Successful alum discusses the role of the ‘new woman’

When Gale Wayman graduated from the College in 1970, she hit the ground running and hasn’t slowed down since. Her insatiable hunger for knowledge and experience in as many areas as possible has led her to Brazil, China and Russia as an international businesswoman. She has also maintained strong ties with her native New Jersey as president of the Rotary Club of Toms River.

During her Sept. 21 lecture in the New Library auditorium on “The Changing Role of Women in the Twentieth Century,” Wayman was full of advice for young women who wish to follow her example and gain success in what was once a male-dominated business world.

“You all should be aware of the things that are available to you that weren’t available a century ago,” Wayman said.

Wayman linked the increase in women with business-related careers over the last 30 years with the increase in the mean age of women who are entering their first marriage. As an avid proponent of lifelong education, Wayman believes that women should continue going to school long after they have graduated from college. She has recently completed a course in advanced management in Brazil.

“There is no need to settle down fast today,” Wayman said. “You have years to develop your own dreams, goals and interests.”

Wayman pointed out that today women have “broken the glass ceiling” and are becoming board members, leaders and presidents of companies. During the two years she lived in St. Petersburg, Russia, Wayman discovered that the surge in the number of businesswomen in recent years is not limited to the United States. In former- Soviet countries, Wayman had contact with many well-educated women who had started their own companies.

According to Wayman, women have an inherent potential to become great multi-taskers, much more so than men. She believes that women should put these skills to good use and try out jobs in many different fields.

“Unless you try something, you won’t know if you have a gift for it,” Wayman said. “We all have hidden talents, but you have to try.”

Wayman stressed that in life and in business there are many ups and downs. When her late husband’s business fell apart, Wayman said that a positive outlook on life allowed her to overcome a disastrous situation.

“To love people is the key. If you do (love people) you don’t have the feeling that everyone’s out to get you,” Wayman said.

Another of Wayman’s tips for young, ambitious women is to learn about money from an early age, and that buying a house is the best investment one can make.

For college students with business ideas, Wayman said that a business plan listing personnel, goals and procedures is a crucial first step toward success. The next step is using the Internet to find grants.

Wayman is truly a quintessential example of the “new woman.” During the last three decades she has run five medical clinics, helped establish a village bank in Uzbekistan and partaken in trade missions with the U.S. Department of Commerce. She has also served on the Business Council for Peace in New York City, the foundation board at Ocean County College and the Rotary Club of Toms River.

According to the official Rotary Web site, Rotary is a worldwide organization of business and professional leaders that provides humanitarian service, encourages high ethical standards in all vocations and helps build goodwill and peace in the world.

Wayman also established the Mary G. Roebling International Travel Fund at the College. The fund provides financial assistance to high-achieving students enrolled in the School of Culture and Society and was named after Wayman’s late mentor, Trenton businesswoman and philanthropist Mary G. Roebling.

Today, Wayman has no intention of discontinuing her scholarly and business pursuits.

“I’m planning to live to 120,” Wayman said.