THE VFA PIONEER HISTORIES PROJECT
“Knowing Your History Can Give You the Tools to Shape Your Future.”
Expert on women, power, and leadership. Educator, bestselling author, and keynote speaker. Co Founder and president of Take The Lead. Former president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
Interviewed by Mary Jean Collins, VFA Historian, June 2021
GF: I’m Gloria Feldt and I was born on April 13th, 1942, in Temple, Texas. It’s in Central Texas and was a small town of 12,000 at the time. We lived with my maternal grandmother Rose Kirshon Hendler at 1203 North Main Street, until I was nine years old.
My grandparents had a big influence on my life. All of my grandparents were Jewish immigrants to the US from Eastern Europe: two from Latvia, two from Lithuania. I always had that sense of the immigrant love of democracy, the immigrant appreciation for what America could give to them. The immigrant work ethic was very strong.
My maternal grandmother had been college educated; she had been a school mistress in Russia soon after the Bolshevik revolution. As often happened with Jewish families, they were run out of their home in Lithuania, and they went further into Russia. She became activated herself, though she didn’t really talk about it in those terms. She had gotten a secular college degree in spite of her traditionally religious father’s opposition. I always knew that she was educated – she could speak five or six languages.
She gave up her professional aspirations when she came to America, via New York to Galveston to meet her fiancée Selig Hendler. Selig, whom she married immediately upon arriving in Galveston as was necessary for single female immigrants, took her to live in the faring community of Rogers, Texas, population 500 where only her husband spoke any of those languages. He died when he was in his 40s, so I never met him, but he was certainly a presence because of how she talked about him. She ran the family dry goods store for a time after he died. Everyone used to say she could have run General Motors if she had been born at a different time.
She had agency in this world, she was a role model to me. I didn’t know anything about feminism, but she was certainly a role model in that respect. My paternal grandparents a little less so. My paternal grandmother Molly or Malle Bergson could not read or write when she came here. She married my grandfather Isaac Feldt the day she landed in Galveston because they wouldn’t let her off the boat otherwise. She was a traditional homemaker. That’s a whole other story of the family. I have all those stories of the family history that came to me. Both sets of my grandparents were married by Rabbi Henry Cohen, who became quite famous as a community leader and for helping thousands of immigrants resettle in Texas. My father was born in Galveston. My mother in Temple.
My parents, Max and Florence Feldt being first generation, certainly had that work ethic. At the time that I was born, or shortly thereafter, my father went into the Army because the Second World War was going on. My mother was at home with my grandmother there to care for me, so she started taking some courses at Temple Community College. They had married when she was 17. She had started nursing school at the University of Texas in Austin, but they met, introduced by a Hendler family member. They fell in love, and they got married right away. I later realized that she had been sent to nursing school close to home whereas her younger brother Albert went to Harvard to medical school. Yet my grandmother used to say that Florence was the smarter of the two. Gender bias starts at home.
When my father came back from the army, he started a Western wear manufacturing company with his father Isaac. The brand still exists, Tem Tex, for Temple, Texas, though he sold it many years ago to another larger company. My father was a larger-than-life guy: he was 6’3″, size 13 shoes, I still have his great big yellow and green boots that say “Tem Tex” on them – they were made for him. That’s the kind of guy he was, he had a big personality. He influenced me quite a lot; next to my grandmother he was the biggest influence on my life.
The family lore was that before I was born, he went around telling everybody he was going to have a son. After I was born, he was carrying me around in the hospital telling everybody he had a daughter and how proud he was. My grandmother said to him, “But, Max, you said you were going to have a son.” And he said, “Who said I wanted a boy?” That imprinted on me that I had value, at a time when for the most part, girl children were simply not valued as much as boy children were, which obviously continues to some extent to this day. I was very fortunate in that regard.
He would tell me I could do anything. He would say, “You can do anything your pretty little head desires.” That’s exactly how he said it. I don’t think he would have identified as a feminist. I don’t think he would even have known what it meant. But his daughter was different in his mind, and I think a lot of fathers may not think about feminism, but they want their daughters to have every opportunity. He also did things like insert a female pronoun when he would tell me stories or tell me aphorisms like “she who asks gets” instead of “he who asks gets.” I didn’t realize what a difference that made until I was grown.
I honestly couldn’t hear what he told me because the culture told me something exactly the opposite. The culture told me the home is a woman’s place, a girl is not as smart as a boy, she better not be smart as a boy if she wants to have a boyfriend. But eventually I do think that the early messaging made a big difference for me, and probably was what helped me wake up to feminism when I got into my twenties. But there were those teenage years in between, unfortunately.
My mother was super smart but never felt she had the power to make judgments for herself and decisions about what she was going to do with her life and that’s unfortunate. But that is how she lived her life. That was the role model I got on the female side of my parents.
When I was 13, my father was persuaded to move his western wear company to a little town in West Texas called Stamford. It’s very unlike Stamford, Connecticut, or Stanford University or anything like that. This was like The Last Picture Show. It is exactly 90 miles south of Larry McMurtry’s town that he wrote about in The Last Picture Show: a dying West Texas town. I always say I was Sybil Shepherd (who played the Jacey Farrow smart girl character in the book), but with dark hair.
At 13, in a small town like that, it’s really fun, it seems fun. You can go anywhere, you can do anything, everybody’s parents know everybody’s children, everybody takes care of you. Some of my dear friends to this day are my friends from Stamford High School. We don’t agree on anything politically, but we’re still great friends. The ones who do agree with me, find me and then the others just keep their mouth shut, because they all know where I stand. Stamford was a great place to be a teenager. That would have been 1955-ish when we moved to Stamford.
We had been one of a few Jewish families in Temple (When I speak to Jewish audiences, I often start by saying, there was no temple in Temple) and then in Stamford, we were the only Jewish family, so naturally, I wanted nothing more than to be like everybody else. I wanted to be “normal,” my family was “different.” I always got asked questions about stuff that I didn’t want to have to answer. The previous Jewish family that had lived there, was Bob Strauss’ family. I found out much later in life that his brother had been my father’s business attorney.
I made a point to look Strauss up when I was going to Washington often with Planned Parenthood. We had tea and reminisced. He was already 90 years old; he had been the ambassador to Russia and head of the Democratic Party. We had some good laughs about growing up as the only Jewish families in Stamford, Texas.
