American Business Women's Day[ Edited ]
September 2016 - last edited September 2016
American Business Women's Day
Most American’s know that nearly every single day of the year has been set aside as a holiday or observance. Many of these days are obscure and have no real impact on the majority of us, like National Woodchuck Day – it’s February 2nd, but some deserve more than a random Thursday in September. That’s where you’ll find American Women’s Business Day this year, if you hear of it at all, and that’s a real shame.
So, what is a man doing writing about a day dedicated to women’s roles in business? Those men, like myself, who were raised by women without the presence or participation of a man can feel just as strongly about the inequalities that exist between the sexes in business as a woman does. No, we are not directly affected, so our personal experiences may differ, but our belief in the rightness of the cause can be just as strong. After all, it’s the women who mean the most to us that we visualize when we think of the many wrongs women face in the workplace.
I, along with my three brothers, was raised by a single mother with the help of her mother; my grandmother. These women were driven, ambitious, and talented. Each of them made significant contributions to my perspective as a man, to the industries they labored in, and to the women they came in contact with throughout their professional lives.
My mother, Sydney Leigh Wade, was an incredibly talented artist who overcame obstacle after obstacle on her journey to the top. She, as a single mother, had serious demands on both her time and energy, yet she never failed to push herself forward in the business arena. She taught herself the necessary skills to accomplish whatever task was set before her, and did all of it while keeping us, her children, safe and successful in all of our own endeavors.
Sydney Leigh bought the first Apple computer, and taught herself DOS to better run the Southwest’s largest steel fabrication company. She learned the ins and outs of animatronics design to create interactive marketing displays, and ostentatious Christmas decorations for malls and events. She designed a process to mass produce original, artistic marketing pieces for large-scale advertisement, and coordinated print and media campaigns to promote brand recognition with budgets as large, or larger, than the male-dominated firms in the region. Over the course of her exceptional life, my mother achieved results in fields where women were considered a hindrance to success, and she did it all her own way, in her own time, and without compromising her integrity or her firm belief that women are, and have always been, the equal to men.
My grandmother, Rebecca Lanmon, was an American original. She was one of the first Americans, male or female, to be given a Small Business Loan. She produced and starred in an Arts & Crafts show on PBS called “Crafts with Becky” in the 1960s, and held the patents to several foil art products she created. After tiring of TV, she found her way into the property management field. She would always say that she went into management because that was the only place men would let her go. A female apartment manager is just smart staffing they told her. Men won’t fight with a woman, so collecting rents is a good job for you they would say. So, she took their job and ran with it.
Before anyone knew what was happening, my grandmother was the largest leasing manager in the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex. She blew their best numbers out of the water year after year until they had no choice but to offer her their most lucrative leasing positions. This is JMB Property Management Company we’re talking about, at the time the largest property management company in the US, not some fly-by-night operation. Their offer to give her anything she wanted, anywhere she wanted to go, for whatever salary she asked for backfired. She asked to run the largest property in my hometown in order to be closer to us, so JMB acquired the shopping center in my town at her request. Tell me – how many men could do that?
I shared the story of the two most important women in my life in hopes that their accomplishments may push a reader to reach higher, and ignore the glass ceiling that has for so long kept you down. It may seem real and concrete to you now, but my mother and her mother proved that glass isn’t nearly as strong as desire. So, never forget that what others believe to be your limit is nothing but a guess, and where others think you belong is nothing more than opinion. Women in business today still face serious challenges, but my family is proof that talent and ambition will always trump gender and tradition.
Learn about American Business Women's Day here.
Spencer Wade, AdWords, G+ & WebSearch Platinum Top Contributor
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American Business Women's Day