27 October 2009

Female Role Models III

Well, I haven't seen anyone unleash the "b-word" but I have seen a couple of high-profile guys do some pretty craptacular things to younger women in the workplace. So thank you, David Letterman and Steve Phillips for having affairs with younger women in the office - and then disparaging those women or treating them like a punch line once they call you on it. Say what you will about the "other women" in these stories - none of this would have happened if Letterman and Phillips had the self-control to keep it in their pants.

In response to their pathetic public and private behavior where the underlying premise is it's somehow understandable to act like that, I present the third installment of my ongoing series on female role models. To refresh your memory, here's what I consider a "role model" for this:
So every so often I'm going to pick a few women - some moms, some not - who are doing this RIGHT. Someone an online mom can show her daughter and say, "See her? See what she's doing? See how she's living in the same world you are, with the same challenges you have, and see how she succeeds? THAT is how you do this. THAT is what I stand for. I want you to be like HER."
I've done two of these posts, here's part three.

Julie Marsh. I've worked in social media for a while now, and if I want something DONE, I call Julie. Julie is an entrepreneur and an advocate for bloggers. It's impossible to shoehorn her into a single category - let's just say there probably aren't too many people who can say they worked at the Pentagon AND in the music industry. As one of the co-founders of Blog With Integrity, she's taking a stand against the lack of transparency in social media. She's doing something on her blog (The Mom Slant) right now that's actually quite rare - she's bridging online communities. She's featuring voices of people who have worked in the military and sharing it with a community of moms. To me, this is social media at its best.

Cat Laine. Ho-hum. Just your run-of-the-mill Swarthmore-Oxford-Harvard educated do-gooder who likes to go to places like Haiti or Guatemala and help people there start their own businesses to help them get affordable clean energy, sanitation, and clean water. You know, the one who serves as Deputy Director of Appropriate Infrastructure Development Group and contributes to their blog and spreads the word on Twitter. And can do so in 4 languages. This woman passed up an opportunity to go to the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting in New York to hobnob with the muckety-mucks and drink chardonnay because she was too busy actually doing the stuff that the well-dressed CGI folks were talking about for a week. If you're reading this thinking "egad I don't do SQUAT compared to her," you're not alone.

Christina McMenemy. I met Christina back in 2007, and to be honest she struck me as just another blogger. Pleasant and witty, but really just another blogger. Then I read her blog. I read about her relationship with her daughter Cordelia, a wonderful little girl who happens to have autism. (She has another wonderful daughter as well, Miranda.) I read about how she was coping with the economic downturn in Ohio, and how she was going back to school and now works as a labor & delivery nurse. (For those who haven't worked in hospitals, that's one of the most demanding jobs there is. Think about it - you're constantly around women who are about to give birth.) and then I read something that just put her into "role model" territory for me - she wrote the single best piece on health care reform I've read in years. If my old boss read it, he'd say, "this is why we have to get this thing done."

Tanis Miller. Yes, the Redneck Mommy. OK, yeah, she's funny. And she writes about the funny stuff that happens to her and her family. But she's also used her blog as an effective tool to help people understand the terrible anguish one feels when she loses a child. And the challenges a parent faces when that child has disabilities. And the emotional roller coaster you go on when you decide to adopt another child. With a disability. And when you learn that the two children have something else in common. And then you use your position as Canada's awesomest blogger to stand up for families of kids with disabilities, and raise money for all sorts of charities. So yeah, that's a role model in my book.

So stay classy, guys. I have a bunch more role models on tap.


Julie @ The Mom Slant said...

David, I'm honored. Really. Especially with two little girls at home who are watching me closely.

Amanda said...

It is incredible to see people I have read in their own words, described in someone else's. Thank you.

Redneck Mommy said...

Thank you David. For being able to see past the silliness and the jokes and understand that I aspire to be a role model not just for my own children but for everyone watching me.

Vodka Mom said...

excellent, excellent choices.




Mom101 said...

I second all of them. Not that they need any seconding.

Love this series, David, and these women. Off to read that post from Christina again.

Anonymous said...

Awesome post - and terrific choices. Thank you!

vlex20 said...

Thank you so much for these stories. I'm reading "Half the Sky" and although it's depressing, it's also motivating and there are a lot of women in the world, who have less education than the ones you mentioned and are making waves in their communities.

Lisa Nelsen-Woods said...

Excellent choices, especially Christina. She's my inspiration. I feel lucky to call her my IRL friend.

Christina said...

Thank you, David. I'm honored to be included in that list, considering the other incredibly smart and talented women you've chosen to feature.

And now you've spurred me to start working on part II of that post.

Y said...

I love what you're doing here. Thank you.

Cat Laine said...

Oh David, this is bril. Thanks so much for including me in such awesome company. I gotta say that I particularly appreciate it this week. I'm down in Guatemala with the team and we're doing some extensive strategic planning for next year. We're gonna "bring it", but I was feeling a little overwhelmed over what's in store for 2010 and beyond. Thanks again. My inner Snoopy is dancing.

Carmen said...

Wonderful choices. I can not think of women who deserve the nomination more.