This year’s International Women’s Day theme is “Choose to Challenge” — a way to encourage women to stand up against gender bias and inequality. International Women’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate the successes and strides that women have achieved in the workplace while we continue to create the inclusive world that we want to see. Today and every day, we celebrate incredible women — from the boardroom to the sports field, and everywhere in between.
We invited our colleagues to provide their thoughts on three questions that get to the core of this year’s International Women’s Day celebration, #ChooseToChallenge. Read their responses below.
Who is one woman, either historical or in your own life, who inspires you during challenging times and why?
"Ruth Bader Ginsburg is someone who has inspired me throughout the course of my life. A book dedicated to her life and her work sits on my coffee table. She changed the landscape in the fight for gender equality. Her fight didn’t end with sex-based discrimination, but all discrimination/injustice in our world. And she did so with grace and passion and a flair all her own! (Not to mention, her collection of stylish collars was incredible!) Sometimes I wonder, without her hard-fought battle, would I be able to hold the position I do today?" – Tyler Curley, Associate Advisor, Dahring | Cusmano and Associates
"Eleanor Roosevelt - From a very challenging childhood to a complicated adulthood, she was steadfast in her beliefs that every human was valuable. She was an outspoken civil rights leader who balanced diplomacy with humanitarianism." – Ann Shadle, CFP®, Chief Operating Officer, Dahring | Cusmano and Associates
"I know this sounds like the “easy, go-to” answer, but the one person who has always inspired me during challenging times has been my mother. Whenever I fall, she picks me up. Whenever I struggle, she guides me with words of wisdom and challenges me to take the higher road, while not always the easiest. She also shares in my joys as if they were her own. After 4 miscarriages, she found hope and love in another direction by adopting two beautiful children from Seoul, Korea. God then blessed her with two more biological children. Me and my three siblings have had a family bond like no other. We have a strong faith and strong relationships in each other that have blossomed because our mother gave her everything to raise us and bless us with cherished memories. She is our rock. Thank you, Mom!" – Bethany Lutch, Client Services Associate, Dahring | Cusmano and Associates
"Someone that I would aspire to be more like is Mother Teresa. I love so many things that she did in her life and how she lived. One of her quotes about life: 'Love cannot remain by itself – it has no meaning. Love has to be put into action, and that action is service. The most terrible poverty is loneliness, and the feeling of being unloved. If you judge people, you have no time to love them.'" – Diane Martz, Senior Client Services Manager, Dahring | Cusmano and Associates
"My mom has been a tremendous inspiration and constant cheerleader throughout my career. The entrepreneurial spirit and grit I inherited from her have been integral to my surviving and thriving in times of uncertainty. I always hear her voice telling me 'You’re like a cat, you’ll always land on your feet!'" – Angela Cusmano, CPFA, CRPC®, AIF®, Managing Partner, Dahring | Cusmano and Associates
"The importance, pace, and impact of our everyday work can be all consuming. I have learned that enjoying those you are with and having fun along the way creates a more vibrant culture for all and ultimately increases client satisfaction." – Ann Shadle, CFP®, Chief Operating Officer, Dahring | Cusmano and Associates
"I would say that persistence, perseverance, and patience will conquer any challenging situation you may have in life. I personally need to work harder at this!!!!" – Diane Martz, Senior Client Services Manager, Dahring | Cusmano and Associates
"I was tasked with training my team members on a new system. While the system was completely new to me as well, I dedicated the time to learn and develop best practices that would fit our firm and business practices. I engaged team members from each department to review and provide recommendations to better sculpt the process and further strengthened my organizational and documentation skills." – Christina Iott, Senior Client Services Manager, Dahring | Cusmano and Associates
What piece of career advice would you give to younger women?
"This advice has been important as I mentor other young women and men in their careers, urging them to have the confidence to take those bigger risks in life, especially earlier on. Being bold in my decision-making as a newer member of the workforce has been key to the personal and professional growth I strive to attain every day." – Angela Cusmano, CPFA, CRPC®, AIF®, Managing Partner, Dahring | Cusmano and Associates
"Work hard for the things you want to achieve. Listen to your heart, it’s rarely wrong. And continue to shatter glass ceilings!" – Tyler Curley, Associate Advisor, Dahring | Cusmano and Associates
"Live your authentic self, follow your moral compass and lift others up with every opportunity." –Ann Shadle, CFP®, Chief Operating Officer, Dahring | Cusmano and Associates
"My advice to someone younger would be to do what makes you the happiest without causing hardship to anyone else. Work hard and good things will come." – Diane Martz, Senior Client Services Manager, Dahring | Cusmano and Associates
"Be true to yourself and your beliefs. Lift up and encourage the women around you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions." – Christina Iott, Senior Client Services Manager, Dahring | Cusmano and Associates