On this year’s International Women’s Day, I reflected upon the important women in my life and what I learned from them.
I was fortunate to grow up in a household comprised of strong women – my grandmother, mother, and two sisters. Each of them had their individual strengths from cooking and knitting to architecture and mathematics. What they all had in common was a strong sense of their individual value and an unwavering belief that they could do and be whatever they wanted, regardless of their gender. Each of them entered fields predominantly run and controlled by men. My grandmother worked in a factory, my mother worked in higher education, and my sisters – one works in architectural design and the other as a biologist. Each of them were and are very successful in their chosen careers.
What contributed greatly to their success was not only knowing their individual value, what specific skills they had and could contribute to an organization, but also not being afraid to promote their value within the organizations in which they worked. They were fearless self-promotors. They knew what they wanted in their careers and were not afraid to ask for what they wanted. These are two of the most important skills I learned from them, knowing one’s value and self-promotion. It does not matter how much education or experience you may have if you do not embrace and promote your value.
These women also brought to their work organizations a specific skill set that tends to be stronger in women, in general. This skill set includes fostering an inclusive culture, unique problem solving skills, and fostering innovation. Skills that are important in all organizations at all levels. While these skills can certainly be learned, they tend come more naturally to women. Again, I was lucky enough to learn these skills and other qualities from the women in my life and they contributed greatly to my successful studies and career.
I am fortunate to have these strong women in my life who have taught me a great deal. I believe that the best man is a woman-trained man. And this is the best kind of man to be.
Dr. Daniel A. Molnar
Head of Academic Administration