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Women's History Month: Honor the leaders in your life

Monday, February 24, 2014   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Barbara Francella
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By Joy Chen

You’ve seen the Tweets, the Facebook statuses and public service announcements. March is Women’s History Month. The recognition stems from a 1981 Congressional resolution that proclaimed the week starting March 7 "Women’s History Week.”

After being petitioned by the National Women’s History Project, in 1987 Congress passed another resolution designating the month of March "Women’s History Month,” a time to honor women who have made lasting positive changes to the country. Since 1995, Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama have issued a series of annual proclamations designating the month of March as "Women’s History Month.”

While we honor the courage, strength and passion of Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth and other women who have changed the course of history, I have to ask, "Why aren’t we celebrating women’s leadership every day?”

Related: "Acting too tough? The value of being vulnerable"

There are many women in our lives who should be celebrated this month and every month. Hundreds of incredible women activists who have worked together to push through rights that women in America often take for granted. There are women in all walks of life living by example, reaching back to help other women, shaping who we are and the opportunities available to us.

My mother is one such woman. A Chinese immigrant who married young and had a limited education, she continues to inspire me. She and my dad left their families to come to this country to give their children a brighter future and better life. She wanted for us what she wished she had: A better education and the ability to live out her dreams. Throughout my life, my mother consistently encouraged me to be fearless and pursue my passions. She reinforced how important it is to pursue my goals with my values intact. She made history in my life by saying "Yes” to moving to the United States. That moment changed my life. It’s because of what she did for me that I am able to pursue my passions, one of which is to help women realize their dreams and potential.

My mom has always told me that I can do anything when I put my mind to it. When I graduated from college, I started looking at MBA programs. Acceptance rates are extremely low for applicants right out of college because schools like students with work experience. Nevertheless, my mom supported my desire to apply and encouraged me to apply only to the best schools. I applied to Harvard Business School and was accepted. My mother has truly inspired me to be fearless and confident that I can do anything.

We all have the ability to make an extraordinary impact on others’ lives. We do that by tapping into our own courage and strength to champion, inspire and empower other women and girls to pursue their dreams. It starts with confidently believing that we each make history every day by what we do and whom we touch.

Let’s join together to make history and change Women’s History Month to Women’s History Every Day!

Joy Chen is the CEO of Yes To Inc., a Network sponsor that specializes in natural skincare. In less than three years, Chen has catapulted the brand to number two in the natural personal care category. Prior to Yes To Inc., Chen spent 16 years at the Clorox Company in senior leadership positions in marketing, sales and operations. The San Francisco Business Times recognized her in 2012 as Most Admired CEO of the Year and in 2013 as one of the Most Influential Women in Business.

Views expressed in signed blogs and user comments are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Network of Executive Women or its Officers, Board members and sponsors.

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