I had two siblings: a sister Candy five years younger than me and a brother Selig who was five years younger than her. The business did not go well for many reasons. The town was not large enough to provide a skilled workforce for a textile factory, that was part of it. Then my little brother became ill with terminal cancer, and they took him to Dallas for better medical treatment. He died at age 6. It was very sad. My parents never recovered from this loss, and the family became rather dysfunctional in many respects.
I became pregnant at 15 and married my high school sweetheart, Wallace Bosse. I had started school a year earlier than my peers, so I’m still known as the baby of the class. But nevertheless, I was way too young for thinking that I was mature enough to have a household and children. We moved off to Odessa, Texas, where there was work for him in a petrochemical plant. My now ex-husband was four years older than I was. He had started to college and then when we got married, he had to truncate his life also. Teen marriages are not good situations for anybody, male or female.
I somehow finished high school by correspondence since pregnant girls weren’t allowed to stay in school then. I had always imagined that I would go to college, it was just part of the water that we drank at our house. People were supposed to get educated. That was one thing that I wanted to do. In 1960, the birth control pill came out and it finally got to Odessa in 1962. My third child, my son, was born in 1962. It was as though a light bulb went off in my head because all of a sudden, I didn’t have to worry about having a baby every other year. I could actually plan some things in my life. I could start to college.
I started at the Community College, Odessa College – there wasn’t a senior level college there at that time. I was very careful to get all of my classes on Tuesday and Thursday, so I was away from my children the least amount of time. The educational process was one of those life changers. I had imagined I would become an English teacher because I did love literature so much, and I love to write, and I love to read. I just assumed that I would become an English teacher.
I quickly became fascinated with the social sciences and sociology in particular. I studied race and gender obsessively and that is where I started getting my feminist sensibilities. One of my professors invited me to a League of Women Voters reception and I attended it. There were all these women who understood how the political process worked and they were talking about political issues in very informed ways. They were making plans to talk to a City Council person and do “this” and do “that.” I was taken with that, it really resonated with me.
So much harkens back to that immigrant background. My grandparents and parents would never have dreamed of not voting. For them the civic engagement was what you did, that’s why you came to this country, so you could actually be a part of the political process and part of the decision-making process. (I found out just last year that the Hendlers in Lithuania had been very engaged citizens, starting a fire department, being on the city council, and such. They had been in the community for generations. That didn’t protect them from being ostracized, made to leave their homes during and after World War I, and those who stayed were murdered during World War II.)
When I was very young, like three or four years old, we had lunch every Sunday at my paternal grandparents’ home. After lunch the men would all go into the living room, and the women would stay at the dining room table. The women would talk about what they were talking about: family, cooking, and stuff. The men would argue politics and business. It’s a very argumentative family. I would put my little chair in the door between the living room and dining room so I could hear both of those conversations. I always felt like what the guys were talking about was way more interesting. Those are the little things that imprint upon you at an early age.
So, in my early 20’s and in college, and my children are preschool age. They come home one day, and they had been told by a neighbor that they’re going to hell because they have black hearts because they had not accepted Jesus. I’m thinking to myself, I had better decide what I want these children to learn. I had wanted nothing more than to be “normal” like everybody else, but I wasn’t. No matter what I did, I wasn’t going to be just like everybody else. I decided I needed to study all the religions of the world and make a conscious decision about what I wanted my children to grow up identifying with.
I concluded that as an ethic, I appreciated the Jewish religion the most primarily because of the social justice components and the belief in individual responsibility for what we do on this Earth. I wanted my children to grow up with that as a driving force in their lives. I joined the little synagogue in Odessa that served about 60 families in a 100-mile radius, and it was a cozy little family.
Speaking of family, I want to make clear that my children have been the center of my life. I am grateful to them for putting up with me as I had to grow up along with them, and they taught me so much. I love them dearly. Despite my inadequacies as a very young parent, they have all grown up into fine, upstanding adults. Linda and David, the two who became parents are much better parents than I was because they were more mature when they had their very planned children—I‘ll take some credit for making that possible. Tammy, the one who didn’t have children is the world’s best aunt and social activist.
If I hadn’t had three children, I probably would have been marching for Civil Rights in Selma, but because I couldn’t do that, I got involved in things that were available at the local level. Those things were more like intercultural, interracial, and interreligious conversations that were sometimes sponsored by Church groups and sometimes by other groups. I did a very large amount of interreligious conversations, organizing them, and also being a panelist on different programs trying to build understanding across gender, across race, and across religion. It was and it remains an important part of what I care about.
Now two things happen. First, I started volunteering in some of the civil rights organizations that were primarily Black run. I noticed quickly that the women were doing all the work and the men were getting all the credit and getting the leadership positions. I had this “aha” moment that was like, if there are civil rights, women must have them, too. I don’t know exactly what had happened, but it was seriously defining for me. It was what drove me to decide I would spend as much of my life as I could doing things that would help women have equality in this world, whatever that might have meant at that time. And the biggest thing I learned from the Civil Rights movement is movement building: that people working together can make social change, even if they have little formal power.
That was President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society time. There wasn’t a whole lot of it going on in Odessa, Texas, but Head Start was getting going. I started volunteering at Head Start and did that for a year or two. I was going to start doing substitute teaching in the public schools, because you could do that without having a teaching degree, and my youngest child was going into kindergarten, so I could do that, and I needed to earn money. I told the director of Head Start that I was not going to be able to volunteer anymore and she offered me a teaching job on the spot. I taught Head Start for five years.
Sometimes people see in you more than you see in yourself. This is one of those situations. Her name was Mildred Chaffin, and she was a retired journalist at a time when there weren’t many women who did hard news. She had done hard news and she was crusty and crabby and hard to get along with, but she had the best heart in the world. She was absolutely committed to making life better for poor families and wanted children of all races to have a better shot in this world.
I loved teaching at Head Start because at that time, it wasn’t in the public schools yet. We were in a church that had been condemned many times over and needed to be. At the same time, the lack of structure meant we were able to be very creative about how we taught and that was a great experience. I really loved that. I was part of one of the first bilingual teaching programs. I got to do that, even though I’m really not bilingual but I memorized classes in Spanish. I could memorize “The Three Pigs” in Spanish.
The last year that I was at Head Start, Mildred asked me to do a special project that was to develop a parent/child interaction program. I had to figure out how to work with the parents as well as the children because they had realized that if you teach the children that’s great, but if the parents aren’t part of it, that learning doesn’t last very long. That was also a good experience, and they are still using those same programs I developed.
