Happy International Women's Day! Today is such an uplifting day of celebrating the social, business, cultural and political achievement of women. As such, I'm posting about some of the women who've made a lasting impact on my way of life.
Principal + Teacher + Champion of the Arts (and My Mama)
My mother (and father) worked tirelessly their whole lives until retirement. Even now, they both continue to work part-time in their fields of expertise. I've always been phenomenally inspired by their unrelenting work ethic, which they maintained without sacrificing their relationship with each other and their two daughters. My mom, Chris Morris, retired as professor emeritus after 33 years with the University of Florida’s College of Education. During her tenure at at P. K. Yonge Developmental Research School (a component of the University of Florida’s College of Education), my mother served as principal for 22 years and taught classes in creative writing and theater arts. My father, Stanley, earned his bachelor’s degree and juris doctor from UF, and served as a Circuit Court Judge for decades. The Chris Morris Arts Education Endowment was established in her honor for the purpose of supporting fine arts and performing arts programs through innovative teaching, research and academic support.
Johnna Holmgren of Fox Meets Bear
Peaceful Parenting Inspiration
I find it all-too-easy to let the stresses of running a business, financially supporting a family, and overcrowded city life get to me. I struggle with ways in which to manage how I handle that stress-- particularly around my toddler. I've found the thoughts and words shared by Johnna Holmgren of Fox Meets Bear to be incredibly helpful. Johnna, a cook, artist, and mother of three little girls, reminds me to slow down, breathe deeply, put things in perspective, and create uninterrupted time with my son and husband.
Jaclyn Johnson of Create & Cultivate
CEO + Champion of Women in Business
Jaclyn is well-known as the CEO and spirit behind the explosively successful conference and website for millennial working women, Create & Cultivate. She's also a close friend and mentor. Jaclyn helped me understand the business potential behind my creative work, and has pushed, inspired and supported me throughout the most successful years of my career. She lives to empower women, and connect them with one another. She works at a blinding pace, confronts conflict head-on, and carries a phenomenal amount of responsibility. Yet she approaches every day with positivity, and encourages and lifts her peers and audiences.
“It’s important to talk about inequality. But for me, where I feel most empowered is in educating myself and being, hopefully, a mentor for younger women. That’s more important. I offer any young actress I work with my phone number. I’ll tell them on set, ‘You don’t have to do that. You can say no.’" (- Amy Adams via a NY Times interview by Manohla Dargis.) I am constantly moved by Amy's actions and words-- particularly when it comes to parenting, as well as balancing a public vs private life.
Justina Blakeney of The Jungalow
Designer, Artist, Blogger
Justina is a total goddess, and yet still so approachable. Her creativity is boundless, as is her ability to find ways to blend art with business. She speaks up for those who are being undervalued and under-represented. She works hard, she loves big, and she goes bold.
Business Development Specialist of The RightWay Foundation
The RightWay Foundation works with current or emancipated foster youth to move from a point of pain and disappointment to a point of power, productivity, and self-sufficiency. I'm on the Board of this exceptional non-profit organization, and I am constantly in awe of the hard work of team member Thalia Henderson. Thalia is a graduate of University of Southern California, where she participated in numerous activities involving homelessness prevention. While a student, she was a Campus Campaign Coordinator for Teach for America, which involved creating and managing a strategic branding and marketing campaign. She also worked at USC's Joint Educational Project as the Pre-Law Project Student Director, supervising interns who were placed at public interest law firms around LA. Thalia has spent years working on homelessness issues through activities such as clothing/food distribution, a 2-year ethnography of The Midnight Mission's education program, interning for California's pioneering Shriver Project on Inner City Law Center's Homelessness Prevention team, and teaching art and math classes to homeless men.