Lessons for a New Year

Lists, lists and more lists!

Every year, the media creates an endless series of lists. While many target the negative, here’s my list of ten women who inspire:

Marissa Mayer –Yahoo CEO. Lots of changes on tap at the web portal company. In abolishing the company’s work-from-home policy, Mayer explained that face-to-face interaction among employees fosters a more collaborative culture which leads to innovation. As a result, “A recent internal employee survey found that 95 percent of employees were optimistic about the company’s future, a 32 percent bump from the previous survey.”

Sheryl Sandberg – Facebook COO who encourages women to “lean in,” (learn to overcome your internal insecurities) has taken her philosophy to the non-profit sector with LeanIn.org, with online seminars and guidelines for support groups.

Angelina Jolie – the stunning actress announced to a world of fans that — after learning of an 87 percent chance of developing breast cancer — she chose to undergo a double mastectomy. “I feel empowered,” Jolie wrote in a New York Times op-ed, “I made a strong choice that in no way diminishes my femininity,” thus becoming a powerful example to others.

Antoinette Tuff – the elementary school bookkeeper who faced down a man with an assault weapon, 500 rounds of ammo and “nothing to live for.” What did Tuff do? According to CNN, “she told him he wasn’t alone, that her husband walked out on her after 33 years. ‘We all go through something in life,’’ she reassured him, telling him she loved him and was proud of him as he began to surrender.”

Senators Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, and Kelly Ayotte – three Republican Senators from Maine, Alaska and New Hampshire, credited with pushing their male colleagues to end the government shutdown last October utilizing responsibility, common sense and compromise. While women represent the majority of the U.S. population, they only make up one-fifth of the Senate. Think what could be accomplished if they had a majority?

Jeannie Mitchell-Baldwin – Nurse extraordinaire, whose skill, compassion and humility characterizes the best in all nurses.

Malala Yousafzai – shot in the head by the Taliban for speaking out in support of education for all Pakistani girls, Malala has simply become one of the most compelling and powerful activists in the world. “One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.”

My goal for the New Year will be to apply the lessons of these women: to embrace the openness of Marissa Mayer, the confidence of Sheryl Sandberg, the courage of Angelina Jolie, the compassion of Antoinette Tuff, the responsibility and open-mindedness of Senators Collins, Murkowski and Ayotte, the humility of Jeannie Baldwin, and the strength of mind and spirit of Malala.

Oh, and strive to live up to the unconditional love and acceptance of my wife, the tenth woman who inspires me.

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