Sunday, August 28, 2016

Women's Equality Day

This week was special, albeit heavy. While highlighting the successes and the importance of women's equality, it reminded me of what feels like a never ending struggle.

On Tuesday, I saw my local community rally behind one woman because of her courage and bravery. Hope McMath has chosen to continuously fight for equity and inclusion. The support she received and the hope she provides has been a beautiful thing to watch. It is a powerful testament of our faith in her and our love for her. 

On Wednesday, I was one of 25 women who received the Jacksonville Business Journal's "Women of Influence" award. I was thrilled to see many men in the audience!  Usually, events for women draw a predominantly female crowd. I had the pleasure of meeting many of the past recipients and was humbled by their accomplishments. They are pioneers who have paved the way for other women and continue to do so through their tireless efforts. As one of the youngest recipients of the award, I understand the responsibility placed on me to continue to positively impact our community. You can read my profile for the award here.

On Thursday, TEDxJacksonville held Women Kicking Ass, one of our most popular events. The event sold out in under an hour, demonstrating the need for this important conversation. The panelists were authentic and honest. They provided great insight on what it means to be a leader in your community, your sector, or your organization. They advocated for women to actively pursue their goals. Most importantly, they reiterated that ceilings can be shattered. 

Friday was Women's Equality Day. In 1971, we designated August 26 Women's Equality Day to commemorate the 19th amendment, passed in 1920 to grant women the right to vote. The first Women's Rights Convention was held in Seneca Falls on July 19, 1848. It took us 72 years to earn the right to vote. 

On Saturday, I exercised my right to vote and took my nieces, who are ages 11 ad 14, to the polls with me. 

Seneca Falls was a milestone. The 19th amendment was a milestone. Our recognition of Women's Equality was a milestone. But it baffles me that women are still fighting for equality in 2016 after proving ourselves time and time again. Headlines like, "Facebook, Microsoft, Apple say they offer equal pay" are mind blowing because women have already proven the economics of women's equality. Research has shown conclusively that the more gender-equal companies are, the happier their labor force is. They have lower job turnover. They have an easier time recruiting. They have higher rates of retention, higher job satisfaction, and higher rates of productivity.

We are headed in the right direction. We should celebrate every step forward. But we are far from equality and there is a lot more work to be done. 

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Before there were blogs

I woke up today to sounds of rain and thunder and decided to spend my morning reading and writing, two things I enjoy immensely when I have the time. Today, I'm going to be writing a journal entry to my childhood best friend in a book we have been sharing since 2012. While reading some of the past entries, I decided to also look back at my past travels. In doing so, I discovered old emails I used to send to a group of about 25 of my closest friends and family. They bring back such fond memories of laughter, love and adventure. I don't know why I stopped so I am also going to write one today after five years. I thought I would share one with all of you from New Year's Day 2011.


Hi everyone,

Firstly, Happy New Year!!

The last two weeks have been an absolute gastronomical delight for me and full of unexpected adventures.

We were stuck indoors because England is still learning how to cope with snow, i.e. a usual 2 hour journey from Birmingham to London took us 15 hours. On the bright side, my mom cooked everything my heart desired and it came to the point that we began to only partake in eating and sleeping. While staying with an uncle in London, I also continued to meet more delightful family that have now made me want to reach out to distant relatives and reconnect because I have learned that family doesn't always come with drama.

I had the honor of spending Christmas and New Year with two beautiful families, the Khorugdharry's in London and the Suarez's in Bilbao. Both welcomed me into their homes and were kind enough to allow me to witness their traditions. In London, I even got entrusted to help cook the xmas meal! And it has to be said that the food was delicious and I'm sure our capabilities surprised everyone at the table. It was also a pleasure to see little Tahj open his presents and play with his new drum set for us, there is nothing like seeing the magic of xmas from a child's perspective.

In Bilbao, the celebrations for New Year's lasted into the next evening and definitely tested my endurance! Not only did I get to experience the annual countdown with a grape eating competition but prior to that the matriarch of the house was kind enough to cook an amazing meal while being careful to take care of everyone's dietary needs. We then went on to the seaside village of Pedernales to continue the festivities. Here, a beautiful 84 year old grandmother invited us all to celebrate at her home and taught me that life needs to be lived with romance or else it isn't worth it at all.

I am looking forward to seeing the city of Bilbao and San Sebastian in the new few days while taking time out to eat as many Pinxtos as possible because they are absolutely delicious. Apparently, San Sebastian is famous for Pinxtos and has 16 Michelin star restaurants so my plans to diet are going to have to wait. Over the course of my travels in the last few weeks, I have met many wonderful people and visited many beautiful cities while partaking in new experiences and am now looking forward to being in New York next week!

Until Peru..



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