At the five-year mark of my work with Head Start, the University of Texas opened a branch in Odessa. For me, that was like the promised land: I quit my job at Head Start, I enrolled and was the first one in the door. I took 24 hours a semester because I was determined I was going to finish in a year. Two semesters at 24 hours and then summer semesters and I’d be done. I’d have my degree; I could become a high school social studies teacher. That’s what I was planning to do.
Fate had other things in store for me. One of my teaching colleagues at Head Start and the priest in her Catholic Church were on the board of this new Planned Parenthood affiliate in West Texas. The priest said to me, “I can’t tell these families they have to have a baby every year. I can’t feed them, I can’t clothe them, who am I to tell them they have to have a baby every year? Probably he didn’t remain a priest too long after that.
My teaching colleague was the leading lay person in that church. She asked me to volunteer on a committee for this little Planned Parenthood affiliate. I went to a board meeting, and they were having a screaming fight about whether to serve teens on their own consent. The leading gynecologist in town was screaming that he would resign if they did – they were at each other’s throats. They finally took a vote and they decided that if a girl had had one “illegitimate” child, that then they would allow her to have birth control on her own consent.
The county judge was on the board, and he tips back in his chair, and he says, “now, if that ain’t shuttin’ the barn door after the cows done got out.” I learned a little bit about Planned Parenthood at that time, and I thought, who are these crazy people? I went back to school and forgot about it, but when I was taking the very last class, I thought I was done. I was told I had to have another 3 hours of science. Well, I hated science, so I took the easiest class I could find, ecology. It was the only three-hour science class, and I didn’t have to have a lab.
I take this class and we’re being told about population growth and the theory that humans would reproduce ourselves out of resources. Some of that’s true but I was skeptical and wanted to find out if voluntary family planning was successful. My term paper was only 10% of my grade so I thought, I’m going to do this paper on this little Planned Parenthood affiliate. I’m not going to work hard on it. I’m just going to go interview a few people, write it up. That’s it. I just want to graduate.
So, I do that. Two weeks later, the executive director, who I had never spoken with before I interviewed her, called me, and said, “I am leaving, I think you should submit a resume.” I’m thinking I’m in no danger of being hired, I’ve never run anything, I know nothing about health care administration. The only thing I know about Planned Parenthood, or this movement is what I learned from one board meeting and writing this paper.
I had been pretty oblivious to Roe v Wade and totally oblivious to Griswold v Connecticut or any of the other court cases that I now know like the back of my hand. The only thing I remember about Roe is that Roe was decided the day that LBJ died and those were the two headlines in the newspaper. That I remembered, but that’s it. It did not even enter my head.
I had never had a real job interview before, so I put a resume together, and thought it’ll be great experience. I go to my first interview, and they asked me to come back for a second interview. I go to my second interview, and they offer me a job right there. And you know, there was no cell phone to call my husband to discuss it. It pays like $1,000 a year more than teaching and that to me at that time was a lot. It sounded interesting, so I thought, I’ll do it for, say, three years. Then I’ll go back to teaching, I’ll find a teaching job in that time.
Thirty years later I retired as the National President of Planned Parenthood. I became enamored of the movement, and I began to get a clearer understanding of the importance to women, of being able to control fertility. I knew it from my own experience, but I didn’t realize until I started my work at Planned Parenthood how profound this is in the bigger picture of women in the world. That the personal is political and vice versa. And those movement building skills I had learned in the Civil Rights movement would always guide my work for systems change, not merely providing care to individual women as important as that is.
I had become much more engaged in feminism between the time I finished my community college and the time I went to work for Planned Parenthood. For me, Planned Parenthood was always about that bigger sense of women’s human and civil rights. And while my value system was certainly aligned with everything about women having access to birth control and abortion, for me, reproductive rights and access to care were always about that bigger picture of women having agency in the world, being able to have a life, being able to be full citizens of the world.
The thing I learned as I was involved with Planned Parenthood, particularly after I went to Arizona, which I’ll come back to in a moment, is that there’s a wide range of people who support Planned Parenthood from across the political spectrum. And many of them have no sense of feminism whatsoever. But for me, that was what drove me to want to take that job and sustained my desire to do that work through what would become very challenging times.
I had gotten involved in a couple of feminist activities. There was a tiny little NOW chapter that I joined for a while. When I found Ms. Magazine somehow, which I don’t remember how, if you wanted to find other people who subscribed, they would give you that information. There were like six in all of West Texas, but we found each other.
And there was a woman who had started something that I presume would be called a consciousness raising meeting. I did that for a bit. But frankly, it was a little too much navel-gazing for me, because I’ve always been more of an “okay, so we got a problem, so what are we going to do about it?” kind of a person. But it was probably helpful to my consciousness at the time. And I realized that so many women had been traumatized and needed to expunge the hurt and anger by talking about it.
Planned Parenthood at that time in West Texas was called Permian Basin Planned Parenthood. It was in the oil patch, 17 big West Texas counties. I did a lot of driving from place to place. I found a couple of things. One thing I found about myself was that I have what I call now, the CEO brain. I would have never known this without the experience of doing it, though I am sure that my feminist sensibilities helped.
Before that experience though, I could only see myself as a teacher because what did women do? You were a teacher, or you were a nurse, or you were a secretary. Right? It would have never occurred to me that I could be the CEO of anything. But what I found pretty quickly was I was willing to assume any level of responsibility in order to have the opportunity to make things happen, to bring together resources, to open new clinics, to serve more people. That was exhilarating. So, I grew that tiny affiliate into a good middle sized one.
I drove around West Texas, and I would meet up with the two people in any given town that supported Planned Parenthood. And they would find the money, and they would find a free space, and they would find us a nurse and we would open a clinic. I opened clinics all over West Texas, and that was so fun. In fact, I was in Lamesa TX on my birthday in 1978 working to open a clinic when the call came offering me my next opportunity for leadership.
By this time, I was divorced. My youngest child is about to go into his senior year in high school. I had not planned on trying to make a move for another year or so. But I was recruited by both the San Antonio and the Phoenix Planned Parenthood affiliates. And while I would not have wanted to leave Texas – I actually still identify myself as a Texan for all the weirdness that that’s worth – but the San Antonio affiliate was happy with itself. And the Phoenix affiliate was a very underperforming, middle-sized affiliate. But they had a board that was brave and had this amazing strategic plan. They wanted to grow and open clinics all over Arizona. So, for me, that was just like, okay, that is exactly the right place for me. So, I went ahead and applied.
