Influencer Chrissy Kirkman is a life coach, worship leader, dreamer, mentor, wife, and bonus mom with a passion to help others overcome adversity and achieve their dreams. Chrissy understands first-hand what it’s like to want to give up. Enduring a divorce, financial hardship, weight loss struggles, depression, anxiety, endometriosis, multiple surgeries, and losing five babies has deepened Chrissy’s faith in God and transformed her into an overcomer!
“A ship in port is safe, but this is not what ships are built for. Sail out to sea and do new things.”
That quote is from Grace Hopper, a woman and a pioneer in the world of computer science. Many women have had influence in the world of computer science throughout history, but data now tells a different story.
Fewer and fewer women are entering the field of computer science. Less diversity in the field leads to homogeneous thinking and a hindrance to innovation. As of now, only 20% of the computer science workforce is representing the voices of women.
This leaves women behind the curve in the “new economy” in which advanced computing skills can lead to lucrative careers. [pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]As of now, only 20% of the computer science workforce is representing the voices of women. [/pullquote]Unfortunately, unless something is done to narrow the gap in the field, it will only add to gender and salary inequalities.
Studies show that gender identity and bias begins early. While we are seeing a shift, a feeling of inadequacy in math and science is still prevalent in young women. Girls often have less exposure to computers and computer science classes throughout their school years. There is also a distinct absence of female role models in the field of computer science..
This is a call to action for all of us, mothers, fathers, teachers, business leaders, and politicians. It is imperative that we begin to reach students beginning as early as Elementary School. [pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]This is a call to action for all of us, mothers, fathers, teachers, business leaders, and politicians. [/pullquote]Outreach can demystify computer science, inspire budding computer scientists, and stop stereotypes before they are even formed. There are organizations such as Girls Who Code, Made With Code, and Girl Develop It working to reach and mentor young girls. As fierce women, mothers, and advocates, we must put forth our voice as well in support of inspiring the next generation of fierce women in computer science.
Jennifer Ralston Stringer is the founder and a consultant at Square 32 Consulting. Over the past 15 years, Jennifer has gained experience as a Teacher, Administrator, Educational Technology Coordinator, and Professional Development Leader. In 2010, she founded Square 32 Consulting to help schools, parents and educational technology companies understand the changing world of the digital learning age. Her clients have included public and private schools, parent groups, and various educational technology companies.
Meet Jennifer at Square 32 Consulting
Cristina Avila is a Marketing Manager based out of Toronto, Canada. With over five years of experience in Shopping Centre Management and a Degree in Retail from Ryerson University, shopping is no joke for Cristina. By day, she is a leading the execution of regional marketing campaigns alongside over 100 retail partners. At night, you can find her blogging about her shopping tips and tricks to save you money (working at the mall does have its perks!).
When not working or shopping (they really are both one in the same), you can find Cristina staying active, with a coffee in hand and/or in the company of friends and family.
Be sure to keep tabs on Cristina’s shopping adventures on her blog www.thisgirlsavesblog.com. You too, can take advantage of her strategies to save you money on just about anything!
This topic really resonates with me. Over the past couple of years I’ve had some challenges thrown at me and not all of them positive. I’ve learnt how important it is to nurture those friendships and relationships that provide support and encouragement and let go of those relationships that have the potential to drag me down. I’ve learned how important it is to surround myself with people who support my vision, who don’t begrudge my success, who don’t begrudge me the opportunity to fulfill my true potential. I’ve learned people harbor negative thoughts and feelings often as a result of their own insecurities and trying to pull me down is only to make them feel better. I’ve learned by connecting with people who are on a similar path, who are in a similar mindset as I am, creates an energy that propels me forward and empowers me even more so.
Your mindset is incredibly powerful, channeled in the right way it allows you to overcome obstacles that you wouldn’t have thought possible, it allows you to step outside your comfort zone and experience a level of freedom that isn’t possible when you constrain yourself behind an invisible barrier.
People are meant to come and go thoughout our life, we learn valuable lessons from the different interactions that we have and it is these experiences that help shape who we are. The key is to identify when to walk away from those relationships that no longer provide a meaningful experience, that no longer serve us, in order to open ourselves up to other encounters. Change can be unsettling, it can unnerve us and make us feel self conscious but change brings with it new experiences, it opens doors to other opportunities and if you truly embrace change it can invigorate you, provide you with a new lease on life and give you a direction and a purpose you didn’t have before. Failure works in the same way, failure is simply a lesson learnt and sometimes we need to fail to appreciate there is a better way of doing things.
Your strength of character comes from the people who surround you, it’s not whether you get knocked down but rather who is there with an outstretched hand to help you stand back up. Learn from the experience and use that experience to make you stronger, to make you more resilient – to live more boldly with greater purpose and greater passion.
