This week I’m Sylvia and I’m ‘Me’. Two years ago I spoke to an extraordinary woman. Since then, I’ve spoken to over 100 women. 100 ordinary women doing extraordinary things. I didn’t set out with a specific goal in mind. But it turned out that as smart as I may have thought I am, I learned something new and different from each of these women.
Dorothy Wickenden and The Agitators
New York Times bestselling author Dorothy Wickenden’s latest book – The Agitators: Three Friends Who Fought for Abolition and Women’s Rights. The Agitators is the true story of Harriett Tubman, Martha Coffin Wright and Frances A. Seward. One a former slave, one a Quaker mother of 7 and one a politician’s wife. Although three very different women, they came together to fight for abolition and women’s rights in the mid-nineteenth century in Auburn, New York.
Much history has gone into the fight for abolition and women’s rights. Many have heard of Harriet Tubman, a former slave who was the conductor of the Underground Railroad. The Underground Railroad, a network of secret routes and safe houses used by enslaved African Americans to escape into Free states and Canada.
But not many have heard of Martha Coffin Wright or Frances A. Seward. By introducing us to them, Dorothy shines a light on the story of three women who worked together. Yes, three women who worked together at a time when women had little control. So little that a married woman didn’t own anything. And yet somehow Frances, Martha and Harriet fought for the end to slavery and advocated for women’s rights.
Dorothy is the executive editor of The New Yorker and the host of its weekly podcast Politics and More.’ She is also the NY Times bestselling author of Nothing Daunted: The Unexpected Education of Two Society Girls in the West. Dorothy edited The New Republic Reader: Eighty Years of Opinion and Debate.
A conversation and a lot of history with Dorothy:
Why these three women
Upper and middle class women and their roles
Witnessing abuse and feeling helpless
Frances’ awakening and Martha’s aide
The bold move that allowed Francis to sell Harriet the house
How Harriet established herself
Jean Shafiroff ‘The First Lady of Philanthropy’
Jean Shafiroff has been called ‘The First Lady of Philanthropy’. She has spent a lifetime doing charitable work. And it all started when she was a child, learning from her parents.
After her first daughter was born, Jean made the decision to be a stay-at-home mom. As she says, she was lucky to be able to do so. And as a result, she volunteered at the school. This allowed her to spend time with her daughter and help out with school functions and fundraising. A start which turned into a career of philanthropy. At times you could find Jean on the boards of seven charities at once.
Philanthropist, author, human rights and animal rights advocate and socialite, Jean serves on multiple national and regional philanthropic boards. She is the ambassador and spokesperson for American Humane Feed the Hungry Covid-18 Program. Jean is the host of ‘Successful Philanthropy, a TV show on LTV. She is also the author of ‘Successful Philanthropy: How to Make a Life By What You Give’.
Jean serves on the boards of the South Hampton Hospital Association, NYC Mission Society, French Heritage Society, Couture Council of the Museum at FIT, Global Strays, Jewish Board (Honorary Trustee), and Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation Honorary Board. She is a New York Women’s Foundation Board Alumna and remains very active with the Foundation and women’s issues.
Jean holds two degrees: a BS in Physical Therapy from the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University and an MBA in finance from Columbia Business School at Columbia University. She resides in Manhattan and Southampton with her family.
A conversation with Jean:
The beginnings of philanthropy
Stay-at-home decision and volunteering
Starting off small
Making a difference
Choosing what’s right for you
But I can only give an hour…
Fashion and parties and loosening up the crowd
The fashion industry and the pandemic
The pandemic and the change
Feed the Hungry Covid-19 Program
Daughters following in mom’s footsteps
My Babysitter, My Summers With a Serial Killer is a chilling true story, part memoir and part crime investigation. Based on Liza’s summers as a child on the Cape, you con’t be able to put it down. It was the 60’s. Her babysitter was a kind, handsome handyman who took Liza and her sister on adventures. Adventures which included visits to his ‘secret garden.’ A secret garden which turned out to be where some of his victims were buried. And a babysitter who turned out to be a charming, brutal psychopath. This was before the term ‘serial killer’ was coined.
Lifelong friend, investigative journalist Jennifer Jordan knew this was a story that needed to be told when she heard it. Together they took the pieces of the puzzle and turned them into a chilling, unimaginable story. A story where Liza learns to trust her voice.
Liza Rodman attended the University of Massachusetts/Amherst and received her Bachelor of Arts with a concentration in Creative Writing from Vermont College. She has balanced life as a mother, stepmother, writer and tax accountant for more than thirty-five years. In 2005, she began researching the story of Tony Costa when she realized her personal connection to the infamous Cape Cod killer. She has gathered thousands of documents, testimonies, and interviews, perhaps more than any other investigator or journalist who’s worked on this case. She and her husband live outside Boston and have three children and five grandchildren. The Babysitter is her first book.
Jennifer Jordan is an award-winning author, filmmaker and screenwriter, with over 35 years’ experience as a reporter, journalist, and radio and television producer, working for NPR and PBS in Boston and Salt Lake City, as well as writing for several newspapers and magazines. She has written four books. Two of her books won the National Outdoor Book Award. In 2016 she created, directed, and produced the documentary 3000 Cups of Tea: Investigating the Rise and Ruin of Greg Mortenson, a documentary examining the deeply-flawed 60 Minutes report on the renowned philanthropist.
A chilling and gripping conversation with Liza Rodman and Jennifer Jordan:
Summers in Provincetown
1968 meeting Tony Costa – babysitter/serial killer
Adventures and a secret garden
1968 – 1st known murder
Years of nightmares then a face becomes clear
Confronting her mother
Obsession and investigation
Memoir and crime investigation – natural balance of writing
Trusting your voice
The story comes out and family reaction