Christine Cronkright, Internal Communications Manager
It’s so hard to pick one amazing woman from history. We stand on the shoulders of those who came before us, so I look at Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Eleanor Roosevelt, and most recently, Justice Ginsburg. There are just so many women who do amazing things. And I think we can find women who make history every single day. The working moms in 2020 had it especially rough. I think we’ve made incredible strides, and it’s still hard, but we’re working on it and doing great things. I think you can find iconic, amazing women every day if you just look for them.
Heather Eickhoff, Director of Human Resources
Billie Jean King is an absolute icon, and when I think of women in history who have had a direct impact on me, she would definitely be at the top of the list. She used her athletic status to bolster women in sports, and she was a self-proclaimed guardian of Title IX, which afforded equal opportunity to women and girls in education and athletics at the high school and collegiate levels. She was also a pioneer in fighting for equal pay for women. Whenever I think of people who have had an impact on the lives of so many young girls and women, it would definitely be Billie Jean King.
TrucAnh Elliott, Senior Project Engineer
As a student, of course you learn about people like Marie Curie, Rosa Parks, and Amelia Earhart, who are all strong women and successful in male-dominated fields. As far as engineering goes, when I first got into it, we didn’t really hear about a lot of female engineers in the field. You didn’t hear about people like Elizabeth Bragg, who was the first woman to receive an engineering degree in the late 1880s but ended up not really working as an engineer.
One of the people who inspired me to become the engineer that I am today is my dad. Though not a woman, he told me I could become one, which is a big deal in our culture where women have to be more respectful to men than vice versa. And people like my father’s coworker, who told me I couldn’t do it because girls just weren’t engineers, also inspired me to succeed. All the women in engineering who I’ve met along the way, like the other girls who were engineers in my classes, also inspired me. After graduation, my first job had a female vice president, and coming to Gannett Fleming, you see people like Martha Averso and Esther McGinnis in leadership positions. All these women I’ve met along the way inspired me more than the historical women I learned about in school. Seeing women succeed every day is one of the most inspirational things for me as an engineer and makes me feel like I can do it.
Gloria Gutierrez, Project Manager
I think any woman in the world who has been able to do something for the first time that only men were able to do is inspirational, and more so if it’s a female who is speaking up. María Cano is one of those women. She was from the city where I was born and raised, Medellín, Colombia, and she was the first female political leader in my country. She fought against unfair working conditions and for the civil rights of the workers, so I find her to be a role model when it comes to speaking up about unfair situations.
Sherina Mutesi, Highway Design
There are a lot of women who have had an impact on our society. One of those women is Katherine Johnson, who was the first African American woman to work at NASA as a scientist. Today, we can look at her as a role model and a trailblazer for all the young women interested in pursuing careers in the sciences.
Tracy Sheffield, Project Coordinator/Administration
The woman who has most inspired me and who I think has had such a profound influence on society is Marie Curie. She was born in what would later be Poland and was a pioneer in the field of radioactivity. She would be the first woman to win the Nobel Prize, and she won it twice for two different scientific fields. She was also pioneering in her own family, and she would be the first of five Curie family members to win the Nobel Prize. I think that her dedication to the sciences and ultimately her sacrifice of her life to the sciences really makes her an outstanding example for women to look up to.
Thafhim “Muna” Siddiqua, Project Engineer
For me, it’s always been Maya Angelou. Growing up, I loved reading her poems, and she used her work to express her strong feelings. She played many roles in society; she was a dancer, civil rights activist, and many more things, and she used her platform to impact and inspire others.
Ro Singh, Connected Women at Gannett Fleming Ambassador/Office Admin. Asst
It gives me great pleasure to talk about Harriet Tubman and the reasons why I picked her as the most iconic woman of all time. She’s courageous, resilient, a go-getter, she did not take “no” for an answer, she didn’t give up fighting for what she believed in. I admire her strength and her courage. One of her most popular quotes that resonates with me to this day is: “Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” That just sits with me, and it reminds me every day that I have a purpose, and with the help of all the amazing women in my life professionally and personally, we can all achieve great things. We can make a difference. We can leave our mark on this world for generations to come. I admire Harriet because she reminds me so much of my own mother, who is so strong, does not give up, and to this day, she still works and does everything on her own. She taught me to be strong, don’t ever give up on your dreams, don’t ever give up on being a good person, and to always do good and help whenever you can.
Deb Wilhelm, Exec Assistant
Eleanor Roosevelt, and I actually wrote a book report about her when I was in the fourth or fifth grade. She was a strong champion for human rights, she served as a delegate on the United Nations, and she was also a major influence on FDR when he was president and lobbied him to put more women in office, which he did.