During Women’s History Month in March, the employee resource group at Demandbase Women@DB asked the #badasswomen at Demandbase to share their stories. This post collects submissions from fellow colleagues about the women who have inspired them.
We all have one. A friend, relative, or some other luminary who has inspired us to find our own strength and courage, who somehow made our journeys easier, or lightened the heavy loads we sometimes carry. I’m thinking of a previous colleague of mine, who has also been my champion and my friend, and who stands tall with the most badass women out there. (Emily, thinking of you.) She recently shared a motivational message on LinkedIn. (I’m not particularly fond of maudlin sentimentality, but this one resonated with me, and it seemed more genuine than most.) It read:
While Women’s History Month comes to a close, our appreciation, recognition, and support for women shouldn’t. When you get a chance, read the blog Taking Action by Jackie Palmer, VP of Product Marketing at Demandbase, for inspiration on how we can advance gender equality personally and in the workplace.
Without further ado, here are the stories of amazing women, told by some equally amazing women from Demandbase:
From the moment she received the shocking diagnosis, she knew that she would beat it. Even while undergoing her own treatment, she made a point to spread awareness to our friends and family about the importance of their annual checkups, because that’s what saved her life.
Jessie decided to work full-time (as a family lawyer in Beverly Hills, if you are looking for one 🙂 ) through five surgeries, intensive chemotherapy, and radiation. She underwent treatment with a huge smile on her face, throwing chemo parties, hitting up the Kardashian wig shop, and then heading straight to court to fight for her clients. She redefined what resilience means to me and to so many other people with whom she has shared her story over the last three years.
After fundraising for several different Breast Cancer Awareness nonprofits, she discovered Sharsheret, which offered her support post-treatment and has enabled her to share her story and offer support to other young women nationwide.
She taught me how to handle any situation life throws at me — which includes beating cancer twice. All my strength and ability to get through those tough times comes from her. She is a true badass
The constant bullying only made her more determined to be the best at everything she did. She secured the first rank in both high school as well as undergrad exams winning her a scholarship to pursue a medical degree in the most coveted university in the state, an opportunity students crave even to this day. While she participated in the reward ceremonies at her alma mater and accepted congratulatory greetings from well-wishers, she had to turn down the offer to pursue a medical degree as it was not considered “safe” for a middle-class Brahmin girl to attend university away from home, especially with aging parents who were busy looking for a suitable boy to get her married to.
She sacrificed the opportunity of a lifetime for her parents and agreed to start a family with a man she had never seen until the day of her wedding. She started a family with this man, whom she went on to love and have a daughter with.
Her passion and attention-to-detail in everything she did, made her one of the most sought-after women in the neighborhood: She was a culinary expert, an artist, a teacher, and a spiritual leader. All this in addition to being a dedicated mom, shielding her daughter from societal pressures, and teaching her to strive for perfection.
A true inspiration, she led by example and fought every battle to make sure society didn’t get in the way of her daughter’s dreams. A true inspiration who I proudly call mom and the reason I am here to write this. “To strive, to strike, to find, and never to yield” is what she stands for in my mind.
She is an incredible saleswoman, and when I was born, she put those skills to the test. She quit her 9-5 job selling ads for a magazine and took a door-to-door sales position selling image scanning devices to doctors. At the time, working remotely was not an option, and the switch gave her the ability to work flexible hours. So, as a new mom with limited help, she used most of her “free” time to run to doctors’ offices across New York City to give her pitch. Despite her time restrictions, she constantly exceeded her goals and became a top performer. This was my mother’s introduction to Medical Marketing.
She is now the CEO of a medical marketing and event planning company that she founded the same year my youngest sibling went to kindergarten. Still, she never missed a pick-up and always found time to attend our many events. We call her our real-life superwoman because she somehow manages to do it all. She raised three kids, launched a successful business, and still found time to develop close relationships with family and friends.
But she hasn’t stopped there.
As the CEO of a woman-owned business, she is focused on providing her employees the same opportunities to raise their children and excel in their careers. She provides her employees with flexible work hours to ensure they can always be there to pick-up their kids from school, attend a bake sale or soccer game, or chaperone a school trip. All the while she coaches them on time management and holds them accountable for deadlines and a high-quality work product.
My mother showed me that with a little determination, women can have it all! I am unbelievably proud of all she has accomplished, and of the work she has done to pay it forward.
I have many fond memories of her, including visits to her home in Connecticut, heading into NYC to catch the matinee, touring Fenway Park together, playing Reno-Keno, traveling across Scandinavia with our entire family to celebrate 50 years married to my grandfather and even a trip to London with her as my high school graduation present.
However, her legacy dates back well beyond my birth (with the flight to visit her in Connecticut being my first, at two months of age). She was committed to a lifetime of public service and jumped at any chance to help others in need. She was the co-founder of a nursery center that helped low-income families with childcare. Today it includes a domestic violence shelter and foster care program.
When her five children were grown, she started working at a clinic that specialized in treatment plans for victims of substance abuse. In her spare time, she remained active in politics and local non-profits. What amazes me the most was that her selfless nature came naturally, all while being a loving wife and raising five incredible children.
I feel so fortunate my own children were able to meet her later in her life and tell her stories, play a game, and eat cake together. Memories of my grandmother and her legacy truly keep me grounded when life seems crazy, the calendar is packed and the to-do list is endless. She would never be caught in a super-hero cape (because, fashion) but she sure deserves one!