Wicked Wednesday-Personal Heroines

Jessie: Waiting and watching for signs of spring.

As we wrap up Women’s History Month I wanted to ask which women who have touched your personal life do you admire? Who are your everyday heroines?

Julie: I am lucky to have so many fabulous women I admire and know. But let me tell you all about Kristen van Ginhoven, founder of WAM Theatre. Kristen is a remarkable theater director. Years ago, she was moved by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s Half the Sky, which called for investment in the lives of women and children. As a theater artist she tried to figure out how she could do that, and practice her art. So she founded WAM. For every production they do, they donate a portion of the proceeds to support organizations that support women and girls. So far they’ve donated more than $40,000. Now, running a theater company is not for the faint of heart, and adding this to the mix couldn’t have been easy. But she’s done the work, beautifully. Very proud to call Kristen a friend.

Liz: I have to give a shout out to my day job boss here – Riham El-Lakany, the chief marketing and communications officer at Freddie Mac Single-Family. In addition to being one of the best women I know, she’s also one of the most inspiring. She started her career as a single mom, and often brought her young son to work with her in those early days. She’s risen up through the ranks in financial services over the past 20 years, and she’s done it with grace and good humor and genuinely cares about people. She’s also passionate about advancing women in every possible way. She challenges me every day, but always in a supportive way. In addition to being the best boss I’ve ever had, I’m also proud to call her a friend.

Sherry: I have always had wonderful women in my life from hero teachers who believed in me to girlfriends who’ve stood beside me. I have to give a shout out to the women who serve on the board of Sisters in Crime. This is a working board who are making difficult and complicated decisions every week for the good of our members. They volunteer countless behind the scenes hours and provide support and advice to me. If you ever meet any of them, please thank them.

Edith: I’ve known many strong women who have provided role models, and want to echo Sherry’s kudos to the board of Sisters in Crime. But I’d like to give a special shoutout to my bestie, Jennifer Yanco, who has been my closest friend for forty-two years. Twenty years ago she co-founded White People Challenging Racism with Linda King, an African-American colleague. They designed an interactive course to help the pale-skinned start to overcome their (our) white privilege and move from talk to anti-racist action. Jennifer has worked tirelessly, while still holding down a day job, to refine and promote this work and I admire her deeply for it.

Barb: Like the other Wickeds I have benefited from the generosity, mentorship, and support from many women throughout my corporate and writing careers. Today I’d like to give a shoutout to my former business partner, boss and longtime friend, Carol Vallone. Carol and I are complete opposites which is what made our enduring partnership work at three different companies. Carol led the way by believing anything was possible and inspiring the company to reach for the heights. We never could have achieved what we did without her leadership and I am forever grateful. Today, Carol is using her amazing energy as the Chair of the Board of McLean Hospital. They are very lucky to have her.

Jessie: What an inspiring list! I want to mention my sister, Larissa. She is someone who knows her own mind and is not afraid to have difficult conversations whenever that is the best course of action. She gets back up whenever life throws her curveballs and she manages to think the best of almost everyone she meets. She serves as a gracious model of civility in a world where one is so desperately needed. I have been very grateful to watch her grow into the amazing woman she is and am looking forward to what I will learn from her in the future.

Readers, which women in your life are your heroines?

12 Thoughts

  1. There are quite a few women that greatly affected my life. I will mention two. My Mom tops the list at #1. She taught me so many lessons that I didn’t even realize were life lessons until years later – some not until she was gone. Things like making do with what you have and being grateful and happy for what you do have. Being of the generation I was raised in, Mom was a stay at home Mom. Didn’t mean she didn’t have a job because Lord knows she did. She baked everything from scratch, washed, starched and iron everything because there wasn’t permanent press and with Dad being in the military everything had to pass inspection – Mom’s before he left the house and the governments later in the day. Mom was literally the reason the expression taking a sow’s ear and making a silk purse came about I do believe. She made our clothes – sometimes out of the scraps left from the last time. She could look in the cabinets see what she had and make a gourmet chef jealous with the delicious food she would put on the table. We might not have had much but we never went hungry and always had clothes to wear – a good part due to Mom and her love.

    The other woman would have to be my BFF. She’s the prime example of always being there for those you love. She may not be kin, but she is my sister by choice. When others disappeared and life got hard, she was the one to stand by – to be there. She could make me laugh when all I wanted to do was cry, she flew to meet me when I was at the bottom of the barrel with despair, she was my shoulder to cry on when only a woman would understand. I can only hope to try to be as good a friend, a person as she is.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

    1. What a lovely tribute to them both, Kay. My mom was like that, too. A genius with the sewing machine, a loving mother, and – bonus – a huge mystery fan!

  2. There are so many women in SinC I can’t possibly list them all.

    My mother, despite being told by her father that he’d “flip” if she ever got into college, earned two bachelor’s degrees (one a BSN in nursing) and a Master’s in nursing before she died.

    Both grandmothers, who raised families while contributing to the war effort in WWII (one as a navy nurse and one as a Rosie the Riveter).

      1. My mother’s mother was station in Philly, but to the best of my knowledge, my father’s mother never left Buffalo. So maybe?

  3. My mother-in-law is my hero. She taught me tolerance, acceptance of others, and to mind my own business when appropriate. She was the mother I didn’t have. (My own left a great deal to me desired to say the least.) I am so grateful for the lessons I learned from her. She was my support when I needed it most.

  4. How big of a cliche is it to mention my mom? She has always worked hard as a stay at home wife and mother, and that was before she started home schooling my brother and myself. I know I am the man I am today because of her.

    1. I think the world benefits from strong families. it is always a pleasure to hear about one more, especially the mothers at the center of them!

  5. It would have to be my maternal grandmother. We lived upstairs from her from age 6-12 so I knew her very well. After years of illness, she died way too young, when I was in college. She came to the US at age 11 and had about 6 years of Englishh school, roughly to first year of high school. Then she went to work in the garment industry.She read classic fiction, biographies and politics. She spoke English without an accent and wrote me letters when I went to college. She was active in about half a dozen civic organizations, including the League of Woman Voters where her colleagues were women who’d attended posh colleges. She admired Eleanor Roosevelt. And she always had time to cook something special or chat with her granddaughter.

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