When thinking about the impact of Women’s History Month, our team not only remembers the famous women in history – but also the change-makers and leaders that shape our own lives on a daily basis. Our Mothers.
We asked our team to tell us about the women in their lives that inspire them to do great things and to keep on keeping on. A resounding response made it very clear that it’s not always the women on TV that make a difference, it’s the people at home, who’ve raised us, that help us all make history.
Janet Hughes, a Senior Trainer within our Workforce Development Team, honors her mother Carolyn Hughes. Here’s her story.
Growing up in Boston with a stay-at-home mom and a prison guard father, she was focused on finishing high school and becoming a secretary. A high school teacher suggested she take a college testing exam and to her amazement, was offered a partial scholarship to Radcliffe. Off she went to Cambridge, learning that the short bus ride from her home to Radcliffe were chasms a mile wide. She joined the ranks of the first female coders, once she graduated with a degree in math.
After marrying, moving to New York and starting a family of five, she continued to work from home part-time, juggling away. She began volunteering for Harvard and Radcliffe colleges, determined to offer other students the same opportunities she had. Now, after 50+ years of service, numerous commendations later, she continues to volunteer for her church, community and students everywhere. Her mind is sharp, her walk is strong, her compassion deep and her commitment to her marriage of 65 years unwavering. Even now, I strive to have half her energy and drive!
Women’s History Month recognition came from our Finance Team as well. Anita S.W. Leechor, a Senior Accountant, proudly shares the deep love of her mother, HyeSook Chung Leechor.
HyeSook Chung Leechor, my mother, inspires me daily. Following in her footsteps is easier said than done. She was in her twenties when she left Korea, by herself, to build a life for herself in the United States. She earned a master’s degree in accounting from The Catholic University of America, was quickly hired by the IMF, and went on to a dazzling career at the World Bank, earning her CPA along the way. And how on earth do you follow an act like that? In my twenties, when my future was uncertain, I looked to her for guidance. I ended up earning my master’s degree in accounting from the same school! And the CPA exam was the biggest challenge I’ve ever undertaken, but she was beside me every step of the way, through every temper tantrum and every passing (and failing) score. To this day I try to do right by her – as an accountant, as a professional, and as a leader – and to this day she exemplifies all the things I want to be.
My own mother, Ruth Ann Greenberg, has inspired me to be the best woman I can be, building communities through the power of art, creativity and persistence.
Ruth, a Baltimore, MD native, was taught how to love, enjoy and appreciate art at a very young age. Her mother, Sylvia, was a renaissance woman to say the least. She could paint, draw, sing….there was no artistic outlet that she couldn’t master. And her love of creativity was passed onto my mother, who then made this very passion into a career. Ruth studied Fine Arts at Maryland Institute College of Art and graduated with a prolific future ahead. Despite battling the “starving artist,” stigma, she made painting into a fruitful career, selling watercolor and oil compositions to collectors across the DMV. Along with being an artist, her business acumen landed her positions as a stock broker, a job that helped inform the business side of her art practice. Ruth still paints colorful portraits and landscapes to this day, (she evens plays the guitar and keyboard too!) and if it weren’t for her support and open mind, I wouldn’t have been able to truly pursue my own passions in secondhand fashion. She has encouraged me to live to my fullest potential, no matter what outlet I want to explore. As long as I pursued my dreams with hard work and integrity, I would succeed at anything.