Business challenges, opportunities vary for Northern Nevada women
Special to the NNBV
CARSON CITY, Nev. — Moving through life while meeting its challenges and joys is something every woman experiences, and according to our mothers, this yearning to begin life as a grown-up sets in somewhere around year 11.
And then it happens.
Whether leaving college to forge a path in the world, raising children or not while pursuing a career, growing a business, or winding down a professional life in preparation for retirement, a woman’s life is made of chapters, each defining the way we approach life, make decisions and relate to ourselves and one another.
Throughout, we’re faced with new opportunities and choices. And in those chapters are other women who act, often without realizing it, as our teachers, mentors and best cheerleaders.
At 26, Sandra Pecot is now an administrative secretary for a thriving company in Carson City. Her life now is settled. She has a wonderful husband, two beautiful boys and a home and job she loves.
But it wasn’t always this way.
“I had my first child while I was in high school and got through that, a single mom, thankfully graduated and after high school registered at a temp agency,” she said. “I picked up work usually as a receptionist or in accounts payable/receivable, where I could because I had to support my child. It wasn’t easy, but I did what I had to.”
Then at 19, Pecot landed a temp position as a receptionist at the place she still works, and after three months, was interviewed for a permanent position.
“Oh my gosh, I was so nervous,” she said, laughing. “It was the most intimidating interview ever … there were all these professional women with years of experience — it was scary, I didn’t know who to look at, and I’d have to say it’s because I’m bilingual that I probably got the job.
“We all laugh about that now.”
Frieda Carbery began a new chapter when she retired in 2017, after working many years as the volunteer coordinator for the Healthy Communities Coalition of Lyon and Storey counties, a role that ranged from overseeing operations for the Dayton Community Food Pantry, spending long days at the legislature when in session trying to secure funding, to organizing and executing Remote Area Medical clinics several years at various locations in Northern Nevada and Las Vegas.
“You know, I was ready to go, and I had permission,” she said. “Everyone knew I had given my best, and it was time to pass things on.”
The growth that comes in each stage of life is invaluable, Pecot said.
“I now perceive myself as more experienced, I’m not intimidated even though I am still the youngest woman in the office, I have grown so much, and a large part of that is because of the women I work with,” said Pecot, who is now an administrative assistant. “Heck, I started work here, found my husband here, it’s been one-stop shopping.”
Carbery’s move from California to Nevada allowed her to do work she loved; work that touched many in need.
“I had spent 20 years solidly working and raising a family, and Don (her husband) still had a few years to work before he retired,” she said.
In planning for retirement, they were a commuter couple during this time.
“I came to Dayton and got my dream job, which I never could have done in California,” Carbery said. “In a large community, I would have never have been hired, because I didn’t have the formal credentials or background.
“I had Christy (McGill, former HCC director and current director of the Office of Safe and Respectful Learning Environment for the Department of Education, Nevada), who believed I would be perfect for the job, and our town was small enough that she knew me, knew what I was capable of, and I was hired.”
Carbery would like to see a person’s potential and life experiences considered more frequently during the hiring process, and believes women are adept at assessing the gifts others bring to the table.
This belief of women in each other is a thread that also runs through Pecot’s story.
“Those women knew I could learn, they took time to teach me job skills and the importance of staying relevant with technology, how to navigate office personalities, how to be a strong mom and woman and the bigger person when needed; they knew what to say to give me strength and words of encouragement about both my personal and professional life,” she said. “They are dear to my heart, and believe in me even when I have doubt.”
And though both women are in very different stages of life, both are satisfied and fulfilled.
Pecot is living all the juggling that comes from the professional-woman-child-raising years. When the word “balance” comes up, she laughs.
“Balance? I have no balance, what is that?” she said. “I have a house that’s a disaster, sometimes I feed everyone cereal for dinner, I have soccer and a toddler … but my desk is so organized.”
Carbery on the other hand, speaks from the wisdom of years and a life well lived.
“I’m hanging out with my grandbabies, going on Pinterest, we’re making our home an oasis of peace,” she said, motioning toward the extensive remodeling work happening in her home. “Doesn’t look like it now, but we’re getting there.
“I believe life happens in seasons, which made stepping away easy; this is our season of peace.”
Construction of the project is estimated at $47 million and is scheduled to be complete in the first quarter of 2020, according to a news release.