Welcome back to those who are returning readers, and hello to those who are new! Today I bring you an article on Iris Felder - Wallace, who was nominated by Courtney Terry. We had a great conversation and I’m so excited to share her with you all.
Iris Felder was born and raised in Newark, New Jersey and while she did not finish school in Newark, she would eventually go on to get her GED later on in life. During our conversation Iris explained how not having the traditional educational background as others created obstacles for her as she ventured through life trying to establish herself. However while not having the same amount of schooling as others, Iris was able to overcome the challenges it presented and become financially stable through being a hard worker. At the age of 18 she began working as a longshoreman and has worked her way up where she is now a gangs boss for Redhook Container Terminals.
For those who may not longshoreman work in ports loading and unloading ships, it can be an extremely physically demanding job depending on your position and task. It is also a male dominated job, where you don’t see as many women in this field. I asked Iris if this demographic had an effect on her career, she explained to me how she went through her second pregnancy as a longshoreman and the difficulties she experienced. She explained how she had to convince people that there were certain tasks she couldn’t do being pregnant and how she had to go on a leave way early then most moms because there was so little for her to do. This was a trying time being pregnant, raising another child and trying to keep her job. I found it interesting that there seemed to be so little policy on maternity leave, she expressed how her bosses didn’t really know what to do with her at the time. I think it is so great that she was able to move on from that point and come back to eventually move up. I hope that one day there will be better policies and protocols for women in the port, so these hard working women can continue to make money longer in order to better guarantee financial stability for themselves and their child.
During our conversation I learned that Iris was a teenage mom, having her first child at the age of 16. I asked her for her greatest advice for any young moms out there, she advised young moms, any mom for that matter, to keep sight of their dreams. She explained how she bought her first property in her 20’s and while it was difficult, she never lost sight of what she wanted for herself. While I am not a mother, I couldn’t agree more. It is said that not only mom’s but women in general tend to put their needs aside and give less effort towards not only their dreams but their needs as well. Iris should serve as an excellent example to anyone reading that accomplishing your goals while holding down your responsibilities can be achieved through determination and pure hard work. Iris also encourages everyone to be open minded and compromisable. She expressed how much easier it would be if everyone was a little more open minded and susceptible to compromise. I also agreed that these are traits this society tends to put on the backburner, we could get some much further if we did better with hearing one another out and working together to achieve a greater goal, whatever it may be!
To wrap this article up, I’d like to give a big shout out to Iris’s husband, whom she declared her biggest supporter. The two have been together since high school and they have had each other’s back from the start. I would also like to recognize her children, whom she awarded her best achievement to. Last but not least a tribute goes out to her mother for being her greatest female inspiration, whom she learned her phenomenal work ethic from!
I would like to thank you all for taking the time out of your day to give this article a read. I was so lucky to sit down and chat with Iris, she is a wonderful woman to get to know! Another thank you goes out to Courtney Terry who nominated Iris, if you haven’t already be sure to check out her article below! If you have a woman you would like to nominate for a feature please send you nomination to firstname.lastname@example.org, I will be more than happy to reach out to them!
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