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CCTI hosts program for Women’s History Month

Women play a vital role in our world for their contributions to history, culture and society.

And they can more than hang with their contemporary male leaders just the same, thank you very much.

Students at Carbon Career & Technical Institute learned that Tuesday morning as part of Women’s History Month.

A panel of several female professionals from the area shared their life journeys with the students as part of the program.

CCTI Director Brent Borzak introduced the panel to the students and told them it’s important to have role models.

Kathy Henderson

Henderson serves as the Director of Economic Development for the Carbon Chamber & Economic Development Corp.

She told the students that it took her a while to arrive at her current profession, which she said was forged through her many life experiences.

“My path to where I am now is really weird,” Henderson said. “I started working in a sewing mill in Weissport.”

Henderson then quoted Eleanor Roosevelt, who stated “No one can make you feel inferior without your permission.”

“You need a road map when you want to set up a business,” Henderson said. “You have to have that confidence in yourself.”

Erica Pribila

Pribila is a Home Comfort Specialist with R.F. Ohl in Lehighton.

She said she’s advanced her career to the point where she is now in three homes a day giving quotes for heating and air conditioning.

“I’m definitely in a role that most women aren’t in,” Pribila said. “My job is to prove that I’m capable; I’m very successful in the path that I chose.”

Pribila stressed to the students, “You just have to have confidence to do it.”

“Always believe in yourself,” she said. “Never let anybody tell you (that) you can’t do it.”

Alice Wanamaker

Wanamaker serves as the Executive Director for the Carbon Chamber & Economic Development.

“I’m a connector,” Wanamaker said. “It’s my job to connect folks with one another.”

Wanamaker told the students that she had 24 jobs before she took over her present position.

“There is a big world out there,” she said. “I found my way to what I want to do, and that’s champion businesses.”

Dr. Jodi Frankelli

Frankelli is the superintendent of Palmerton Area School District.

She noted she is the only female superintendent in any of the school districts in Carbon County.

Frankelli said her passion is education, and stressed the importance in finding a career that’s rewarding.

“You spend a lot of your adult life working,” Frankelli said. “To be in a field you’re really not passionate about is sad.”

Frankelli shared the concept of “failing forward,” and how it’s important to learn from one’s mistakes in order to become a success.

Kirsti Coghlan

Coghlan serves as Director of Human Resources at Mauch Chunk Trust Company in Jim Thorpe.

She said that at the age of 15, she worked on a fishing dock.

“I learned the hard way what it meant to be a female in a man’s world,” Coghlan said.

Halfway through her college career, Coghlan participated in international study abroad in Mexico and learned to respect their culture.

In her adult life, Coghlan said there were times where she found herself unemployed along the way, and told the students not to be afraid to fail.

Jennifer Aquila

Aquila is the Education Relations Manager for the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau

“I do consider myself a connector and a builder,” Aquila said. “There’s never a wrong next step; there’s always a next step.”

Aquila stressed to the students the significance of seizing the moment.

“Always take advantage of any opportunities that come your way,” she said. “My best piece of advice is be kind and treat people how you want to be treated.”

Robyn Plesniarski

Plesniarski serves as Physician Liaison for Business and Development at Lehigh Valley Health Network.

“Find your mentors,” Plesniarski said. “They will help you get to the next step.”

Kathy Henderson, Director of Economic Development for the Carbon Chamber & Economic Development Corp., addresses Carbon Career Technical Institute students Tuesday morning as part of Women's History Month. TERRY AHNER/TIMES NEWS
Alice Wanamaker, executive director for the Carbon Chamber & Economic Development, speaks to Carbon Career & Technical Institute students Tuesday morning as part of Women's History Month. At left is Palmerton Area School District Superintendent Dr. Jodi Frankelli. TERRY AHNER/TIMES NEWS
Front row, from left, Kirsti Coghlan, Dr. Jodi Frankelli, Erica Pribila, Jennifer Aquila, and back, from left, Carbon Career & Technical Institute Principal Michelle Allen, Kathy Henderson, Alice Wanamaker and Robyn Plesniarski gather following the Women's History Month program held Tuesday morning at CCTI. TERRY AHNER/TIMES NEWS