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?