You are only as powerful as those you surround yourself by. I've been reflecting on my personal community. I know, sappy, but I'm allowed every now and then...so without further ado, a rollcall through the last decade of some of the women that inspired me.
20. My 20s started with a sad death for Jamaicans - Louise Bennet, or as we fondly know her, Miss Lou - Poet, Educator, Folklorist. For me, she was an example of excelling with that Jamaican creative spirit. In keeping with the theme, an excerpt from her poem "Jamaica Oman" (Jamaican Woman):
21. Hermione. Okay really, J.K. Rowling, but we all know Hermione is her fictional counterpart. From Hermione to Mrs. Weasley to Professor McGonagall to Lily Potter to Ginny Weasley to Luna Lovegood, J.K. Rowling gave us a host of strong, powerful women, and they all shone in the last book. We can't be what we don't see...and it's important that we are reflected in our books and media. And in keeping with that thought, I will forever think of Hermione as portrayed in this beautiful fan art.
22, 23, 24. Ahh, graduate school. When you're working on a PhD, your entire world becomes the PhD. These were the years when I really started establishing my network of awesome women in tech, so I'd love to give a shout out to all the amazing women I know from my academia years. Grad school was hard - it would have been impossible without this support group. #SquadGoals.
25. For demonstrating that through perseverance and hard work, it's never too late to change your career path - my Aunt Lorna. Already an exceptional literature teacher, she went back to school and got a law degree.
26. For being such visible role models of women in tech excelling at LinkedIn - Erica, Flo, Prachi, Annabel. You have no idea how much it meant to see women like you when I started 4 years ago. #WITLinkedIn
27. For going back to school and finishing a Bachelor's degree in Language Education with a major in Literacy Studies, while doing all the amazing things a mother does - my mom. You demonstrated that all is possible through perseverance.
29. For having the audacity to perform a song in the heart of Silicon Valley, with the entire country watching, with dancers dressed like Black Panthers, with the words "You just might be a Black Bill Gates in the making" - Beyonce.
And last but certainly not least - the epic group of women I am so lucky to know. Gabrielle. Myra. Jessica. Toni. Alexa. Jo. Denique. Alison. Charu. Caitlin. Thogori. Gwen. Kora. Dasha. Sarah. Sahai. Meg. Leila. Simone. Katherine. Bianca. And so many more. You all inspire me on a daily basis. I can honestly say that I would not be here at this point in my life and career without you.