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This article was prepared for the February 28,
2001 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Rimm’s Strong Women
I‘m not sure anyone would have predicted my future
leadership based on how I behaved as a girl," says Christine Todd
Whitman, former governor of New Jersey, now in charge of the
Protection Agency for the Bush administration. She tells how, at camp,
when her cabin didn’t like their counselor, she organized a revolt.
"I convinced my friends to take their favorite stuffed animal
and climb a tree. We climbed just out of reach of the camp counselors
and told them we wouldn’t come down unless they changed our co
It worked. Not exactly democracy in action."
Whitman reveals her obstreperous childhood in "How Jane Won: 55
Successful Women Share How They Grew from Ordinary Girls to
Women" by Sylvia Rimm, with Sara Rimm-Kaufman (Crown Publishers,
March 6, 2001). It is the sequel to "See Jane Win: The Rimm Report
on How 1,000 Girls Became Successful Women." Rimm is keynote
at the 10th annual conference of the New Jersey Association for Gifted
Children at the Princeton Marriott, Forrestal Village, on Friday,
March 2, at 9 a.m.
Rimm divides her successful women subject into seven category areas,
and the personalities she profiles include Senator Kay Bailey
Cathleen Black, president of Hearst Magazines, Mary GrandPre,
of the "Harry Potter" books, violinist Pamela Frank, and
Jacquelyn Mitchard. Opening the section of "The Lawmakers and
Adjudicators," which includes Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day
O’Connor and Wilma P. Mankiller, chief of the Cherokee Nation, is
this revealing self-portrait of Whitman:
New Jersey and was also the first person to defeat an incumbent
in a general election in modern state history. In 1995, she was the
first governor to give the formal response to a president’s State
of the Union Address. Being first began in her childhood, where
honed her independence and leadership skills. Her father was
state chairman and worked with a major construction company, and her
mother chaired the state Republican National Committee for 10
"My parents made the biggest difference in my life. They placed
no gender barriers before me. I grew up thinking women can do
I’m probably more like my mother, who raised me. I was the youngest
of four and eight years younger than my nearest sibling, so I had
the enviable position of being treated like an only child, yet my
older sister and two older brothers toughened me up early.
"We lived in Paris for a year when I was about eight, and I went
to the American School. Mom was summoned to the headmistress’s office
and asked how she and my father got along. When she said everything
was fine, the headmistress said to her, `I have to tell you that when
he chases you around the house with an ax, it really upsets your
I’d been really bored by show-and-tell, and I’d made up stories. I
was creative that way.
"My father set very high standards — perhaps too high. He
insisted, `Anything worth doing is worth doing well,’ so when I wasn’t
good at things, I would retreat. I developed a defense mechanism,
which was `If I don’t try, it’s not that I’m dumb, it’s that I didn’t
try.’ I didn’t give myself a chance to prove myself. It’s not
I’m dearly proud of and I certainly never mentioned it to my children
when they were growing up.
"I never pictured a career in politics when I was a little girl.
I figured I’d be a surgeon, since I liked to pick up frogs, but my
parents’ experiences rubbed off on me. I wasn’t an exceptional child.
I didn’t know I wanted to be in government all my life. Things have
a way of coming together over time, and because I received such strong
support from my family, it gave me the self-confidence to succeed,
in spite of the fact that I wasn’t a good student."
"I was a prickly kid and not easy to get along with. I learned
to enjoy being alone and depending on myself. I grew up on a farm,
loved being with the animals and taking walks in the woods. I still
do. Getting away from people is perhaps the best way to get
on the day again.
"I was a late bloomer and hit my stride at Wheaton College in
Massachusetts. College got me excited about government, and after
college, I became involved. I wanted to help the Republican Party
reach out to minorities. At 22, I was traveling around the country,
talking to groups of blacks, college students, and senior citizens
to analyze their involvement with the political system. If they
involved, I tried to figure out why they weren’t. If they were, I
determined whether they were Republicans, and if they weren’t, I asked
what our party could do to attract them.
"As governor, at the end of the day, you’re the one who makes
the decisions, and you have to stand alone, particularly if the
goes south. It’s amazing how quickly the people who encouraged you
will jump overboard if it doesn’t turn out the way it was supposed
to. You can’t define yourself in terms of others if you are in a
"We now live on the farm where I grew up. Our children are 21
and 22. I couldn’t have done all this without my husband’s support,
but I was fortunate because my first job as a freeholder was
and I was able to take the kids to school in the morning and pick
them up in the afternoon.
