International Women’s Day 2021: Celebrating the Women Who Challenge Us to Be Better

women looking at a laptop together

In a year that has seen women face unprecedented challenges both at work and home there has perhaps never been a more appropriate time to celebrate International Women’s Day.

Over the past year, we’ve made a point as a company to stand for social justice. We’ve partnered with United Way 211 to bring much-needed relief to communities in need.

And today we want to say thank you to the women in our lives who have kept us all moving forward.

The International Women’s Day theme this year is #ChoosetoChallenge, and as a tech company made up of over 50% women, we challenge ourselves every day to eliminate gender bias, celebrate women’s achievements and create a more inclusive world.

From People Ops to Sales, Engineering to Support, we asked the women of Mediavine to tell us about the important women in their lives. We invite you to join us in celebrating not only these amazing stories, but the amazing stories of the women in your own life.

Who is the most influential woman in your life?

My brother’s girlfriend Ellen is a 2nd grade teacher and this year I have watched her teach her kids through the computer. She was encouraging and had patience for each child; she was not only their teacher but their coach and friend through Covid. She inspired me to think about making everything into a game and to be more patient with my own daughter. — Rachel Pillet, VP of Programmatic Sales

My mother Dianne is by far the most influential woman in my life. She has been married and provided an example of love for 26 years, raised two strong and independent women, been president of one of the most influential women-run nonprofits in Pittsburgh (the Junior League) and, while homeschooling me, followed her DREAM of owning a coffeehouse, building a business that has become a cornerstone of our community. — Ruthie Stewart, Support Specialist

When my sister Ashley was born a little over five years after I was, I didn’t have any qualms about no longer being the baby of the family. Over the years Ash’s best friend Michaela (who was an only child) became our “adopted” sister, our third. Heartbreakingly, we lost Michaela to Acute Myeloid Leukemia in late 2019. Nothing has impacted my life more than battling alongside her for a year and a half. Her love, her spirit, her joy for life, her infectious laugh and her deep longing to live has influenced me so completely. Everything I do now, every decision I make is so deeply rooted in this loss, but also in my determination to live a life that is rich, fulfilling and full of love. I could not, would not be who I am without Ashley and Michaela. — Cyd Converse, Supervising Editor, Food Fanatic

My Mémère, who passed away nearly twenty years ago, is someone I’ve looked up to all of my life. Anyone who knew her describes her as one of the kindest, most gentle souls they’ve ever met; which was astounding to me, considering the difficult life she led. Her parents, having immigrated here from Canada, were extremely poor, and she went to work in a factory before she was 12 years old. She found joy and gratitude in the things she did have and spent her free time volunteering for veteran’s programs, marching in parades and playing board games with her grandchildren. She taught me to live in the present, that happiness can be found in the most unlikely places if you are strong enough to look for it and that people, despite all of their faults and shortcomings, are inherently good. — Renae Hodgkins, Engineering Manager

I’m lucky to have been surrounded by badass ladies all of my life, so pinpointing “the most” is a tough ask. My Grandma and Granny, my mom and stepmom, my aunt and my sister-in-law, plus a slew of inspirational friends have all influenced me immeasurably. However, now being an aunt to three incredibly special nieces simplifies my answer. Haven, Aspen and Jacqueline are intelligent, kind, caring, hilarious, strong, talented and brave. I know for a fact that they’re going to change the world and I’m the luckiest to get a front row seat. — Jenny Guy, Director of Marketing

I would have to say that one of the most influential women in my life is one of my college professors, Terresa Moses. The projects assigned to us in her classes had us digging deeper on how design impacts the people around us. The work she does for Blackbird Revolt, Project Naptural and her classes always has me in awe and wondering how she has time for it all. — Rosie Lin, Junior Graphic Designer

My mother! She is definitely one of my closest friends and I have so much respect for her. My mother has has always been “the person” that I go to. Go to for help, guidance, love, support and so much more. She has always made a way. A way for herself and for her children, and I love her for that. — Farryn Pearson, People Operations Specialist

Why is celebrating International Women’s Day important to you?

I think any time we highlight a woman’s achievements we are providing an opportunity for the little girl inside of each woman to see that *anything* is possible. Maybe it will be harder, or a different path than is “traditional”, but seeing yourself represented in unlikely places is always worth it. — Amber Bracegirdle, Mediavine Co-Founder and Chief Brand Officer

My great-grandmother, who I was lucky to know in my early years, was just 23 when women were granted the right to vote, and I think of her every time I have a chance to cast a ballot. Women have been marginalized throughout history and in civilizations around the world. It’s important to continue calling attention to our history and our achievements with celebrations like Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, so we can keep moving forward and changing the world. — Susannah Brinkley Henry, Senior Graphic Designer

Every day is Women’s Day in my world! Women have born the brunt of the pandemic, both in terms of the stress and the successes faced worldwide. Mothers, in particular, need all our praise right now for adding to their already exhausting mental load. While we’ve experienced the greatest job losses, we’ve also rallied to support one another and our communities and children through civic and volunteer organizations that didn’t exist a year ago. We’re innovators and collaborators. And that also deserves celebration. — Miranda Wicker, Marketing Associate

Women have never been given enough credit, since the beginning of time. Each initiative we take to shine light on female power gets us one step closer to the place we belong in this world. — Alysha Duff, Media Relations Specialist

What is your favorite book, song or quote by or about women?

“I am a woman PHENOMENALLY. Phenomenal Woman, that’s me!” — Maya Angelou — Farryn Pearson, People Operations Specialist

“Girl power in my mind is to let girls be exactly what they are. Let them be angry. Let them be resentful. And rebellious. Let them be hard and soft and loving and sad and silly. Let them be wrong. Let them be right. Let them be everything. because, they are everything.” — Amy Sherman-Palladino — Ruthie Stewart, Support Specialist

My favorite read so far of 2021 is The Girl With The Louding Voice by Abi Daré. It’s just so good. I laughed, I got leaky eyes and I ultimately left with more faith in humanity, the power of women and education. And if you’re anything like me, you NEED these things right now more than ever. If you’re looking for a book that will break your heart, then brighten your life, The Girl With The Louding Voice is it. — Jenny Guy, Director of Marketing

I don’t know where I first heard this song (perhaps a Tiny Desk Concert?) but Show Your Colors” by Genevieve is an uplifting, fun song that I think every woman should listen to when she needs a little sunshine. — Susannah Brinkley Henry, Senior Graphic Designer

The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. LeGuin & The Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler. These are two of the most influential novels I have ever read and the best sci-fi authors ever. — Ryan Duer, Support Engineer

Do you have a favorite women-owned website, brand or business?

A friend of mine named Liz from camp created a tie-dye company called Rags to Rainbows. — Rachel

My own! Style Me Suite LLC – all natural bath and body products and accessories. — Farryn

Pew Pew Lasercraft! — Jenny and Miranda

Hushup and Hustle, founded by my former roommate and awesome gal pal! — Alysha

With Love Bomi, a jewelry and accessory shop owned by a woman named Bomi. — Amber

Gus & Ruby Letterpress owned by my friends Samantha and Whitney. — Cyd

I really admire Good Juju Herbal. — Susannah

Kelli Anderson Books. Her work is so tactile and innovative. — Rosie

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