My son was not terribly happy with me, but it turned out to be really good for him to have a year with his father where he had to learn to do his own clothes washing and stuff like that, which when living with me, he was still a baby.
So, I go for my final interview in Phoenix. First of all, they bring three finalist candidates on the same day. We weren’t interviewed at the same time, but we all knew we were all there at the same time. I go in for my interview, and I see this guy, who obviously was waiting to see what I look like. And this is before Google. So, the story has been verified that he said to another board member, “Gary, I’ve just met my last wife.”
I was not the first choice for the executive director position. They offered it, of course, to the one candidate who was male. They had had a male executive director for most of their years, and they offered the job to the man first. The other woman and I had said to each other that they’re going to offer to the man, we knew that. It’s like, yeah, that’s going to happen. Well, they offered him more money than they ultimately offered me. But I was too naive to know that. Fortunately for me, he still didn’t take it because his wife didn’t like Phoenix.
The man who had decided I was going to be his last wife had a plan. He spoke up and said, “Okay, if the male candidate doesn’t take it, we immediately should offer it to Gloria.” Sometimes when you are second choice, it works out just fine.
Of course, I wouldn’t date him for a while. But that’s a whole other part of the story. Anyway, eventually I did, and we’re still married 42 years later. So, it turned out okay. I call him my conflict of interest.
But there are so many lessons in that. I wouldn’t have known to even negotiate my compensation. They were offering more than I had been making before. What did I know? Nobody had taught me. Nobody had taught me to figure out what I should be paid and to ask for that. And I was just happy I was going to get out of West Texas, and I was going to get paid more than I had been being paid before. Well, ultimately, over time, I was part of a whole movement within Planned Parenthood, because we did studies, and we quickly found out that the male executive directors were being paid more than the female executive directors.
So, we got that disparity taken care of in the next few years. But those are the lessons you have to learn along the way. And if you don’t have that sense of feminist power, you don’t learn them or at least you might not act on them. You have to have that knowledge and that vision that you are worth what the job is supposed to be worth.
I would say that being the CEO of Planned Parenthood of Central and Northern Arizona, which was about two thirds of the state, was the most gratifying and enjoyable job I’ve had.
Now it’s merged with Tucson. So, it’s called Planned Parenthood of Arizona. But when I was there, it was the biggest part of the state, but not the Tucson area. I had this amazing opportunity because the board did have a bold strategic plan. I didn’t know they didn’t even know if they could make payroll the month before I got there. But I learned to fundraise. And we were in the state capital, so I had to learn more about politics, marketing, dealing with an ever-changing health care system, and building an influential board in order to get the rest of it done. I got to grow a middle-sized affiliate into one of the largest and best in the country.
While I was in Texas, I had been one of the founders of the Planned Parenthood public affairs statewide organization because politically things were already starting to get dicey in Texas, even though when I left, it was still much more moderate and progressive than it is today. Arizona, on the other hand, was the Wild West, and had a vocal, politically strong, antiabortion movement headed by the founder of the National Right to Life, Dr. Carolyn Gerster who lived there.
Fortunately for me, the affiliate had been founded by Peggy Goldwater, Senator Barry Goldwater’s wife, and she got other prominent women in town to join with her. But that was in the 1930’s and 40’s. So, we had substantial Republican support, based on that history and Barry’s essentially libertarian view.
Still, when I got there and people told me I had to call Peggy, I was terrified because my predecessor hadn’t kept her engaged.
I’m like, does she have any idea that we’re now doing abortions? And we’re now serving teens without their parents’ consent? They called it the Mother’s Health Clinic when she helped found what became Planned Parenthood. She probably thinks this is still prominent ladies going down to South Phoenix, doling out pills to poor women.
Well, I called her, and she immediately said, “Oh, I’m so glad you called. I heard you were here, and I was just about to send you this article because I think it’s terrible that they are trying to make teens get their parents’ consent to get birth control.” “Okay, Peggy, you are right on top of it.” And then I asked her, and she readily agreed to host cocktail parties at their home for our larger donors preceding the annual fundraising dinner. That put the affiliate on the social map and while the antiabortion attacks continued to escalate and sometimes become violent, this support across party lines helped to cushion us.
Years later, I wrote a book called, Behind Every Choice Is A Story, because I found that is absolutely the fact. Everybody has a story. Everybody. Peggy had her own abortion story. Her daughter had her own abortion story. Did we talk about those things? Not publicly. We talked about getting birth control to poor women. We could talk about health care. But we couldn’t really get to the meat of what it’s all about, which, again, is about whether women are going to be able to have full equality.
I find that the movement is still struggling with that and is still not really willing to declare that the issue is about power, who has it and who wields it over women’s lives and bodies. I tried hard, but people don’t want to grapple with the fact that you’ve got to grapple with sex, and you’ve got to grapple with women’s role and power in society, period. Because that’s really what it’s all about.
So anyway, that was the most fun job truly, that I had during my three decades with Planned Parenthood. It was great being the National President, doing the work at that level, and having the opportunity to work at the highest halls of power. But being in Arizona at the time when it was growing like wildfire and I grew the affiliate from three clinics to 16, expanded services, and got the support of just about everybody of influence was an extraordinary opportunity.
The affiliate became one of the largest in the country, and some years served the most patients of any affiliate in the country. We won so many political battles, including defeating an antiabortion ballot initiative by the largest margin ever for such an initiative, that the state legislature believed it was a pro-choice state. So even the Republicans were mostly not willing to back awful bills and we were able to defeat those that did get introduced. It was a good time because we stayed ahead of the agenda and created our own narrative, a strategy that guided my subsequent work at the national level.
We also developed and got funding from national foundations to create a manual for creating an effective public affairs program. We trained many Planned Parenthood affiliates and other reproductive health and rights organizations across the country in how to organize the grassroots and nurture the grasstops. That’s when I realized that the national organization had been letting the antiabortion movement define them and had become entrenched in playing defense instead of setting the terms of the debate. A recipe for failure. I don’t like to fail
MJC: How many years did you serve in Arizona?
GF: 18 years. It was a long time. And I had a nice life there. I had a really nice life. Easy life because I had established myself and built the relationships, I needed to accomplish the service growth and advocacy work that was needed, but also, I learned on the job how to lead successfully in a complex organization that was always under siege. I could still be the executive director there if I wanted to, because of the base of support I had nurtured. But at the 18-year mark, I was getting tired and feeling stale, and I needed to find a new challenge.
[My] goal at that time was to start writing. I had always wanted to write books. When I was five, I carried my little notebook around, and I wrote stories. I always saw myself as a writer. I thought, okay, I could do the writing now because I could take a year or two off. I could write. I could do some consulting. I could then decide what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.
I was 53, when this was going on and I was being recruited really heavily to take the national Planned Parenthood presidency. The time before that the position was open, I had refused to apply, because I thought, who wants to go to New York? I had an easy life here in Arizona. I mean, I thought, who wants to live in New York?
The second time I was recruited, it was different. It was during the time when there were murders, and all kinds of threats. Almost every week some abortion provider, or clinic staff person or volunteer was getting murdered, firebombed, something. I was stalked and picketed at home. I received telephoned death threats in neo-Nazi language.
I was at our clinic every Saturday morning at 6:00 because we had so many picketers there, harassing staff and patients. And they were just awful. And the whole organization nationwide was in a psychological slump, very depressed. Now when you get beat up on all the time, you internalize it. Women especially do that, and either feel powerless and depressed or filled with rage.
And in a predominantly female organization that’s bearing the brunt of these horrible attacks, and your life is at stake every minute, it was particularly challenging to manage to keep spirits up. Organizations are organisms, they are living, breathing things. They have the same collective psychoses or neuroses that we have as individuals. It was one of those moments when I just knew I had to step up.
The national organization had been through three, four, five changes in leadership over a period of five years, which is very debilitating for an organization. And in my case, I knew the people. They knew me. There was trust, the affiliates all knew me. I had been the chair of the National Executive Directors Council. I had been the chair of the Metropolitan Executive Directors Council. I had been on the National Board. I had built a strong affiliate and bearded many political lions in their dens. I had also visibly stood up to internal moves that I believed took us off mission in the service of expediency. So, I was a known quantity and after the board had been stung in their choice of a leader the last time around, they were looking for stability.
My husband, bless his heart, had an insurance brokerage business in Phoenix, and he was doing quite well. He’s a little older than I am. And he was the one who said to me, “This is your job. You need to do this. I would not stand in your way.” He defines himself as a feminist. And being socialized as a man, he taught me a great deal about how to fight verbal attacks (aka, take no shit) and physical threats.
We tried living in both Arizona and New York for several years, and it was too hard since we liked being together. So, he ultimately sold his business and came to New York full time. That said, we have always maintained Arizona as our residence, so that we can vote there. Because we’re hoping that our two votes are going to make a difference. They don’t need our votes in New York.
I was reluctant to take the national presidency, [but] I did realize that the things I had learned along the way were exactly what the organization needed at that moment in time. It was hard. I’ll tell you; I got no sleep. I was on the road constantly. Every affiliate needed to see and touch me because they needed to have that reassurance. The national organization budget was bleeding red ink as donors had lost confidence during the leadership changes, so each of the major funders needed to sit across the table from me and to regain their confidence.
The murders continued. I got sued for talking about them publicly. Yes, believe it or not, a man who created a website that encouraged people to murder physicians who did abortions actually sued me, saying that when I went on television and told the truth about what he was doing, I was interfering with his business. You couldn’t make this up. When we were doing depositions, he claimed that men were “vaginally programmed” and couldn’t control themselves and that was why he needed to control women.
What I had learned along the way was you can’t help an organization thrive by constricting and accepting the situation. You have to grow your way out of it. You have to draw a larger map that defines the field of play or battle where you want it to be, not react and fight on your adversary’s territory because the latter is a recipe for sure defeat.
It was June 1996, when I became the National President. First of all, I should tell you that one of the reasons I wasn’t sure I should apply was I thought I was too old, at 53. I laugh about that now. It turns out that was a great time because when you start something new, you get a whole new burst of energy. It was actually perfect.
But I realized that a shift in thinking was needed for the movement as a whole. Planned Parenthood holds a particular place that is both loved and hated by all the other women’s groups. There was tension between those organizations that claimed the feminist mantle more overtly and saw Planned Parenthood as being too establishment. On the other hand, because it had more establishment support, it had more capacity to influence public policy.
It’s the big mama, the mother church, as Tanya Melich who wrote “The Republican War Against Women” has called it. And because of that, there was a lot of mistrust. There was jealousy because it was the biggest, the best known, the brand name that most people knew and loved and trusted because it had touched their lives in a very specific and tangible way by providing health care services.
The thing people most often say to me, even today, when they find out that I was with Planned Parenthood is, “Oh, thank you. You saved my life.” When you are working at the affiliate level where services are provided, it keeps you in touch with the needs of the people you are serving. When you’re doing mainly advocacy, you don’t have that kind of direct relationship with people you exist to serve. When you help people tangibly through their reproductive life, it’s a different thing. It’s very personal. I’d had the advantage of always knowing what it’s like to see the women being served in the clinics. That kept me going while I was national president too, even though the work was more advocacy focused.
So, when I became national president, first there was the challenge of working with the Pro-Choice Coalition. At my first meeting, I wanted to turn around and run away, because all people could do was talk about how awful things were. Despite having a prochoice administration (those were the Clinton presidency years), the narrative was all about “things are awful.” We’re sad, we’re unhappy, we’re embattled.
I couldn’t take it. So, there was that within the movement, but also similar dynamics internal to the organization.
I’m telling you this because I think it has so much to do with the socialization of women. I think what feminism had to contend with over time is a socialization process that has made it hard for many women to break out of that “isn’t it awful” mentality and actually value themselves and realize their own power. I mean, it’s so hard. The thing that’s amazing is that many women actually do break out. That’s what’s amazing. But it’s complicated.
And for the organization, I realized that what we had to do was make people think 25 years out, because as long as you’re thinking about your current problems, you’re going to be afraid and you’re going to be mad and you’re going to be depressed. But if you can think 25 years out and remember what your mission is and what your aspirations are for what you would have accomplished in 25 years, you can let go of the current problems and get a fresh energy for solving the problems that you were created to solve. Many nonprofit organizations get into a survival mentality and forget that they only deserve to survive if they are constantly asking, “What does the world need from us now?”
We spent a year and a half letting everybody in the entire organization go through that process and creating a whole new vision and strategic plan for 25 years out, articulating a set of values, a promise to the world, and a new mission statement. All those things have probably disappeared. I’m sure they have, because once you walk out the door, it’s somebody else’s game. But that’s what I did. And it worked while I was there.
The promise was, “Creating hope for humanity, the freedom to dream, to make choices, and live in peace with the planet.” I still get goosebumps when I say this, and former coworkers have said the same to me. It was a big bold and audacious vision that inspired people at all levels of the organization and we began to grow again.
This process got people being proactive again. Then we put time and energy into finding the thing that we could get the majority of Americans to rally around, that would put us back on the map as having an agenda and being proactive and forward looking. That initiative was contraceptive coverage by insurance. The fact that most insurance plans didn’t cover such basic health care was an injustice that people didn’t even realize existed. Women were used to paying for their birth control. And happy to have it.
The initiative started with a couple of affiliates where there was somebody who recognized that injustice. And there was a young female pharmacist in Washington state, who first said, “Wait a minute, I’m a pharmacist, and my employer’s insurance won’t pay for my pills. This is wrong. I’m going to sue my employer.” And so, she did. Hawaii had passed state legislation requiring coverage of contraception.
It wasn’t like I was so smart to have the idea, but once I started looking at it, I realized, wait a minute. There is a big injustice here with nationwide importance. This needs to be a national initiative, not state by state or dependent on an individual woman’s lawsuit. Women are spending thousands of dollars every year, whereas everything a man gets for health care gets covered.
We never did get the federal legislation passed that would have required every insurance company to cover it.
But thanks to Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) and her smarts about how you get things done politically, and Rep. Jim Greenwood (R-PA) who as a social worker before he became a Congressman had empathy unlike his party today– we had real bipartisanship there – we got contraceptive coverage in federal employees’ insurance. They got that into the treasury bill. Now, that is the biggest insurance plan in the country. So once that plan was covering contraception, it became the status quo. And then also we got favorable EEOC rulings, and we won some civil rights related court cases in different places.
Simultaneously we started advancing state legislation. This movement hadn’t had an agenda of its own at the state level in years. We started doing contraceptive coverage legislation at the state level, passed it in about 25, 26 states. And again, once Congress sees that happening, it was safe for them to get ahead of the parade, The other thing about the contraceptive coverage initiative that I will just tell you is both amusing, and you knew this was going to happen.
We couldn’t get any media coverage about it. None. I mean, nobody was interested in this story until Viagra. When Viagra came out, we were able to make a story because wait a minute, it was shocking that they’re not covering the single most used prescription by women. How outrageous is that? Then I was on Good Morning America, on the Today Show and all the big shows. All of a sudden it was a story. That was fun.
I think that turning the ship around from defense to offense was the most fun and the most significant part of what I was doing. Because Planned Parenthood is a somewhat impossible organization. You can’t run it. You have to lead and hope that people follow in a federation. You’ve got so many constituencies, none of which report to the national organization except indirectly based on mutually agreed upon standards of affiliation. Standards that were always being challenged by one affiliate or another.
I wouldn’t take anything for the experience. It was good in so many ways, because I always knew we were on mission and doing what was right for women. But the egos and internal intrigue can grind you down after a while.
I had actually planned on leaving in the summer of 2004 because that was the 30-year mark. But it was an election year. I had persuaded the organization to endorse a presidential candidate for the first time because the stakes were so high for women’s rights in 2004. Unfortunately, the candidate was John Kerry, a good man but the worst presidential candidate I ever had to speak for. I felt I had to see it through the election.
I wrote my book The War on Choice: The Right-Wing Attack on Women’s Rights and How to Fight Back to help the movement take control of the narrative. It remains all too accurate in its meticulous explanation of the threats to women’s rights and how the various assaults on reproductive self- determination connect with each other in a strategy that the prochoice movement needed to use its formidable power to counteract.
Despite massive organizing including the March for Women’s Lives, the largest march at 1.2 million people on the mall in Washington, ever at that time, George W. Bush won a second term. That was crushing. And at the same time, there were some large and powerful affiliates trying to build a business that would have destroyed the smaller affiliates and torn the Federation apart. I won that internal war, but it was one battle too many. I was exhausted after nine years not from the external attacks but from the internal intrigues, jealousies, and politics. I was used up emotionally. My eyebrows were falling out.
And as one of my affiliate CEO colleagues observed, I had used up my chips. It was not the way I would have wanted to go out. But that’s what it was. At that time, I still loved the organization too much to say anything negative about it. And I was praised as being a class act for not suing or speaking my mind publicly by many of my colleagues who knew I had been treated very badly by the organization I had given so much of my heart and soul to. In retrospect, I didn’t do myself or the movement any good by not having a public confrontation that would have aired the internal problems but might also have enabled them to be cured.
I summed up my accomplishments here in my letter of resignation that in its incredible cruelty the national board would not let me share with the staff and affiliates at the time. But people knew, and they told me so, are still telling me so in unsolicited comments, and now I am recording it in VFA history as a cautionary tale for feminist organizations:
I started out as a volunteer for Planned Parenthood. It was part of my commitment to the civil rights movement and the War on Poverty in the early 1970’s in West Texas. I got involved because I knew from personal experience as a teen wife and mother that family planning made life better for children and gave women life options I had not had in my youth.
My first 22 years of employment with Planned Parenthood were as affiliate CEO, first at Planned Parenthood of West Texas (which I grew from five to 11 health centers) and then Planned Parenthood of Central and Northern Arizona (which I grew from three to 16 health centers). During that time, I held a number of national leadership positions, including sitting on the PPFA national board in my capacity as chair of the CEO’s professional association.
I was recruited to the presidency of PPFA in 1996. Because of my deep taproots in local affiliates, I have been able to set a high bar and coalesce our constituents around major new initiatives. PPFA’s CEO takes on unique external challenges, putting her life on the line every day. I have tried to serve with honesty, integrity, and the courage required to advance the mission of a social justice movement.
ACCOMPLISHMENTS AS PPFA PRESIDENT
- Internal Leadership and Service Growth
*Taking over PPFA when it was bleeding red ink with no reserves or endowment and just a few days cash – making it financially sound, restoring donor belief in the integrity of the organization, building both endowments and reserves, creating exciting new programs. I moved quickly to repair the wounded spirit of the organization which had become demoralized during the previous leadership transition. I traveled tirelessly to help boost affiliates, inspire their supporters, and raise the funds they need.
