As we wrap up Women’s History Month, I am inspired to say thank you to the wonderful trailblazers in my life who have mentored me both on a formal and informal basis.
Olive Burns (aka Nana) — My grandmother was a "Rosie the Riveter” during World War II when men went off to war and women went into the factories. I truly believe that the tenacity of women like my grandmother has greatly contributed to the empowerment of women to this day!
Barbara Fife — My mother was a teacher and a day care provider as long as I can remember. We always had a home full of children and my mother nurtured them, gave them a sense of structure and rules to follow, and of course showered them with plenty of love. Their parents could work with assurance, knowing that their children were in a safe and comforting place. When she wasn’t caring for children from our home, she provided day care through a special state-sponsored program that allowed single mothers to send their children to a safe environment where they could grow and flourish. I feel like my mother is an unsung hero who helped raise a lot of children, and in turn helped their parents invest themselves in their careers because they knew their children were safe and genuinely cared for. But her work didn’t stop there. Well after retirement she volunteered at her church, caring for infants and toddlers during church services, giving their parents a much-needed break and an opportunity to strengthen their spirituality.
Dr. Jan Northup — My first mentor. Jan was the first person to help me realize that women needed to help each other grow personally and professionally. Her motto was: "Women helping women.” She developed a wonderful training program entitled, The Promotable Woman: What Makes the Difference? Jan inspired many individuals and organizations to think not only about the technical skills that set them apart, but the interpersonal skills that made the difference. She also taught me the power of mentoring and recommended that every woman attending her sessions should find a mentor.
Jennifer Sellers — My Vice President. Jennifer came into a one-person business with a passion for helping people and the dexterity of a true multitasker. She helped me build TTC into a business that is known throughout the federal government and private industry. Jennifer is particularly well-known as a mentoring match maker and troubleshooter. She has traveled the country facilitating the matching process with amazing results. The stories we hear from past program participants who have prospered in their careers because of their mentoring relationships would warm your hearts and touch your souls!
Honestly, I could go on and on extolling the virtues of trailblazing women I have had the pleasure to work with and observe in my personal and professional life. For now, I feel satisfied with thanking the smart, talented, and savvy women of The Training Connection who are investing their time and energy to help others grow personally and professionally through mentoring:
- Jennifer Sellers
- Trisha Milligan
- Alison Sfreddo
- Corinna Natale
- Sarah Cubbage
- Kristy Atkins
- Melissa Uzzo
- Staci Weekes
- Nicole Bridge
- Gina Becton
All of these women, and more, have made me a better person by helping me grow in body, mind, and soul. As a thank you, I try to carry a piece of them all with me every day, and share the experience of their wisdom with others.