April 26, 2018
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces First Annual "If You Can See It You Can Be It" -- A Day for Girls to Experience a Broad Range of Career Possibilities

TOP Governor Cuomo Announces First Annual "If...

Initiative Pairs Over 300 Girls with Leaders in Government and More Than 40 Businesses Across the State


Part of Governor Cuomo's 2018 Women's Agenda for New York: Equal Rights, Equal Opportunity


Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the first ever "If You Can See It You Can Be It"- a day for girls to explore and see first-hand a broad range of future career possibilities. As part of the 2018 Women's Agenda, Governor Cuomo is building upon Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day to create an initiative for girls who do not ordinarily have the opportunity to participate in the day and to gain exposure to "non-traditional" career paths for women. The initiative paired over 40 companies and government leaders across the state with more than 300 girls for a day of mentoring and career-learning activities. Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa wrote a letter  to school districts encouraging schools to excuse the absence for this valuable learning experience.


"In New York, we are committed to breaking down barriers to equality so that girls can become anything they want to be," Governor Cuomo said. "The 'If You Can See It You Can Be It' initiative sends this clear message and is part of the Council of Women and Girls' multipronged efforts to help level the playing field for all from day one."


"The 'If You Can See It You Can Be It' initiative is an incredible opportunity to encourage and inspire girls to achieve their dreams," Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said. "I'm pleased to be partnered with an exceptional young woman and offer her a firsthand experience of a day in the life of a State official. She will see up close how the transformation of her city of Buffalo is achievable and that she has the potential to shape that change. Young women need mentors, and its initiatives likes these that are preparing and supporting the next generation of leaders."


Melissa DeRosa, Secretary to the Governor and Chair of the New York State Council on Women and Girls, said, "I am extremely proud today as we launch a new initiative to expose girls to unexpected and non-traditional career choices. The first-ever 'If You Can See It You Can Be It' day involves over 300 girls and a wide range of companies across the state, and is an innovative initiative developed by the Council of Women and Girls to improve gender equality for all New York women, especially young girls. In New York, we believe that all girls should be supported to do whatever they want to do, and Governor Cuomo's policies work to help level the playing field, close the gender wage gap and empower all New Yorkers to pursue their dreams."


Marian Wright Edelman, renowned civil rights leader and founder of the Children's Defense Fund famously proclaimed, "It's hard to be what you can't see." Building on the 25-year legacy of Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, the Governor's initiative is showing girls a variety of opportunities available to girls, from science and technology to construction to e-commerce. Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul is being shadowed by a student in Buffalo to provide a window into female leadership in New York State Government.


Participating companies, organizations and State agencies include:


Capital Region

  • Airosmith Development, Saratoga Springs

·       New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, Albany

  • New York Independent System Operator, Rensselaer


Central New York

  • Critical Path Engineering Solutions, Cazenovia



  • United Technologies - Lenel, Rochester
  • Digital Rochester, Rochester
  • D.A. Brown Consulting, LLC, Rochester


New York City

  • AT&T - Northeast, Manhattan
  • CA Technologies, Manhattan

·       Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, Manhattan

  • EmblemHealth, Manhattan
  • Etsy, Brooklyn
  • Gilbane Building Company, Manhattan
  • McKissack & MicKissack, Manhattan
  • Oath, Manhattan
  • Office of Mental Health, Manhattan
  • LaGuardia Airport, Queens
  • Port Authority, Queens
  • Rebecca Minkoff, Manhattan
  • Salesforce, Manhattan
  • Turner Construction Company, Manhattan
  • Warby Parker, Manhattan
  • WeWork, Manhattan
  • Weill Cornell Medicine, Manhattan


Long Island

  • Citnalta, Bohemia


Mohawk Valley

  • Paperkite Creative, Cooperstown



  • Altucare Primary Medical Care, Middletown
  • Collier Construction/ACE Mentorship, Middletown
  • Drake Loeb PLLC, Windsor
  • Erin Lane Photography, Middletown
  • Independent Helicopters, Ballston Spa
  • Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson
  • Linea Informative Radio Show
  • LEGOLAND - New York, Goshen
  • M&T Bank - Orange County
  • New York Power Authority
  • New York State Troopers
  • Orange County Chamber of Commerce, Montgomery
  • Regional Economic Community Action Program
  • You're The Boss! Weddings & Events, Goshen


Western New York

  • Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul, Buffalo


Organizations who helped match students include:


Capital Region

  • Albany County Department for Children, Youth & Families
  • Rensselaer County
  • Saratoga County Department of Social Services


Central New York

  • Madison County Department of Social Services


Finger Lakes

  • Joseph C. Wilson Magnet High School    



  • Nora Cronin Presentation Academy


Mohawk Valley

  • Otsego County Department of Social Services


Long Island

  • Suffolk County Department of Social Services


New York City

  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City
  • Children's Aid
  • New York City Administration for Children's Services
  • New York City Department of Homeless Services
  • Renaissance Charter High School for Innovation
  • Minds Matter New York City


Western New York

  • Erie County Department of Social Services


Marissa Shorenstein, President, Northeast Region, AT&T, said, "Showing girls the opportunities available to them in the workforce can empower them to realize their full potential. Women from all industries and communities have seen and experienced the effects of gender inequality - and this fuels our commitment to lift up women and girls. AT&T is proud to support 'If You Can See It, You Can Be It,' and we look forward to helping our future female leaders cultivate their passions."


