Women across the world are making their mark. Protesting in styles that fit their niche and voice, empowering themselves and their community. Some chose to protest and politely remove themselves from the workforce, allies wore red in solidarity and some (like us) decided to celebrate.

Today, International Women’s Day, we celebrate the women that have challenged us to think bigger, dig deeper and act on things that matter to us.

We celebrated in ways that were appropriate to us:

We invited women and allies to come in and utilize our space as a catalyst for their to-do lists.

We kept business running as usual, as we’re a shop that is 75% made up of ladies, as well.

And lastly, we thanked our lady friends that have empowered us in one way or another.

 

On a day dedicated to advancing and elevating the power that can be found when women are empowered to be their ultimate selves, here are a few words from the flock on some fierce women that have inspired them in one form or another from friends to First Ladies:

 

  Kaylan Smith 

Okay, I’m biased, she’s my wife but not only is she an intelligent, beautiful woman— she is also one of the most determined and hardworking. While working a full time job she put herself through courses for graphic design and switched careers to user experience design. Feeling yet another education bug, she attended the Iron Yard to study Front End Engineering. She is now a pioneer in a male dominated field as a software developer for a start up here in Houston.

—Adam Smith

 

  Eleanor Roosevelt 

“You must do the things you think you cannot do,” she said. ” “It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan,” she said. “Women are like teabags. You don’t know how strong they are until you put them in hot water,” she said. People often ask the question, “If you could meet any one person in the world—dead or alive—who would it be?” A question I contemplate from time to time, but often I come back to First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt: politician, diplomat, activist and lady full of uncompromising fire. Often thought of as controversial for her outspokenness, her radical stance on issues and for disagreeing publicly with her husband’s policy (go Eleanor!), she fought tirelessly for human rights and equality until the day that she died. She advocated for expanded roles for women in the workplace, the civil rights of African Americans and Asian Americans, and the rights of World War II refugees. Once called “the First Lady of the World” by President Truman in reference to her human rights work, she was regarded as “one of the most esteemed women in the world”; called “the object of almost universal respect” in her New York Times obituary. Every day, I aspire to channel a little Eleanor. We all should.

—Aimee Woodall

 

  Kelsey Martin and Rachel Peterson 

Removing family from my pool of humans to choose from, I’d have to shout out to my old roommates aka the #powerhousebabes: Kelsey Martin and Rachel Peterson. You know the saying opposites attract? That definitely applies to us three. Rachel with her unapologetic, yet delicate like a flower attitude shocks me all the time—it’s remarkable how fierce and soft she is in all scenarios. Kelsey exudes wisdom beyond her years with the most infectious and warm personality I’ve ever known. As they are both performers, I’ve seen them put in countless hours of dedication on and off the stage, championing their fellow cast members and community around them. I’m thankful to get to be their stage mom and witness passion and unwavering faith played out through their actions. Because of them, there’s not a day that I’m not reminded to always be celebrating, be fierce, be kind and go after it—whatever “it” may be. These two have championed every venture I’ve set my focus on and likewise. Thanks, y’all.

—Alekza Latte

 

  Lauren Becker 

Honestly, the first woman that comes to mind is my older sister, Lauren. More so than anyone else in my life, she’s exemplified for me what it means to treat people with honor—to make someone a big deal. I think that’s more important than we give it credit for. Although she’s thousands of miles away, in a foreign country, I’ve never felt closer to her, because she (more than anything) is intentional with her words and time. You make time for the things that you care about, and she’s a prime example of that.

—Alex Anderson

 

  Emma Trithart 

Emma has been one of my closest friends and an inspiration for the 12 years we’ve known each other. She has been a friend to laugh with, a collaborator to challenge me, and a shoulder to lean on in hard times. She always has a bright outlook and a positive view of the world that has affected the way I carry myself. Her talents know no bounds. Thank you, Emma!

