WHBM Staff: What International Women’s Day Means to Us


Today, International Women’s Day is celebrated with heroic quotes, flowers, and gal-pal dinners to honor the women inside us or the women we look up to. But its origins have a much deeper meaning. Women’s History Month was first celebrated in 1913 in celebration of Russian women's right to vote after protesting for “bread and peace” during World War I.

Years later, in 1987, the first local celebration took place in Santa Rosa, California. There, the Education Task Force of the Sonoma County Commission designated the week of March 8 as Women’s History Week and International Women’s Day (IWD) — with former President Jimmy Carter issuing the first presidential proclamation of the special week in 1980. The movement quickly spread across the country and world and is seen as an opportunity to strive towards a gender-equal world across all industries and as a way to get more seats at the table. 

The campaign theme for International Women's Day 2024 is Inspire Inclusion. The organization believes that the day should be a collective celebration for all those committed to fighting for women’s equality. This year, there is a greater emphasis on empowerment, diversity and belonging in all aspects of society. Inspire inclusion was created as a movement to encourage everyone to recognize the unique perspectives and contributions from all walks of life, including those from marginalized communities.  

For the last few decades, corporations and organizations have taken the time to pay tribute to the vital contributions that women have made as social activists, political figures, mentors, teachers, bosses and idols. This year, we are choosing to do that by compiling insights from eight impactful WHBM female employees who will share what it means to be a woman, how they balance work and personal life, and how they inspire others. May we continue to uplift each other and inspire change. 


Tell us how International Women’s Day makes you feel. 

“I’m not sure International Women’s Day is different to me than any other day. For me, in terms of what it means to me to celebrate and recognize women…well I believe in doing this every day. I have the utmost pride and constant admiration of women and how they show up on a daily basis. We are warriors; constantly able to manage a multitude of layers that make up our everyday normal. As professionals, mothers, sisters, daughters, partners and friends, women show up everyday making it look easy. The art of being a woman is that we make it feel normal and expected to be able to maintain balance and manage all of life’s complexities. Women’s true superpower lies in our ability to build each other up, compliment and support each other every single day. My hope for International Women’s Day is that it unifies us all by realizing how important it is to stop, pause and be grateful for all of the women that surround our lives.” 

What qualities inspire you to continuously achieve new heights?  

“Recently in my career, I was fortunate to work with a woman who perpetually reminded me that women in business should build each other up, and she didn’t just say it, she did it. She empowers with words that encourage women. Through grace and recognition, she praises women on her team, her peers and leaders. She’s walked the walk – always supportive, always speaking about how women are our biggest support system. Her admirable and empowering style inspires me to lead through class and grace; I hope to mimic her strong leadership and inspire women to champion one another.” 

What is your proudest moment as a woman? 

“Becoming a mother while managing a career, relationships and going through my own self-discovery. I was privileged enough to be raised by a strong, proud and determined mother. I am the oldest of three girls and having the privilege and opportunity to raise two daughters has been a driving force in showing up every day as a woman. I want to be someone they admire and are proud of.” 


What does International Women’s Day mean to you? 

“It serves as a reminder of the progress we’ve made towards gender equality and the work that still lies ahead. As a member of the fashion industry, I see IWD as an opportunity to celebrate the strength, resilience, and determination of women worldwide. Fashion has always been a tool for self-expression and empowerment. I love being part of a community that encourages women to embrace their individuality and express themselves through style fearlessly.” 

How can women support other women? 

“Empowered women, empower women. It is essential to support and uplift other women in the workplace. By lifting each other up, we can break down barriers, shatter stereotypes and create a more inclusive and supportive work environment where everyone can thrive.” 

What advice would you give in establishing a steady work-life balance? 

“It is a constant struggle but with a strong support system, clear communication, and a very detailed schedule, you can make it work. It is also important to set realistic expectations. You cannot do everything perfectly all the time. It’s ok to ask for help and let certain things go to maintain balance.” 


