Role modeling

I had a business lunch today which quickly became a friendly chat over all things possible in the world. What a fascinating woman I had the pleasure of dining with! Covering communications for a huge, reputable multinational company, for Asia and Middle East (not a tiny market, and not an easy one to manage as a woman), being a mom and wife, I’m at awe of all of her achievements. They’re not unheard of, and I’m always proud and pleased when I meet such people – women, who are letting no glass-ceilings get on their way, women who won’t allow themselves to be “boxed” but do what feels right for them. Like work with middle eastern men on renewable energy projects.

She told me she’s writing a blog about being an expat, a working mother, a woman of Asian heritage but with no single identity. There are so many stereotypes to fight in that combination and so many struggles to make it all work. Yet, from her you’d hear no complaints, just challenges to find solutions for. And appraisal to her own mother, who managed a demanding job while bringing up 4 kids, not “just” 2 as her.

Mothers. I’m not one but I have one, and she’s been my inspiration and role model always too. I have the highest appreciation and respect to my mom, in addition to the bottomless love. Fighting her rheumatism, she showed nothing but love and tender to me and my brother, and managed to not just work and build a great career but also continuously study and do volunteer work. Mothers – where on earth do these people get their energy and determination?

Political opinions aside, another excellent woman role model has just made history, strongly on her way of becoming the first even woman to be nominated a candidate for US presidency. No matter what you think of Hillary Clinton’s politics and views, she’s shown that every girl has a fighting chance. Women can achieve anything, the world is not for men to dominate. Women like her are paving the way for the rest of us, for generations to come. Proving, that there are no men’s only – jobs. It’s up to us. Do we have to fight harder than men to get to where we want? Yep, unfortunately often that’s the case. But can we get to where we want? Yes, we can. My mom, my business partner, Hillary and countless other women – they are all proving this to be true.

It’s extremely valuable to have role models in our lives, near and far. Parents in best cases serve as such, as do teachers, colleagues, friends and others close to us. Celebrities, business leaders, NGO advocates, smallholders and others who we might not be acquainted with but who provide inspiration to us add to that. We should all have a collection of role models in our lives, from whom to derive energy, inspiration and amusement from. Our role models don’t define our lives but they can help shape the pathway. They can remind us to realize our potential and fulfill our dreams. To be the best we can be.

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Outi Annala

A sustainability-enthusiast with a master's degree in social sciences and experienced working for public and private sectors and for an international Non-profit organization. Writing about life and all that matters in living a life to the fullest. Passionate about engaging the private sector to the development work, promoting partnerships between companies and non-profit organizations and initiating discussion and debates. Excited about life and living it to the fullest.

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