INSPIRED BY WOMEN (cont'd)

These are personal accounts telling of what happens when others are inspired by women to do more, be more, and dream more.  We are highlighting the achievements of female change makers as a catalyst towards inspiring future young leaders.


 
 
Arlette S. Butcher

Arlette S. Butcher

FEATURE 15

At the beginning of 1999 I suffered the incredible loss of one of the most phenomenal women I had come to know in my lifetime. This woman was my mother. 

What I would find out later down the line was that she had planted a seed of childlike wonder in me that would ultimately lead me to other women who were filled with that same phenomenal spirit. It was along that very path that I would virtually meet another amazing woman, Loverly Sheridan, who seemed to have been living many of my dreams. 

Ms Sheridan was young, vibrant and full of life, light and love. I eventually found out that she had recently written an autobiography. I therefore made it my life's mission to find it and read it. After reading this book, I was able to quickly surmise that, as the title suggested, I had truly found 'A Girl Like Me'! Ms Sheridan has gone on to accomplish several incredible feats, including the publishing of many other books. Although I do not share the same interests as Ms. Sheridan, it is her positive spirit that draws me to her. She makes me want to do better, not just for myself but for those around me; whether near or far! 

I am now proud to call her my friend, my inspiration, and definitely a girl like me.

Arlette S. Butcher is a third year Speech- Language Pathology/Early Childhood Education student at CUNY-Lehman college. She is a proud mother of two and enjoys music, reading, traveling and the outdoors. As a member of the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society and the National Student Speech Language and Hearing Association, Arlette plans to use her enthusiasm for learning and passion for children to impact the lives of others in a meaningful way.

 

 
 
 

 
Hannah Zoppi (left). Sigrid Heath (right)  (Photo of Sigrid by Dion Ogust)

Hannah Zoppi (left). Sigrid Heath (right)

(Photo of Sigrid by Dion Ogust)

FEATURE 16

I have been incredibly fortunate in my life to have met and been mentored by many powerful women. One of whom, is Sigrid Heath, a native of Saint Lucia. I met Sigrid during my study abroad year on the island of Paros, Greece and was immediately attracted to her glow. 

Sigrid is an accomplished writer, actress, and playwright. This woman is a goddess. She exudes confidence, intelligence, and class. I was lucky enough to get to work with her on a play that she single-handedly created with me in mind. Her experience and talent are profound and I am grateful that she allowed me to take the reins and pushed me to explore more deeply what I was capable of.

Anyone who has had a conversation with Sigrid will carry that conversation with them for a very long time. I think of her every time I need a boost of confidence and bravery in my work.

Her writing, her humor, her way of laughing at herself and owning her life, her successes and failures, are all inspiring and have changed what I had once thought the path of my life should have been.

I am lucky to know her and to have worked with her, and I envy the people who are destined to meet her, because they will be changed, just as I have been.

Hannah Zoppi is the Social Media and communications assistant at the Aspire Artemis Foundation.

 

 
 

 
 
Kearstin Bailey (left) Wagana Hughes (right)

Kearstin Bailey (left) Wagana Hughes (right)

FEATURE 17

I first met Njeri Wagana Hughes when I moved to Budapest almost two years ago. I was new in the city and trying to find my place, and she took me under her wing without hesitation. 

Njeri is a multilingual woman from Nairobi, Kenya who has lived on three continents and is currently working on a PhD in addition to raising a darling baby girl, who I’m proud to call my goddaughter.

She is like the older sister I never had, always just a phone call away if I need to vent, drink wine, or use her oven to make chocolate chip cookies. Her door is always open, something that’s rare to find when you move to a new city. 

During my time in Budapest, Njeri has been my life coach, pastor, best friend, hairstylist, cooking companion, and so much more. She taught me to always remember my own value and to be my authentic, unapologetic self in all situations. In this hectic Central European city she is my rock and I’m a better person for having known her.

-Kearstin Bailey 

Kearstin Bailey is currently a Global Mission Intern working in the field of refugee integration in Budapest, Hungary

 
 

 
 
Farah Hosny.     Photo by Jerry Tian Ying Min   

Farah Hosny.     Photo by Jerry Tian Ying Min

 

FEATURE 18

"It took me some time to actually think of a true female inspiration to me!
But I came to realize that my sister is one of the biggest inspirations in my life!
If it wasn't for her motivation and persistence, I would not have gotten that far with my dreams!
She always pushed me forward, was always there when I was down, and forever stood by my side in pursuing my goals.
I'm studying photography now in New York, and I owe this to her! 
We are the same age but I always felt that she was my guide, protector and true inspiration!"

Farah Hosny is a photographer studying at the New York Film Academy. 

 

 
 

 
 
Parisa Elahi  Photo by Farah Hosny photography

Parisa Elahi

Photo by Farah Hosny photography

FEATURE 19

I met Gissou Nia when we were working at a small human rights NGO. Gissou, an international human rights lawyer by training, was always encouraging us to find new and innovative ways to advocate for human rights campaigns.

I learned a lot from her due to her expertise in international criminal law and human rights law and picked up new skills relating to social media and UN advocacy. In addition to being a lovely mentor and friend, she truly taught the meaning of leadership through kindness, collaboration and teamwork. 

Parisa Elahi is a young lawyer working in the area of Middle East Finance in New York

 
 

 
 
Vanessa Uzcategui pictured with Sarah Kelly

Vanessa Uzcategui pictured with Sarah Kelly

FEATURE 20

It is difficult to choose a single woman that has inspired me. Each day I feel motivated, moved, encouraged and strengthened by strong women. 

Today I will highlight the impact that my friend and mentor, Sarah Kelly, has had on my life. Sarah and I met a year and a half ago when we both moved from the United States to Madrid, Spain as English teachers. I remember that our first conversation was about writing. Since we both enjoy blogging and traveling, I knew the friendship would last.

I was immediately inspired by Sarah’s elegant decorum. She is the definition of class. As I got to know her, I realized that was just one quality I admire in her. In a short span of time, Sarah has become a fundamental part of my writing career. I am a guest travel writer for multiple platforms, and my success in getting published has been primarily due to Sarah’s mentoring. She is a marvelous editor, and an even more marvelous friend. Every article that Sarah has worked on with me has gotten published. I am incredibly grateful to her for all of the hard work and dedication she has put into my success. 

Sarah knows how to tell the truth in a way that builds you up and makes you better. She has improved my writing, and enriched my life. She goes the extra mile in all her endeavors: teaching, running, traveling, writing, editing. She has faced the tough challenges of life abroad with a natural grace that makes me look up to her. It is both fun and incredibly enriching to have one of my closest friends as a mentor. This dual relationship makes our friendship all the more meaningful. Mentors truly change lives.

Vanessa Uzcategui is a TEFL educator and writer working in Madrid, Spain