International Women’s Day

Every year, March 8, marks International Women’s Day (IWD). It serves as an opportunity to both reflect on the contributions and successes of women throughout history and to reinvigorate efforts to eliminate barriers to gender equity. The day has roots right here in New York City, commemorating labor strikes organized by women for better hours, conditions, and wages. This year’s theme is #EmbraceEquity, which asks people to consider how we can find equitable solutions that provide women across racial, social, and economic spheres the resources necessary to fully participate in all spaces

In honor of International Women’s Day, MEA celebrates our members who are making an impact here in the City, standing as examples of what the spirit of IWD is all about. We are so proud of their accomplishments!

Additionally, we recognize the women of the MEA Team that works tirelessly to advance the mission of our organization and for the advancement of women in their careers and roles in leadership.

Alice Wong, Executive Director, MEA
Cynthia Ross, Bookkeeper, MEA
Erin Jordan, Office Manager, MEA
Pam Ross, Director-At-Large, Officer

Cassandra Alvarez
Chief of Staff, NYC Department of Veterans’ Services 
7 Years of City Service

What is your favorite part about your role? As a lifelong New Yorker, it is the greatest honor and privilege to serve the people of this great city under the leadership of Mayor Eric Adams. There is always an opportunity to problem-solve and collaborate with a vast number of talented colleagues and partners who share one common goal—to ensure all New Yorkers, regardless of their background or beliefs, have the opportunity to thrive and live with purpose.

What is something you’d like the next generation of children to know? I want the next generation of young women and girls to know that they can become anything they dream of so long as they consistently work hard and believe in themselves. You are your own best advocate, so never be afraid to speak up and illustrate your value through the work you produce. The saying is true —“let your work speak for itself”—if you execute with passion and to the very best of your ability, your career will advance in a positive direction.  

Tajhma Carroll
Administrative Housing Manager, NYC Housing Authority
38 Years of City Service 

What is something you wish you would have known earlier in your career? I wish I knew how to negotiate more early in my career. The path of my career was filled with many women in positions of leadership, therefore, having a woman to be proud of was in full view. In addition, most job titles were unionized which guaranteed the salaries had little disparity and based on seniority and experience. As time moved and the glass ceiling seemed a bit closer, it was status quo to accept positions without union representation. Therefore, a person like myself needed a new tool to approach a higher path of responsibility and a sense of fairness within that career path.

What is something you’d like the next generation of children to know? I would like the younger generation to understand that as they look out into the world with new eyes, it is such a large wonderful space which can be filled with unlimited possibilities. But as you grow up, it will become a smaller place no matter where you are at in your career. It seems as we get older and achieve more of everything in life, our circle of true friends, loved ones reduces. Therefore, it is important to stay humble, honest and grounded.

Annie George, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, NPD-BC, CCRN-K
Senior Director of Nursing, New York City Health + Hospitals/Office of Patient Centered Care (Corporate Nursing)
8 years of City Service

What is your favorite part about your role? As the Senior Director of Nursing for Excellence and Research – the favorite part of my role is to inspire, motivate and empower nurses to become best for themselves in all 11 acute, 5 post-acute, Correctional Health Services, Gotham Clinics and Community Care. My daily responsibilities include meeting, facilitating and guiding selected facility nurse leaders and nurses on excellence related projects as well as facilitate nurse led researches that will benefit the health system as well as the community we serve. Having our nurses believe in themselves, with a strong mission focused initiate to excel in everything they do, helping them notice the unnoticed in their daily work, and transform their every day interactions and stories into actions that speaks volume is truly making a difference. I take pride and commitment in everything that I facilitate in my role, and believe that it is an honor to support our nurses. I enjoy and celebrate each moment of nursing excellence designations showcasing NYC H+H facilities are being recognized for the outstanding and evidence-based nursing care that our nurses provide to the communities in NYC. In the last 2 years, our health system received 2 ANCC Pathway to Excellence Designations, and 5 AACN Beacon awards designations for Nursing Excellence. As the nation’s largest healthcare profession, nurses must support other nurses to be advocates, policy makers, change agents, and leaders in healthcare thereby contributing to achieving the common goal of improving health for all.

What is something you’d like the next generation of children to know? For future generation – it is important to believe in themselves that they can make a difference, no matter how small it is.  Have self- confidence and learn to develop passion, confidence and competence. The future is bright as in nursing profession alone, the federal government projects that more than 200,000 new registered nurse positions will be created each year from 2021-2031. It is also important to differentiate nursing from medicine as nursing practice as a separate discipline. Nurses’ roles range from direct patient care and case management to establishing nursing practice standards, developing quality assurance procedures, and directing complex nursing care systems. Additionally, next generation children need to develop skills to successfully manage work life balance in a more sophisticated environment with rich integration of technology. Also always remember that artificial intelligence and algorithms cannot replace  human connections and uphold personal values of integrity, cultural humility and ethical practices.

Iris Rodriguez Rosa
First Deputy Commissioner, NYC Parks
44 Years of City Service

How important is it for women to support other women? It needs to be said that women have always had the incredible ability to multi- task. Managing home office and much more. There is the ability to readily prioritize and execute with precision and in most cases provide the emotional stability to create a positive environment. Women know women and are best to support and encourage their goals and aspirations.

What is something you wish you would have known earlier in your career? My dream was to be an attorney but as women we need to prioritize what life throws at us. Therefore, had I been guided properly perhaps I could have fulfilled my dream but be that as it may. I believe I fell where I needed to be to make the positive changes needed. Guidance and support are best to ensure growth.