16 Women and the Lessons They Taught Us Here at Shine HQ
March 8, 2019
Like much of this world, Shine HQ is powered by women.
Women make up the majority of our office, of our contributors, and of our amazing global community. We're all about shouting out the amazing women that empower us to embrace all our feels, go after our dreams, and help us live full lives.
So in honor of Women's History Month and International Women's Day, we wanted to pull the curtain back a bit here at our New York headquarters and let you in on the amazing women that empower us every day.
Whether it's moms, professors, friends, and more—they all have taught us incredible lessons we still carry with us to this day.
Read them below, and share your own lessons with us on Twitter!
“My female friends have taught me to prioritize myself. They have taught me to speak up when I don’t feel seen and to run away from any relationship that makes me feel small. They have taught me that I am never too much, never not enough.”
Elisha M., Audio Talent
“It may sound simple, but my mother has always reinforced the importance of nurturing my relationships with other women. Just knowing how powerful and influential these connections can be, it taught me to always check-in with and show up for the women in my life so that they always know they are being thought of and held up.
That feeling of support can make all the difference in someone’s life. It’s something I strive to do regularly no matter where my friends and family are located or the life stages they’re in."
Tiffany W., Audio Writer
“My first post-college job was at a media company led primarily by women, from the CEO down to the editors of each digital magazine. I took the gender balance for granted at the time, but what did sink in was the way my boss—an industry leader who’d made the jump from old-school print to the Wild, Wild West of digital—was so quick to speak up when she didn’t understand something.
As I fumbled around in my new-to-the-workforce haze, terrified of appearing unqualified, her vulnerability spoke volumes. I learned that I didn’t have to have all the answers, like some sort of human search engine. Having most of the answers was, of course, ideal, but I could see that asking questions made her seem more competent, rather than less, and usually meant a better end result. I’m forever grateful that I learned that lesson so early in my career.”
Molly S., Contributing Writer
“I grew up with a lot of anxiety—fear of thunderstorms, airplanes, sleepovers, you name it—and my mom taught me early on to never be afraid to get help. She always told me that asking for help was a strength, not a weakness, which was radical at a time when talking about your mental health was even more taboo. If she hadn’t helped me find a childhood therapist and continue to get help with my anxiety throughout my life, I 100% wouldn’t be living the big life I am today.
Today, I pride myself on my ability to seek help when I need it, and it’s a lesson I try to impart on the people in my life, too. One of our greatest strengths is learning how to help ourselves and taking the time to do that.”
Haley G., Sr. Content Strategist
"My great-grandmother, 'Mother,' was the superhero mother of 13 children and more grandchildren than we can keep up with. She was a strong, beautiful black woman who raised her kids with a loving-kindness that has trickled down to every single person in my family.
Growing up, Mother always made me feel seen and understood. She nursed my wounds when I fell down, taught me how to wrap my hair, let me steal any of her kitchen trinkets when I was in the 'Can-I-have-that?' phase of my childhood and she taught me that treating people with kindness and respect was everything.
Who I am as a friend, a partner and a human being, really comes down to having the great fortune of being supported by strong women throughout my entire life."
Marah Lidey, Co-founder and Co-CEO
“When I was very young, my mom put a little poster on the wall right beside the door we used to come and go from the house each day. The poster said “Positive Thoughts Only”-and she made it a rule that every family member had to high-five the poster on their way out the door every day to keep the message top-of-mind. She made it clear that PTO didn’t just mean we had to put on a happy face all the time, but instead let it serve as a reminder to always look for the learning or the silver lining.
I have my own handmade sign now in my bedroom, and one on my desk to remind myself to find perspective in every day.”
Kara C., Community Lead
“It was just me and my mom growing up, so I learned from her how to be independent, strong, and resilient, while also being loving, fun, and always doing her best!”
Mia L., Sr. UX Designer
“Early on in college, I was lucky enough to take a history course with a professor who pushed our class to look for the stories that were missing from our textbooks. Often pausing to ask our class, “Whose voices are we missing here?” More often than not these voices included women, people of different socioeconomic status, or people who were on the receiving end of colonization or oppression.