*Advancing a new vision of what kind of organization, we should be: thermostats, not thermometers, nationwide rather than a collection of national office and affiliates, having our services and ideas everywhere, and being flexible like a river rather than hardened like a road. Creating the national organization’s first accountable strategic plan for itself based on that vision.
*Taking the entire organization, including affiliates, through a rejuvenation that resulted in an even bolder shared long-term Vision for 2025. Implementation of the Vision for 2025 so far includes a bioethics symposium, innovative service delivery ideas, the unified Planned Parenthood Online just launched as the beginning of our media company and an innovative way to increase access to reproductive health services, Mobilizing to Win as the first step toward the largest activist and donor base of any nonprofit organization, Real Life Real Talk social marketing/education programs, and much more.
*Leading PPFA to create our first collaborative nationwide fundraising campaign (Power the Promise) to fund the initial implementation steps of the Vision.
*Retooling services to affiliates as an in-house consulting group responsive to the needs of individual affiliates. More than doubling services to affiliate business needs while instilling an affiliate service mentality in areas like public policy and media. Securing a broad range of low-cost contraceptives and supplies for affiliates in challenging times. Creating the new Contraceptive Enterprise. Creating a sustainable volunteer program.
*Initiating an effective diversity program. Increasing vice presidents of color from zero to five. Creating a diversity department responsible for strategic plans and their implementation, training, and staffing volunteer cultural diversity committees. Adding a diversity consultant to affiliate services.
*Purchasing PPFA’s D.C. office and preparing to purchase our NY office, thus securing savings, growing assets, and giving staff truly great places to work.
*Protecting the integrity of the service mark and the unity of the organization itself by ensuring that both the portal (PP Online) and the new Contraceptive Enterprise would be truly collaborative but under unified oversight. This has required me to take principled stands that have not necessarily been popular, but they are among the most important things I have done to assure that the Planned Parenthood service mark will continue to grow in value and strength.
- External Leadership and “Fighting Forward” Public Policy Initiatives
*First and foremost: Changing our strategy from reactive thermometer to proactive thermostat. Setting forth our Fighting Forward agenda to raise the issues and pass legislation at state and federal levels, such as Contraceptive Equity (the majority of women in the U.S. now have coverage of contraception by their insurance plans) and emergency contraception access. The omnibus Putting Prevention First Act is our current major national initiative.
*Building the political arm (PPAF) from a debt-ridden nonfunctional Action Fund to the largest nonpartisan pro-choice Action Fund and PAC. Making our first presidential endorsement.
*Creating the Planned Parenthood Action Network (PPAN), now numbering 800,000 activists who can be mobilized to influence policy makers.
*Initiating Global Partners international advocacy programs and VOX Planned Parenthood youth organizations now on 155 campuses.
*Playing a leadership role in the March for Women’s Lives, the largest and most diverse march ever in American history, bringing over 1,200,000 people to Washington, D.C.
*Raising tens of millions of dollars that have flowed to affiliates for advocacy and service programs from Global Partners to Responsible Choices, VOX, advertising campaigns, emergency contraception public information campaigns, litigation on behalf of affiliates, mifepristone readiness, etc.
*Restoring respect and strong public position to an organization that suffered from lack of both. Placing PPFA at the forefront of the movement. PPFA is now the most quoted and go-to source among all the groups in our movement, even in a very tough media environment to break through.
*Bringing honor to PPFA by being named Glamour Magazine’s Woman of the Year and one of Vanity Fair’s top 200 women legends, leaders, and trailblazers, among other awards.
*Writing two books—Behind Every Choice Is a Story and The War on Choice: the Right-Wing Attack on Women’s Rights and How to Fight Back, as an important message delivery strategy and an element of our media company.
The number of patients served by Planned Parenthood affiliates and their budgets has grown every year of my tenure. The national organization’s budget has almost doubled, and we have simultaneously built reserves and created an endowment fund. Our policy initiatives fight forward rather than merely fight back and our grassroots base can now deliver more calls, letters, and other communications to policy makers in support of our initiatives than anti-choice groups do against them. Planned Parenthood continues to be “wildly popular,” according to pollsters. Despite these challenging times, this movement will continue to move, and always toward greater freedom, justice, and reproductive healthcare and education for all. I am so fortunate that my life’s passion has been my life’s work.
When I left in 2005, my intention once again was to write and maybe people would pay me for speaking, and I could play with my grandkids and have a nice, easy life. I felt liberated to be stronger in my public pronouncements about the role of feminism in women’s human and civil rights. Because, honestly, I had some Planned Parenthood board members who would say, “Well, I don’t see what this has to do with feminism.”
And so, I had been walking a tightrope, keeping everyone in the fold while expanding their thinking, having to teach a whole organization why abortion is not about abortion, it’s about women’s power and place in the world. It’s about whether women have equal rights, about whether women can live their own lives like men do. In that sense, it was liberating to be able to say what I wanted to say. I was much more controlled when I was representing Planned Parenthood because I always put the organization first.
So that was liberating. And I soon found that I became more interested in women’s fraught relationship with power, which in a substantial sense underlay those internal debates about public messaging and political alliances. I wanted to figure out why women hadn’t reached parity in leadership in any sector, even though as second wave feminists, we had been successful in opening doors and changing laws.
The legal barriers were mostly gone, and by the time I was looking at the problem, it was already clear that companies with more women in their leadership made more money. So, there was a business case. You would think that change was happening just all over the place, but it wasn’t. And I needed to figure out what was going on, what was holding women back.
Elle Magazine asked me to write an article about women running for office in 2008. At the time in 2008, before Obama ascended, as he did, and when it looked like we were going to have our first woman President the first time, they thought, what a great story. This is so exciting. Women will be running for office all over the country. I started interviewing the heads of the many organizations that help women run for office and I discovered that the real story was women didn’t run.
We can thank Donald Trump that women are now running I larger numbers, especially Black women and other women of color who just might save the country. Women finally got pissed off enough to break through the ambivalence about embracing their formidable power and start to play hardball.
But at that time, in 2008, when I started looking at it, the fact was that women were not running in numbers enough to enable them to break that barrier. Women were 18% of Congress. There had been a slow, gradual increase. But at that rate, it would take 70 to 150 years to get to parity. And it turned out to my surprise that that was the same dynamic and the same numbers held sway in every sector, business, professions. Everything you looked at, every single profession, we were stuck at that 18% mark.