Brennan Gilbane Koch, 5th Generation Family Member, Gilbane Building Company said, "At Gilbane, we've seen the positive impact of a diversified workforce with women in leadership. That's why we are focused on continuing to raise the benchmark in recruiting and promoting women throughout our ranks. As the future is female, we are thrilled to join the Governor in this effort to encourage young women and girls to consider our industry and the opportunities that come with it."  


Susan Green, Founder and Creative Director, Paperkite, "As a woman-owned business, Paperkite Creative is thrilled to partner with the 'If You Can See It, You Can Be It' program. Our entire team looks forward to showing young girls the opportunities that await them in the marketing field, as well as planting the seed that they, too, can own a business of their own one day."


Kim Marie Neuscheler, Vice President and Construction Executive, Turner Construction Company said, "Turner Construction Company is proud to partner with Governor Cuomo and the 'If You Can See It You Can Be It' initiative to help demonstrate that any career is possible with a little hard work and a passion for what you do. The young ladies who visit us at the MSK David H. Koch Center for Cancer Care on Thursday, April 26, 2018 will have an opportunity to meet with and witness a lot of women working in the Architecture, Engineering and Construction community, who have partnered to design and build this exciting facility for Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Our work on this facility is our small contribution to helping MSK provide the necessary critical care to patients who are battling cancer and in need of our help.  We are so looking forward to meeting the girls and sharing our experiences to help them see what all is possible if they set their minds to achieve something."


Cheryl Hussey, CFO and Vice President of Human Resources, NYSIO said, "We are always working hard to attract the next generation of qualified women to the energy industry. The NYISO is proud to participate in the Governor's 'If You See It You Can Be It' initiative and to highlight the wide range of skill sets that an energy company needs, including information technology, accounting and finance, economics, legal and marketing communications."


Elizabeth McCarthy, CFO, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, said, "The Port Authority is dedicated to empowering women and placing them in key leadership positions. Initiatives such as Governor Cuomo's 'If You Can See It You Can Be It' connect young women with positive role models who can help them realize the boundless opportunities available to them. It's a valuable resource and a support system our agency is committed to providing."


Alicia Barton, President and CEO, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority said, "NYSERDA is pleased to be able to support the "If You Can See It You Can Be It" day by hosting young women who have such great potential to be our future leaders. With New York's clean energy economy thriving, today provides these women with a great opportunity to explore many different occupations, and speak to and hear from thought leaders who are working to improve the quality of life for all New Yorkers."

Gil C. Quiniones, President and CEO, New York Power Authority said, “At NYPA we value the inclusion and promotion of girls, young women, and women in the work that we do to lead New York State’s energy future toward a system that is agile, flexible, reliable, resilient and fully digitized. We know that if girls see it, they believe it and they know they can be it and achieve it. Our Environmental Justice and Sustainability programs and departments all throughout NYPA regularly work with communities across the state to offer unique learning opportunities to girls and young women, including innovative hands-on science, technology, engineering, arts and math programming. Our Women In Power group and Office of Civil Rights and Inclusion promote the recognition and promotion of women in the all-too-often male-dominated fields of engineering and energy. We loved having more than 20 girls with us today for our Take Our Sons and Daughters to Work Day and are excited about continuing to inspire these talented young people to learn about and possibly one day be part of our clean energy economy here in New York State.”


Erin Pascual, Director of Events, Orange County Chamber, said, "We are absolutely thrilled to be able to give these girls a sense of motivation and power to be able to dream and act upon all the possibilities. These girls are the future."


Dr. Augustine M.K. Choi, Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean, Weill Cornell Medicine, said, "Weill Cornell Medicine believes that diversity and equal opportunity are essential to achieving excellence in patient care, research and education. We're excited to participate in 'If You Can See It, You Can Be It,' which coincides with our inaugural Diversity Week celebrating the rich and varied backgrounds and perspectives that we bring to all our endeavors."


Ewa Pigna, CTO, United Technologies- Lenel, said, "We are excited to host our future technologists and leaders at Lenel as part of the "If You Can See It, You Can Be It - A Day For Girls To See What is Possible" initiative. At UTC, we are dedicated to building gender balance and championing women's advancement in the technology field. We recognize that inclusion and diversity fuels innovation in several aspects of business and society. The path to a technical career starts with the curiosity of young minds and we are eager to participate in the education of inquisitive, driven, young women that will be visiting our offices."


Commissioner Gail Geohagen-Pratt, Albany County Department for Children Youth and Families said, "It is so important for girls and young ladies to feel empowered, to know that the world is filled with endless possibilities.  Events such as 'If You Can See It You Can Be It', provides an opportunity for our girls to experience firsthand what their future could hold.  It is important to foster and promote the hopes, dream, and goals of all our young ladies."


Commissioner Roger Parrino, Sr., DHSES said, "The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services is filled with many women in key roles that share a passion for keeping the people of New York State safe. I am grateful to Governor Cuomo for the opportunity to pair young women and girls with these professionals so they can share their knowledge and expertise and help grow the next generation of female leaders in the field."


Phoebe C. Boyer, President and CEO of Children's Aid, said, "Every day we work with thousands of gifted, ambitious girls and young women throughout New York City who want to learn and accrue skills in order to build a future for themselves. We're thrilled that Governor Cuomo is opening doors of opportunity by showing them how their efforts today translate to success and independence tomorrow."


Melissa Johnson, 10th Grade College Readiness teacher and 11th Grade Work Readiness Counselor said, "Being able to see your dreams in reality is very powerful. The opportunities these young ladies have to get a hands on day of learning from women in their career field of interest will have a lasting impact that can't be captured in daily classes."

Contact the Governor's Press Office
Contact the Governor's Press Office