Through previous experience, I learnt that habits can be restrictive, can be suffocating and can hold us back. I let go, I took a leap of faith, I put trust in my ability and I realised I wasn’t prepared to accept someone else controlling what direction I went in, I wasn’t prepared to accept someone else dictating what sort of person I became.
Have you got someone in your life you need to let go of? Have you got a habit you need to free yourself of? Have you got untapped potential that you need to release to achieve greater freedom? Would love to hear your thoughts, leave a comment below.
Susan Stevens is the founder of New Zealand-based Meme & Co, a jewelry and accessories company with an innovative, woman-centered business model. She has over 18 years experience in sales, marketing and advertising, she climbed the corporate ladder and was committed to her career but her priorities changed when she had her children. Life became a struggle, trying to find a balance between wanting to retain her worth and independence in the workforce without compromising her ability to be a present and attentive mother.
Then, Susan made a terrifying leap – leaving a six figure income to no job and a big mortgage. With a very strong resolve never to go back to the corporate world, and through commitment, perseverance and a passion to succeed, she found as one door closed other doors opened. It was this journey that gave her the motivation and the drive to create an opportunity for other women who want to be in control, who value their independence, who want to be empowered. Her drive to keep a balance between work and family life ultimately resulted in `taking a leap’ into the unknown and embarking on a personal journey of self reflection, new challenges and growth.
Photo courtesy of Flickr
Wooden blocks. Perfect for kids (hello creativity), perfect for parents (they can’t do too much damage with those, can they?) – now, perfect for the giver!
Tegu Toys is a company I just found about a month or two ago when I took my son for a playdate with some friends & their kiddos at Bay & Bee in Jacksonville. Noah and Avery took to these colorful blocks right away (yes, out of everything fancy in the place), sticking the little wooden pieces to each other, to the magnetic board, creating all types of shapes and special…kid things. Anyway, I thought the idea was a novel one and text my husband about building a magnetic board like the one they had to play with, and took to amazon to buy some of these awesome toys.
WELL, I’m not going to lie. We’re not a struggling family BUT the prices that popped up at first turned me off. Tegu Toys aren’t what I’d call cheap. So I put the idea out of my head for a couple weeks, until Avery’s mom got Noah some Tegu Toys for his birthday. He jumped right into playing with them and he (and I) loved every quiet minute. I took a few of those quiet moments to read about Tegu on the blocks box. That’s what changed my mind about this company, and about the price tag that originally shocked me a little.
Tegu Toys were developed keeping the classic wooden block toy in mind, meshing with their ideas of how to fuel childhood creativity – all while attempting to transform a nation in the process. Here’s what each Tegu Toy set is doing to make the world a better place:
–They pay employees a living wage and prioritize long-term career growth and development over simple task jobs in Central America. This in turn is changing employment standards in Central America (how cool)!
–For every tree harvested to make Tegu Toys, the company plants another 983. This isn’t just done in Honduras where most of the trees are hand-selected by Honduran cooperatives, but trees are also donated to replanting efforts everywhere Tegu Toys are sold. Talk about giving back to the environment…and some clean air. Who doesn’t like “going green?”
–These colorful blocks are giving kids an education! AFE (Amor, F y Esperanza) in Honduras, is Tegu’s own school, started by the company to provide an education for the children whose families work at a local city trash dump.
Those three ways Tegu Toys are giving back to help not only the struggling nation of Honduras BUT the air right here in the U.S., are enough to make me fork over a little more to give my son a toy I know is helping a child (or 2 or 5) of Noah’s own age to have a better life. Tegu’s been going strong since 2009 – will you help them make it to their 10th anniversary by adding them to your home or a friend’s?
Find out more at www.tegu.com, on Instagram: @tegutoys or at Facebook.com/TeguToys
Meghan Van Bussum is a news producer & reporter turned marketing maven. Throughout her career, she’s strived to figure out the story behind everything and make sure the story is told in the most pure form possible. Now, raising a two-year-old son, Meghan is trying to raise him in a world where he learns from an early start that not everyone lives the same life as him, and that he should always try to live in a way that gives back to the “little guys”, the “givers”, and ultimately makes our world a better place! Ergo, the “Socially Conscious Shopping” blog series.
Meghan hails from the North (oh hey Lebanon, PA!), but has made her home in sunny Vilano Beach, St. Augustine, FL with her son Noah, husband Matt, and two American Bulldog rescues, Samuel Adams & Kona. Football season is a family favorite; Notre Dame, Florida State & the New England Patriots, take over their home every Saturday & Sunday!
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