There are millions & millions of women around the world who have done phenomenal things and paved the way for many other women and girls. I have had the benefit of personal experiences with many such women, 31 of whom I have chosen to honor in a 4-part series for this Women’s History Month. Join me for Part III.

31 Days – 31 Inspirations, Part III

Sheris. My mentor. My friend. There are no words to convey just how much of an inspiration this young lady has been to me. She is living, breathing, walking RESILIENCE. I would not dare try to tell her story because only her eloquence and passion could do it justice. Speaking of her eloquence, I swear she took more Toastmasters classes than I did! Sheris has overcome and overcome and overcome. She stands tall EVERY DAY! We served together in the Air Force and we were veryyyyy young in rank when I nominated her as my mentor LOL. I am blessed that she keeps me close because every interaction we have is a reminder to ignore the BS and take care of business!

Yulanda. I do not have a long, personal connection with Yulunda as I do with every other phenomenal women I choose to honor this month, but it’s not often that someone’s love & care of another touches my soul. THIS woman-of-God is one of THE FEW I have encountered who outwardly lives what I read in the Bible. I met her through Ms. Resilience (Sheris) and I draw inspiration from how she cares for those around her. Yulunda is now my measuring stick for the level of love & care I want if ever I am in need. Lady, your outward expression of love & care surpasses that of mothers!

Bella Bear. My youngest inspiration. Now listen, there are millions of young leaders and influencers out there but I don’t know them. I know this one. I swear this little girl came to us from another life; she had to! I don’t interact with her often anymore but her influence is now intertwined into my persona. She was and still is, the sweetest child who is NOT hesitant to be an expression of love and kindness. In the short time that we lived in the same place, I learned from her to be more outwardly expressive. I might even say she taught me to be a hugger. I so was not. Sending hugs Bella Bear!

Guess what? There’s another Anne C.! Yep, what are the chances of having 2 inspirations with the same 1st name AND last initial??? Check Part I for the first.

Anne C. (NJ). One of my most recent inspirations, Anne Caruso, owner of Networks Plus, is probably THE sweetest person I’ve met since leaving the Air Force almost 2 years ago. Even DH now recognizes her name (and he zones out a lot when I ramble on & on). Her warmth, spirit and deliberate inclusive efforts encouraged me to “want” to be a part of what she’s a part of. Take a bow lady, I appreciate you!

Every woman who has survived a miscarriage. If you haven’t experienced it please don’t say “I understand what you’re going through” because, while you mean well, it doesn’t really help. There are lots of TERRIBLE things that many people go through, live through, experience and recover from. This is one of them. Having been there, I can confidently say, each of these women is an inspiration BECAUSE they got up and got on with what was ahead in their lives. It’s some tough shit.

Kaidean. The most delightful friend to have & a huge cheerleader of whatever you’ve got going on. She commits herself and her time to friends fiercely and loves them savagely. She inspires me to continue to love people despite their behavior. She dwells ‘not’ on the negatives and laughs EVERY SINGLE DAY. Her energy & love of life are contagious. I am forever indebted to you for always being onboard with every harebrained scheme I dream up. Hopefully, I am half as valuable to you as you are to me chica. Hugs.

Iyanla Vanzant. I’m not in the habit of quoting and I don’t reread many books. I probably should, but I’m usually eager to move on to the next. Iyanla has not ‘fixed my life’ BUT she dang sure has given me the direction to do so myself. Back in 2001 Momma Dearest gifted me with Iyanla’s book Acts of Faith. It’s a daily motivational book that I have read every single year since 2015. What? You wanna know what happened between 2003 when I got the book & 2015 when I ‘discovered’ it. Life finally kicked me in the teeth enough where I was ready to look within and I haven’t looked back. Those who’ve been around long enough to compare me pre- & post- Acts of Faith have this woman to thank for much of that transformation. Go get you a copy!

photo of Aunty Claudia’s table courtesy of Nabil P.

Aunty Claudia. I’d sign her up to go head-to-head with any Food Network chef. My stepmother is probably the original #foodie and she could break down ingredients with a quick taste test…I mean like for real! If she gets to read this, it’ll probably be news to her that I inherited my ♥️ of food & the kitchen from her. Without realizing it, she planted the seed that eventually blossomed into something I enjoy…tinkering in the kitchen. Whatcha cooking lady?

I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I always knew the woman I wanted to be.

Dione Von Furstenberg

Thanks for continuing this journey with me to celebrate the women who’ve inspired me.

Check out Parts I & II here and stay tuned for the last segment.