Stephanie Spanarkel's posts

Sep 26th 2012

The MAKERS Story Grows with Two Writers

The MAKERS gallery of videos about groundbreaking women of the past 50 years now features the stories of a writer who found her calling in writing cookbooks for families, and the first female Mexican-American writer whose work was taken on by a mainstream publisher.

Amanda Haas is a cookbook author, recipe tester and founder of One Family One Meal, a website that provides free recipes, menu plans and shopping lists for families.

After a few post-collegiate years working at Williams-Sonoma, Haas found her calling when she attended culinary school. She has since tested and developed more than 400 recipes for dozens of cookbooks, including the IACP Cookbook of the Year recipient A16 Food + Wine. As manager of Williams-Sonoma's test kitchen, Haas has filmed over 50 instructional cooking videos featured on Williams-Sonoma.com. Her first book, "Cooking Light Real Family Food: Simple & Easy Recipes Your Whole Family Will Love," was published Sept 4.

Sandra Cisneros is a Mexican-American novelist, poet and short story writer. Her books include "The House on Mango Street," "Caramelo" and "Woman Hollering Creek." She's the recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts as well as a Macarthur "Genius" Grant. Cisneros was born in Chicago in 1954, the only girl among seven siblings. The family shuttled between Chicago and Mexico City before finally settling in the area of Chicago known as Humbolt Park, a neighborhood that would later provide inspirations for "The House on Mango Street."

Cisneros began writing as a teenager, serving as the editor of her high school's literary magazine. She went on to study English literature at Loyola University in Chicago before earning her Master or Fine Arts at the prestigious Iowa Writers Workshop.

In addition to her novels, books of poetry and short stories, Cisneros has also taught writing at nearly every level, from grade school to graduate school. She's also been a visiting writer at several universities including the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. As the first female Mexican-American writer to have her work published by a mainstream publisher, Cisneros has seen her books translated worldwide and "The House on Mango Street" remains required reading in middle schools, high schools and universities across the country.

Learn more about Sandra in this video:

For more inspiring stories, visit MAKERS.com

Sep 13th 2012

MAKERS Spotlights Firsts in Journalism and Music

MAKERS.com, which launched in March showcasing women trailblazers of the past half-century, now features more than 130 video profiles and grows every week. The latest additions to the gallery: the first Asian American to win a Pulitzer Prize, the first female senior editor of Newsweek and the first female solo act to win the Shortlist Music Prize when her album "The Greatest" was awarded Album of the Year.

Sheryl WuDunn is an investment banker, author, journalist, and international women's rights advocate. In 1989 she became the first Asian American to win a Pulitzer Prize for her work at the Beijing bureau of the New York Times. She has co-written three best-selling books with her husband, the Times columnist Nicolas Kristof. She is currently a managing director at Mid-Market Solutions. In 1989 WuDunn joined the Times' Beijing bureau, where she and Kristof, whom she had married the previous year, teamed up to cover the Tiananmen Square massacre and several other major stories in China and Southeast Asia. Their work was recognized with the Pulitzer Prize, making them the first husband and wife team to receive the award.

Lynn Povich is an editor, journalist, and women's rights pioneer. In 1975, she became the first female senior editor in the history of Newsweek. She's currently co-chairwoman of the International Women's Media Foundation. Povich joined Newsweek as a secretary in the mid-1960s at a time when all the writers and editors were men and all the fact checkers, researchers, and secretaries were women. In 1970, the magazine decided to publish a cover story on the women's rights movement. Because they didn't have any female writers on staff, they had to hire a female writer from elsewhere to write the piece as a freelancer. Outraged, Povich and 45 other female staffers of the magazine sued for sex discrimination. The lawsuit and the publicity it created were a gigantic first step toward gender equality in the magazine business.

Chan Marshall
is a singer-songwriter also known by the name of her band Cat Power. The Atlanta-born musician found her musical voice as a teenager while jamming with other musician friends in a basement. In 1992, she moved to New York and two years later experienced her first big break when she opened for music artist Liz Phair. Known for her soulful, minimalist vocals and guitar, Marshall released her first album in 1995. In 2007, she became the first female solo act to win the Shortlist Music Prize when her album The Greatest was awarded Album of the Year. Her cover of "Sea of Love" was also featured on the 2007 movie soundtrack for the film Juno. Cat Power's latest studio album Sun released Sept. 4 to rave reviews.

Learn more about Chan Marshall by watching this video:

For more inspiring stories, head to MAKERS.com

Aug 29th 2012

MAKERS Adds House Leader, Union Leader

The MAKERS.com video library continues to grow with first-person stories from women who are firsts in their fields. This week's newcomers: the first female Speaker of the House and the founder of the United Farm Workers.

