May 6, 2020

Celebrating Leadership & Entrepreneurship: Libby Mattern

When Covid-19 hit, one thing was blatantly clear: the stockpile of PPE (personal protective equipment) was desperately low. My daughter-in-law Libby Mattern, production director at Malia Mills (swimwear and ready-to-wear designer and domestic manufacturer) is also founder of Course of Trade, a registered 501c3 dedicated to providing industrial sewing training to New Yorkers in need — no previous sewing experience necessary.
As the pandemic continued to spread, it was obvious that the time was right to revive the declining garment industry in NYC. The racks of Malia Mills swimsuits and clothing took a back seat so that Course of Trade could shift the company’s focus. They are now producing over 2,800 isolation gowns every week for front-line hospital workers in NYC.
“Coronavirus is an important time for small businesses, large businesses, and the government to band together to help in whatever way we can. This is what makes NYC manufacturing, and people behind sewing machines, so incredible — we can nimbly move to address the supply chain issues and bring goods to market rapidly,” Libby said.
The isolation gowns are level one with very specific specifications and fabric secured by the Mayor’s office. Course of Trade is working with the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) who works directly with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) to distribute the gowns to public hospitals across the five boroughs. Along with Course of Trade, Libby is managing five other garment factories in South Brooklyn. The city is providing the materials and paying the factories for their work.

Mayor DeBlasio and the Course of Trade team

Bill DeBlasio, Mayor of NYC, recently visited Course of Trade, where the sewing machines have been socially-distanced, and reinvigorated workers are hard at work, doing their part, to help protect those who protect others. “Such a short while ago, you were a swimwear factory, right here on this floor, making swimsuits for the summer season. And now you are a war-time factory making isolation gowns to protect health care workers.”
“None of us would’ve imagined that trying to find isolation gowns would be nearly impossible for our front-line workers,” the Mayor continued. “This is an amazing industry — the heart and soul of New York City.”

Truck loaded and ready to deliver 21,700 isolation gowns to our frontline workers

The Course of Trade team 

The total contract with Course of Trade and its cohorts, which expires on July 1, is for 65,000 isolation gowns. 

“We’re moving heaven and earth to get this done,” Libby said.

* Follow @courseoftrade for updates.

April 22, 2020

Remembering The Oklahoma City Bombing, 25 Years Later

This week marked 25 years since the heinous bombing of the Alfred Murrah Federal Building, killing 168 people, including 19 children. Thank you to my friends in Pound Ridge -- including Marlene Harnish Gallagher, Marianne Shearer, Cynthia Wetzler, Deborah Howland Friedland, Jennifer Leith Moore Stahlkrantz, Jean Mann, Stacy Patrick, Jenny Marshall Weisburger and many more -- who joined my effort to honor the children who perished by planting a garden of daffodils next to the playground at Pound Ridge Community Church. I was able to reach Melva Noakes, director of the nursery school. When Jean told her about what the mothers of PR were doing, she immediately flew out from OKC for the unveiling of the project. (I even got TWA to cover her round-trip ticket fare.). It was a very moving day for us all.

Source: "My Feature Stories in The New York Times" by Cynthia Magriel Wetzler

April 3, 2020

In the Age of Coronavirus, A "Party" For Pamela

Second from right ... that's my sister Pamela. I wish I could photoshop that adorable little face and put it in place of mine at the head of the table 'cause it's HER BIRTHDAY TODAY!! Happy birthday to my darling, most treasured, sister!!!

In this age of #stayathome, #socialdistancing, #restezchezvous Coronavirus entrapment, I rounded up friends in 4 time zones - San Francisco, Mexico, NYC, and France - to celebrate her Zoom birthday party. And the best part of hosting it, besides getting everyone together in one spot and over many times zones?
No dishes to clean up afterward!

H A P P Y   B I R T H D A Y ,   P A M E L A !!!

May your birthday next year be in a world that is COVID-19 free.


March 27, 2020

Pre-COVID-19: The Look of Innocence

This is a photo of my husband and me at our friends' cow farm in Normandy on February 7, 2020, which seems like a million years ago. It was right before the coronavirus pandemic really hit. We still had friends going to  Austin for SXSW. Weddings were being planned, meetings and conferences were unchanged, and the Summer 2020 Olympics were set for Tokyo. We had no idea that the U.S. would even come close (and now surpass) Wuhan, China.

Today, billions of people are ordered to stay home, the economy is at a standstill, thousands and thousands of schools and universities are closed ... and people are dying.

Nearly 200 U.S. cities reported a DIRE need for masks, test kits, ventilators, and other emergency equipment vital to fighting the virus.

Coronavirus Cases


Last updated: March 27, 2020, 17:53 GMT

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