"I hit many walls as a woman. The biggest and most obvious was
when I ran for the Senate, because I had absolutely no support in
the party. They didn’t believe a woman could defeat Bill Bradley.
With less than a million dollars we took on Bradley within two
points. A lot of people had to eat crow."
"It was lonely being the only woman, but the challenges were such
that I didn’t have time to think about that. I found that once I was
in a position, the men became supportive.
"When I first ran for governor and put forward the income-tax-cut
proposal, the stories were brutal, and the undercurrent was, `She
can’t have thought of this herself because she’s a woman; she must
go to her husband for help.’ I finally stopped worrying about that.
As with every woman who charts new grounds, I ran into obstacles
people were very suspicious of women. Those kinds of things take time,
but I can’t spend my time focusing on the negative. I need to get
on to the next task."
Princeton Marriott, Forrestal Village, 856-273-7530. Friday
$115; Friday Family Night, $5. Also Saturday, March 3. Friday,
March 2, 9 a.m.
for "The Magic Flute." Auditions are on Monday, March 12,
between 4 and 8 p.m. at the Woolworth Center of Music Studies,
University. Performance dates are June 23; July 1, 6, 19, 28; and
August 3. Call 609-919-1003, extension 106, for an appointment.
School for aspiring performers ages 10 to 18 to attend its Summer
Musical Theater Conservatory. The program runs from June 25 to July
and includes singing, acting, dance classes as well as workshops and
master classes with actors, directors, designers, and casting agents.
Tuition for the Junior Conservatory is $700; Senior Conservatory
is $1,250. The course concludes with the concert, "New Voices
of 2001 Celebrate Rodgers and Hammerstein." To schedule an
call 973-379-3636 x 2338.
of hope, as special gifts for friends, family, co-workers, and cancer
care facilities. Donations support cancer research, cancer education,
and prevention programs in central New Jersey. Advance orders will
be taken until March 9. Daffodils will be available for pick-up during
the week of March 26 at American Cancer Society, 3076 Princeton Pike,
Lawrenceville. To order flowers or to volunteer to deliver flowers,
theaters, announces publication of the free, statewide theater
listing events from Teaneck to Cape May. The popular discount ticket
program, The Theater Sampler Series continues. Theatergoers online
may subscribe to the New Jersey E-News. Call 973-593-0189 or e-mail
its third annual High School Journalism Contest to students throughout
central New Jersey. Non-fiction entries must have been published
May 1, 2000 and April 30, 2001, in a high school, church, synagogue,
or community newspaper, magazine, newsletter, or in any other
Entries are judged on style, grammar, spelling, punctuation, and the
students’ grasp of their subject matter. Prizes awarded in three
with first place prize of $100. Winners will be honored during a
and awards ceremony on June 7. Call Amy Rubens, contest chair, at
a reunion of campers and staff members of the JCC camps, Abrams Day
Camp, and Teen Travel. A directory and a party are planned for next
summer. To join the mailing list, call 609-883-9550.
poetry contest with 28 prizes in all totaling over $3,000. There is
no entry fee. To enter, send one poem only of 21 lines or less to:
Religious Poetry Contest, PMB 70, 103 North Wood Avenue, Linden, NJ
07036. Or enter online at www.freecontest.com. The deadline
for entering is April 20. Poems may be written on any subject, using
any style, as long as there is a spiritual inference. All entrants
will receive a winner’s list. For more information please contact
John Scribner: email@example.com.
for teams of basketball players from the corporate and professional
world to play in a spring basketball league beginning Monday, April
16, and extending ten weeks through June. Play will be at the Center,
999 Lower Ferry Road, Ewing. Call Jeff Hirschman at 609-883-9550.
cruise on the Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Sea visiting Naples,
Florence, Pisa, Valletta, Barcelona, and Monte Carlo. Prices,
airfare, begin at $2,499. Call Margie Cortz at 732-257-6662.
of the 2001 New Jersey Citizens Guide to Government. The 72-page
book contains information about voter registration, procedures,
parties, government, courts, contact numbers, and election deadline.
