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lessons learned from 31+ women in march

Featuring a 30-second Q&A with at least one woman every single day in March takes a team effort. In March, the toth shop team took on that effort with our Wise Words from Wise Women Series on LinkedIn in honor of Women’s History Month. (If you haven’t yet, check it out.)

My role consisted of sifting through and organizing responses on the back-end. That means I read through every response from a group of 30+ amazing, talented women. Every woman brought her own spin and voice to the same six questions to offer something unique to her experience.

In their answers, I found a few common and important threads: 

the power of mentorship and community  

Time and time again, women wrote about the impact mentorship had on their journey and why they strive to pay it forward in their own work. 

“If it weren’t for many of the women who went down this path before me and provided guidance along my journey, I would not be here. So, take the time to answer questions and mentor other female business owners. Because together, we all succeed.” – Michelle Jones, founder and lead designer of Michelle Jones Creative 

“Be a part of mentorship and networking opportunities  specifically for women in business…We need more successful women in the world who talk about what it took for them to get where they are now, what challenges they faced and how they overcame them.” – Drashti Shah, founder of the Purple Script  

“Better support for women in business involves fostering a sense of community to alleviate isolation, providing access to affordable and flexible business education, and offering mentors/advisors for guidance.” – Ava Williams, CEO of Solution Consulting Co.

advocate for yourself and others 

To be an advocate means you are a champion, a supporter. But one consistent theme I found through these responses was that women felt it was important to advocate for themselves and for their fellow females. 

“Since we are constantly fighting for position amongst men, my philosophy is to always be bathroom besties. You know, when you're out with your friends and you have to use the restroom, you get bombarded with all things WOMAN. In that bathroom, you are bonded. In that bathroom, we are all equal. There is nothing but a sisterhood. That is what I think we should do. Rally. Support. Cheer each other on.” – Deanne Duncan, Operations Manager at DCA Virtual Business Support/ Personal

“Make introductions. Be the intersection of good people.” – Stacy Cassio, CEO & Founder of The Pink Network

“Continue to acknowledge women and the greatness they add to business.” – Ashley Wilson, Marketing Strategist at Orsborn Engineering Group

equity in compensation and support

An analysis from Pew Research Center found that women earned an average of 82% of what men earned in 2022. That is only slightly better than it was 20 years ago, when women on average earned 80% of what men earned. 

Many women responded that the gender pay gap remains a pressing issue. Or as Deborah Bosley, founder and principal of The Plain Language Group, put it, “Equal pay – I can’t believe we’re still fighting for that.” 

But I also found that many women - rightfully - feel that equity needs to go beyond salary and include other aspects of compensation, such as childcare and the ability to be flexible while juggling work and caregiving roles.

“Pay women fairly for the work and impact they make in every sector of our society. For many of us, equity includes access to quality childcare and eldercare, too! When you do the math on how much women on average are paid compared to men, and then you throw in the cost of caregiving so you can do work you're passionate about, the seesaw simply isn't balanced in our favor. That imbalance impacts everyone – not just women.” – Tiffany Tate, CEO and founder of Career Maven Consulting 

“The world needs to talk more about the importance of flexibility in how and when we work! Statistically speaking, women are also most likely to be the default caregivers in a family. Flexible work arrangements can provide a better framework for women to effectively navigate work and caregiving responsibilities.” – Katie Timmerman, Vice President, People and Operations, at Anna Stallmann Communications 

“We should not have to say ‘working women.’ We do not say ‘working men.’ If we are to truly have a conversation about equity in the workforce then we must use phrases that are equitable. We are all working - men and women.”

– Dr. Sharon Jones, founder & CEO of thedot. Consulting and the Dottie Rose Foundation

our unique superpower(s) 

Women bring skills to the table - empathy, authenticity, kindness - that can have a transformative impact on how a business operates, but are often overlooked. 

“Research often shows that women are better empathizers, and using empathy to understand others’ perspectives helps us all to be more aligned/effective as a team. The HR issues that I commonly see in the workplace are often the result of a lack of empathy and consequently a breakdown in communication amongst teams.” – Tanya Birch, senior advisor at First Key Consulting

“One thing that I would like the world to know is that leading with authenticity has been one of my greatest decisions personally and professionally. When you show up in spaces fully, you're able to attract the people and things that are meant for you. For so long I was hesitant to share my magic with others, but when I did, it set me free to live in my power.” – Maya Bullock, VP of Operations and Impact at Give Impact 

“I strongly believe that the business world needs more kindness and servant leadership because many problems in business can be solved when the influence of the ego is minimized. We should always strive for clarity, understanding, and the optimal use of energy. To those who seek to fight, our attitude of kindness will probably seem naive. Yet, the wise part of us knows that life is a marathon and not a sprint.”

– Milena Milićević, digital transformation consultant 

the future is bright 

To me, the goal of any generation is to make headway for the next. It was evident reading through the responses from women in this series that many of them understood the responsibility and are more than ready to rise to the occasion.

“I am actively pulling a chair up to the table for all the little girls who look like me. My passion is to call out and remove barriers that may hinder growth and progression for our young women. Encouraging young women to use their voice, strive for leadership roles, lift each other up, and learn from others. If there isn’t a table, make a table!” – Linda Higgins, Director of Financial Aid and Student Accounts at Wake Forest University School of Professional Studies

“I remember in high school learning about one of my camp counselors that started a photography business and thinking that that was the coolest thing ever. If I had not been exposed to that, I’m not sure I would’ve had as much guts or been as inspired to go for it when I was starting my own business a couple years later. Still, to this day, I am constantly inspired by seeing what other business owners are doing. I think if we could start exposing the youth to that as soon as possible, it could lead to more confident business owners and future leaders.” – Julia Rohrbach, founder of Julia Fay Photography

“I was named a Senior Vice President while pregnant with my daughter and something about sharing that moment with her felt like it was going to be different for the next generation of female leaders.” – Lauren Burns, Assistant Dean of Marketing and Enrollment Management at Wake Forest University School of Professional Studies

I cannot count the number of times this past month that I was moved by, inspired by, and in awe of the women in this world. Women’s History Month is about more than honoring the past and the brave women who paved the way; it’s celebrating the progress we’ve made and the history-makers of the future. 

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