Maybe it’s because she was born in the midst of the Great Depression, or maybe it’s her feisty Sicilian attitude, but my Grandema (as her grandkids lovingly call her) has a fighting spirit unlike anyone I know. Grandema doesn’t waste time on attempting the possible things in life, as she tends to show us that doing the impossible, although challenging, is much more rewarding.
I could go on and on about my Grandema’s magnetic personality, her boundless energy and beauty, her sense of humor, or her amazing strength to battle cancer head on and come out on top. I could also write about her musical talent and how she can bring people to tears when playing the piano. However, what I want to let Grandema know today is that as a woman navigating my way through corporate America I often draw strength from her.
Grandema never had the privilege of graduating high school, but that didn’t stop her from using her intelligence and wherewithal to start and run her own very successful company. (Did I mention this was in the midst of raising 6 kids?) At a time when women were just starting to break out of their traditional roles and fighting for equal rights, she was burning her figurative bra by entering a business world ruled by men.
One story that illustrates the inequality that my Grandema experienced was when she attempted to apply for a corporate American Express card. When asked for the owner of the company’s name she replied, “Nancy Quasarano.” The person on the other end asked again, thinking they had misunderstood, and when they got the same reply simply said, “I’m sorry we don’t issue cards to women!” Because of women, like my Grandema, who paved the way for me, I am happy to say that would not fly today.
Though I don’t yet have a family of my own I hope to one day. I know then I will gain a whole new understanding and appreciation for just how amazing Nancy Quasarano truly is.
Grandema, thanks for showing me that although at times it can still seem like a man’s world, that doesn’t mean a woman can’t rule it. Because of the example you’ve shown me, I intend to do just that.
Today's Musical Selection
|My Red-Haired Beauty|