Celebrating International Women’s Day

Women are a key part of my life – sisters, team members, girlfriends. March is Women’s History Month. Today is International Women’s Day. All of this to say it is a good time to think about all of the amazing women in my life.

Every week this month, you can read about one of my sisters’ thoughts on beauty, fashion, and motivation on Huffington Post. Here is the first of the series, Roxane’s interview.

And today, I want to celebrate some of my girlfriends –  specifically, those who fascinate me, inspire me, help me – and who I don’t see frequently enough.

Andrea Kremer – our love of football brought us together. Andrea fascinates me… for many reasons, the top one being her ability to succeed in the sports casting industry as a woman. I so enjoy and appreciate working in a female-dominated industry, and I admire the women who do not. How does she thrive and grow in such a male-dominated industry?

“I put the blinders on…. like a great filly surrounded by all those stallions!  I never think of my gender as any kind of disadvantage and I keep the men honest, don’t take any crap from them.  But I understand that it’s only by my actions, not mere words, that I will earn their respect.  It’s also important to acknowledge, albeit only begrudgingly accept, that there is a double standard and that it’s only by my work that I will continue to dispel myths about women in the sports field.  I don’t need to act like “one of the guys” to fit in; I like to think that my experience, knowledge and work ethic keeps me on par with any of them.  And a sense of humor is always a great tool to employ as well.”

Who inspires you? 

“My girlfriends.  They are my fuel when the tank gets low; they make me laugh; allow me to help, console and give counsel.  And we’re always there for each other.  They “get me” and still love me!  And they make me smile.  What could be more inspirational?”

What are you looking forward to this summer? 

“I can’t wait for a beautiful sunny day when I can lay by my pool with one of the books that’s piled up on my bedside and no one needs anything, there’s no deadline to meet, no call to return or e-mail to respond to. Is that possible?  I will do it!”

Elaine Mensah – I so admire her flexibility and ability to pivot and shift – both personally and professionally. Adapting to change is hard, somehow Elaine embraces it with grace and gratitude. I need to learn from her advice.

“I recognized early in my life and career that I had varied interests that I was deeply passionate about. I made a decision that I wouldn’t let fear stop me from exploring them but instead I would do each thing to the best of my ability. This allowed me to be open to change and learn how to adapt. I have learned that’s it’s okay to change course, stop doing something that is not working, or start over. It doesn’t mean you are a failure or unfocused. It allows you to live with no regrets and no what ifs.”

Who inspires you? 

“I am inspired by my core group of friends who also happen to be entrepreneurs, wives, and moms. Seeing them juggle life personally and professionally and succeed inspires me to be better, do better, and know that it’s possible.”

What are you looking forward to this summer? 

“Great question! I haven’t thought that far ahead yet (laughing). This summer I look forward to traveling overseas, going to the beach, and celebrating my daughter’s birthday.”

Erin Hazelton – she always looks amazing, and I often think of her when I get dressed in the morning. “How would I look next to Erin?” I think to myself. And then I usually pull my outfit together a bit better. How does she do it?

“Ha! Does just being vain count? I feel better when I’m pulled together. It shifts my mindset. Clothes are my armor. If I’m feeling vulnerable, they create an extra layer between me and the world. If I’m feeling powerful, the clothes I choose reinforce that. If I’m not feeling sexy, and I want to feel sexy, I have a rack of saucy (but still chic!) clothes for that. I express myself through my words and my clothes… sometimes one is louder than the other. Depends on my mood…”

Who inspires you?

“Women inspire me. Powerful women who are not intimidated by other strong women. Women who bolster each other and want to be near other women doing incredible things. We need more role models. We need more mentors. We need women who aren’t afraid to hold the hands of other women and bring them up, teach them how to succeed, and be kind, not to worry about what people say, or those who might try to stand in their way. There is a lot of bad-mouthing and jealousy in our world. Women trying to take down other women because those women have what they want.

Create your goals and surround yourself with positive women, people, who will root for you, even when you stumble, or make choices that they don’t fully understand. Be inspiring.”

What are you looking forward to this summer?

“I’m looking forward to finishing the first draft of my book! I have to turn in my thesis in August and I hope to have something I feel good about by then. And, of course, hanging out with the kiddies…”

Hilary Phelps – We all have so much going on, juggling life, work, family. Yet Hilary somehow always knows how to find the time for herself, so she always is serene, calm, happy, and smiling – no matter the stress or the chaos. She has a disciplined approach to “me-time,” which I need to emulate!

