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Courageous Conversations with Hon. Hope Zimmerman and Scott Behson

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On Friday, November 6th in Woodbury, New York, Mom-mentum is hosting Long Island’s Must-Go Women’s Leadership Conference: Achieving Extraordinary. Bringing together a powerful group of speakers, this conference will cultivate awareness and empower women to execute change. You can find out more and register for the conference here.

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Every life journey is unique. On November 6th our Women’s Leadership Conference: Achieving Extraordinary will celebrate these unique journeys by featuring courageous conversations between well known industry leaders during our Voices of Work Life dialogue.

This year our panelists include: Terri Alessi-Miceli, Scott Behson, Yvonne Grant, Hillary Needle and Hon. Hope Zimmerman. Domenique Camacho Moran—partner at Farrell Fritz, P.C.— will moderate a conversation around each panelist’s unique journey. During the inspiring and interactive dialogue, they will discuss the challenges faced and the tools used to accomplish their own work/life success, while also sharing how flexibility, dedication and persistence helped lead them towards professional and personal success.

Today, we will give you a glimpse into two of our panelists’ lives—Hon. Hope Zimmerman and Scott Behson—in hopes of highlighting the importance of building and utilizing a support system to accomplish your career goals. We asked our panelists the following question:

What has been your key component to your support system as a working parent?
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Hon. Hope Zimmerman

Hon. Hope Zimmerman is a Nassau County Supreme Court Justice. Elected to this position in 2013, Hope began her law career in private practice. She eventually obtain the role of Principal Law Secretary in the Nassau County Supreme Court and moved on to become a Family Court Justice before emerging to her current role. Hope responded by recounting the significance building a support network played in reaching her professional goals as a mother of three.

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“In 1983, I became a law school student at a school twenty minutes from my home. I had one child in the ninth grade, one in the eighth and one in second grade. At school I found three women in my class who helped me get through, recording a lecture when I could not attend and welcoming a child on occasions when I had to bring one (or two) to class. We four women, cheered each other on through three years of school and studying for the bar exam. We celebrated each other’s achievements and commiserated dcommiserated with one another’s woes. I was also very fortunate to have two wonderful friends from the Hicksville Mother’s Center, the very first one on whom I relied.

When I started to practice law, a friend I met at a prep class for the Law School Entrance Exam, introduced me to the local women’s bar association. She and I attended meetings together and met women who were glad to be our mentors. These women, some of whom had been practicing at a time when the local bar association (the boys bar as we called it) would not admit women, were delighted to share their experiences of raising children and acquiring skills. They showed me the ropes and were generous with their time.

‘Finding friends and mentors along the way
has made my journey so much richer than it
would otherwise have been.’

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I was so lucky that my children were who they were and who they came to be. But I was luckiest of all to have my husband in my corner who did not erect roadblocks on this path and indeed helped me clear those that fell on my road.”
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Scott Behson

Weighing in on the same question is Scott Behson, a national expert in work and family issues. Scott currently is a Professor of management at Fairleigh Dickinson University and recently was featured at the White House Summit on Working Families. He is also the author of The Working Dad’s Survival Guide: How to Succeed at Work and at Home. His answer shows the positive impact a good support network and a flexible work schedule can make…

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“I interviewed dozens of working parents for my book, The Working Dad’s Survival Guide, and so many involved moms and dads felt that it wasn’t safe where they worked to “out themselves” as involved parents. I’m lucky this is not the case for me.

As a college professor, I have a lot of control over where and when I work, as well as supportive supervisors and colleagues. I also benefit from the natural peaks and valleys of an academic year—busy times at the onset of a semester, a plateau, a rush of activity at the end, and then a down period to recharge.

Finally, I have an awesome wife, and we’ve developed an ever-changing but workable shared-care parenting style in which we both step up as needed to be the primary parent for our 10-year old son, Nick, depending on each other’s work demands. Specifically, my wife is a NYC theater actress, so she works odd and inconsistent hours. I often leverage my work flexibility around her schedule. Some weeks, I’m the primary parent; other weeks, she is; then other weeks, the entire family gets lots of time together. This ever-changing arrangement may be hectic, but works well for our family.”

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Every person’s journey IS unique. We thank Hope and Scott for sharing their experiences here. Continue to be inspired by their strategies and challenges while raising families and building a professional presence on November 6th at Mom-mentum’s Women’s Leadership Conference: Achieving Extraordinary.

You will be motivated to examine work and life in a whole new way!

Leave a Comment: Do you relate with Hope and/or Scott’s stories? What has been your key component to your support system as a working parent?

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Empower. Enrich. Engage… Women Leaders of Today!

Refocus your career and business goals, get out of your rut or grow you to the ‘next level’—all while connecting with the RIGHT people and communities to support you in your next steps. Find out more about Long Island’s Must-Go Women’s Leadership Conference: Achieving Extraordinaory presented by Mom-mentum here.

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Comments

  • katefineske

    Thanks to both of you for sharing your experiences here on our blog.

    Hope, I too have considered going back to school possibly to get my MBA, but have struggled to take that last step due to worries of finance and (mostly!) childcare support. My children are currently age 5, 9 and 12 and to add school on top of work and family—sounds like a crazy endeavor. It is always great to hear of another woman’s success story of doing this with a family!

    Scott, my husband and I also have a similar shared-care parenting style. Without job flexibility (on both our ends) and our duel support of each other—we’d never be able to make it work!

    I really look forward to hearing more of both of your stories during the Courageous Conversations Panelist Discussions—and I know others will too. Thanks again for your time, commitment and support of Mom-mentum and our Women’s Leadership Conference!