How can this be? I wondered. The prevailing research said women had less ambition than men. And I’m thinking, I don’t think that’s right. I think there’s something else going on here. People were starting to understand the impact of implicit bias. But what wasn’t understood yet was the effect that implicit and explicit bias has on your own mind when you are the subject of that bias. And that double-edged sword, that if you’re a woman and you think you want to be in a leadership position, if you appear powerful, they don’t like you because you’ve broken your gender stereotype. And if you don’t appear powerful, they don’t think you can do the job.
You have to figure out a way to get past that. How do you help women understand the limitations in their own thinking? First of all, how do we learn to not give a crap what other people were thinking about us. And also, if you want to do something, go do it regardless of what others think. But we’re socialized to care about what other people think about us. Girls are still socialized to this day to think first about what other people think about them. And that really crushes your intention to become that powerful person who may become the CEO of a company, who may start a business or run for Congress or whatever.
I took apart all of the pieces of why we hadn’t reached parity. We have the power of the purse. We buy everything that gets sold; we make 85% of the purchases. So, if we massed our economic strength alone, we could take over everything. But we weren’t doing that. I looked at the reasons why these things are happening. I wrote a chapter about each one of the reasons. And in each chapter, I put: “and then this is what you do about it. This is how you can overcome that.”
So much of it is how you think in your own mind; how you actually come to understand the value that you bring. How you learn how to articulate that value. How you deal with that two-edged sword, just how you deal with the constant, I call them a thousand tiny paper cuts, that women face every day. And the only way to change it, and the only way to stop fighting the battle every year about reproductive rights is for women to have an equal share of the powerful positions. That’s it. It doesn’t mean that every woman is going to agree with you and me, but there’s a lot better chance.
So, I wrote the book No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power. To me, it’s a social commentary book. It’s on the current events shelf. It’s in women’s studies. I sold a few books. Well, then people started asking me to do workshops using what I had written in it. And I realized, actually, it’s a pretty good leadership program. It helped women get breakthroughs. And it didn’t take a lot to get the breakthroughs. It took understanding power better. Understanding how we’ve been socialized differently than men about power. And that there’s a good reason why we don’t like how the narrative of history has been about power as war and fighting over the crumb of a pie, instead of realizing that you can make more pies and especially that you can make more pies together, than you can by yourself. I was astonished.
I didn’t do anything with it for a while. And then finally, I got persuaded that I could keep doing these little workshops. But if we really wanted to make a difference, there needed to be an organization. And the culmination of all that has been in my co-founding, Take The Lead, with the mission of gender parity in leadership by 2025. That’s why I laugh so hard when I think that at 53, I thought I was too old to take the national Planned Parenthood job. And now I’m 80. And I’m still going. I aim to get this organization sustainable because someday I really do need to stop. And I don’t know how I’m going to manage to do that.
So that is how I came to co-found Take The Lead.
And I really, truly am now on a mission to grow it to the size and make it sustainable so I can hand the reins to some brilliant young women tomorrow. I really, truly believe that is the next step. You can complain about the disparities. You can complain about the injustices, and there’s a time for that. And you have to become aware of it first, and you have to really understand it. But then you just need to get really ticked off and use that energy to make the change. And I think it’s still hard for women sometimes to bridge that.
The media doesn’t help. The media writes these articles constantly that pound on a negative narrative. It’s either you can’t have it all or feminism is dead again, or whatever. Women are leaving the workforce in droves because they don’t have childcare. Well, all of that is fixable. If women had designed the institutions that we have, we would have figured out how to deal with children a long time ago. And we would have had a much more humane society and a workforce and all of these things that are now being talked about.
And I really believe that as awful as the pandemic has been, that the disruption of it is our very best chance we will ever have to make some of those big systemic changes. So, while I have been primarily helping women change what’s in their own heads, the fact is that you still have to make that systemic change. So, you have to be doing both at the same time.
And whatever energy I have left that I can give, that is what I am doing and am focused on right now. It’s very rewarding to see the change that my program helps women have in how they know and embrace their power and are freed to have higher intentions. I would say the sweet spot for my training has been women in mid-career, but I also teach it as an academic course and have done executive leadership development. And I see women of all ages come in exhausted from what they’ve been having to deal with, and they leave with a sense of optimism and a sense of okay, this is what I want. And this is how I’m going to show up and the heck with everybody else. This is what I’m going to do.
That’s what I want to contribute. And if enough women feel that way, we can achieve the goals of feminism. To give everybody an equal place in this world and equal opportunity to give their best gifts to this world. That’s what I want to do.
As of September 28, 2021, my fifth book came out. It’s called Intentioning: Sex, Power, Pandemics, and How Women Will Take the Lead for (Everyone’s) Good. And it is an important part of my journey, because while No Excuses looked at women’s relationship with power, Intentioning is asking, “power to do what?” The power of Intentioning (a word I made up so that it would be an active verb version of intention) is about how do you elevate your intention and get the skills and tools to achieve it? That’s all in the book.
I will create a new course to teach the 9 Leadership Intentioning Tools in this book. Though the pandemic years have set women back, I truly believe based on my experience that massive disruptions create massive opportunities to make the systemic changes that women have wanted in the workplace and home in order to reach full equality in power, pay, and position.
So that it’s not that I’m telling women, “You’re wonderful and you have power,” and that is the end of the story, but rather than you must take your power to the next level. You decide what imprint you want to make, what you want to accomplish. And you have a responsibility to bring other women along with you, to mentor and sponsor other women and lift up women in all their diversity and intersectionality.
So that’s not an unimportant part of my current story. It’s the next level of feminist thinking in my opinion, and I am excited to be part of it. I’m grateful to have been able to make my life’s passion for women’s equality into my life’s work. I’ll never finish the work because there are always new issues and challenges. For example, as I write this the Supreme Court seems poised to overturn Roe v Wade and with is a half century of women having the legal authority to determine their fertility. Eternal vigilance, as John Adams said, is indeed the price of liberty.
I plan to spend some of my remaining years organizing my papers so that the learning and experiences that I’ve been privileged to receive will be available to future generations.
I really appreciate the opportunity to do this VFA interview, because I’m at this point in life and realize I’ve had the opportunity to both witness and make history. There are many things that are important for people to know. And if you don’t record it, they don’t know. So, thank you VFA for letting me tell my story.
My website is www.gloriafeldt.com and I can be found way too much on social media @GloriaFeldt.