October is the month for strong females. As synonymous as Halloween to the month, so is the color pink. It’s both encouraging and sad that we have a month so widely known as dedicated to women and men who have battled breast cancer. It’s so widely known because so many of us have been affected or have bore witness to breast cancer and it’s beast mode. I can’t think about breast cancer though, without thinking of the warriors that I know who have looked it straight in the eye and fought. “Fight like a girl” will soon be seen on bumper stickers, t-shirts, and even ad campaigns throughout the month of October. Fight Like a Girl they remind us.
My mother fought breast cancer, for 2 beautiful and tragic years. She fought with her heart and her entire body. She was strong for all of us. She taught me about female strength and grace long before breast cancer showed up. But when it was her turn to fight, she showed everyone she knew what female leadership meant. She continued to be an amazing mother, she continued to work, she maintained her humor, her assertiveness, and her compassion. I was enamored by her. As she became fragile and tired, she was still and always will be the strongest person I’ve ever known.
20 years ago, in the month of October, she was diagnosed. Fast forward, and I find myself in a position of leadership, one she can be proud of. Working at a company that I love, surrounded by people that I love. I can say with certainty that I am here because of everything she taught me and did for me. When she was very sick, I asked her, “what will I do when you’re gone?” She told me to think about experiences or situations where she helped me from my past and I will know what to do. It’s like she was a time traveler and just knew that I would find my way. As a mother, and as a professional, I often find myself thinking back to her beautiful face, long before cancer came and took her hair but not her spirit. I think of being a young girl and how much I admired her. I watched her make people laugh, and treat people with kindness. I admired her ability to lead with love. I aspired to be just like her, in all facets of my life. She was my role model before I knew what that meant. She molded me to surround myself with amazing females because my expectation was always so high.
I have the unique opportunity to highlight female leaders in my line of work. It’s a role that I hold with high regard. I know the importance of strong female role models, not only to young girls, but to women of all ages, and men too. Strong female leaders pave the way for us. The strongest females are those that allow us to learn not only from their successes but their failures and their hardships. Vulnerability is something that can’t be taught, but it is undeniable and a breath of fresh air in a world of pretense and augmented reality.
This month when the pink ribbons come out and the ad campaigns start, I will think of my mom, as I do every day. I will think of the women I know- aunts, cousins, friends, clients, that have fought so hard, many of them survivors. I will think about all of the strong females in my personal life. And for them, I will feature the strong females in my professional space, in hopes that an attendee, or a spouse, or a son or daughter, will see these females and recognize in them, what they need to see in themselves or in others around them, to get through the next fight, whatever that may be.
As part of our ongoing efforts to support GOOD and meaningful causes, this month a portion of our net proceeds will support Bright Pink. Bright Pink is on a mission to save women’s lives from breast and ovarian cancer by empowering them to live proactively at a young age.