I feel it is fitting that our annual Women of Athens issue is being published the day before Thanksgiving.
It is certainly an appropriate edition in order to give thanks to the women who have contributed to this city’s growth and success.
In my relatively short time here in Athens, I’ve been extremely impressed with seeing how women have banded together in this city and are prominent leaders, business owners and humanitarians here.
There are literally hundreds of more women we could — and eventually will — profile in future editions of both The Athens News and The Athens Messenger.
We were so fortunate to have so many women to feature that a few were actually put into our main section because the insert was full.
Athens is certainly stronger and better because of the many women who are making this area a great place to not only work in, but also to live in.
Just at my own workplace, we have many strong women who have contributed to the success of our publications and also my personal growth as an editor.
I’d be remiss not to put our senior general manager, Amanda Montgomery, right at the top of the list.
She always brings her A-game to us here and that encourages me to bring my A game, too. She is insightful, encouraging and always willing to listen — traits every good leader, whether they are a man or a woman, must possess in order to lead. I am truly grateful for her support and guidance.
Our team of reporters, Nicole Bowman-Layton and Tracey Maine, also deserves all the praise and credit to always going the extra mile to insure that our coverage is both broad and accurate. They make it happen on a daily basis and I couldn’t do my job without them.
You truly are only as good as the people you work with and I am blessed and thankful for all in this building and all in this city who make me a better person and better journalist.
I am struck by a quote I read from former Good Morning America co-anchor, Joan Lunden, in her mid-1980s autobiography, that has stuck in my head 35-plus years later and it certainly applied for those times and maybe even today.
“Women can have it all, they just have to get up at 2:30 in the morning,” though, to accomplish that.
I’m not sure if that still applies, but hopefully not.
Hopefully we have advanced as a society where men are more supportive of their spouses and the work they do both in the office and at home.
In my spotlight feature on Tanya Conrath, I asked her to comment on that quote. Her response didn’t flow with my story, but it is more than appropriate to include here.
“I understand what “having it all” meant in the 1980s — marriage, career, children, and getting dinner on the table at 6:00. But what does “having it all” even mean today?
“As women we need to continue to fight back against these gender stereotypes and drop the idea that women are a monolith who agree on what it means to “have it all.” Even the notion of “having it all” is absurd when you consider that women have to continue to fight every day for our most basic rights to bodily autonomy, equal rights, equal pay and against discriminatory systems, policies and practices,” Conrath said.
As women still fight for both equal rights — and equal pay in the workplace — much has changed in almost four decades.
However, I am certainly cognizant of the fact that there is a long way to go, too.
This Women of Athens edition may not change those facts, but, hopefully it highlights a cross-section of successful, determined women in our community who are fighting to alter those statistics, while, also paving the way for the future women leaders of tomorrow.
As Thanksgiving Day approaches, I’m sure everyone could compile a list of those women and men who they are thankful for.
As we embark on the holiday season, I hope everyone will take the time to reflect on what and who they are thankful for.
We hope you enjoy this special Women in Athens issue and encourage your feedback and suggestions on other women that we can feature in future editions of both of our publications and next year’s special insert.
Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at The Athens News. We certainly are grateful to all of you for reading our publication and for spearing us on to continue to bring you the people and places that make this city truly unique.