she wanted to do a

Interview Date: 
Fri, 10/31/2014
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Renee King

Owner, The Queen's Cups

My parents have done so much for me and they helped me start my business and they have their own full time jobs and they come and work here.  And they have to deal with my stress more than anyone else especially around the holidays when I’m mega grouch and like stressed to the limit and they deal with that.  So what keeps me going is knowing that if I keep working hard I’ll be able to do something for them.  Like this is their retirement plan and I don’t want to put my parents in a nursing home when I am older.  I’d like to be able to do something better for them—not better, that’s not the right thing to say, but I’d like to take care of my parents and make sure that they are set, that they can retire and not have to worry about it.  I really want to get into real estate and own some apartment buildings and stuff one day.  They can sell their house and live there for free.  That is like my ultimate goal.  So that’s something that definitely keeps me going and I just know that if I keep working hard that things will pay off.  So I’ve always wanted to—I’ve really respected my mom that she always loved her job and she never really cared about making a ton of money or anything.  She just wanted to do what she loved and on the flip side my dad has always made a little bit more money, but has always hated his job.  And growing up and seeing that I just want to be happy like my mom.  So for me, I just want to continue to do something that I love and not worry about anything else.  So if I keep working hard and still love what I do, then that’s what keeps me going.

Renee King was born in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1989, to Paul and Barbara King.  Renee attended Worcester State University and received a degree in Psychology.  During, college she started making cupcakes from her parent’s kitchen and began selling them.  After she graduated she opened up her own business, The Queen’s Cups.  In this interview, Renee discusses her struggles with balancing work life and taking care of her health.  She also has encountered difficult times during her life, but talks about her amazing support system that keeps her going.&n

Interview Date: 
Sun, 11/16/2014
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