On Mother’s Day, we celebrate and show appreciation for our moms, and for moms everywhere. We thank our moms for all that they do, and for their love, encouragement, and support. In honor of these women who have shaped our lives, YWCA USA asked our staff to share some of the important lessons learned from their moms. Here are a few:
Holly Jones, Director, Member Services: Growing up as the daughter of a public school teacher in the South, I was one of the few white children that remained in the schools during desegregation. Through this life experience, my mom taught me how critical it is to be physically present in the fight for racial justice. The most important solidarity occurs through shared experience, and I proudly pass this lesson along to my daughter as she has been educated from the start in the beautifully diverse settings of YWCA and the public schools.
Christie Daily, Director, Member Services: When my mother died at the age of 96, several childhood friends approached me to say what an important role model she had been for them in the 1960s as a career woman. I realized that with the era’s more typical stay-at-home moms, they found inspiration in what I took for granted – a mother who was also a professional woman. I’m proud to think that she served as an example for them, and she would be pleased to think that she inspired successful careers.
Tycely Williams, Vice President, Development: In 1965, my mother was among seven students who integrated the public schools in Elloree, South Carolina. Despite the mistreatment and discrimination she experienced, she instilled within me high moral standards and an unwavering devotion to treat people with respect. My momma taught me to never let anyone erase my values and principles. She often reminds me, “You do the right thing, even when someone else opts to do the wrong thing.”
Danielle Marse-Kapr, Communications & Marketing Manager: I was 15 the first time a man got angry at me for correcting him. I was baffled about why I had “gotten in trouble” and when I told my mom about it, she said, “Some men don’t like smart women – so they won’t like you and you don’t have to worry about it.”
Becky Hines, Vice President, Member Services: My mother built a firm foundation for me based on faith, family, and service. From that foundation, she encouraged and supported me to make my own decisions and create my own life’s journey. She has taught me to be empowered by setting an example with her own life which has never been more evident than in the past few years as my dad has battled Alzheimer’s. She has found the inner strength to continuously advocate for his care while adjusting to life on her own. She is my role model.
Jacqueline Sam, Chief Operations Officer: My mom stressed the importance of an education and fostered a love of learning in me, and she taught me to always try my best, learn from my mistakes, have faith, and believe in myself.
Casey Harden, Senior Vice President, Strategic Initiatives and Membership: By example, my mom taught me a woman can be a leader in the workforce and play the mom role too, and she can do it without whining, fussing, etc. That silence or absence of whine/fuss/martyrdom is remarkable to me, as I continually balance my workplace executive role and my mama role, and I do my best to be more than mediocre in tending to both – and to not take anything for granted. My mom did it, so I work off of the assumption that I can too. I celebrate her recent retirement with a ferocity so strong, as a nod to all the years I know that she strived “to have it all.” Happy Mother’s Day, Joan Miller (aka Mom).
Martha Breunig, Director, Resources & Metrics: What I learned from my mom: Get Organized! Stay Active! And pursue life with a sense of adventure!
Tiffany Wang, Digital Communications Coordinator: My mom, who grew up in Taiwan and immigrated with my dad to the U.S. with very little, showed me the value of perseverance and hard work, and the importance and power of education. It’s hard for me to fathom the extraordinary sacrifices she’s made to pursue a better future and to give my brother and me the wonderful opportunities and life that we have here. Leading by example, she has taught me to always have a sense of adventure and wonder, to embrace diversity, and to have empathy and gratitude for the world around me.
Catherine Beane, Vice President, Public Policy and Advocacy: My mom, Donna Vanchiere, taught me that, “There’s never a table you’ll sit at where you, as a woman, don’t have a voice or a right to speak up!” She showed me this in the way she has lived her life, and in the way that she and my dad raised me and my four brothers – equal voices around our table!