Here’s To The Women Who Inspire Us!

Just last week, I reached the 100-day mark as Executive Director of CWLI, and I’ve been thinking a lot about whether I’ve done what I set out to do with that time. My first goal was to get feedback and insight from as many people as possible and to gain an in-depth understanding of the needs of CWLI, our members, and our partners. With all of the conversations I’ve had in pursuit of that goal, I’ve also had cause to mull over our past, present and future. And that got me thinking about why I’m here, how I got here, and what I hope to bring to the future of CWLI. What is my purpose in this moment?

And to answer that question, I once again have to look through the lens of past, present and future. I chose to serve CWLI to honor the women that got me here, to elevate the women of our community today, and to strive for a better world for the leaders of the future.  A valued mentor and former employer often referenced the saying “Plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit.” The women who came before me did exactly that – they planted trees, and they inspired us to do more

I remember being a little girl waiting in the cafeteria for my mother to come pick me up from school. I remember the exact sound of her heels clicking on the tiles, and how that sound moved me. I knew that I wanted to hear my own heels clicking like that someday. As I grew older, it became a metaphorical “heel-click” rather than a literal one, but I can hear that sound in my own steps now, and I remember that the future is watching. 

So with my first hundred days now in the past, I dedicate this moment in time to the women who brought me to this point. To the women who spoke my name in a room full of opportunities. To the former boss who advocated for me and poured herself into my professional development. To a board chair who coached me and gave me the benefit of her insight and leadership experience, even though it wasn’t in her job description. To the CWLI member (she knows who she is) who walked up to me at a Quarterly Connect last fall and said “Why haven’t you applied for the Executive Director job?” To my mother, who showed me what kind of woman and what kind of leader I wanted to be. To so many women that I couldn’t possibly list them all – You inspire me. 

Mother’s Day is just around the corner, and I’m thinking about what that means to me, to our members, and to an organization focused on elevating women. So many of us juggle both careers and caregiving responsibilities. Not all of us are mothers, but we very often position ourselves to support, nurture, and give back to the world around us. Because we want our communities and our people to reach their fullest potential.  Because we want to plant trees under whose shade we do not expect to sit. CWLI wants that too – we elevate and support each other in order to create a better future for each of us and for everyone who comes after us, just as so many women before us have done. This Mother’s Day, I encourage you to make a tax deductible gift to CWLI in honor of any woman who has inspired and supported you in your journey. If you make a donation of $25 or more before the deadline (May 5  for a mailed card, or May 10 for an e-card), CWLI will send a “You Inspire Me” card to your honoree with your personal message. Your investment can help CWLI to plant tomorrow’s trees, and to continue today’s work of elevating more women to leadership roles and decision-making spaces. Thank you for being part of this community as we work together to build a bright and bold future! 

Meghan Greene, Executive Director