Today is International Women’s Day! I am so excited to celebrate this important day (along with March being Women’s History Month) and a movement that has been celebrating and working for women’s rights since 1911. This year’s theme is #ChooseToChallenge and that got me thinking about stereotypes. Especially as a woman business owner, there are several stereotypes I #ChooseToChallenge:
~ I am intelligent, strong, and courageous. I am not a damsel in distress waiting to be rescued. I'm grateful that I was raised by a strong Mom and with incredible women leaders on both sides of my family. My parents did not raise me as a princess or with the mindset that I was in need of someone to “rescue” me. I learned the value of hard work, tenacity, and resilience through challenging personal growth. Reading and learning were skills that were taught and then ingrained into me, fostering a love for learning that I still carry with me today. But most of all, I observed the women in my life be courageous as they worked various jobs, held different titles, and fostered community wherever they were. This myth that women are in need of a rescue is just that - a myth. The women I grew up around and then surrounded myself with as an adult are some of the strongest, smartest, and bravest women I know!
~ I am someone who cares deeply about my work, those I work with, and I will advocate for those who cannot, even if it's not easy or popular. These things do not make me overly emotional. When I was a classroom teacher and then school counselor, I learned to stand up for students who didn’t always have a caregiver to do so. I wanted them to know that they mattered. They were worthy of someone fighting for them. I hold this same view of my clients now. They are each deserving of the time and space to become a healthier, stronger person. Advocating for others is not always easy, but I learned (and am learning!) from some of the best educators and counselors in the world - a lot of whom were women who work alongside me and show me by example what true advocacy looks like. It requires a passionate yet calm and grounded heart that is fortified by a resilient spirit. Sometimes this requires us to tap into some very strong emotions and that is a good thing! I am a firm believer that wherever major decisions are being made that impact others, women absolutely must have a seat at the table. We offer a perspective and view of the world that is too important to not be heard.
~ I am working hard towards creating a healthier, better world for my own children, including our daughter. I am not “too much” of anything. Now that I am a parent myself with children of my own to lead and advocate for, I am realizing the power of teaching young kids to recognize their emotions and move through them, not stuff them. By vocalizing or acknowledging what we are feeling, we can learn how to move through the emotion cycle in a healthy way. Yes, I have thoughts, dreams, and lots of work to still do. I’m proud that our kids see me working hard to achieve my goals, both as a parent and in my professional roles! I want my daughter to know the value of hard work and to know that my glass ceiling is the glitter she'll walk on because I’m confident that this generation of women we are raising will be the ones to absolutely shatter it. This is not something that will be handed to either of us. We will work hard, be resilient, and be daring leaders. We will learn to live kindly, authentically, and wholeheartedly.
So, for International Women’s Day, I celebrate ALL women. Thank you to the many who have and are still investing in me to become the best wife, mom, daughter, friend, and CEO I can be. Thank you for challenging me when I need a push, encouraging me to pause to take care of myself, and most of all, thank you for believing in me. Here is to all the strong women - may we know them, raise them, and (most importantly) BE them!
I'm JoEllen and I'm so glad you're here. Thanks for visiting and let me know how I can best serve you!