By Merrill Perlman, JAWS Board Member
It’s time to confess: I was a JAWS denier.
In the early years of JAWS, Betsy Wade and Joan Cook urged me to join. Why did I need JAWS? I thought to myself. I was already at a wonderful place in my career at The New York Times (the second woman to be the chief of a major news copy desk, Betsy, of course, being the first). I didn’t need a group of women to validate my success. I demurred, more than once, and they stopped asking.
Fast-forward to 2006, more than 15 years later. I was now the director of copy desks at The Times, the largest department in terms of people reporting to it, more than 160. There were other women in top jobs at The Times, but I had little camaraderie with them. I needed something by way of a support group, a sounding board.