In Case You Missed It: Mary Pat Christie, 'simpatico' in political and family affairs

  • Monday, April 18, 2011
  • Tags: Other

Amy S. Rosenberg
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Published: Sunday, April 17, 2011

… The ninth of 10 children raised on Cobblestone Drive in Paoli, Christie, nee Foster, has the type of spunk that has been likened to Elaine's on Seinfeld. And if her husband has a reputation for constantly talking, Mary Pat seems to have - and thank goodness - an honest desire to really listen.

Sitting in on a workshop on controlling conflict and countering overly assertive partners run by the Women's Opportunity Center - whose director, Cathi Rendfrey, is receiving the hero award - Mary Pat nods and says she especially appreciates the concept of relying on "scripts" when in the middle of a heated argument. "I'm taking that one home," she tells the group, and who could blame her.

'A tough player'

At the Mount Laurel event, she sits among women who tell stories of domestic violence, of economic fragility, of battling back. Mary Pat is riveted: "I really, I get choked up, to see all of you amazing women taking the steps that you have, to really just be brave enough to come here."

As first lady, she's beginning to find her stride with issues such as recidivism and at-risk populations, issues she says have always interested her.

At the Mount Laurel Y, she speaks about her concern for older teens who have dropped out of school, who are not in the criminal justice system. "They're really, really lost," she says. "Nobody's responsible for them."

With a master's of business administration from Seton Hall University, she works part time as a bond trader at Cantor Fitzgerald in Manhattan (Mondays, Tuesdays, every other Wednesday, job-sharing with another woman) - a schedule she hopes will be a positive example for her children.

 

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