A look at New York women leaders in traditionally male-dominated industries

Women today in the United States are in a better position than in many other parts of the world. 

We have more choices and opportunities, both in our careers and in our personal lives. But there are still plenty of challenges, especially when you're the first woman in a male-dominated occupation. So we're celebrating trailblazing women everywhere who show us how to take risks and win, and introducing you to three extraordinary trailblazers in particular. 

For decades, women law enforcement officers have comprised only about 12% of officers in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. That's a stark under-representation according to the latest Census Bureau estimates, which show just over 50% of the US Population is female. 

First Deputy Commissioner Tania Kinsella is a trailblazer as the #2 leader in the department, second only to Police Commissioner Edward Caban. She worked her way up starting as a beat officer on Staten Island. 

"With more women, and recruiting more women into the police department and within the higher ranks, not just as cops not just as civilians but in higher ranks, it adds to the emotional intelligence, to the human side of policing," First Deputy Commissioner Tania Kinsella said. 

Commissioner Kinsella tells us that she likes to be out in the community, seeing for herself what the issues are, listening to New Yorkers, and inspiring girls and other women to get involved in law enforcement and join the nation's largest police department.

"What drove me is my passion, community, in serving my community and my city. I love being a part of when the city is safe and when it feels unsafe. I love being a part of cleaning up our city and making a difference with the community that we serve," Kinsella explained. 

Dr. Jacqueline Fulop-Goodling, better known to her patients and friends as Dr. Jacquie Smiles, comes from a family of dental and medical practitioners. 

She was drawn to dentistry as a child and became the first female Director of the Orthodontic Department at the prestigious Boston University Dental School. She has private practices in New York and Florida.  At her main office in Midtown Manhattan, there's an all-female staff.  They all work hard, so Dr. Jacquie makes it fun at holiday time. While she makes it look glamorous and easy, she admits there's a lot more to it. 

"Running a small business with all the hats that we wear, of being a friend, a mother, a small business owner, and the lights go on and with all of the rules and regulations, CE credits and maintaining your license," Dr. Jacquie Smiles said. 

With her orthodontic work and as an entrepreneur, Dr. Jacquie Smiles has had to walk into many rooms where she is the only woman, something many trailblazers face. 

She said, "if they're not taking you seriously, don't let it get to you."

Architect Kimberly Dowdell made history when she was named the 100th president of the American Institute of Architects and the first Black woman in that position. She says seeing buildings abandoned and torn down as a child inspired her to be a positive force for change. Dowdell believes that buildings can do more than  just serve their physical purpose. 

"I wanted to help people, and I felt that being an architect would help me be supportive of my community and kind of healing not just the building but also the people that are impacted by the building," Kimberly Dowdell said. 

Only about 23% of architects are women. Dowdell says it takes years of hard work to become an architect, but any dream is achievable if you stay focused.