What many of you who are yet-to-be-acquainted with NAU-Yavapai may not know, is that there are a number of talented, smart, tenacious, and determined ladies helping to steer this educational ship! In light of Women’s History Month we thought it would be great to ask them which women they looked up to…
JERI DENNIS, Program Coordinator: Some of the women I admire most created businesses with their artistic talents. Ella “Dewees” Cochran (1892-1991) began making portrait dolls of real children in the depression era, 1934. She started with commissioned pieces for wealthy clients, then moved to New York and changed strategies to create a more affordable quality doll. She created six basic dolls in 1936, each with a separate facial structure. By changing the hair and eyes she produced a portrait doll of most children, called “Look- Alike” dolls. As materials were scarce at the time, the dolls were made of a readily available product called composition, glue and sawdust. Dewees also designed six dolls for the Effanbee Doll Company called “American Children”. During World War II doll production ceased. After the war she formed the Dewees Cochran Doll, Inc. company. She contracted with the Molded Latex Company and produced the Cindy doll in 1947-1948. Dewees retired in the 1960′s and the company ceased production in the 1970′s. I’ve been lucky enough to inherit two Dewees Cochran dolls and look forward to restoring them.
Among many things on my “bucket list” I would like to start a small side business and become certified to restore antique toys with a special focus on dolls, mechanical banks and music boxes. Stories about entrepreneurial women in challenging financial times inspire and challenge me to pursue my creative dreams despite the economic climate.
SUSAN JOHNSTAD, CEO: I admire people who are resourceful and resilient. I admire people who are gracious, humble, and kind. I admire in others examples of generosity and wit. But, increasingly, I find myself admiring people who understand who they are and what gifts they can share with the world.
I’m a fan of Tina Fey, the comedian and actress currently starring in 30 Rock on NBC. She was once quoted as saying, “I like to crack the jokes now and again, but it’s only because I struggle with math.” I have an aversion to most standup comedy and generally hate television sitcoms, so it surprises me just how much I admire her work. But I find Tina Fey compelling and authentic; she somehow manages to be fearless and understated at the same time, and I am always interested in what she has to say about events and issues common to us all. I see her as someone who understands her gifts and who uses humor to both entertain others and to share insight, more broadly, on public life.
JANELLE MUSICK, Front Desk: My sister is a modern-day Wonder Woman. She powers through the challenges of life. No matter what is handed to her, she manages to hang on to her free spirit and her overpowering sense of humor. She is a full-time nursing student, a full-time mom, a full-time sister, and a full-time employee. She is constantly taking care of other people. This applies to every aspect of her life. As a wife and mother, she makes sure her three kids are on the right track. As the oldest in a family of six, she does anything she can to help her siblings when they need it. As a C.N.A., she takes care of hospice patients. Her school work is probably the only thing she does for herself. She has a strength unmatched by anyone I’ve ever met. She’s a fighter. She doesn’t let life pass her by. She lives every moment of it, and experiences as much as she can. She learned a lot about life at a very young age. It never stopped her from making the best life for herself that she possibly could. I’ve learned a lot from being her little sister, and I’ve spent most of my life looking up to her.
TIFFANY ANTONE, Learning Center/Student Activity Center Coordinator: Theresa Rebeck has written 16 full-length plays, 23 one acts, 3 produced screenplays, 2 published novels, a book of essays, and a number of scripts for some of the most popular shows on television. She is, as is evident from that list alone, a highly accomplished writer.
In the past year and a half however, she has also become one of the most prominent figures in the Female Playwriting Movement; a movement spurned on by the published study on gender parity in theatre (Julia Jordan and Emily Sands) in which it confirmed that most plays produced in NY (82%!) are written by men (amongst a host of other interesting facts – you can read more about the study here.) Theresa Rebeck, a then already prominent and well-known playwright (and the only woman to open a play on Broadway the year the study came out – 2007) stood up and took action – and a host of other talented, creative, and passionate theatre artists joined her.
And while the numbers will take a long time to balance, it is exciting to see people’s awareness growing. You can read a GREAT speech by Theresa Rebeck here in which she talks about the huge hurdles she had to overcome to become one of the our prominent Female Playwrights and why gender parity is so very important.