Sandra Wilkin Founder and President of Bradford Construction photo credit: Bradford Construction

We all need words of encouragement but it means more coming from a true advocate. Sandra Wilkin is a CUNY alum and CUNY trustee who is the Founder and President of Bradford Construction Corporation. Her company is a minority woman & business enterprise and Ms. Wilkin is a diligent representative of equal rights in the workplace.

During her greeting at the CUNY Women’s Leadership Conference, Sandra Wilkin spoke about how women are held to the high standard of having to be Super Mom or Super Woman. Ms. Willkin reminded the women to not feel intimidated or second-guess themselves, women have a lot to contribute.

As the owner of a minority women & business enterprise, Sandra faces many challenges. Ms. Wilkin speaks of having to attest that she was a single female when refinancing her home, because she was a business owner and not an employee. She felt that it was an inappropriate question. These types of unfair policies set a trend. Sometimes it is necessary to get a bond; this is common in the construction industry.  Each time this happens, a small business owner has to sign as a personal guarantor, essentially putting all their assets at stake. When further pressed, Ms. Wilkin admitted that she felt the same standard should exist for larger companies.  When examining actuaries, small and large companies default at the same rate. New York is second to Los Angeles as home to small businesses.

She also spoke of the courage she found in women like former First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt. Raised in a world where women choose either nursing or teaching as a profession, Ms. Wilkin chose nursing and then realized she preferred construction. It was a changing time and outspoken women like Gloria Steinem offered hope, encouraging women to stand strong, and have the courage to pursue their dreams.

Ms. Wilkin encouraged the audience to follow their dreams noting that the many women she had encountered were heading up innovative projects and their companies were becoming accepted and successful more and more.

She is part of a movement to increase women and minority owned business and looks forward to the time when her company is recognized for being a great company and not a great woman owned company.  One day it will no longer be needed to be pointed out that it is woman owned business, because in the future, that will be part of the norm.

A powerful woman with an inspirational story working to help others achieve what she knows is a noble and compassionate goal. It is an inspiration to attend classes knowing that there was someone from humble beginnings, who attended CUNY, made a nice life, felt good enough to stick around and help others do the same.

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