International Women's Day, Women's History Month, Thought Leadership

Celebrating International Women’s Day: Reflections on Leadership, Inspiration, and Equality

As Women's History Month unfolds, I find myself reflecting on the extraordinary journey of women throughout history.

Today, on International Women’s Day, we pay tribute to the resilience, courage, and tenacity of women who faced adversity with unwavering determination. It's a celebration of the sisterhood that binds us together, fostering a culture of support, mentorship, and empowerment. 

I think of my grandmother, a strong and tenacious woman born, 1896 in China who defied the Chinese tradition of foot binding. With courage and fortitude as a single mom of two young kids, she migrated to Singapore in 1937 during the Sino-Japanese War. She was a skillful entrepreneur, setting up an embroidery business in a new country. During the Japanese occupation in Singapore, she combined resources with a group of moms and sold fresh eggs and chicken from their little coop in their backyard. She was fiercely determined but also nimble to adjust. She instilled in me the importance of setting goals, high expectations, and working tirelessly with determination and grit to achieve them. 

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Great leaders, in my view, possess decisiveness, discipline, and empathy. They have the ability to make difficult decisions, maintain focus and accountability, and understand and connect with the needs and experiences of others. As a woman of color and an immigrant to the United States, I've been fortunate to have mentors and colleagues throughout my career, who have guided and supported me, shaping my character, values, and vision as a leader. 

To women aspiring to a career in the nonprofit sector or becoming an entrepreneur, I offer this advice: combine passion with discipline and humility, advocate for yourself, be willing to adjust, and embrace difficult decisions. While the path may be challenging, it is immensely rewarding, offering opportunities for impact and fulfillment beyond measure.

On this International Women’s Day, let’s honor the past, celebrate the present, and envision a future where gender parity and equity prevail. It's a reminder of the enduring spirit of sisterhood and the collective responsibility to champion equality in all its forms.

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About Denise Wang-Kline

CEO at Kindest
  • Tiburon, California
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