In honor of Women’s History Month, we reached out to SMPS HQ staff members to commemorate this observance. Below, they share their thoughts on women they admire.
Semra Ergun, Senior Manager, Learning & Experiences
My mom is a huge influence not only to me, but to every person I’m friends with who has met her. She came from practically nothing and helped raise her siblings, all while trying to pave a better path for herself. She was able to do that by becoming a Pam Am flight attendant in the 1960s. As she flew around the globe, she was always a present mom to my brother and me, and she was even able to get her Masters in Psychotherapy when I was in elementary school. From that, she become a crucial part in helping other flight attendants cope and work directly after 9/11, as a practicing psychotherapist and working flight attendant. She works as a psychotherapist today in Washington, D.C., and has since retired from being a flight attendant, but her impact is felt in everything she does—which I witnessed growing up. Watching someone go beyond and keep evolving and growing no matter what age is the main lesson I will always carry with me while helping others along the way.
Natalie Gozzard, Vice President, Component Relations
As a past Little League Baseball player in my youth (and the only girl to play in the league for two seasons), I admire Mo’ne Davis. Mo’ne made history in 2014 when she became the first girl to ever pitch a winning game in the Little League Baseball World Series. She was one of only two girls to play that year and the first African American girl to play in the series as a whole. She was also the first Little League baseball player to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated as a Little League player. Mo’ne is currently playing softball for Hampton University.
Tina Myers, Deputy CEO
During this month, I reflect on the four women in my life that have always been by my side, helped shape me to be the person I am today—my sisters. I am the youngest of eight (three boys, five girls), grew up in Roxbury, MA, and in challenging family dynamics. In spite of our economic circumstances and other issues of the day, each of my sisters always made certain I was by their side, well taken care of, and loved. As an adult, there is so much more I have learned that show me just how strong these women were and are. They are my dearest friends. It is painful that I lost my eldest sister a few years back to cancer, but her spirit is always with me.
Linda Smolkin, Senior Manager, Content
Many know Audrey Hepburn as an actress and fashion icon. But she was much more. During WWII, Audrey helped the resistance by taking messages and food to Allies who were hiding. She also volunteered at a hospital and hid a downed paratrooper in their home. After her career as an actress, she became involved with UNICEF and in 1989 was appointed a Goodwill Ambassador. She went on various missions/visits, from Ethiopia to visit orphanages to Turkey as part of an immunization campaign. Hepburn received the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom for her work with UNICEF, and UNICEF honored Hepburn’s legacy of humanitarian work by unveiling a statue, “The Spirit of Audrey”, at UNICEF’s New York headquarters.
Devin Stubbs, Senior Coordinator, Digital Marketing
During Women’s History Month, my mind goes to one woman who has always been an inspiration. My sister, Shannon Cronan, has greatly shaped my view both on life and the world itself. My sister has and will always be the strongest woman I know, and each day she proves it. Consistently standing up for those who don’t have a voice, or aren’t strong enough to speak for themselves, she’s never been one to leave people alone. Through her work in occupational therapy, she helps to change the everyday lives of people she may only meet once. Through a contagious smile and her hard working will, Shannon will be sure to leave a lasting impression.
Marci Thompson, Chief Strategy Officer
Zora Neale Hurston, known as a genius of the South, novelist, folklorist, anthropologist. Zora wrote one of my favorite books of all time, Their Eyes Were Watching God. She inspired me as a multi-faceted woman, so much more than a writer in the Harlem Renaissance.