You’ll be grateful to know I just emerged relatively unscathed from an intense internet comparison of the word history to herstory. While I always enjoy learning the root of a word, what the search ultimately compelled me to do was reflect on my history, focusing on the women who influenced me.
As a young girl growing up in Western Pennsylvania, I had the most incredible role models: my grandmothers. When I say they were fierce women, I’m truly not sure that is a definition that pays enough respect to their strength.
I write this during National Women’s History Month in the United States. Over this month in 2022 when we also celebrate International Women’s Day and Equal Pay Day, my grandmothers exist only in photographs and memories. Two very different individuals whose lives were bound by the marriage of their children.
One ideology that united them was equal opportunities for and treatment of their granddaughter.
I was raised to believe I could do anything I wanted, be anything I wanted to be. All I needed to do was work at it, be disciplined, and improve on any gaps in talent or knowledge that I lacked. Hard work, determination, education, grit, a bold wardrobe and an unmistakably unique hairstyle would lead me there.
Time for the obvious statement: not every child is raised this way! Regardless, someone’s granddaughter works with you every day. She comes with her own set of experience, expectations, history, heritage, talents, ambition, goals, hopes, dreams, fears and gaps.
I don’t pretend to be an expert on how to raise a child. I do know a few things about how to train and promote a team member, recent grad or new employee. Listening is key, as is realizing that we are not all made of the same mold. Not even close! Recognition of accomplishments and empowerment without consideration of your own role are equally as critical to the success of others.
Each woman who you work with has a different goal for her every day, her 1 – 5 year look forward and her career as a whole. Invest the time into learning what those are, you might be surprised by what you hear! As a peer, a supervisor, mentor, role model, or another role you play, you have the ability to impact a woman that works closely with you. What do you want that impact to be? I promise whether you play a positive or negative role, she will remember you.
I’d be remiss not to mention my mother, who earned both a Bachelor and Master of Education. She made an impact on the lives of many children and their families during her time as a special education teacher.
As we continue to recognize women for their accomplishments and celebrate their futures, I’ll be working to support and empower the women with whom I work most closely. It’s safe to assume there will be additional word comparison searching! Happy Women’s History Month All!
Feel free to reach out to Vault Consulting if you need any guidance or support — and best of luck as you move forward!