Once we identified missing perspectives, we would then work to find ways—where possible—to fill in the gaps and build a more holistic view of the history we were studying.
This framework of inquiry has stuck with me ever since. Because of my multi-cultural upbringing and the diverse community I grew up in, intersectionality was something naturally embedded in my understanding of the world, but I hadn’t quite nailed down how to articulate it.
I will be forever grateful to my professor for empowering me with the language to first make these connections for myself and to seek a deeper understanding of the world so that I can, in turn, work to empower others whose voices might not be traditionally sought out or heard.”
Yasi R., Sr. Product Manager
“My Grandma Bea, a devout woman of faith with the best smile in the world, taught me the importance of loving and being present to individuals of invisible populations.
She’d dress me up, equip me with candy and flowers, and we’d make our way to nursing homes in South Tampa. We’d take time to pray and spend time with aging folks whose family’s had stopped visiting. Humility—I’m sure my Grandma Bea would say—is integral to being of service to others. Community is everything.”
Sinclair C., Contributing Writer
“Some advice I received from a past boss that's always been grounding is that you don't have to live just one life. As many times as we fail or win or find something we love or get stuck in something that drains us, we can choose to start again.
There doesn't have to be one set path, whether that be one job or staying in a rough relationship—we can choose to stop and start again. There can always be a second act. And a third. And a fourth. And however many you need.”
Brittany C., Director of Partnerships
“My mom, for her bravery in all things. She lost her mother when she was only 19 years old, witnessed her father face political persecution and stood up for him, and survived the incredible journey that comes with being a political refugee. It’s hard for me to imagine that this part of her life even existed before she had me.
I always saw in her what I thought was fearlessness. I’ve since learned that it wasn’t the absence of fear, but her ability to push through on her convictions and realize great opportunities even in the face of fear and adversity.”
Cat L., Software Engineer
“My grandma taught me what it means to love your family. Not sure how I can express or articulate the lesson in words. I don't think I ever visit her and not end up with a huge plate of food and telling her all about my life.”
Chris S., Software Engineer
“My mom always taught me that there’s strength in vulnerability and being yourself. Once you get past caring what other people think (which I feel like I am now, at the age 29) you feel way more confident because it doesn’t matter what other people think—and you realize it’s never mattered.”
Sophie Y., Sr. Audio Strategist
“When I first started working with Shine's co-founder, Naomi Hirabayashi, at our previous job, I read an interview where she mentioned one of her biggest pet peeves was complaints without solutions. And I think I realized then and there that that was something I did a lot, and that I should do better. She really was the impetus for this work value I have now of being solution-oriented.
Also, with all of her “I love you’s” and just who she is, she’s shown me an example of how there can be a place for radical compassion and care in the workplace.”
Jonathan U., Chief Technology Officer
"One of my oldest and dearest friends has shown me the power of dedication, through so many life stages. When we were 10, she declared that she wanted to be a doctor so she could help take care of children. She dedicated herself to that dream, hustling hard through many years of school and tough nights to become a brilliant and compassionate pediatrician.
She’s dedicated herself to our friendship, always being that person who encourages me to see myself, especially during those tough moments when I struggled to.
We’ve seen each other through braces, first kisses with braces, puberty, marriages, divorce, babies and her very real gluten-allergy. And through it all, she’s remained one of the most dedicated, committed and compassionate people I’ve ever met.
And most recently, I saw her commit herself fully as a loving daughter, as she took care of her beautiful mother in the last stage of her life. She was all in, every day, being by her mother’s side to comfort and care for her.
As a new mother to a beautiful baby girl, I couldn’t help but think: I hope I raise my daughter to live with as much integrity and dedication as my dear friend, Ashley."
Naomi Hirabayashi, Co-Founder and Co-CEO
“My mother is an immigrant from Ethiopia and her, along with my aunts, have instilled the importance of standing up for my beliefs from an early age through actions. I found those values through healthy debate fostered around the dinner table with them, but with their guidance, understood the importance of putting those values into practice by volunteering for organizations aligned with our family morals and more.
In everything they did, their actions supported the idea that what we do has such a great impact on our communities. I try to practice that in small ways, every day.”
Martha T., Content Strategist
Today's recommended meditation: