Who are the women in your life who have made a difference? Name the ones who have had an influence and contributed to your success in some way. Who are the ones you counted on to pick you up off of the ground when you felt like your dreams would never become a reality and gave you courage and encouragement?
I don’t know a woman who can’t name someone. Think about all of the times you have been helped in your career by a woman and you never let her know the difference she made. Really – how often has that happened? When I was growing up I admired my high school math teacher Mrs. Riley. I was a friend of her daughter Kim and so I knew her long before I got to be in her math class. For all of the years I knew her it was clear to me that this was one special woman. The list of what made her so amazing is far too long to put in a blog. The point is that for years I had this woman in my life who, because of the way she approached the world made a difference in mine. When I look at the history of my life as a microcosm of all history – she is significant.
The reality is – I never told her how much I valued her as a role model, how important her influence was and how much her words of encouragement informed many of the decisions I made in my career. Women like her are often shoulder to shoulder with us all of the time and its often we don’t recognize how much we learned from them, how important they were in our lives until long after they have moved away or taken another job. That is the very reason it is so wonderful that we have International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month to remind us to pause for a moment and honor the giants in history who advocated for women’s rights. But it is equally important to pause and acknowledge the women who are here with us now, today and thank them for their generosity of spirit, their encouragement for serving as supports and role models, mentors and champions. Often they go unrecognized. It’s good that we have a day set aside to stop and take stock - to consider for a moment all of the gifts they have given us and to let them know that for all of the times we thought about how much they meant to us but never said a word we acknowledge them now.
Now, I challenge you all to honor a woman in your life who has inspired you to be great. Not just within the month of March, but every day.