What is your proudest moment as a woman? 

Getting my first apartment and standing on my own two feet.” 

Please share a women’s empowerment story that inspired you. 

“I had a friend who was rushed to the emergency room due to a tumor in her ovary. She had been living a fun and exciting life in NYC as an executive in a big corporation. Her world stopped on that day, but only on that day. She left the hospital determined to beat the odds of ovarian cancer. I watched her move through chemo and radiation, lose all of her hair and struggle at times. She embraced being bald and wore it so well. She took care of herself and did not let doctors deter her from taking a natural approach to her health along with her cancer treatments. I never heard her cry or feel sorry for herself. She beat her cancer and embraces every day with a grateful and positive attitude. She taught me to always embrace life no matter what you may be up against — it's always worth it.” 


What makes International Women’s Day special? 

“It's a celebration of all women: the amazing people we are and the things that we do. It is a day where we can celebrate our historical accomplishments while honoring the incredible women who have spoken up, rebelled and paved the way for where we are today. I also find International Women’s Day as an immense source of inspiration to continue to support and empower each other and be the change we want to see in the world.” 

What would you pass down to younger women entering the workforce? 

“The advice I would give to younger women entering the workforce is to not feel afraid to pursue whatever it is that you want. Know your value and stay confident and true to who you are. I think it's also important to surround yourself with a great support system that will help you grow, inspire and encourage you to be better every day.” 


What are some of the biggest lessons you've learned throughout your career that can be applicable to women just starting out?  

“I would encourage young women to seek out mentorship. Find a woman that stands out to you or who is in a position that you one day strive to have, ask for advice from them on a regular basis and honor their feedback. When I opened up and applied what my mentors taught me it accelerated my career and eliminated a lot of internal stress. Two, have confidence and avoid arrogance. We as women feel that we have to overcompensate to be noticed, but it is important to remain humble and open to learning. When I was entering the workforce, I had an inflated ego that got me nowhere. Once I took a step back to observe the experienced women I worked with, I not only benefited from what I learned, I also gained more respect from my leaders and peers.” 


How does the essence of International Women’s Day play out in your work? 

“I grew up in Brazil and have traveled extensively, so the global aspect of this holiday is very meaningful. I try to reflect this diverse experience in my work by empowering the new generation of designers to think more broadly as part of a much bigger global community.” 


How important is work-life balance to you? 

“Working remotely has given me incredible flexibility that has been irreplaceable during this time in my life and improved my work-life balance. With young kids that come with an active schedule, it's important that I can flex into both major roles as needed, without slowing down my career ambition, and I am so grateful that remote work is helping me accomplish that!” 

What advice would you give to female employees just starting out? 

"Know your worth. The men working alongside you do. Be proud of the work you put forth and go after your promotion, or the job you want because you DESERVE it and you have worked for it.” 

Name a time when another woman inspired you to be the best you can be. 

“My mother’s empowering story has really inspired me. My father passed away when I was just 14, leaving my mother on her own to raise four teenage daughters. I saw her grieve the loss of her best friend and life partner, but yet she showed up for us every day; made sure we felt supported, loved and comforted while we processed our own grief. Not only did she guide our family through some of its darkest times, but she came out the other end truly living – chasing after new careers, celebrating her daughters’ journeys, and then finding new love again with my now stepfather. Today, a lot of who I am, the type of mother and woman I try to be, stems from how she raised me, and I really do try to emulate her each day.” 


What's the one thing you would tell junior female employees today?

"If you feel strongly about something, don’t be afraid to speak up. Too often I’ve seen women, myself included, hold back great ideas or opinions out of fear and later regret it. Remember, what you have to say matters."

This International Women’s Day, we encourage you to take up space and not give in to gendered limitations. Today and always is a day to be unapologetic, to stand tall and reclaim our power. Like the great Australian feminist and activist G.D Anderson said, “Feminism isn't about making women strong. Women are already strong. It's about changing the way the world perceives that strength."