Recently, business reporter Becky Bosshart and I went round and round on her article on "powerful" women and how few (in her opinion) there seem to be in Carson City who have reached the top of their game. Her article lamented those unable to penetrate the "glass ceiling" and named a few locals who seemed to have broken through.
I challenged her, stating that I know of many women in our fine city who have risen to the top without the benefit of being in a family business and that we must consider these successful women, both in private business and government, as having gained foothold into the precarious and fleeting world of power once predominately held by men.
The following women come to mind when I think of the powerhouses in our city:
First and foremost, City Manager Linda Ritter, who manages an ever-growing city with ever-decreasing funds.
Carson City Schools Superintendent Dr. Mary Pierczynski is one of four female superintendents in the state and was the only woman superintendent when she was first appointed. She operates a budget and personnel larger than that of the city.
Mary Lau heads the powerful statewide Nevada Retail Association and Carole Villardo really does the Nevada Taxpayers Association proud. Collie Hutter of Click Bond Inc., runs a fine manufacturing business that contracts with the federal government and Jenny Lopiccolo runs one of the finest real estate operations in this city. You can be certain these women worked hard to get where they are today.
In Nevada state offices, who would be a better example of women reaching top spots than NDOT director Susan Martinovich, who supervises 1,700 employees and oversees a $674 million budget? There's our new state Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto. Getting to this top spot couldn't have been easy! Then there's State Treasurer Kate Marshall, who oversees state funds, and Controller Kim Wallin who signs all those thousands of state paychecks and keeps the state books in order. While some of these positions are elected, keep in mind that winning any elected office against any male is a major feat.
Now, let's consider another male bastion that has been infiltrated by powerful women - the state Legislature. Twenty-six percent of the 63 members of the Legislature are now women. Yes, that august body is still controlled by men, but women are assuming more and more power and five out of nine of the Assembly leadership are controlled by women. That's over half! Out of the eight leaders in the Senate, three are women, with Dina Titus as the minority floor leader. These powerful women are influencing our daily lives.
Becky stated to me that she considered only those in the private sector as eligible for women "making it." I countered by stating that women in government should be included in the "power" list since they, too, have had to endure male competitiveness to climb that tough ladder to the top.
I know I have left out many powerful women: doctors, lawyers, researchers, teachers and more. Women, young and old, are controlling more and more of our destinies and may just do a better job of it! Becky, too, has considerable power: the power of the written word and the ability to influence thousands through one column.
To all the above and to the many not mentioned, the Carson City Area Chamber of Commerce salutes your continued success during Women's History Month!
• Ronni Hannaman is the executive director of the Carson City Area Chamber of Commerce.