Sometimes, we forget how far we have come, and the level of impact women are now able to have on everything from social norms to commerce, to politics and beyond. This Sunday, March 8, is International Women's Day, and holidays like these are wonderful opportunities to reflect on all the amazing work being done by women all over the world.
For me, there have been a number of women who have positively influenced my life, career, and personal growth. I am a big believer in mentorship, yes, but more important, just surrounding yourself with people who can pass along valuable life lessons just by being who they are. I have learned a lot from women in my community, in our company, and in my extended network.
In celebration of International Women's Day, here are three types of women we should all hope to have in our lives:
1. The Supporter
Sometimes, the thing you need most in your life as a woman is to feel like there's someone else out there who believes in you.
When I was an investment banking analyst (long before I co-founded ThirdLove), I had this manager at Bank of America, which was where I worked. Her name was Lisa. There I was, fresh out of college and very uncertain about where I wanted to take my career, and Lisa was helpful in a way I didn't know I needed at the time.
More than anything else, she was supportive of my interests, and helped me figure out all the little things you're trying to figure out in your early 20s.
In our male-dominated industry of banking, she was one of the few female figures I could look to for advice. She had gone to business school, and helped me think through how that decision could impact and propel my career (I ended up getting my MBA, and she wrote a reference for me). Then, later in our careers, since she was a bit older than me, I got to watch her step into motherhood and observe how she balanced being the CFO of a large company with starting a family.
Seeing her do that really helped show me that I could do both. I could have a meaningful career, and I could be a mom.
2. The Idol
Having people you can look up to in life is such an important part of figuring out where you want to go and whom you want to become.
When I was in middle school, we had to write a book report on what we wanted to be when we grew up. I said I wanted to be a broadcast journalist, and so I wrote my whole book report about Katie Couric. I thought she was such a powerful female figure, so cool, and as a 10-year-old girl, I wanted to be just like her.
For years, I followed Katie's career. And, funny enough, we ended up getting connected and meeting for breakfast right about a year ago. I was so nervous, stumbling with my words for the first five or 10 minutes, and then eventually, it felt like I was just talking to a friend.
Full circle, Katie ended up investing in our last round. But why that was so meaningful for me was because I really looked up to her as a kid, teenager, and adult. I am so impressed by her ability to reinvent herself over and over again, and have such an incredible career in media over several decades.
We all need idols to look up to.
3. The Speaker
When some people talk, the whole world slows down and it feels like whatever it is they're saying right now was meant for you and only you.
Powerful speakers have a true gift, and someone in my life who I feel embodies this trait is the head of the school where my daughter attends. Her name is Wanda Holland Greene, and she is one of the most compelling, engaging, honest speakers I have ever listened to. Every time she speaks at an event for the school, you could hear a pin drop in the room.
I find myself writing down notes on things she says every time I hear her, and I will very often apply those things to my day-to-day as a leader at ThirdLove. She is someone who has passed along so much wisdom to me, just by her being who she is. And this is an example of someone who is a mentor to me and probably doesn't even know it.
When you come across a woman like this, pay attention, take notes, and apply it to your life.