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Women Making a Difference

Author: Jill Ellen Smith 3 June 2011 No Comment

 The State of Maryland is home to many women “firsts” and “founders,” many of whom are highlighted and honored at the Maryland Women’s Heritage Center.

 

In addition to the renowned women who are known far beyond our state, there are innumerable women in each of our lives who have sustained our families, taught or volunteered in our schools, worked for social justice, and shaped our communities—often behind the scenes, serving anonymously, without recognition and praise. The Maryland Women’s Heritage Center is committed to telling and preserving the stories of these unsung heroines and honoring their many contributions.

One of these extraordinary Unsung Heroines is Ginny Gong of Gaithersburg, Md. A successful businesswoman and highly respected community leader, she has successfully overcome the challenges she faced as a young Chinese immigrant growing up in America.

Ginny was six years old when she came to the United States with her family in 1954. She has said she struggled for balance between her dual roles as a child in America and a Chinese daughter growing up under the roof of her parents’ laundry business in New York. She chronicles her family’s struggles to survive the challenges of life in a strange country in her autobiography, From Ironing Board to Corporate Board: My Chinese Laundry Experience in America.

“Identifying books that I could relate to was always a challenge when I was growing up,” said Ginny. “Although there were books about Asia and its people, books on the Asian American experience were seriously lacking. My hope is that this book fills that void and will be included in the recommended and/or suggested reading lists of schools across the nation.”

Educated in public schools and at public universities, Ginny worked as a public school teacher in systems all across the country for more than 15 years. Most of what keeps Ginny focused is her passion to educate and help others, and she has become an influence within the Asian community nationally and internationally.

She has served four terms as the National President for OCA, a Pan-Asian American organization founded in 1973 with 80 chapters/affiliates nationwide. The organization recently made history by establishing the OCA National Center for Asian Pacific American Leadership and, as such, is the first Asian American organization to acquire a home in Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C.

 

Ginny currently serves as Executive Director for the Interagency Coordinating Board for Community Use of Public Facilities in Montgomery County, Md., and is responsible for facilitating the community’s use of all public facilities and coordinating its needs for programs and services, as well as managing its multi-million Enterprise Fund. Prior to this position, she was a countywide Human Resources Administrator for Montgomery County Public Schools.

 

She was appointed to the Governor’s first Asian American Advisory Committee and the Governor’s Advisory Council on New Americans, serving as its first chairperson. In 2008, she was honored as the recipient of the Women of Achievement Award. Recently, in January 2011, Ginny was honored at the Maryland State Educators Association’s (MSEA) Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Breakfast and Minority Recognition Program with the Minority Recognition Award for Leadership.

She also serves as a member of many boards and committees on the local, state, and national levels, including Montgomery Community Television, Universities at Shady Grove, and MGM Mirage Advisory Board. She is a member of the Advisory Board of the Maryland Women’s Heritage Center.

In her “spare time,” she hosts her own weekly talk show series, “Ginny’s…Where East Meets West,” where she discusses issues affecting the Asian American community and features Asian Americans. Guests on the show include community activists, opera singers, reality TV show winners, authors, journalists, and business executives, just to name a few.

Ginny is also the founder and president of GG Communications, a human resources management consulting firm specializing in presentations and training on cross cultural competency, immigrant acculturation, the Asian American community, compliance and related laws, education and its changing role, and school/community partnerships.

 

For more information about the Maryland Women’s Heritage Center, or to become involved with the Center, visit our website at www.MDWomensHeritageCenter.org, call 410-767-0675, or e-mail mwhcjill@comcast.net. The Maryland Women’s Heritage Center is located at 39 West Lexington Street in Baltimore. Hours of operation are Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Admission is free.

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