Women Have Been Making History For Years; We Aren’t Stopping Now!

It is a Sunday afternoon and I am sitting in an auditorium at Montclair State University. I am surrounded by community leaders, parents, grandparents, political leaders, young women and young men.

I am at Senator Robert Menendez’s 6th Annual Women’s History Month Celebration. I feel empowered, inspired and motivated.

 Women's History Month started March 1st and celebrates the lives of women leaders past and present, our mothers, our grandmothers, role models and mentors in our lives and the future generations. As I sat in the audience and listened to the Senator and two keynote speakers, Montclair State University President, Dr. Susan A. Cole and Award- Winning Journalist, Soledad O’Brien, I was blown way not only about the statistics (wages, graduates, leaders etc.) of women in the United States but how dynamic and driven they were. I truly felt I could rule the world- true women power!

Now, I am not just speaking about women. Men too should feel this “power” but have the understanding and respect that as young professionals we (women) are here to break the glass ceiling and to work side by side as a team to accomplish success in our jobs and careers.

All the speakers along spoke with such passion and drive, but specifically they each highlighted 3 words that stuck out. Three words that should be a part of our daily lives and in our careers, along with making sure future generations hold true these qualities.

brave adjective
1.     ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage.

 By definition being brave can actually sound kind of scary – but in the workplace being brave stands for knowing who you are, being able to speak up with new ideas and give insight into a project or goal. Being brave can also be “standing tall” in times of rejection or an idea being shot down. Picking yourself up and taking each moment as a learning experience, is bravery.

cour·age noun
1.     the ability to do something that frightens one.

Courage to me is taking all those crazy ideas you have in your head and making them into a reality. Taking that leap. If it is starting a blog, taking on a new and challenging task, taking risk, accomplishing a task you never thought could be possible. Courage makes your heart race with emotion. Emotions that can drive you forward in your career – if it is at the current company you work for, if you are changing careers, still finding your passion or risking it all and doing something out of the ordinary as your job.

trail·blaz·er noun
1.     a person who makes a new track through wild country. 
                      a pioneer; an innovator.

We need more trailblazers in the world. As young professionals who are learning and figuring out of own paths, I feel it is part our responsibility to enforce our knowledge on the younger generation and mentor and guide them to be those innovative thinkers. Telling them that “no” shouldn’t be an answer and that there are endless possibilities. At the same time, it is our goal to connect with mentors or leaders in our fields and have in-depth conversations about the past and how we can change the future – to be those pioneers.

At the celebration event, a poem was read that I wanted to close this post with:

Our Greatest Fear —Marianne Williamson
it is our light not our darkness that most frightens us
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other
people won't feel insecure around you.
We were born to make manifest the glory of
God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others. 

In celebration of Women's History Month, cartoonist and Tumblr user Rebecca Cohen posted an illustration that remembers some of the most inspiring female trailblazers -- who you may never have heard of.