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  • Writer's pictureSpotlight News Hampton Roads

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

Image Courtesy of Kathy Strouse

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 Kathy Strouse.

I am an actor and director with over 50 years of experience. I am a retired public servant with 30 years in animal welfare, care and control. I’m an author. I’m a lobbyist for animal and animal care and control legislation. I’m a mom of one son and the grandmother of twins.

Affiliation(s) (past and present):

Virginia Animal Control Association (VACA) Legislative Liaison for 20 years. Treasurer Virginia Alliance for Animal Shelters for 1 year; Board member for 5 years. Former member of the Virginia Animal Fighting Task Force (2007 - 2016 retirement)

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

30 years. Stumbled into it. Had no idea what it would mean for my future.

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

58 years

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

Take every class, every workshop offered. Speak up and make your voice heard. Stand by your principles.

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

Yes. I never wanted or tried to manage or negotiate like a man. I did so as a strong, informed and intelligent woman.

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?

My gender was an asset. It often set adversaries, including some of those above me, off balance. They sometimes did not know how to relate to me and were often stymied by facts and my knowledge of animal law. I was able to be relentless, but with southern charm. “No” never meant “no” to me. It meant drop back, regroup, and try again. I succeeded in most of my endeavors even the ones that took 5-7 years!!

Has parenthood impacted your career or shaped your perspective as an artist? In what ways?

Yes. My son saw my drive and dedication. Those traits he says he adopted from me.

Any closing thoughts?

Follow your passion and dreams. Find a job that you love, one that you want to go to every day. I can remember a very few days in my career that I did not wake up excited to go to work.

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