This month we celebrate Women’s History Month, and on Friday, March 8th, it is International Women’s Day.
I have had five generations of women in my life - the experiences of each defined by their time in history, our culture, and their unique spirit.
My personal “women’s history” includes my nana, Ida, who had a baby at age 16 in 1916. She never worked outside of the home, had no say in her family, but raised a determined woman, my mom, also Ida.
My mother was brilliant, graduated two years early from high school with a dream of going to college. However, her father didn’t allow her to attend because, in his mind, women didn’t belong there. She persevered and became a respected professional, mentor, and champion for women in her community. Her love, support, and “you can do it” philosophies have lasted me well beyond her passing over 20 years ago.
As for me, I graduated with my MBA along with six other women and about fifty men. I was divorced when my children were 5 and 7 years old, and have been a single mom ever since. My son, Jon, and my daughter, Kait, (a lawyer and an MBA respectively) are wonderful people who I would choose to spend time with even if they weren’t mine. I am grateful to friends, family, and God for supporting me as I tried to make good decisions for them and with them.
I now have a granddaughter, Madeline, with a face and spirit of pure joy and determination. When I’m with her, all of the details of life slip away and I am amazed by her every movement.
Eight years ago, my daughter, Kait, and I started Niche - it was scary and exhilarating all at the same time. In the beginning, we spoke mostly at women’s events, so all of our clients were women. Their stories motivated us to be better; and their efforts and stories of perseverance were our oxygen. Today, we are blessed to have clients who are both women and men, and life continues to be amazing.
When I think about my tribe, I like to think of the things that each of my women have done to help set a path for the next generation, and hope that I'm setting a strong one for those to follow.
In knowing that I have been fortunate to have great, supportive women, in my world, I also know that there are women who live without connections, kindness, or resources. They, too, have dreams, talents, and impact to share with the world around them.
This month, celebrate the women who have set your path, and consider how you might assist someone who may need a helping hand in setting their own.