March 1st kicks off the 41st year that the U.S. has celebrated Women’s History Month. This month recognizes and celebrates the achievements and contributions women have made and continue to make throughout the course of American history. Additionally, Tuesday, March 8th is marked as International Women’s Day, when women around the globe celebrate women’s achievements and rally for equality. One aspect of that equality is addressed during Equal Pay Day on March 15, 2022, a date that symbolizes how much further into the year women must work to earn the same amount as men in the previous year. The month of March is a great time to acknowledge the work that has been done, to gain focus on the work that still needs to be done, and to continue to employ strategies that impact the world for the better.

This year’s theme for Women’s History Month, set by the National Women’s History Alliance, is “Women Providing Healing, Promoting Hope.” This theme was chosen to specifically recognize and honor all of the ways that women provide care and promote hope all over the world. Whether they are frontline doctors and nurses, family (or chosen family) groups listening and comforting each other, or musicians creating art that inspires others, women around the globe are lifting up others.

I asked several CodeScientists about the women in their lives that have impacted them over the years and these comments truly illustrate how many women are promoting hope and providing care every day…

From Sebastian Kessel, Senior Technical Architect:

“There are a lot of women who have had an impact on my life. My 4th grade teacher, Perla, was incredibly awesome and kind, giving me space to grow and learn (she is my favorite teacher ever). My oldest cousin (who coincidentally I just saw again for the first time in 20 years) was another, she was always a role model with her social life and outgoing attitude. Since she was only 18 months older than me, I copied her a lot.

But by far the largest impact was my maternal grandma. She laid the rules without being strict, she was loving without being smothering, and was always there for any grandkid who needed her. Leukemia took her from us. But by far her stronger lessons were ones she never even taught us directly. The woman survived 9 different Nazi concentration camps and countless death marches. She never complained to us, she always moved forward. I have had the luck of watching the testimony she gave to the Shoah Foundation, and it is incredible how she could be such a complete and loving person after going through what she went through. Her resiliency and love of life are like nothing I’ve ever seen before.”

From Trasi Judd, Managed Services Manager:

“I grew up with a mother who struggled with mental illness, to a point where she wasn’t really able to provide emotional support for me or champion for my success. Fortunately, I was able to recognize that early on and sought out other women in my life to fill specific needs that I had in this area. Several teachers in middle and high school and a very kind and loving boss when I was in college, all saw something in me and believed in my abilities and encouraged me to stretch myself further. And finally, when I was 31, my mother’s cousin stepped in to fill the role of mother for me in a way I had never been able to experience – someone who adored me, thought I was the smartest person on Earth, leaned on me, and offered me unconditional love and support.  It led me to be a better mother, a better spouse, a more empathetic leader, and a mentor to others in my life.”

From Natalie Kurr, Sales Operations Manager:

“​​I have a friend (now one of my best friends) that I met when I was 30 and she was 38.  I said to her, ‘I look forward to when I am your age and I have it all figured out.’ I was thinking of the place I’d be in my life – work and relationships, feeling certain that I was making the right decisions, and really, all of my insecurities vanishing into thin air and all of the confidence I would miraculously have. (In hindsight, this makes me giggle!). She said to me, ‘I’m sorry to say this sista, but I do not have it all figured out, and I am still figuring it out every day.’ I was in shock and total disbelief. What? You mean there is no end to this journey and in 10 years I will feel the same? She said it all with love, and also a dose of reality: ‘There is always a little doubt and second-guessing, and there is always the opportunity to grow and learn.’ What a life lesson. And she has been there by my side ever since!

CodeScience Team in Asheville, NC

From Stan Green, COO:

“A woman impacting my life? Super easy. My mother. I grew up with a single immigrant mother and we were very poor (think below welfare poor). I had a tough childhood – frequent evictions, sometimes no electricity, rarely a car – all the hard things poverty entails. The funny thing is I don’t really remember or begrudge any of that. She filled our home with love. That is really what I remember most. She made everything possible. I had a great education – she got me into private schools on scholarships, took me to every free educational event there was (I was attending college lectures at the age of 8), taught me herself, and all while having lupus and working crazy hours to support us. I cannot imagine even having half the strength and fortitude this woman had. Every success and achievement that I am proud of, including my recently born daughter, I trace back to my mother. The theme of ‘promoting hope’ reminds me that my mother did more than that – she created hope. Mom, I miss you and thank you. For everything. And I mean every single thing.”

From Cristiano Sinadino, Sr. Salesforce Lightning Developer:

“I have had a lot of influential women in my life but my grandmother Teresa is the one that stands out. Teresa was born in a small village in Brazil’s countryside. She was only registered at 13 years old and never attended a school. But she knew something most people will live their entire lives without knowing – she knew unconditional love. And she taught me how to love unconditionally, one of the most important lessons I could learn, without having any education or technique. She taught me with pure instincts.” 

From Ben West, Lead Salesforce Developer:

“I usually gain the most hope/healing from stories of perseverance. To me, there is no greater perseverance that I have witnessed in my life than that of single mothers. My mother, for example, divorced at a fairly young age and took on primary custody of 2 boys, while basically starting her career from scratch with only a high school education. Today she is a Senior VP at a large health system. The most impressive thing about this, for me, is that she never once put her career before her kids. To this day I am not sure how she did it. Never once do I remember her being unavailable to us or seeming frazzled. I absolutely know she had tough days and stressful times, but she never made us aware. Whenever I have rough times now, as an adult, I constantly look back at her resolve and strength for inspiration. 

This one might be a little silly, but here is a video of a 93-year-old Irish grandmother leaving a video message for her family at the height of COVID in 2020. There was just something about her voice and her confidence when she tells everyone they will be fine that was so hopeful and comforting to me. Being born in 1927, she would have been through many global events that had to have seemed grim, so for her to say it would all pass was pretty powerful.” 

From Gabe Rosser, Lead Designer:

“I told this story to a candidate in an interview earlier today when they asked me to tell them about the CodeScience workplace culture. I told them I lost my father on May 14, 2020, due to complications from COVID-19. The details of that day are fuzzy, but I remember you, Coni, reaching out to me, giving me your condolences and having the wherewithal to ask for an address to send something in his memory. I gathered up my family and we got in the car and drove south a few hours to my mom’s house. I was greeted by her at the front door. She broke down, told me she loved me, and gave me a hug. And over her shoulder, right there in the entryway in the middle of my tiny hometown in Alabama, not 3 hours from when I got the news of my dad’s passing, I saw the most absolutely massive floral arrangement with a sweet note from my CodeScience family.

While these miraculously timely and heartfelt kinds of actions aren’t exclusively feminine, I am honored to know you and so many other women who pay such close attention, have the wherewithal, and PUT IN WORK toward healing and giving hope to the broken.”

Reading through these statements from my teammates really brought to light how so many women can impact you throughout your life. For me, I’d like to recognize Taylor Swift. I have been a Swiftie for years, but I really respect how she started to tackle a number of important subjects in her music and in public, including body image, sexual assault, LGBTQ+ rights, online trolling, and even politics after her very public 2017 trial against DJ David Mueller. There is a distinct difference in her public and musical persona after that event, and to me, she is a role model for young women (and men) to be authentically themselves, reflecting their beliefs and experiences. 

We all know women that have influenced our lives in direct and indirect ways. This month, I encourage you to take time to check out some of the many resources available to learn more about the women that have shaped American history through the Library of Congress. If you’re interested in learning more about gender bias and allyship in the workplace, Linkedin Learning is offering a Women’s History Month challenge with daily 2-5 min micro lessons each day.

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