The Scales Of Justice

Former flight attendant and Hendersonville retiree Tenita Deal will recount her story of workplace discrimination at an upcoming meeting at the Blue Ridge Center for Life Long Learning.

Former flight attendant and Hendersonville retiree Tenita Deal will recount her story of workplace discrimination at an upcoming meeting at the Blue Ridge Center for Life Long Learning.

Three notable Hendersonville residents — a woman who took on a major corporation, an Emmy-winning television producer, and a big time player in professional golf tournament administration — will help the Blue Ridge Center for Lifelong Learning celebrate a milestone this month.

The Center, founded in 1991, provides ongoing educational and enrichment opportunities for adults, all for a lifetime registration fee of $40.

“It’s our 20th year anniversary, and we’re really excited about that,” says Gayle Covey, BRCLL coordinator. “We have 1,700 members, and in this little town that’s huge.”

To mark 20 years, the Center is offering a series of free Brown Bag Lunches that are open to all. The first two happen this month: “Behind the Scenes of Golf” on April 13 and “A Warrior’s Tale of Barbie Doll Hell” on April 27.

In “Barbie Doll Hell,” Hendersonville retiree Tenita Deal will recount her tale of weight-based discrimination in the workplace. A former flight attendant with American Airlines, Deal was told by management in 1990 to either lose weight or lose her job. Deal, with help from former CBS News producer Barbara Baylor, took her story nationally and eventually won back her job.

Baylor, who also happens to be a Hendersonville resident, will show the 48 Hours segment she produced on Deal’s story at the Brown Bag Lunch.

Deal said recently by phone the pressure to stay slim and trim began from the moment she was hired in 1961. The former beauty queen says the airline had her step up to the scales every six months. “It was horrible, absolutely horrible,” Deal recalls. “Two who got fired right before me were very bright, competent women.”

“Behind the Scenes” features Hendersonville resident Brian Fitzgerald, who is recognized as “one of the brightest minds in tournament golf administration.” He will discuss his role as the representative for AT&T’s golf interests. “Brian is coming right smack on the heels of the Masters, which is pretty cool,” Covey says. “He spends a lot of time with all these golfers.”

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