As March gives way to April, I am thrilled to introduce you to eight women from a diverse set of life experiences in the 2018 Annual Women's History Month Salute. They are: Martha Germann; Sharon Matlock; Viola Cole; Rose Braziel, Dorothy Jones; Rachel Shankman; Lillian Barnett and Wendy Calhoun.
I know these women: some are from my native Memphis, others I met in Texas. Some hired me to provide communication services, others cheered me on in some form or fashion. I met Wendy virtually while working with her mother, Marilyn Calhoun, on projects. (Check out Wendy's '90s flashback attire.)
I asked each three questions:
1. Why do you think Women's History Month is important?
2. What contribution are you most proud of?
3. What is the best advice or wisdom you ever received?
You'll note their responses are numbered accordingly. Please take a moment to express your thoughts in the Comments section. I also ask that you share this post with your family, friends, colleagues and others.
Feel free to contact me if your organization needs communication support such as blogs, corporate communication resources or copy editing. Thank you.
Martha Germann: Lewisville, Texas, Founder of Mindful Games Institute
1. As with any celebration, from birthdays and anniversaries to Presidents Day, Women’s History Month is designed to bring a conscious focus on the topic. It is a time to bring back in to the collective conversation all the amazing things that women have contributed and accomplished. Our job is to keep that conversation alive throughout the year by recognizing and celebrating the ongoing contributions and accomplishments women make daily.
2. My mission is to make a difference in the quality of people’s lives and I bring that mindset into everything I do. I am most proud of the journey of self-development that brought me to my Thriving beyond Survival Model because it not only made a difference in my ability to thrive each day, it gave me a way to convey that to others. It is information and strategies that I use in presentations, workshops and my book ("Thriving beyond Survival: How to Know What You Really Want and Have Fun Getting It") so that it can be accessible to more people. We are designed to thrive but have been trained to just survive. The world needs more focus on getting back to thriving and I am proud to have created an option for others to get there.
3. The wisdom that made the most impact on me centers on two things. The first is the conscious practicing of self-love and appreciation, actually practicing the emotion. This has not only grown my compassion for myself, but spread to everyone in my world. The second is always knowing that I have ultimate choice of what I think, feel and believe. I am mindfully aware of what I am choosing and these things shape my experience.
Community engagement: TEDx speaker
Sharon Matlock: Allen, Texas, Human Resources Associate with Southern Methodist University
1. There is an old familiar quote that states, “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.” The influential footprints countless women leave in many places around the globe are worthy of recognition. Women's History Month is an important focus on the valuable contributions women have made and are making to help improve this world. Her-story is also as important as His-story. My story is filled with blessings, which I believe are in a constant flow from an Almighty CREATOR. A Higher Intelligence force designed the limited intelligence of male and female, making us equipped for life's journey.
2. I have contributed many delicious pound cakes for special occasions and shared the recipe. However, so far along this journey, I am most proud of contributing to family love, bonding and cherished memories. This is what matters most to me. My belief is that this pleases GOD.
3. "Get a college education" was my parents' good advice. The best advice I received is from Proverbs 3:5-6. "Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek GOD's will in all you do, and GOD shows you which path to take." It's the best advice for me, and wise to follow as my spiritual belief embraces GOD as Love, our Hope, and a faithful-life source.
Community engagement: Greenville Avenue Church of Christ
Viola Cole: Memphis, Tennessee, Retired Memphis City Schools Educator
Dorothy Jones, Plano, Texas, Award-winning Chief Marketing Officer
• Celebrate the achievements of women across the world
• Inspire young girls and women to stay involved in the movement of equality
• Shine a light on and reverse the hardships (#MeToo) that women have had to endure in their homes and workplaces
• Spotlight women of color, lesbians and transgender women who are breaking barriers and are rarely acknowledged
2. Personally: Being a single parent and providing the spiritual and emotional foundation for my daughter, Loren, to be happy and a contributor to society. At 15, she is a God-fearing, compassionate, humble, creative, and intelligent student-athlete attending one of the top boarding schools on a 4-year academic scholarship.
Professionally: Being a mentor to interns, employees, peers and friends. I have benefited greatly, professionally, from mentors sharing their advice and experiences. It is my pleasure and responsibility to pay it forward, especially with women and people of color.