Nancy Pelosi is Minority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives and represents California's eighth district as a member of the Democratic Party. In 2007 she became the 60th Speaker of the House and the first female Speaker in American history, a position she held until 2011.

Dolores Huerta is a union leader and activist for the rights of farm workers and women. Along with Cesar Chavez, she founded the first successful farm workers union in the country, the United Farm Workers, in 1962. She's a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Huerta has stepped down from her position at the UFW, but continues to lecture on worker's issues and women's issues around the country.

In addition to the Presidential Medal of Freedom, she's received numerous awards and recognitions-among them the Eleanor Roosevelt Humans Rights Award from President Clinton in l998, the Ohtli award from the Mexican government and nine honorary doctorates from universities throughout the U.S.

Learn more about Dolores by watching this video:

Check out MAKERS.com to hear more incredible stories.

Aug 22nd 2012

MAKERS Adds Senator, Equal Pay Advocate

The newest video stories added to the growing MAKERS.com gallery of groundbreaking women spotlight the first female U.S. Senator from Texas and a manager at a Goodyear plant who has fought to achieve equal pay for women.

Kay Bailey Hutchison, the first female U.S. Senator from Texas, has also served in the Texas State Legislature and as the state's treasurer. Raised in La Marque Tex., she was one of five women to graudate from the University of Texas-Austin Law School out of a class of 500 people. "It was when I got out of law school that I hit my first brick wall," she says. "Law firms in Texas didn't hire women."

She burst onto the political scene in 1972 when she became the first Republican woman to be elected to the Texas House of Representatives. In 1976, President Gerald Ford appointed her to the National Transportation Safety Board. Though Hutchison strayed from politics shortly after, her professional career did not end there. Over the next decade, she was named senior VP and general counsel for Republic Bank, founded Fidelity Bank of Dallas and eventually purchased McCraw Candies Inc. When she returned to politics in 1993, Hutchison was elected to the U.S. Senate.

Lilly Ledbetter worked as an area manager at Goodyear plant in Gadsden, Alabama, for 19 years. Her crusade to remedy the gender-based pay discrimination she suffered during that time received national attention. Although she never received compensation for the discrimination she faced, Ledbetter fought on to pass legislation ensuring that other women would not have to deal with the same inequities she had. Her activism led to the passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in 2009 by President Obama.

Learn more about Lilly by watching this video:

Visit MAKERS.com to learn about more inspiring women.

Aug 15th 2012

MAKERS Profiles Blogger, Orthodox Rabba

The newest video stories added to MAKERS.com document the career paths of a traditional journalist turned blogger and entrepreneur and the first officially ordained "Rabba" in Orthodox Judaism.

Lisa Stone, CEO and co-founder of the award-winning social hub BlogHer, left a traditional journalism career at CNN for the Internet in 1997 and hasn't looked back.

In 2002, she was the first Internet journalist awarded a Nieman Fellowship from Harvard University. As Executive Producer and Editor in Chief/VP, Programming, for Women.com, Stone was responsible for developing some of the most successful online communities.

In 2005, she and co-founders Elisa Camahort Page and Jory Des Jardins launched BlogHer, a publishing and social network and annual conference that reaches 37 million women each month. BlogHer.com has been on Forbes' Top 100 Websites for Women in 2010, 2011, and 2012. Stone has also been honored as one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business by Fast Company and as one of The Most Powerful Moms in Media by Working Mother magazine.

Sara Hurwitz is the first officially ordained "Rabba" in Orthodox Judaism. She's the Rabba at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, N.Y., and the Dean of Yeshivat Maharat, also in Riverdale. After emigrating with her family from South Africa, she spent her teenage years in Boca Raton, Florida. Her early affinity for religious community life was affirmed when she took a high school vocational test that recommended she join the clergy. At the time, however, Orthodox women were not allowed to serve as rabbis, so she considered the suggestion impossible. Yet Hurwitz's relationship with Judaism continued to grow.

Upon completion of her coursework at Barnard College and then the Drisha Institute, Hurwitz began studying under the Rabbi Avi Weiss of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale. Over seven years, she received all the training required of a rabbi, learning how to give spiritual guidance, issue legal rulings, and counsel her congregants.

In 2009, Rabbi Weiss officially ordained Hurwitz, giving her the title "Maharat," and later converting it to "Rabba" (a feminized version of rabbi) to more clearly convey her full rabbinic role. While Hurwitz's ordainment caused a fierce backlash from some in the Orthodox community, she maintained her title and her leadership position.

Learn more about Rabbi Weiss by watching this video:

Check out MAKERS.com to learn about more amazing women.

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