Which Women Inspire You?

Author: Jennifer N. Dienst       

crocheted Kamala Harris mural

A large crocheted mural of Vice President Kamala Harris hangs outside the Officina restaurant at the Wharf in Washington, D.C. Love Across The USA, a public art project led by artist London Kaye that amplifies the voices of women, organized 150 crochet enthusiasts from across the country to help create the mural. (Love Across the USA Instagram)

On March 8, we celebrated International Women’s Day. In honor of the day and all during March, Women’s History Month, we’ll be sharing the women who members in our community hold up as sources of inspiration. We started close to home, with PCMA staff. Please tell us who inspires you at the PCMA Catalyst Forum.


Cynthia Smith, Senior Manager, Meetings at American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, via Catalyst:

Over the years I have been inspired by many women:

Harriet Tubman — The fact that once she was free, she risked her life to go back and save others. Talk about making a difference.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg — If it was not for her efforts, I would have never had the chance to play sports as a kid or have the career I do.

Sandy Wagner — My third-grade teacher. She always made her students feel positive about themselves.

Inspiring women are all around us.


Tonya Almond, CMP, Vice President, Knowledge and Experience Design, PCMA:

I appreciate those who can re-invent themselves, stay relevant, and continue to innovate, and I’m drawn to athletes — their resilience, strength, and leadership that comes with it. These are women who are required to be brave in their endeavors, to be fierce competitors, and yet show grace.

Here are some women who inspire me:

Mel Robbins — She has re-invented her career many times, has shared her failures publicly, and comes back each time. I had the opportunity to meet her during Convening Leaders 2016 and then hired her for my own event in 2017 (when I was vice president of meetings and continuing education for the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry) and got to know her through that.

Billie Jean King — Pioneer. Bold. And so kind. I had the opportunity to meet her when she spoke at Convening Leaders 2019.

Aly Raisman — This Olympic Gold Medalist gymnast spoke out publicly during the sex abuse trial of USA Gymnastics national team doctor Larry Nassar, for herself and others. She continues to use her platform seeking justice for victims of sexual abuse and is an advocate for change in US Gymnastics.


Karen Calder, PCMA consultant:

Who inspires me are the women who — against all odds — have had to overcome and battle obstacles and who still persist to make change in this world. I remind myself often, “If they can do it, I also can do it.” There are three women who do this the most for me:

Rosa Parks — like wow. To have that commitment, conviction, and courage, especially during those times — she is absolutely 100-percent my shero.

Gloria Steinem and Dorothy Pitman Hughes — I love their partnership standing up for equal rights. They were both clever and witty and I just love some of their one-line responses to their detractors. Just the best and makes me want to do better every day.

The Notorious RBG — the story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s life and her conviction to stand up to fight for equal rights for everyone — how can you not be inspired by that?


Jacky Meracle, Manager of Chapter Engagement, PCMA:

Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman elected to the United States Congress — “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.”


Katie Dolan, Strategic Business Development Director, PCMA:

Chantal Sturk-Nadeau, executive director, business events, Destination Canada, inspires me because she is a passionate visionary and truly respected leader in Canada. She exudes leadership qualities via her fearless advocacy for the impact and power of business events and through her work championing the sector strategy in Canada. I’ve always admired her way of thinking and how she can balance being open-minded while not wavering on her principles or integrity. She has a strong and kind disposition and is one of those special people who has a way of commanding attention. I consistently leave encounters with her feeling inspired — she reignites why I have chosen a career in the business events industry.


Jennifer N. Dienst, managing editor, PCMA’s Convene magazine:

As a writer I am inspired by the words of poet and artist Rupi Kaur. I love how this recent work, posted on her Instagram, so succinctly captures the power found in lifting each other up.