Ellenore's Note: Women Making History – Past, Present and Future!
Ellenore Angelidis, Executive Director
OHBD celebrated Women’s History Month for the first time this year. Women’s History Month is a celebration of women’s contributions to history, culture, and society. We wanted to acknowledge the huge and varied contributions women have made to our success. I've mentioned just a few below and will share more next month as we recognize our volunteers.
We reflect them in our books. Mothers in Ethiopia work for a better future for their children in Mamas. Inspiring girls grow into impactful women in Girls Grow Up. A mom and cousin demonstrate the power of inclusion in Sign to Me. A woman whose back story and heritage is often rewritten reclaims it in Andromeda.
Our diverse leadership team is well represented with great women (many of whom are also mothers and some grandmothers) making history. Jane and Caroline Kurtz, both award-winning authors and philanthropists, lead the Creative Team. Kate Bare, our multi-talented Production Lead, keeps us on track with our new endeavors as well as challenging us to try new things. Steff Stevens, our connection engineer and language expert, leads our Translation team in helping us bring on more languages. Anna Graham, our creative chemist, leads our social media and communication team with heart and beautiful words. Shannon Britton Jones, one of our first team members, leads our admin and ops team with invaluable support and guidance.
Other leaders like Dr. Worku Mulat, Innovation Lead and Mekonnen Kassa, Advisory Board member, credit their mothers with inspiring them to give back to their countries, and communities, and their wives for partnering with them to make it a reality.
Our board members include amazing, history-making women including Tizita Assefa who has been fighting for equity her whole career; Bethelehem Tsegaye, who is showing the next generations how to preserve language and culture; Jennifer Mazukelli, whose love of math inspired her (and her daughters) to create I Can Count, a math-based RSG early reader.
Many of our volunteers are also women making history. To name just a few, Bezawork Tilahun is running the American Corners in Bahir Dar, Netsanet Kassahun works for the Ministry of Education, her sister Meseret Tekle is one of our authors, our DC lead and a data scientist, Tigist Geberehiwot is a connector, chemist, amplifier and one of our amazing translators; Theo Tefera is leading our inaugural boot camp curriculum development efforts, and the list goes on. We are grateful for each and every one of them.
And we're grateful for the incredible women who lead organizations that uplift and empower girls and women around the world, like Ingrid Olson of Partners With Ethiopia, one of our collaborating organizations and OHBD board member Kara Valentine of Threads International.
We are standing on the shoulders of the giants among women around the globe who came before us and toiled, often silently, invisibly, to make these achievements possible. We are their voice, their legacy and their hope. The opportunities they opened up are our responsibility and a sacred trust. I see my daughter Leyla as she grows into a young woman with a huge voice and an even bigger heart as the representation of what providing opportunity and inspiration can allow us to achieve.
I challenge all to:
-Salute the women who came before us and made our path possible
-Support the women who are next to us struggling to open the doors wider and smash the glass ceilings
-Encourage the women who are coming up behind us to aim higher and do better than we did
That is how real progress happens. That is how we achieve true equity.
Thank you to the women who have taught, inspired, and showed me what is possible. This month, and my eternal gratitude, are for you.