Individual copies are $6.80. Call 800-792-VOTE or visit www.lwvnj.org.
of children or adolescents with mental health issues. The support
groups are every 1st and 3rd Wednesday, from 7:30 to 9 p.m., at the
Presbyterian Church, 1039 Lawrence Road, Lawrenceville. Call
all New Jersey residents over the age of 50 to participate in their
hassle-free, test-free, adventure in learning. Ten-week semester
begin on March 12, Monday through Wednesday from 10:30 a.m. to noon
and 1 to 2:30 p.m. at the Reformed Church of Highland Park. Studies
include jazz, opera and classical music, film, history, foreign
art, haiku, writing, live theater, and concerts. Call 732-932-7233.
to participate in the "Rutgers Couples Assistance Program,"
a treatment outcome study funded by the National Institute of Drug
Abuse. A modified form of couples therapy successful in treating
couples is used in committed, heterosexual relationships. Couples
are needed in which the male has abused drugs but does not use IV
heroin, is psychiatrically stable, and is between the ages of 18 and
75. The treatment protocol includes interviews, therapy sessions for
six months, and follow-up interviews. Call 732-445-0901.
about "Conservation Trees" with information on how to plant
shade trees, how to prune them, and how to attract songbirds. For
the free booklet, send name and address to Conservation Trees,
Arbor Day Foundation, Nebraska City, NE 68410.
church groups, or individuals in New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and
Washington D.C., to be considered for possible inclusion in "Best
of the Best from the Mid-Atlantic: Selected Recipes from Delaware,
New Jersey, Washington D.C." For information contact Barbara
editor, "Best of the Best State Cookbook Series," Quail Ridge
Press, 1-800-343-1583, www.quailridge.com.
and Heisman Trophy winner, Ron Dayne, who will work with players eight
to eighteen on a daily basis to improve skill level and sportsmanship.
The program will be at East Stroudsburg University, Pennsylvania.
Other New York Giants attending are Greg Comella, Howard Cross, Mike
Cherry, Sam Garnes, Joe Jurevicius, Jessie Armstead, Luke Petitgrout,
Jason Whittle, and Jack Golden. Call 1-800-555-0801 or visit
toys, dolls, games, furniture, clothes and children’s performers to
focus on hands-on activities, theatrical, and musical entertainment,
to participate in "Art in the Open: A Children’s Art Festival"
to be held on Sunday, June 3, in historic Clinton. Call 908-735-8415.
that provides grants to non-profit organization for performance
of Pennsylvania performing artists, has expanded to cover presenters
in New Jersey. For guidelines and application, call 215-496-9424 or
program for potential grant applications. They are designed to assist
organization in preparing application for General Operating Support
and Special Projects. Applicant will be paired with an experienced
grant writer or reviewer. Call Dorothy Hartman at 973-293-3684.
Contest, for children K to Grade 3, accepts entries through Friday,
March 16. Entries from kindergarten and first grade must contain
words and entries from second and third graders must contain 100-350
words. Winners of NJN’s regional Reading Rainbow competition will
be invited to a celebration at Barnes & Noble, MarketFair. Contact
NJN at 609-777-3991 for applications or visit: www.njn.net.
in their senior year of high school who have demonstrated outstanding
community service, academic and athletic achievements, or leadership
skills. The Ball to benefit Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton,
will be held Friday, November 23, 2001, at the Hyatt Regency
Call Mary Lovell-Ressalei at 609-394-5181 x 154 before April 30.
to maintain its free 24-hour telephone crisis hotline. Three training
courses begin on Wednesday, March 21, or Saturday, March 31. Classes
will be held at St. Mark United Methodist Church in Hamilton. Call
the Basic Literacy and English as a Second Language students. Tutor
training classes are on Tuesdays, from 6 to 9 p.m., for seven
weeks beginning on March 27. Training and books are free. Three
will be held at the Hamilton Library, three at Princeton Library,
and one at Wheaton Pointe in East Windsor. Call June Vogel at
in paying for instructors, supplies, and finances for their social
and athletic programs. Trenton Police Department places children,
who have gotten into trouble with the law, in the organization for
guidance and a second chance. Over the last two years, the enrollment
has grown from 200 to over 700 children. Not one child in the program
has had further police intervention. Call 609-392-3191 or send
to Boys & Girls Club of Trenton, 212 Centre Street, Trenton 08611.
summer workshop in Princeton from Monday, August 13, to Friday, August
17. It is aimed at teachers, covers eight neuro-developmental areas
that affect learning, and uses comprehensive observations to
each child’s learning behavior. The program is based on over 25 years
of research by pediatrician Mel Levine. Tuition is $1,200. Call
or visit www.allkindsofminds.org.
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