Today is International Women’s Day. Upon preparing for this day and the Facebook Live we are going to conduct in a bit, I took to the Google to gain some knowledge and insight on this day. Immediately the Google suggested I take a look at www.internationalwomensday.com. There I learned the following:
International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. International Women’s Day (IWD) has occurred for well over a century, with the first March 8 IWD gathering supported by over a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. Prior to this the Socialist Party of America, United Kingdom’s Suffragists and Suffragettes, and further groups campaigned for women equality. Today, IWD belongs to all groups collectively everywhere. IWD is not country, group or organisation specific. Make IWD your day! – everyday!
I was excited to learn the the history of this day. It is incredible to see how people from all over the world came together to recognize the significance of the work women have done.
Here at The Leadership Center, we celebrate our team, their talents and abilities as well as the work they do to serve our guests. Upon my hiring over 9 years ago, I was the first woman to serve as the executive director. At the time, The Leadership Center had just celebrated their 40th birthday and prior to my coming on board, we had only seen two other directors. During their work, the idea of the founders were taken from being an idea to being a fully-funded and built reality. I am in awe that I have been entrusted with this honor and, trust me when I say, it is a responsibility I don’t take lightly. While I don’t think their decision to hire men prior to me was a sexist move by any means, I also understand that my work as the executive director is setting a new precedent.
In my time here at The Leadership Center, we have grown our business, added weddings and event coordination, off-site catering, internships and leadership education programs and facilitation. We have also grown our business by 150% reaching every county in Nebraska, every state in the country and over 20+ countries a year. On a smaller scale, we have taken our team from 3 full time employees and a handful of seasonal part-time employees to a core team of 6 full time employees, 20+ part-time employees and interns. On a personal level, I started a family, completed my Institute of Organization Management certification and learned how to take time out from the business which is hard since my office is in my home.
As The Leadership Center heads into it’s 50th year of service, the celebration and appreciation of women and their work here is evident. It isn’t even that I happen to be a woman, it was a precedence that was set long before me. Barb Olson has been on our staff for 23 years. She has worked in housekeeping and now has been a longtime lead cook in the kitchen. If you ask people about days gone by, you’ll hear about Virginia and Jill, Deb and Delene. Now if you come through the doors, you’ll meet Mackie, Jade, Kylee as well as Sarah (we call her Mama Bear), Lizzy and Paola. Of course there is Micheala and Jane too. We are proud to employ a number of incredibly talented women who help us to create moments that matter. They work hard to ensure our guests come into welcoming, clean and well set-up spaces, delicious food and of course, diligent planning.
Today, I personally want to thank the ladies on our team that work so hard to put the extra “T.L.C.” in hospitality. They are: Micheala Olsen, Jane Nuss, Alena Carlson, Barb Olson, Jade Burson, Lindsey Heins, Mackie Lawson, Roxann Bredthauer, Kylee Whiting, Vonnie Whiting, Gaylene Grosshans, Lizzy Hunter, Paola Rodriguez, Sarah Havlik and Teresa Friesen. It is a pleasure to work with each of you. Thank you so much for coming to work to selflessly serve our guests with care. Your impact is seen and appreciated.
While today recognizes the impact of women, their work and accomplishments, I do want to say a thank you to our board and to the gentlemen on our team. Our board valued my skills, talents and vision above and beyond gender. Thank you. Our team celebrates everyone on our team. Each day we come together to accomplish one thing, creating moments that matter. We work side by side to ensure our meeting spaces and lodge rooms are welcoming, clean and appropriately set up. We work side by side to create delicious foods ranging from sticky caramel rolls to cilantro lime pork chops to melt in your mouth gluten free/vegan carrot cake. We work along side each other to diligently plan each event to ensure each of our team members is empowered to serve our guests and to exceed their expectations. When we fall short, and at times we do, we work together to find a solution versus pointing fingers and placing blame. We work together to put the “T.L.C.” in hospitality. Thank you.
Happy International Women’s Day.
Maile Ilac Boeder, I.O.M.
Check our Facebook Live Video to hear some thoughts about this day from our team.