The Legacy of Geraldine Ferraro

This week, back in 1984, Walter Mondale made history selecting Geraldine Ferraro as his vice presidential partner. Twenty-eight years ago this week, I was eleven and I don't recall that having much impact on my life. By then, I was into politics already and I think I had an inkling that while that was neat, they didn't have a shot in hell.

Twenty-eight years later, I work for Kevin Donnellan at AARP who was there for that moment as part of Geraldine Ferraro's team. I've worked for him for nearly seven years and at every step of the way, he's thrown me in the deep end professionally and celebrated my success with more responsibility.  I still remember how in my first few months here, he let me jump in and work on rapid response during the State of the Union. He recognized when I was outgrowing my role in media relations and gave me the opportunity to craft all of the communications strategy for Create The Good. And, when I approached him about starting a social media team, he supported it from day one. He's always had my back. And, I hope I've always had his.

I don't think a lot about the impact Geraldine Ferraro had on him. But, this morning, before work, we were tweeting about the anniversary. I told him I appreciated what he'd done for my career. I think she'd be proud of him. He wrote me back, "It was an incredible night and we all realized that our wives, sisters, mothers could now do anything they wanted."

Much like when I was eleven, I don't spend a lot of time thinking about how the industries I've chosen to work in - politics and technology - are male dominated. Whether it's hard work or dumb luck, I have always gotten to do anything I wanted. I just love what I do and hope I kick ass.  For whatever role Gerry had along the way, I thank her.


TK said...

I was in San Francisco that night too. My boss insisted that every guy on our team (and even our major donors) give up their floor passes so that all the women could be a part of this historic event. It was extraordinary.

Maggie said...

This is a fantastic post. Oh, Geraldine... such a moment. Your boss sounds like my kinda guy.