Who are the Women of Influence in Your Life? #redWoman
When you think of women of influence, what image comes to mind? Let that thought simmer for a while.
Hailey Emerson from RedEnvelope contacted me with a request to participate in their #redWoman project in celebration of National Women’s History Month. Emerson is reaching out to bloggers to write about the women of influence in their lives, past and/or present. Although for the month of March, I am already celebrating National Women’s History Month in my own way, I decided to make made room for this post because I think the project is a worthwhile one. Besides my mom, who I have written about before, I cannot pick out a specific woman because of the nature of what I do. I interview fascinating women all the time, as well as research and write mini biographies of women who have made a difference by the way they lived their lives.
Now having said that, I can write about women of influence, who have various traits that I’d like to imitate – they are my female invisible mentors. I found an interesting article on Forbes.com, “What It Takes to Become a ‘Woman of Influence’,” which worked for what the article was trying to do, but for our purpose, it is too centered on finances. I am including it because it is worth the read. I will demonstrate what it takes to become a women of influence by using examples of how certain women have influenced me.
Women of Influence
Harriet Tubman: During Black History Month we featured Harriet Tubman, a self-freed slave. After she freed herself from slavery, she took the risk and went back several times to free other slaves. There was a $40,000 bounty on her head, but she didn’t allow that to immobilize her. Harriet Tubman personifies courage, and I doubt that I would have done what she did, but then again, no one can truly say with certainty how they will respond to a situation. My niece emailed me after she read the piece on Tubman, commenting that she was a remarkable woman, my response, “Harriet Tubman makes me feel like I am slacking off!” Harriet Tubman is one of my Women of Influence.
LaTanya Junior: A few years ago, LaTanya Junior interviewed me, but in the interview, not realizing it, I was speaking too quickly. I wasn’t nervous, I just spoke too quickly. She took the time to tell me that I needed to slow it down. How many times have you seen someone you know doing something that needs correcting and you say nothing? I am grateful for the advice, because now I am a better interviewee and interviewer. For a while, when I was interviewing someone, or was being interviewed, I had a note in front of me, “SPEAK SLOWER.” That did the trick. LaTanya Junior is one of my Women of Influence because she mentored me in a moment when I needed it the most.
Gail Blanke: A few years ago, I interviewed Gail Blanke for my book, Tales of People Who Get It. Something she said in the interview, which has stuck with me is, “Work/Life balance is a myth. Work and life are completely integrated…. I have a very close family and I constantly ask myself what am I committed to at this particular moment? At one instant, it might be attending a hockey game and at another it’s working on a presentation. There were times when I opted out of a business trip because, in the end, my family always came first. We have to learn to be easier on ourselves. We don’t have to be everybody’s everything all the time.” Gail Blanke is one of my Women of Influence.
Anthea Roussouw: Anthea Roussouw is another person who I interviewed for my book. And she is one of my Women of Influence because she took action to effect social change in South Africa. She started her company, Dreamcatcher, to enable women to lift themselves out of poverty by using culture as a byproduct of Tourism. “For each $100 a micro entrepreneur earns, the return is five-fold. When you are poor you do not need bags of money to sustain yourself. It’s when you are rich that you do! A challenge is only a challenge when you do not see an end with an outcome.”
Andrea Nierenberg: Each of us goes through tough times at some point in our lives, and there are times when we feel like giving up. And we know those well-meaning people with their platitudes that make us want to scream and run for cover. But Andrea Nirenberg had some sage advice when I interviewed her for my book, “You always think about what might have been, but I have learned to go with the cards that I have been dealt. Fifteen years ago, I was in a serious car accident. I broke 40 bones. At the time, I felt really sorry for myself, but I also learned a lot during that period. You always have to find the silver lining in the clouds.”
Harriet Tubman, LaTanya Junior, Gail Blanke, Anthea Roussouw and Andrea Nierenberg are five of my Women of Influence. I interview people regularly, and I learn something from each interview. The interviewees say something that touches me deeply, and I hold on to those words. Now over to you, who are the Women of Influence in your life?
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Author Bio: Avil Beckford, an expert interviewer, entrepreneur and published author is passionate about books and professional development, and that’s why she founded The Invisible Mentor and the Virtual Literary World Tour to give you your ideal mentors virtually in the palm of your hands by offering book reviews and book summaries, biographies of wise people and interviews of successful people.
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