Uplifters--Women Making a Difference
Local women do some heavy lifting in service to their sisters
Anne Twomey Lloyd
A Tony Award–nominated actress, Anne Twomey Lloyd has played a variety of roles—and not just on stage and screen. She raised two daughters with her husband, John Lloyd, earned a master’s degree in social work, and teaches theater via Rehabilitation Through the Arts (RTA) at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility. The Katonah resident learned about RTA through her husband, who teaches an RTA program at Green Haven Correctional Facility. At Bedford Hills, Anne leads workshops and directs performances that inmates present to their peers and family members.
“Prison is a tough world, and RTA gives them a place they can trust each other. They develop new skills—writing, singing, dancing, visual arts, speaking—and are thrilled to discover their own talents.” She explains, “We work with many women who have been traumatized and neglected; RTA helps to build their self-worth so they do not return to abusive relationships. They can put their thoughts together, reflect, stand, and speak their truth. It changes them—and it changed me in ways I never expected.”
As an adolescent, Patricia Mulligan set her sights on helping the disenfranchised. After heading the Office for Equal Employment Opportunity for the New York City Department of Corrections and serving on a New York City mayoral task force on sexual harassment, Mulligan went into private practice as a labor and employment lawyer. The Pound Ridge mother of two now advises working women on sexual harassment and gender discrimination issues and also leads workshops focusing on the empowerment of women in business, citing the law, the election of women to higher office, and something she calls the “X Factor” as tools available to women to gain parity in business and in life.
“The X Factor is that undefinable something that we all possess that motivates us to act despite our fear and to speak even when we know our voices may tremble,” Mulligan explains. “In these workshops, we talk about how in order to lift someone else up you must first find that strength within yourself.”
Working to remove the stigma of maternal mental health issues and thereby deliver tangible treatment results to women who suffer from post-partum depression in Uganda has been the driving force behind Blakeley Lowry’s work as a consultant for the Peter C. Alderman Program for Global Mental Health at HealthRight International.
With a success rate around 80 percent, the program trains community health workers to screen new mothers for depression, provide education on the signs and symptoms, normalize what they are feeling, and connect them to support. The impact of the program has been so significant that Lowry and her HealthRight colleagues are now looking to bring components back here to the New York City Department of Health’s Maternal Depression Collaborative.
“After giving birth to my second child, I suffered from post-partum depression, myself. It wasn’t until it lifted, and I became involved in the work in Uganda, that I took the screening myself and recognized the symptoms for what they were,” says the Bedford mother of two. “Our work is about giving women the education that they’re not alone; there’s always hope.”
Anna DiPace-Zullo began her Pilates journey 27 years ago while studying dance and decided to become a teacher in 2001 as a way to help women gain strength, flexibility, and a sense of personal power to heal. Part of her practice at Pound Ridge Pilates includes helping women recuperate from mastectomies, c-sections, difficult births, hysterectomies, pelvic floor issues, even sexual dysfunction. “I am not a doctor, but I can guide women toward a sense of wholeness,” says the second-generation master teacher and level-two Reiki practitioner.
“It is my life’s work to help people feel the best they can. Sometimes a session is the best part of a student’s day. Exercise isn’t just about how you look on the outside, it feeds you internally. It lights your brain and spirit. As a result, a woman can recoup, regroup, feel revitalized. If a student is feeling nauseous, fatigued from chemo or treatment, I might perform Reiki on her to help her feel relaxed and bring more balance energetically. We women do so much for everyone, we don’t always take self-care into consideration.”
Nearly six years ago, Sonia Bain joined WX, a New York-based association that serves to promote and empower women in commercial real estate, in an effort to expand her network in an industry where there are relatively few women. In doing so, the commercial real estate attorney found herself drawn to WX’s mission and its mentoring program, which she now runs.
In addition to providing several million dollars in scholarships over the years, the program supports young women in the industry as they launch their careers through substantive learning programs that allow for networking opportunities as well as one-on-one mentor relationships.
“The more women leaders we have in our industry, the fewer challenges and road blocks women will face on their paths to success,” the Pound Ridge mother of two explains. “We now have mentees who are on their way to becoming the future leaders in their fields; it’s very rewarding.”