For the past two months, I’ve been researching, interviewing, and writing about ten influential women in our community for a local magazine. These women were nominated by people in the community. I knew of many of them, but only knew one of them personally.
What a fascinating study this has been. These women come from all kinds of backgrounds and have differing interests. Some are mothers and some are caregivers of another sort. Some have made an impact through their career -- others have created and sustained community programs through volunteer work
All have one thing in common -- a laser-beam focused intensity on their area of interest. Most did not want to talk about themselves, but about their passion. Most had an early experience that shaped their interest. They moved forward to make things happen.
What struck me is that many took risks -- outside the norm -- for the very thing they thought was most important. This may have been taking an unpopular lateral move at a job, or moving to a whole different career. It may have involved financial risk -- stepping outside of the normal channels of work to pursue and implement the idea. None of these women was satisfied with the status quo.
Most of them were readers and learners and expressed an interest in the wider world. While pursuing their own dreams, they were cognizant of the problems, concerns, and visions of others. All of them cited other people who served as mentors, both formally and informally. Many talked about serving as mentors to young people in our community, and what satisfaction that brings.