As we all watched videos sharing the story, philosophy and mission of each nominee, it got me thinking about all the magnificent women who have made a lasting impression on my life. Some of them I’ve met and shared great experiences with (Amy, Ima, Mrs. Donahue) and others are faraway heroes who made their mark in more indirect ways (Laura Ingalls Wilder, Whitney Houston, Hillary Clinton).
The Athena Award nominees were all very strong, passionate, gracious women. They carried their conviction in the twinkle of their eyes and truly believed in what they dedicated themselves to. Each has made their mark in very different ways, but the most important message I took from each of those incredible life forces was their reliance on the network around them.
I feel like our society has changed from a hierarchical structure to a net of interconnectedness. The rise of the Internet, the mass popularity of social media, the face to face connections we make with one another all point towards a fundamental shift in how we interact with the world and its people.
No one is untouchable. Because we are all connected in some way. The women who have changed my life, whether in a great or small way, found a way to connect with me. In turn, I have used this fusion of mind and spirit to connect with others again and again. Knowing this inspires me to be as good as person as I can be, because ultimately what I do to others will touch, effect and move others in ways that I can’t even imagine.
In this way, I can be moved by an Athena and return this by giving back the same energy to those around me. For this I am truly grateful that there are so many profound people in this world. Because through them, we are all great in our own way.