For Women’s History Month, we presented this question to the KNB team: “Tell us about a woman in history who has inspired or impacted your life.” Check out the responses here:
Beth Cooper, VP of Marketing + Sales
In high school I was on the track and field team. My events were the high jump, long jump, and triple jump. During that time, I learned about Alice Coachman. Alice Coachman is the first Black woman to win an Olympic gold medal. She won in the high jump, and she accomplished this feat in 1948. The deck was stacked against Coachman in every respect, from gender to race to socio-economic status, but she ultimately rose to the highest honor in her field. The thing I liked most about her story was how she improvised her training. Since she was not allowed to practice in many athletic facilities because she lived in the segregated South, she made her own courses and fashioned equipment out of sticks and other found objects. Then, she just kept honing her craft until her talent could not be ignored. That kind of creative problem solving and refusal to be deterred were, and continue to be, very inspirational to me. I’m not a very confrontational person by nature, so I appreciated this way of circumventing the system to achieve her goals and make an impact on the world at the same time.
Sandy Gutierrez, Digital Marketing Specialist
She isn’t famous and you will probably never get the chance to meet her, but I met Laura for the first time back in 2016. Laura is a real-life Wonder Woman. She has inspired me to always show up and do my best. Her natural charism and athleticism could put other legends to the test. She is a mother, wife, entrepreneur, DIYer and so much more. You could ask her to join any challenge mentally or physically and she would show up without much training and just own it. She has welcomed my family with open arms and has cherished my daughter as her own. She is someone in my life who has inspired me and impacted my life, and has pushed me to achieve similar goals of my own.
Liana Muaremi, Marketing + Communications Intern
I am an avid supporter of gender equality, so Ruth Bader Ginsberg has really inspired me. She finished top of her class at Columbia Law School with only 8 other women out of 500 by her side. As if this wasn’t impressive enough, she became a professor at Rutgers Law School. Along with this, she won five out of her six cases she argued against the Supreme Court. After this, she was nominated to the Supreme Court for 27 years until she passed away in September 2020. She fought through cancer while still fighting in the Supreme Court. I truly look up to her dedication and selflessness. She reminds me that anything is possible as a woman, and we are all created equal at the end of the day.
Gaby Hermes, Operations Manager
Many women in history are inspirational and have changed the world, Madame Curie, Rosa Parks, Gabriela Mistral, are some that come to mind; however, the woman that has inspired me the most is not on that list. Rosa Santana is a woman that exemplifies the American Dream and is a role model for women taking their place as business leaders. She has not let the environment of a “man’s world” stop her. Brought to the U.S. as a child, she has earned everything she has today, starting with her citizenship. Today, Rosa is active in many women and minority groups, such as WBENC and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. She is an outstanding entrepreneur; one of her companies is the first Tier 1 supplier to Toyota owned by a Hispanic female. She supplies the auto manufacturer with truck beds for the Tacoma and Tundra trucks. Rosa is phenomenal and I am lucky to know her.
Emily Boland, Account Director
Queue the violins, some of the women most inspirational to me belong to my own tribe. My mother, Pam, is strong, fiercely independent, and endlessly optimistic. It's an ongoing joke that she helps to keep her kids young. I've always admired her strength and perseverance and hope to have inherited an iota of her glowing personality traits. It's abundantly clear that my older sister, Jessica, has absorbed much of our mothers' ambition. As another inspiration in my life, I've watched my sister raise three amazing boys (ah-hem, men*) while pursuing a career in nursing. She began her path by achieving an ADN with three stair-step boys ages 3-9 and will be earning her RN diploma this fall!
Mary Guiden, Media Relations Manager
I’m inspired by my friend, Clara, an OB-GYN and all-around phenomenal woman. I met Clara when we worked at Planned Parenthood in Seattle. We started out as patient care coordinators and she took on more medical duties, since she was applying to medical schools. I was a freelance writer at the time, writing for multiple publications, and the part-time job helped me make new friends, provided health insurance and also helped me make ends meet. Clara has done so many impressive things in her life on top of becoming a doctor. She attended the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLs) and is the best person ever to go camping with. We went on an overnight backcountry trip to Goldmyer Hot Springs in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains outside of North Bend, Washington, and I basically just did what she told me. Clara carried our heaviest gear, including a stove, made sure we had purified water from the stream and cooked dinner, with minimal assistance from me. She’s traveled around the world and is also a fabulous cook and, in recent years, she is one of the many healthcare professionals in the country who has carried a heavy workload since the start of the pandemic. I’m not sure how she does it some days and the second year of the pandemic presented new challenges when more patients were COVID + or not vaccinated because of misinformation being spread about coronavirus vaccines. She’s a hero to me, her patients and so many others.
Kodi Smith, Account Director
Victoria Hecht Farnsworth is one of the most inspirational women I have ever met, and she happens to be my sister-in-law. Victoria is currently the Vice-Chancellor and Chief Information Officer at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga. Her passion and drive to succeed in a male-dominated role have always been my inspiration. She supported my decision to return to school as a non-traditional student and mother of three and always encouraged me to follow my passion. I truly believe her work is helping pave the future for girls all over the world. Thank you, Victoria, for always being on my side and creating a more female-accessible future!
Christina Sheleheda, Account Director
I am so lucky and blessed to have been surrounded by many inspirational women my entire life. The woman who inspires me the most though is my own mother. She is a first-generation American who watched her Greek immigrant parents struggle to provide a better life for their children, and worked tirelessly to do the same for myself and my sister. She enrolled me in martial arts at an early age, constantly gave me the encouragement needed to succeed, and still to this day supports my career and family – two things that women didn’t always have at the same time when she was my age.