top of page

Women Making A Difference!

Celebrating Positivity – Empowering Women

Jay and Karen discussing positivity and empowerment with two women making a difference, Amanda Rogers and Whitney Bernabei of Portsmouth, NH

We are so delighted this week to be highlighting women in this edition of the Sunshine Report. The positive impact of women in our state and throughout America. In the workplace, in our public discourse and their critical role in the family. Women are leading the way in so many areas. And, most exciting, women are providing incredibly positive role models for girls and young women in every segment of our society.

For instance, women are starting businesses and creating entrepreneurial success like never before. Since 2007, women in entrepreneurial roles have increased by 30 percent, and there are now 9.1 million women-owned businesses in the U.S. generating an estimated 1.4 trillion dollars business annually. And, get this - Start-ups founded by women have shown to generate 10 percent higher revenue than those started by men in their first 5 years, and have grown 1.5x faster than any other businesses since 2003.

Meanwhile, when it comes to public service, women currently hold more public offices than ever before. There are 26 women in the U.S. Senate, 101 in the House and even 9 governors. Not to mention, there are women mayors in some of our largest cities. Compared to where we were even just twenty years ago, the progress is amazing!

Yet, it must be said that decreasing the gaps between men and women in both business and public service still has an important way to go. As an advocate for providing equal access to opportunity for everyone across the country, improving this disparity isn’t just good for business, it’s good for the country and the right thing to do. As the husband of a woman entrepreneur and investor in women-owned businesses, I urge us all to continue to champion our daughters, wives, sisters, and mothers as they continue striving for their rightful place in business and public service. And, enthusiastically, celebrate the positivity women bring to our lives.

Women Making an Impact in a Small Town!

Last year, a movement was born in Newport with one simple message: when you empower a woman, you empower an entire family and, therefore, an entire community.

With a positive guiding principle, the Newport Women’s Group has organized opportunities for professional and community engagement for women in Newport. The group, ranging from daughters, to mothers, and grandmothers, meets bi-weekly both during the day and at nights to give everyone an opportunity to get involved. To share opportunities, but also to share problems, experiences and the many challenges of day to day life.

Some of the members of the group are new to Newport including co-founder Christine Benner, who moved to Newport in 2018. Others have lived in the Newport area for all their lives and represent multi-generation Newport families. The group has hosted everything from potlucks and journaling sessions to morning yoga classes. The women have varied and interesting experiences and are always willing to share in a spirit of fun and positivity. Congratulations and keep up the good work!

NH Leads the Way - Women in Politics and Government

We in New Hampshire pride ourselves on being first and leading the way. The first in the nation primary and being the first for other things. Many inventions have come out of New Hampshire like the modern kitchen stove, the drip coffee maker, the Segway and more. In addition, although not everyone is aware, New Hampshire has also led the nation in its support of women taking leadership roles in politics and government.

Some pretty impressive ‘firsts.’ New Hampshire is the first state in the country to have an all-female congressional delegation. In addition, New Hampshire is the only state to have had to female governors both to go on to become U.S. Senators. And, today, 10 of the 24 members of our N.H. State Senate are women including our Senate President.

Our women legislators work tirelessly and deserve our thanks. To make this come alive, let me share the stories of three women members of our State Senate whom I have gotten to know and for whom I have tremendous respect. The longest tenured Senator of the three is State Senator Sharon Carson of Londonderry. Sharon has a long and distinguished career serving our state, but also serving our country. She proudly wore the uniform as a member of the U.S. Army Reserve. Following her service, Sharon was elected to The New Hampshire House of Representatives, where she served term after term, working hard for the people of her district. In 2008, Sharon won an extremely competitive primary and went on to win the general election to become District 14 State Senator. Sharon is an amazing public servant and both her husband and daughter have served in the armed forces. Truly remarkable.

Another good friend of mine and someone who has been a constant advocate for small towns is District 8 State Senator Ruth Ward of Stoddard. A mother of 9 children and a nurse, Ruth has been an incredible advocate for our local communities. Ruth and her husband Fred are the kind of folks who are always there for you. From charities to politics they are among the best supporters and friends an organization can have. As the Newport Sunshine Initiative continues to help make progress in my hometown of Newport, Ruth Ward has been there to continuously support our efforts.

Last but certainly not least is State Senator Regina Birdsell of Hampstead. Regina served our nation in the US Coast Guard and afterwards, quickly rose up the ranks in politics because of her tireless commitment to serving others. She served as Rockingham County Chair and built a committee that saw election victory after election victory through strong grassroots organizing. She was elected to the NH House of Representatives and served her community with a commitment to fighting for the New Hampshire Advantage and way of life. In 2014, Regina won a spirited State Senate Primary and general election. Since being sworn into the NH Senate, Regina has earned the reputation as a ‘go to’ public servant. She gives it straight and is always willing to listen. And you know what, she loves dogs and even is training a new puppy in an election year. Go Regina!

These three women are just a few of the many who are making a huge difference in our state. I’m honored to know many of them and look forward to seeing all of them continue to do great things for New Hampshire.

Profile of the Week: Sarah Josepha Hale

As we celebrate women, this week we are proud to honor Sarah Josepha Hale – an incredible woman who achieved true national prominence – and importantly, a fellow Newporter. Unquestionably, the most celebrated and honored person to come from our wonderful hometown of Newport.

Although not well known today, Sarah Hale was a was a champion for women’s education and a major writer and editor of her time. Born in Newport, NH, in 1788, Sarah was the mother of five children with a passion for advancing women’s educational standing in the United States. The daughter of a Revolutionary War veteran, she understood the importance of keeping the country together and authored numerous publications that promoted unity between the North and South. Despite being an outspoken abolitionist, she believed it was in the country’s best interest to stay together.

Sarah achieved fame – as the editor of the leading publication in America during the middle of the 19th century – ‘Godey’s Lady’s Book.’ The publication set the tone for taste, literature and culture for the country, even publishing such writers as Oliver Wendell Holmes, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Washington Irving.

However, she was also a champion of women writers – encouraging aspiring women to pursue their literary dreams. She promoted the careers of numerous women who would go on to become some of the our most well-known American writers and poets.

She is, however, best known for her poem ‘Mary Had A Little Lamb’ which of course has been turned into a catchy little tune that most children still learn to this day. Sarah’s accomplishments do not end there though, she is credited in having played a pivotal role in the celebration of Thanksgiving as a national holiday as well as helping to erect the memorial to the Battle of Bunker Hill in Boston.

Surely Sarah Hale was a woman with a mission – whose accomplishments provided inspiration for women throughout America during her many years of prominence and for generations to come.

Quotes of the Week: Women Making A Difference

“Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women.” – Maya Angelou

“I didn’t get there by wishing for it or hoping for it, but by working for it.” – Estée Lauder

“You can waste your lives drawing lines. Or you can live your life crossing them.” – Shonda Rhimes

“There’s something so special about a woman who dominates in a man’s world. It takes a certain grace, strength, intelligence, fearlessness, and the nerve to never take no for an answer.” – Rihanna

“I can’t think of any better representation of beauty than someone who is unafraid to be herself.” – Emma Stone


bottom of page