Women's History Month - Gail Dener Interview
RT Baltimore Staff
During Women's History Month, we are honoring the women who help rebuild our communities. Our long time volunteer Gail Dener, has celebrated 10 years of service with us! We recently commemorated her 10 year volunteer anniversary at our March Board of Directors meeting and presented Gail with an engraved Crystal and a one-of-a-kind blanket featuring a word cloud of all of the words we think of in association with Gail. During Gail’s tenure as office volunteer, she has been responsible for answering the phone, providing referrals to callers, ordering office supplies, keeping the staff caffeinated, spoiling the office dogs, organizing birthday celebrations, providing a helping hand during volunteer days, and overall being awesome.
She has been a part of RTB through many staff and board members, program shifts, and through the COVID-19 pandemic. We interviewed Gail about her service and what it means to work for a women-led and women-serving organization. She describes her experience before becoming a volunteer and what working has meant to her and the women in her family. The following was edited for time and clarity.
1. What brought you to Rebuilding Together Baltimore?
I had just retired from my career as a pharmacist for the VA Hospital and I saw a commercial on television for Rebuilding Together and how they were searching for volunteers. I called up the office, Bonnie the Executive Director answered my call and said she had the perfect position for me. 10 years later I'm still here!
2. What does it mean to you to work for a women led and women serving organization?
It didn't dawn on me that the organization was mostly women serving until I had been with the organization for a few years. I realized that women tend to outlive their husbands or be the primary caregiver on an income that may be less than what a man would earn. Requiring them to reach out to RTB for help disproportionately to men.
3. What type of work did your mother or grandmother do?
My mother was a homemaker and helped out my father in his small business. It was my aunt who inspired me the most. She was single and lived in New York City while working a full time job. She inspired me to be independent and pursue a career to be able to take care of myself.
4. How have your thoughts about your career changed since high school? College? over time?
When I started my college education was in pharmacy school in the 1970s. In those days women were just gaining the ability to own credit cards and homes without being married. Even the field of pharmacy changed in that you didn't need a Ph.D until the 1980s. A student only needed a few years of additional schooling after undergraduate studies.