Start Local, Think Global: Celebrating International Women’s Day #BalanceforBetter

Taryn R. Ellis, NIIC Marketing Intern

“Who runs the world? Girls!” famous words from Queen B herself, Beyoncé Knowles. While almost none of us are as famous as this singer/songwriter, as women we all have an inner roar within us that is demanding to be heard. Today is our day. We are celebrating International Women’s Day to recognize the women who are hard at work opening doors and crashing ceilings to create a better future for all. The 2019 International Women’s Day campaign is #BalanceforBetter. We are in a time period in which our world is expecting balance. This campaign is asking women and men to build a gender-balanced world to help drive a better working world.

International Women’s Day was first celebrated in 1911.Today it is recognized all across the world by women of different backgrounds. While there is a whole day devoted to this international movement, the campaign is carried throughout the entire year. The International Women’s Day Charity focuses on a specific campaign annually, and 2019 brings us #BalanceforBetter.

There is no denying that as women we all have endured challenges as we navigate through our workplace, community and society. Identifying these hardships and challenges has allowed many of us to realize where change is necessary to make a more balanced life for all gender. We begin to realize what we are capable to do in our own neighborhoods and cities to take “one small step for woman” and ultimately “one giant leap for women-kind,” (courtesy of Ariana Grande’s song, NASA.)

As a marketing intern at The NIIC, I am fortunate to have the opportunity to be connected and mentored by influential women within the community of Fort Wayne and the surrounding cities. These women are living their truths and doing it with grit and grace. I asked women who have had a connection to The NIIC and Women’s Entrepreneurial Opportunity Center (WEOC) to share their thoughts on how they are carrying out this year’s theme #BetterforBalance.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

“I am proud to be a woman every day. For me, International Women’s Day is sort of a super recharge for really understanding WHY I have that pride. The all-day celebration and the inspiring stories that resurface, it is like an all-day pep rally for women. I love it!”

-Nicole Hayden, Executive Director, Creative Cat Marketing.

“International Women’s Day brings to light all the accomplishments women have made in the United States, as well as globally. As a full-time working mother in a male-dominated industry, I am reminded of all the sacrifices the women before me have made so that I may seek fulfillment in both my personal and professional life. This day also serves as a reminder of the great strides we have yet to make, especially internationally, to attain a world that is respectful and honoring to women around the globe.”

-Sydney Cale, MBA, Financial Planner, SYM Financial Advisors

“Today is about celebrating being a woman and those women who have influenced your life, whether you’re female or male. We are all in this together. Women and men, working toward a better, more balanced future. Equal pay for equal work. Celebrating the unique qualities of women. How about that women’s intuition? Thanks to all the women who have loved me and mentored me—my mom, sisters, friends, co-workers, neighbors. And for those who have helped pave the way for women and allowed me to stand on their shoulders.”

-Tammy Allen, Director, Marketing & Programs, The NIIC

Which women are you inspired by in the local community, and globally?

“It sounds cheesy, but my mom inspires me. She raised 6 kids while working and still at all of my sporting and school events. For my mom, nothing has ever seemed impossible. She is my real-life Wonder Woman.”

-Anne Clark, NIIC Navigator Learning Management System Intern, The NIIC

“I remember the first time I marched with a group of women artisans in Mizak, Haiti. They found a discarded piece of plastic, created a sign together and gathered a makeshift brass band to march through the rocky, red dirt pathways of their village. They were proudly celebrating the unique contributions that women of their community had made to bring economic development to their humble community. I had not even known there WAS an International Women’s Day until that march in 2007, but it was a scene I will never forget and continue to be inspired by.”

-Lorelei VerLee, Founder & Executive Director of Creative Women of the World

For International Women’s Day 2019 and beyond, how will you #BalanceforBetter?

“International Women’s Day calls for awareness of the amazing achievements of women all over the world. Gender equality continues to be an important cause to fight for and work toward. It is the responsibility of each of us to continue to raise awareness and do everything we are capable of to balance the gender equality scale.”

-Suzanne Haga, WEOC Coordinator, The NIIC

“It seems the national style of modern women is one-stressed out, cell-phone gabbing, lane-changing, schedule-juggling, multi-tasking maniac. There isn’t a woman alive who didn’t get the memo that this family-career life stuff is both rewarding and incredibly hard work. I will continue diversity and inclusion work and sharing woman empowerment passion to give voice to women’s issues and help balance the clutter of very busy lives.”

-Rosa Wheeler, Community Development Specialist, Flagstar Bank

The rise of women is not about the fall of men. In fact, the goal here is to team together, both men and women, to create symmetry in our everyday lives. We are here to advocate for each other, and everyone has a part to play in rising to the occasion.

I am thankful to have been able to communicate with all of the women throughout this discussion and celebration. We are starting locally and thinking globally. We are women who are thankful for the women before us and moving mountains for the women after us. We are striving to #BalanceforBetter.


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