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Introduction and Tribute to Women Leaders

Submitted by Career Coach on Sun, 02/28/2010 - 23:53

Hello Women Working community,

My name is Bari Waxman and I am an executive coach and leadership development consultant.  I’ve been working with executives for over 20 years, with the majority of my career in financial services.  Most recently I’ve worked with executives within professional services, media, pharmaceuticals, energy and commercial realty.  A special passion of mine is working with and supporting talented women executives in reaching their unlimited leadership potential.

I am honored to be the Women Working career coach for the month of March, which is National Women’s History Month.  When I was asked to be the coach for this month, I thought of all those famous and not so famous, women before me who paved the way and laid the foundation for all women to achieve great things, have impact on others and to make our nation and world a better place for women to achieve their wishes, hopes and desires.

I researched the genesis of National Women’s History Month and would like to share what I discovered with you. 

A Brief History

In 1978, the Education Task Force for Sonoma county California Commission initiated a “Women’s History Week” celebration, to educate children on the early women’s movement and pioneers.  They chose March 8th, International Women’s Day, to celebrate through local activities and dozens of schools planned special programs.

In Feb. 1980, President Carter issued the first Presidential Proclamation declaring the week of March 8th 1980 National Women’s History Week.  Representative Barbara Mikulski (Dem) and Senator Orrin Hatch (Rep), co-sponsored a Congressional Resolution for National History Week 1981.  This co-sponsorship demonstrated the wide-ranging political support for recognizing, honoring and celebrating the achievements of American women.

Over the years, many states adopted March as Women’s History Month which led to lobbying Congress to declare the month of March 1987 as National Women’s History Month and a special Presidential Proclamation is issued every year to honor the extraordinary achievements of American women.

A Tribute

What is highlighted for me in learning this history is how relevant and impertinent these lessons are to our current and future leaders.  This demonstrates leadership characteristics and practices of passion, innovation and creativity, drive, resiliency, influence, persistence, communication and the power of collaboration to achieve extraordinary results.

So, I’d like to pay tribute and say thank you to all those women who came before us, who dared to take a risk, challenged the status quo, thought creatively and innovatively to achieve what was deemed impossible, who didn’t take “no” as a full stop and were willing to collaborate to achieve results.

Thank you to the early pioneers of the suffragette movement, Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony and Lucy Stone. Thank you to Rosa Parks, the mother of the modern civil rights movement.  Thank you to women in government such as Eleanor Roosevelt, Sandra Day O’Connor, Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Sonia Sotomayor, Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton, Bella Abzug , Madeline Albright, Condoleezza Rice.  Thank you to the women who led the “Second wave” of the Equal Opportunity Employment and National Organization for Women, Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem.  To all the women CEO’s who have paved the way for future CEOs, Andrea Jung, Meg Whitman, Carly Fiorina, among the few.  Thank you to Oprah Winfrey, Barbara Walters, Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric and all the women in journalism and media.  These few role models mentioned above give hope for the future generations of women and all the greatness they can achieve.

Personally, I would like to thank all the “famous in my eyes” women who have supported and still mentor, coach and support me every day of my career journey.  Thank you to my past managers and mentors for the guidance, trust and belief in my potential.  Thank you to my current partners and colleagues who have supported me through my career transition and who are great role models of professional women who balance life, family and career.  And a big thank you to my mom, a great role model for balancing family, work, school, car pooling and who taught me and my sister that we could achieve great things if we put our minds to it!

Thank you to all the women who have paved the way for me to focus my executive coaching practice on supporting executive women in achieving their unique leadership potential.

It is up to us to continue this great legacy and to support one another by pulling the next generation of women leaders through the glass ceiling, smoothly, without any scars from shards of glass. I look forward to doing my part in keeping this great legacy of American women proud and I encourage you to do the same.

I look forward to hearing from you this month,

Bari Waxman

Bari Waxman

Executive Coach

Bari Waxman & Associates

Bwax [at] bwaxmanassoc [dot] com (Bwax [at] bwaxmanassoc [dot] com)


"A goal is a dream with a deadline"


Dear Bari,

I loved your post about recognizing important women in history. I think that so much inspiration can be drawn from looking into the past. There is so much to learn if we can understand our place in history and realize how hard others worked for the equality we enjoy today. Today is the birthday of a wonderful woman named Mary Elizabeth Garrett, the founder of Byrn Mawr. As a graduate of a former all women's college, I can appreciate the pioneering role that Garrett played. Looking forward to reading more of your posts Bari, and all the best!