“If I don’t first take care of myself, I have anything to give to others.  I think of it as a metaphorical glass — if my glass is full, I have an abundance of love, time and patience to give and share with others. But if my cup is empty — I’m tired, irritated or running on empty — then not only do I feel drained but I have nothing to give to anyone else.

With the birth of our first child coming in less than 100 days, I’ve found that these moments look different than they did last year. Where running, yoga or an intense Pilates session would rejuvenate me in the past, now it’s more like a slow walk, a nap or giving myself a few minutes for some deep, slow breaths. The key is listening to my body and giving it what it needs, in that moment.”

Who inspires you?  

“My husband. Without question. He never complains, is always willing to pitch in and encourages me daily to be the best that I can be, every day, in every situation. He’s my rock. I’d be lost without him.”

What are you looking forward to this summer?

“The birth of our son, Alexander. We can’t wait to meet him. (And for you, Ada, to meet him too!)”

Karin Tanabe – if being an entrepreneur can be lonely, I can’t imagine being a writer. I have to self-motivate, and sometimes that is the hardest part of my day. Karin has to do that too, without the expectation of going to an office every day. Where does she find her motivation?

The scary “we will take back all your money” contracts that my publisher sends over really help! That and I really love to write. I don’t think you can write books if you’re not passionate about the craft because it can be a very lonely job. But I’m just one of those people who likes to lose myself with the imaginary friends I make up year after year.”

Who inspires you? 

The women doing it all really inspire me. The single working moms, the female CEOs, etc. I can barely remember to put pants on every day, so the women who have incredible challenges and somehow always seem to rock it motivate me on a daily basis.”

What are you looking forward to this summer? 

Potent drinks with many umbrellas in them.”

Kelly Collis – I think am a morning person, but when I think of her, I think setting my alarm for 5 am is sleeping in. Being in radio, she gets up before 4 am every day, and is never grumpy about it. What are her secrets?

“I never, ever hit the snooze button straight into the shower when alarm goes off.  The hardest part of my day is putting my feet on the ground. I check on the sleeping kids and double check their clothes, back pack, and other items are ready to go, I work in an intense environment and it is tough to get a call from the kids asking “Mom, I can’t find my favorite pair of socks”. My children have grown up knowing that they only call if it is super urgent. My clothes, shoes even underwear are laid out the night before. I drink at least one full glass of water. Then – coffee. Coffee is made in the machine the day before and all that needs to happen is the press of a button for caffeine magic.  I drink one cup a day. With all that behind me, I have a full 45 minutes of quiet to prep for the show, check email, review calendar and complete my to-do list for the day.  All this allows me to do my job – laugh and smile with 2 of my best friends for the greatest job in the world.”

Who inspires you?  

“I am inspired by different people every day.  Sometimes it is my husband and his dedication to his family. Sometimes it is my kids and their dedication and love of learning and kindness. Sometimes we have nurses that call us early in the morning that are coming home from their overnight shift…I can only imagine what they saw on their shift. There is a woman whom I have met through our show that is suffering from cancer, she lost her eye due to it.  She started a Facebook group Danielle “The Pirate” group for her friends to keep up with her health. She is mom and has a great since of humor through it all, and I wonder if I could do the same in those circumstances.

What are you looking forward to this summer?

“I really thrive on routine and schedule. However, in the summer, there is less structure because the kids are out of school. They used to be in summer camps with a very scheduled routine but over the last few years with them becoming older, I have allowed them (and me) more freedom to plan for days to be “bored”.  I am lucky, my work schedule allows me to have my afternoons free. Sometimes, we have days we plan to explore DC or a day trip and some days it is spent inside reading and cooking. I love the summer for just that…. unexpected adventures and breaking the routine because I know it ends when school starts back up in September.”

Trisala Chandaria – I have known her since we were 12 years old. We share being born and raised in Geneva, yet having chosen to live in the US. We share being entrepreneurs. We share a long history of friendship. I have always admired Trisala – for many reasons but mostly for her brain, her thinking. She started a company to work on the Internet of Things. For many years, I couldn’t even wrap my head around what she does. She does what she does by thinking. Thinking better than many of us do. More actively, more frequently, “more better.” How does she do it?!

I give my mind the freedom to wander. Let it go to the edge where different ideas and disciplines can overlap. Also, I try to sleep 8 hours per night. I can’t think clearly or creatively when I am sleep deprived.”

Who inspires you? 

“Both my parents and Madonna!”

What are you looking forward to this summer? 

“I am not good at thinking too far ahead… But I always look forward to my farmers’ market. It gives me pure joy in the summer! I also hope to visit Berlin for the first time this summer…”

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