Today I had lunch with a business colleague of mine, Jean, that I met through a local business networking group. We both wanted to meet and get to know more about each other, so that we can help each other promote our business efforts. She, like I, is a small business owner. However, she has 30 plus years of experience in her field, compared to the 15 plus years that I have.
I shared with Jean my experience in HR and all that I have accomplished to become a successful HR Consultant today. It has not been an easy road, and I really had to work hard and work my way up to be where I am at in my career. However, after hearing Jean’s experience, my hard road seems to pale in comparison with what she had to endure to be where she is at today.
Jean is a very successful training consultant who has done work for organizations such as Chrysler, AT&T and Amoco. Her career started in sales, which was once a male-dominated career field. She shared with me that towards the beginning of her career, she had been hired for a company as their only sales woman among salesmen. She had endured much discrimination as a female. She was placed in a territory that had been a very tough and unsuccessful territory, in the hopes that she would not be successful and they would be able to “weed” her out. On the contrary, Jean displayed tenacity, vigor and determination, turning around the territory and making the highest sales in the territory in the history of the company. Furthermore, she endured much criticism and was not treated fairly as a working woman in the workplace. Even still, she never gave up and she showed them that she could perform equally, if not better, than the men in her office.
When I heard about her background and her climb to the top, I was inspired and moved by her strength of character and grit. She never gave up and never allowed someone to tell her that she could not accomplish her goals and dreams. She did it, gracefully and respectfully. Because of women like Jean paving the way for women like myself in the workplace, we have been able to endure much less heart ache and the climb up the corporate ladder has been much easier. I know that we don’t have 100% equality yet, but we have much more opportunity than women did 20 plus years ago. Also, we have protected rights when it comes to workplace discrimination.
The next time you talk to a woman like Jean, thank her! Thank her for trailblazing the way to women’s rights in the workplace and to giving you equality in your career field. We owe these strong, fierce, phenomenal women more than we could every pay.
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