This March, we celebrate Women’s History Month with momentum from a movement that got its footing just six months ago. In that timeframe, the #MeToo and #TimesUp campaigns have shown us the power in sharing our truths, no matter the stakes. Moreover, recent revelations have brought to the forefront that women can look to others for support, energy and inspiration.
Inspiration can come from anywhere or anyone – artists, activists, astronauts, entrepreneurs, daredevils, scientists, doctors, lawyers, software engineers and everything in between. These role models are the shoulders which serve as our foundation. They lift us up to allow internalization of what truly is possible: breaking down barriers to create lasting change.
Who Do You Consider a Role Model?
Who do we consider as role models? While most might immediately think of someone famous, we can (and should) look closely at the unsung heroes and heroines – friends, family, colleagues, even strangers – who make a direct and lasting impression on our lives, hearts, and futures.
Growing up, my role models were some of the incredible people in my family: my parents, grandmothers and aunts. They provided a foundation for me to courageously believe I could do and be whatever I wanted.
My maternal grandmother was a long-time professional woman who built a successful career in accounting and finance. She lived with us while I was young, and I remember seeing her leave each morning for work. My parents were incredibly supportive of her many-decade career, as they were with most things in our family. They also fervently encouraged me to explore my passions and learn as much as I could.
On the other side of the family, my paternal grandmother strongly believed in education and her four daughters (my aunts) followed her example. While it wasn’t the norm at the time, my aunts were college-educated, and all went on to have incredibly successful business careers, rising through the ranks of companies when there were few others ascending with them.
The ability to take risks and believe in one’s self is made possible by those who came before and stand behind – role models who paved the way. I have been incredibly fortunate in this regard. While I did not realize it growing up, not all were as fortunate as me to have the same access to role models, or support, that showed them how to be their best selves.
In large part, this realization is why I am so passionate about drawing forward other women. As a co-founder of ARA, an organization dedicated to attracting, retaining, and advancing women in technology and leadership, I seek to open doors, create connections, and empower future generations. I also aspire to be an advocate and role model so my niece, goddaughter, mentees, peers, and colleagues, can stand tall and achieve in ways we’ve never seen before. I like to think of it as being a daring tribe together – forging stronger ties to help advance other women and impact future generations.