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Lorraine Martinelle

Public Relations

Worcester, MA

The challenges that I faced years ago have shaped me into the strong woman that I am today.

My hometown newspaper was like a second home to me; it was such a part of my life for many years. That's why, when given the opportunity, I became the paper's first female editor-in-chief, despite the fact that some of the staff weren't confident in my ability to handle the tough job of running a newspaper and managing the team. The paper was 75 years old then and it was a challenging time for the publication and its staff, which was shaken up by recent leadership changes.

Stil, I couldn't back away from the challenge of leadership. I knew I had a lot to offer, and I also recognized that I had a lot to learn. There was no way I was going to run away from the opportunity. I would always regret it if I did.

As editor I had to make tough decisions and unpopular choices. I had to let some people go, and they resent me for it to this day. Being a woman, you are called "the B-word" if you put your foot down. A man would be respected as a leader if he did the things I did, but I got a lot of flack. I cried in front of my staffI wish I hadn't, but I did. I was under a lot of pressure.

But all these years later, I still believe that I did the right thing for the company, and I'm so grateful to have experienced all that I did. Now, I'm working for a college and enrolled in its MBA program. I'm learning a great deal about management, and my experience managing the news staff as editor-in-chief is helping in my coursework. I am better able to make decisions, to stand by them, and I am confident – yet humble –-in my talents. I am not sorry to be a compassionate person, a woman with integrity who is honest—and has a great sense of humor.

The challenges that I faced years ago have shaped me into the strong woman that I am today. For that, I am grateful to have leaned in.