Lawyer Crowned Mrs Corporate America!
After she was crowned Mrs. Corporate America on March 2, Lidia Szczepanowski-Goldsmith, a practicing attorney, mother and martial arts black belt, believes she has shown that women can have it all.
Szczepanowski-Goldsmith, 48, of Dix Hills, participated in a national business and beauty pageant in Orlando, Fla. where she competed against 20 women from across the country for the Mrs. Corporate America title. Contestants were judged based on an interview section, formal wear, fitness wear, and their response to an on-stage question. Szczepanowski-Goldsmith won the best of three, claiming her use of nunchucks during the fitness portion is what won the judges over.
“This to me is the epitome of having it all, being the universal, modern-day Renaissance woman,” she said. “I celebrate and embrace my femininity.”
To compete, contestants must be either business owners or work in the corporate America environment, where women are typically outnumbered or underpaid relative to their male counterparts.
According to a 2009 “Women in the Workforce” report by the U.S. Census Bureau, men still earn over $10,000 more annually than women. In addition, firms with 76-90 percent male employees paid wages that, on average, were 40 percent higher than similar firms whose workforce was almost entirely female.
From a young age, Szczepanowski-Goldsmith decided she was going to “check her ordinary at the door” and aspired to be an independent, successful woman. After she was a victim of sexual assault at the age of 13, Szczepanowski-Goldsmith said she realized the importance of being able to take care of herself.
“I didn’t realize it back then but that probably changed me… I said to myself that if I don’t want to be a victim of any kind, financially and physically, I’d have to take care of myself, and that led me on that path,” she said.
The Walt Whitman High School graduate earned her
undergraduate degree in International Business from Hofstra University and received her law degree from St. John’s University in 1990. She founded the Szczepanowski Law Firm P.C., in Melville.
In addition to having worked as a radio talk show host and producer, Szczepanowski-Goldsmith in 2007 founded the National Organization for Women’s Safety Awareness, a nonprofit safety an advocacy effort to educate young women and teens on safety issues. Szczepanowski-Goldsmith said she uses practical scenarios where women can protect themselves using basic accessories, such as the “handbag hurl” or the “stiletto stomp” to defend themselves in threatening situations. She spends time visiting classrooms and speaking with female students about how women can lead safer lives through self-esteem and good decision making.
Szczepanowski-Goldsmith also founded Everything Lidia, Inc., having recently launched her “Stylish Safety” line, selling bedazzled whistles for women to keep in case of an emergency.
“I wanted it [Stylish Safety] to be very un-intimidating and approachable for all women and teens, and incorporate a real woman’s lifestyle into safety awareness and martial arts principles, to increase awareness and avoid becoming a victim,” she said.
Szczepanowski-Goldsmith said her main message to women is to be confident, realistic and resilient.
“We have such a great balancing act that we do, and ‘having it all’ is different for every woman… There’s always going to be obstacles and challenges we face, and women by nature, we just want everything; we don’t settle,” she said. “You’re not going to be successful if you are ordinary; you need to do somethingthat distinguishes yourself.”
MCA with family