3. My favorite life/business quotes/advice:
• "It doesn't matter the title or the job as long as you have perspective and be great at 'It,' whatever 'It' is."
• “In times of change and uncertainty ... go HARD at the problem and EASY on the people.”
Board of Directors for Girls Scouts of Northeast Texas
Rose Braziel: Arlington, Texas, A Volunteer for: Back to School Events, CASA and MegaCare (The Potter's House of Dallas)
generations have sacrificed many things to open doors for them so they don't have to work as hard.
2. I am most proud ofworking with the kids. I volunteer at back to school events and with CASA--Court Appointed Special Advocates. I help the parents. Sometimes people are in situations because of generational circumstances. I focus on helping them understand that “you are somebody, that you are important.” Others might see them as a piece of paper. I treat them like they are human beings. For example when I am working as a CASA volunteer, I try to find out what the child's gifts are. When they are acting out in anger, I work with that gift. I had a child who liked to do hair and I showed her how to do sew-in weaves (you braid the hair first. Then go back and sew it, which is better for the hair.) She only knew how to glue it in. I went down the street and found a hair salon where she could learn from them as well. This information could help her make some money by doing her friend's hair. I bought her a camera and portfolio book, so she could take pictures and place them in her portfolio. This gave her a new outlook and new options.
3. Always respect people, even if they are not nice to you. They will come around. Love, respect and honesty will conquer anything. It may not seem like it at the time, but it always turns around. As long as you have faith in the Lord, He will take care of it.
Rose has been honored by CASA, President Barack Obama and The Potter's House of Dallas for her community service. View some of her kudos (below):
Rachel Shankman: Memphis, Tennessee, Daughter of Holocaust Survivors,
Born in a German Displaced Persons Camp
2. I think it has been being part of an educational community through Facing History and Ourselves (I am the retired founding director of the Memphis office) that has provided tools for teachers and students in the communities to engage in some of the most critical conversations that are required by democracy. I had the privilege of seeing the Memphis office, grow, prosper and reach thousands of teachers and students.
3. Recently I have been spending a lot of time thinking about what it means to engage in civil conversation and to live in a civil society. This is the best advice that I have received and it is from The Institute for Civility in Government, based in Houston: “Civility is claiming and caring for one's identity and needs and beliefs without degrading someone else's in the process." I think if we could live by that definition of what it means to be civil we really could change the world. Right now I see such a lack of civility and people are hunkering down in their own perspectives. Because of my personal history as the daughter of Holocaust survivors, I know the danger of not learning from other people's perspectives.
Around my kitchen table the most important advice and lessons I learned were from my mother and father. And they were about the danger of any group feeling superior to any other, the danger of prejudice and discrimination, and the danger of being a bystander when you see injustice.
Community engagement: Inclusion Director at Hutchison School
Lillian Barnett: Memphis, Tennessee, Retired Memphis City Schools Educator,
Widow of Church of Christ Minister Ralph Barnett
2. The contributions I am most proud of are the lasting relationships and love I experienced teaching and working with young black women. During my 45 years with the Memphis City Schools and as a minister's wife, I helped them to develop into outstanding mothers, wives and contributors to the world.
3. The best advice I ever received comes from the Bible – (Matthew 5:44) “… Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” In other words, treat others the way you'd like to be treated.
Boulevard Church of Christ
Wendy Calhoun: Los Angeles, California, TV Writer, Producer:
'Station 19,' 'Empire' 'Our Kind of People,' 'No Place Safe'
2. I’m most proud of raising my two daughters. They represent me and themselves in a beautiful, positive way. As far as career contributions, I have created and cultivated many memorable female characters. From Mags on "JUSTIFIED" to Rayna on "NASHVILLE" to Cookie on "EMPIRE" to Andy on "STATION 19" — I’m proud to present complex female characters who are not limited to being sidekicks or male support tools.
3. The best advice I ever received is “learn to take a yes.” I’ve spent so much of my career fighting for females and people of color on screen to have a strong point of view, that I often push too hard. The world is catching up to gender equality. I can now move mountains in perception with a gentle push. It’s freeing and exciting. There’s never been a better time to write for women.
Learn about Wendy's mother, Marilyn Calhoun, whom I honored in last year's post.