—Bill Ferenc

 

  Aimee Woodall 

Sorry, but I have to say Aimee. I don’t want to be labeled a suck up, but I’d be missing an opportunity if I didn’t give my praise on International Women’s Day to Aimee. Had I not found Black Sheep or loved every second of my time starting out here, my life would be very different. I’ve learned an immeasurable amount in my time. I’ve learned about what it means to be lead by someone who is genuine in their caring for her employees and friends. I’ve learned how to be better at client services. I’ve learned how to balance my life with, what I should call “work” but, what is a joy to do everyday between 9 and 6. I’ve learned that anyone can consider themselves creative and that any woman can be a badass if they want to be. Thank you, Aimee.

—Jessica Craft

 

  Georgia Goggans, a.k.a. The Pie Lady of Ganny’s Pie Shop 

When I was in college (and probably watching a lot of Pushing Daisies), I took an intense interest in learning how to make pies. Luckily, a pie shop had just popped up near my hometown, and I convinced the woman who owned it to take me on as an apprentice. That woman was Georgia Goggans—entrepreneur, grandmother, highly creative West Texas piemaker and generally sassy human being. Georgia taught me everything she knew about running a pie shop and then some. She even let me run her shop some weekends. Since then I’ve made pies for weddings, held pie workshops for restaurants and made pies for every family holiday we’ve celebrated. A few weekends ago I popped in to say hello. Georgia was separating a brand-new Instagram account and didn’t even charge me for the coconut meringue.

—Jo Layne Skillman

 

  Katrina Stallings

I know we said it couldn’t be our mom, but my mom is too incredible not to mention. No one works harder than my mom and she does it with an incredible amount of grace, wisdom and heart. When she stayed at home with myself and two siblings, she set the bar as a stay at home mom. Once we started college, she set out to rediscover herself in a career that has landed her in a C-suite position. My mom not only inspires me to go after what I want in both of those arenas but shows me that I can in fact do both at same time. I know this because it is what she is doing right now. Today, she is there for not only me, but also my daughter. Just this week, she put Evie down for a nap while simultaneously responding to the 100 emails in her work inbox. If I can be half the woman my mom is, I am doing one heck of a job.

—Kara Eldersveld

 

  Victoria Burman 

One of my best friends who I met in college. Vicki is currently working in South Africa as a guide. Since day one of knowing her she has always been unapologetically herself—unafraid to chase her dreams even if that means uprooting your life and moving across the globe. She doesn’t listen to the naysayers telling her that her path wasn’t traditional. Or that she will be one of few (if any) American women doing this full-time. She recently told me she’s prepping for a walking safari training, which means she’ll do a 6 day walking trip through a national park. Sleeping in the open. Trying to encounter as many animals on foot as possible. Vicki is living out her passion every day. Challenging herself to reach new limits. That’s about the bravest thing I know, and I’m truly lucky to have her pushing me to do the same.

—Roslynn Velasquez

 

   Anna Zizinia

Anna’s the type of person you meet once and are left with a lasting connection. Among her accomplishments and ambitions, she’s also a new mom and of anything I could say of Anna, it’s that I cannot wait to watch her grow as a mother to her baby girl. She’s quietly confident and self empowered to be exactly who she wants to be—to be the wife she aspires to be, to be the teacher her students look up to, to be the friend you didn’t know you needed. She lifts up those around her. Most of all, I am excited to watch those traits reveal themselves in their own little ways in her daughter. It’s not often we find women who are rooted in grace and have an incredible sense of self worth, but when we do, we hope that all of their goodness rubs off on the world.

—Brittany Wegner

 

   Josie Nguyen 

My inspiring cousin who somehow finds time between her career and being a mother of two daughters to be an advocate in the Vietnamese American community. As an immigrant herself, she fights to bring heightened awareness to the social issues that affect her community to establish the best future possible while honoring her heritage. She is a board member and conducts social media campaigns for pivotnetwork.org – a network of civic engagers that inform and empower Vietnamese Americans.

—Alan Nguyen