Asking for a Raise

1986. I was young, working for a prestigious Minnesota nonprofit. My second job, fourth boss, I held the catch-all Administrator to the President position. She recognized a business need and my under-utilized college degree and skills. Offering me a Public Relations Manager position, she asked that I think about a fair salary overnight. Elated, finally getting the coveted work and title, I practiced requesting a whopping $5,000 raise. The next day, as I summoned courage and tried to activate my reluctant voice, she interrupted, ‘How’s $15,000 sound’? Shocked, I nodded yes — to experiencing extraordinary female mentorship, equity opportunity and leadership. — Mary Schoessler

My She-ro, My Mom

When I had my first child at the age of 16, my mother did not throw me to the wolves. Knowing my history as an honor student, she became a child-care provider and cared for my son while I attended school. Thanks to my mother, her prayers, her love, care, and support, I graduated with honors from high school in 2003 and received the African-American Academic Achievement Award for my grade point average. — Manishea Vonsha James

Moving Past Abuse

After I left my emotionally abusive husband, I left my financially 
comfortable life and was plunged into extreme financial difficulties. 
A woman helped me find an apartment, women brought me food, 
women listened when I needed to talk, a woman drove my daughter 
to school, women (nuns) prayed for me around the clock, a woman 
(my lawyer) went to court with me, a woman (my mother) called 
me every day to be sure I was putting one foot in front of the other,. 
A young woman (my daughter) built me up every day I was down. 
Could I have survived without them? Possibly. Would I have wanted 
to? Absolutely not. — Rene Myers

Mentor in Teaching

I was in my first year teaching 7th grade English in Texas. I was 
in way over my head. I survived because of an amazing mentor, 
the math teacher on my team, who had lost her 19-year-old son 
the previous year due to drug-related violence and yet she came to 
school every day with a heart full of love. She made a difference every 
day for her students and still had enough left over to guide a young 
colleague. Twenty years later, I’m still teaching and still grateful. 
— Jennifer Lundstrom Hernandez

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