Meet a Nasty Woman Supporter: 5 Questions with Andy Starr

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Meet Andy Starr. Andy is entrepreneur, marketing and strategy consultant, winemaker and son of Nasty Woman and PFLAG Founder Adele Starr.

We typically spotlight women and ask them what makes them a Nasty Woman? In your case, what does it mean to you to be a man and a feminist?

To me, it’s simply being an active advocate for equality of opportunity, for fairness, respect and decency.  For me, being male and feminist is no different than being a voice for any unjustly treated group of people.  Those who feel threatened by people speaking up for their rights will always use pejorative terms like “Nasty Woman” to discredit them and their arguments.    

Share an experience that shaped your views or helped get you involved in activism.

That would definitely be my mother’s own activism in the gay rights movement, starting in 1975.  My brother came out as gay several years earlier, at a time when it was considered a treatable mental illness.  After a few years, my parents came to accept my brother “as is”.  He asked my mother if she would talk to the parents of his gay friends to possibly help them accept their children.  One phone call led to many more, which led to a support group meeting at our home for about 20 people . . . and that evolved into an organization now known as Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays—PFLAG.  My mother, Adele Starr, was PFLAG’s Founder and first President.

Her own background is rather ordinary, a diminutive suburban housewife and mother of 5 children who grew up poor in the Brooklyn of the 1930s.  Yet she changed many lives for the better and in doing so changed the world.

What advice do you have for people who want to help enact change and push progress but don’t know how to get involved?

Like my mother, anyone can bring about change.  It starts with one conversation, one act, or one personal decision at a time.  Whatever it is you want to change may be, others are likely involved already.  Contact them, as they are always looking for help.

If you could look into the future, 10 years from now, and see that real progress has been made, what does that look like to you?

Something along the lines of Martin Luther King’s quote that “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”  My hope is that the workplace continues to move forward in it’s treatment of women in terms of pay equality, promotion opportunity, and not turning a blind eye toward misogynist behavior.  It may not seem that way, as progress is often slow, and sometimes takes a step backward temporarily, e.g. November 2016, but it ultimately moves forward.  A generation ago, my father was surprised that a big corporation hired me. In his generation, they didn’t hire Jews except in accounting.

Share with us a favorite wine moment, memory or pairing.  

In the 1980s, I was fortunate to be the head winemaker for Yarden Wines, making Israel’s first premium quality kosher wines.  At the time, “Israel”, “kosher” and “premium quality” are three terms that had never been attempted before, or even been used in the same sentence.  Few believed we could make good wine, and even fewer thought anyone would buy it.  We had some challenges, but we also had good people, a budget for the best equipment and superior grapes.  The wines received a number of awards and favorable press, and 30 years later the winery is still very successful.  What is most gratifying for me is that Israel now has dozens of boutique, premium quality wineries, and many knowledgeable wine consumers.

Andy Starr is an entrepreneur, marketing and strategy consultant, and winemaker with over 30 years experience in identifying innovative business opportunities, developing new markets, and building organizations. His company, StarrGreen LLC assists clients in the wine, beverage alcohol, and green technology segments.  Best known as the Founder of Neocork Technologies, the synthetic cork pioneer, Andy built the company from a business plan through R&D, manufacturing and marketing, ultimately shipping corks to 19 countries.  He has six years of winemaking experience in California, Israel and Australia, highlighted by two years as the head winemaker for Yarden, Israel's first super-premium winery.

Learn more about working with Andy here.

 

Emily Davis