Laura Greene '74 majored in psychology and minored in Jewish studies at Union College before earning an M.A. from Jewish Theological Seminary in Jewish history. Now retired, she’s had several careers, from Jewish communal service to a trade show producer. Before the coronavirus hit, she was a volunteer gallery educator at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Manhattan, where she gave tours. A mom and a grandmother, now widowed (and exploring online dating during pandemic), Laura lives in Manhattan.
What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your career or volunteer activities?
I’m sure the challenges in my career, as a professional woman, were not vastly different from others in my generation. Constantly facing a glass ceiling, juggling demands of work and motherhood and family, created a lot of stress. I notice that today’s career women are far more inclined to admit that home and kids are a high priority; we were afraid to acknowledge that. But their stressors today are even worse than ours due to the 24-hour demands of the workplace enabled by technology.
Who inspired/inspires you, both professionally and personally?
I’ve always been inspired by people who keep a cheerful outlook on life and never seem to feel “down.” How do they do that? I’m convinced it’s genetic, just hasn’t been proven yet! Professionally, I admire people who manage workplaces that feel like fun and still accomplish much. I’ve been fortunate to work with a few such people, and I always strove to emulate them.
What advice would you offer today’s women students, not just at Union, but across the country?
The fight for women’s equality in the workplace, and at home, is not over. Things may be better with each generation, but you’ll still face this battle. Set your priorities and stick to them, whatever they may be. And never forget that there is power in solidarity.
What was your most formative experience at Union?
My formative experience at Union was a sudden connection to Jewish culture and history, fostered by a friend I made in my dorm, Helena Binder ’76. I came from a completely secular family and had not had any real Jewish education. I found myself active in a fundraising campaign to support Israel in the Yom Kippur War, October 1973. I gave a well-received speech at a related event, and I still have the text! I think there was some local press coverage, too. Leaving in December for a term in Israel immediately after that war should have been scary (I’m sure my parents were worried!), but I felt no fear at all.