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United We Are a Force, and Individually We are W.O.N.

Image Courtesy of Angelica Yankauskas.

Women of Note celebrates the unique talents of women of Hampton Roads and seeks to raise awareness of issues women face in the 21st century. We are well aware of the many hats women wear throughout the day as well as throughout their lives and we would like to give women the opportunity to share their experiences juggling these with our community. By sharing our experiences, we hope to inspire others, learn from their perspectives, and foster a dialogue that creates solutions. Today we spot light Angelica Yankauskas.

Affiliation(s) (past and present):

Current Executive Director of Suffolk Meals on Wheels Inc., current Medical Team member for Special Olympics Virginia, current leadership coach for HACE (Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement, former Wellness Department Supervisor at Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia, former Activities Coordinator at Harbor's Edge Norfolk.

How long have you been (working in/participating in) your field? How did you get into it?

I have been working in the field of Geriatric care and advocacy since 2013. I graduated from ODU (Go Monarchs!) with my degree in Therapeutic Recreation and fell in love with working with seniors and individuals with late stage dementia and Alzheimer's disease. I discovered an ability to connect with seniors who could no longer speak for themselves and cherished every relationship I built along the way. I continued working in geriatrics and found a passion for leadership when I was promoted to Wellness Dept Supervisor at Senior Services. It was at Senior Services where I met the former Exec Director of Suffolk Meals on Wheels, who convinced me to apply for her position when she retired. I found it important to hone my skills and pursue my Master's degree in Organizational Leadership from Norwich University, a field that is predominantly represented by Caucasian men. As a female, person of color, I hope to move opportunities for advancement forward for all BIPOC community members in my field. I hope to transition to a CEO/COO role in a larger nonprofit and continue helping others, which is what I love to do!

How long have you been working/ living in in Hampton Roads?

13 years!

What advice would you give young women going into your field?

Be bold, be unapologetic, and be YOU. It may not always be easy to be a female pursuing a career in upper management, but the glass ceiling is yours to shatter! Look to other women to lift you up and try to find a mentor who can coach you through difficult situations.

Does your gender influence your relationship to your work? In what way?

In regards to my work, I do not believe my gender influences the important work that me and my team do every day. I have in the past faced questions about my age and other's perceptions being a woman in a leadership role. It has taken a long time, but I believe I have learned to block out any negativity for the sake of my team and those I serve. I always try to do my best, and at the end of the day when I turn my computer off and walk out of the hospital, I get the satisfaction of knowing I helped someone today. That makes it all worth it.

Have you faced challenges in your field because of your gender or have you found your gender to be an asset? What kinds of challenges or advantages, and how have they affected your life?

I find that my gender to be an asset to my work. I have learned to use my emotional intelligence to make the best decisions for my organization, and I have built trust with the clients I serve.

Any closing thoughts?

Women everywhere are closing the gap on what is considered "appropriate careers". When my mother was in IT in the 80s and 90s, she was usually the only woman in her classes. When I walk into Executive Team meetings in the hospital, it is now predominantly women. I am proud to contribute to the furthering of women in leadership and hope that my experiences can help inspire others to pursue their dreams.

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