National days of recognition are aplenty (I see you National French Fry Day!). The one that strikes the strongest chord with me though, is the one we honor today: International Women’s Day (IWD).
Lifting women in business and tech is at the foundation of most decisions I make—in both my personal and professional worlds. Whether it’s in my work as a mentor, recruiting top tier tech talent for our clients, or my support of female-owned businesses, raising up women and continuing the fight for true gender equality is one of my essential “whys.”
My passion for this “why” is ignited by the women in my life, including those I am fortunate to lead with, partner with, and mentor; and my relationships with my mom, sisters-in-law, nieces, and dear friends. I also find true inspiration from high-profile women who break down barriers with grace, strength, and ingenuity.
Thank you, Amanda Gorman
In the past few months, one woman who had a stunning impression on me, and so many others, is Amanda Gorman. Her delivery of the 2020 Inauguration Day poem, “The Hill We Climb” was an unforgettable moment in our nation’s history. The first-ever youth poet laureate, Gorman’s words eloquently captured the ongoing fight for equality, the tense emotional state of our often-divided country, and the hope that is possible with change. Even more importantly, as a young Black woman sharing her voice, she set a powerful example for women of color.
That she was able to share her voice in this way struck me even more when I realized she had worked to overcome a speech impediment, as recently as a few years ago. For women, finding our voices in the figurative sense is often a steep hill to climb. Gorman has faced that challenge literally as well. In a recent interview, she shared the difficulties she faced in working through her stutter, and how she practiced using lyrics from the popular musical “Hamilton.”
I was particularly moved by how she finds the courage to share her voice, whether in writing or speaking, and it’s something that resonates especially on a day like IWD. Gorman said that, “I close my eyes and I say, ‘I am the daughter of Black writers. We are descended from freedom fighters who broke their chains and changed the world. They call me.’”
As we #ChoosetoChallenge one another today and every day, much like Gorman, I hope we can all find our voices. Whether it’s overcoming imposter syndrome, stepping up in a meeting, or even reflecting on our “why.”