Today is International Women’s Day, a holiday dedicated to celebrating the large and small achievements of women across the globe. Beyond the opportunity to salute the women in our lives, March 8th also serves as a reminder to champion inclusivity in the workplace — something we continuously strive to bring to Index Exchange, today and everyday.
One of our company’s Core Values is diversity — in thought, people, and culture. In this spirit, we’re focused on ensuring women throughout the company feel supported, elevated and capable of breaking through any barriers or glass ceilings that might stand in their way. We’ve aimed to create a secure, supportive culture, day in and day out, through internal community groups like ‘Women in Eng’ and assertiveness workshops (both designed to empower and uplift our female-identifying employees). For International Women’s Day this year, we decided to take this attitude of empowerment a step further, encouraging our employees across the globe (be they male or female) to look outside of our organization and share stories of the women who have inspired them most — from groundbreaking mathematicians to their wives, sisters, and mothers.
In the lead-up to IWD, we’ve shared bits and pieces of these stories across our social channels — spotlighting the women who have pushed our Indexers to overcome challenges and make an impact, both personally and professionally. We’ve included a quick sample below, but feel free to browse our Instagram page for more. And, as ever, thank you to the women — at Index and beyond — who inspire us year-round.
Don’t forget to head over to our Instagram to read all the incredible stories!
“My older sister Lessa has been such a big inspiration to me. She has found her calling in teaching adult special education. The passion she brings to her classroom is nothing short of amazing. She sees the potential in her students, and takes so much pride in their accomplishments. She has helped students find a level of independence that their families worried they would never have. My sister and I have very different careers, but watching her pursue teaching adult special needs has taught me so much about working from a place of passion. She has absolutely found her calling, and it’s a difficult calling to have. But her passion for her work is what enables her to make such a powerful impact in the lives of her students. My sister is equal parts empathetic and pragmatic. It shows in her classroom. She squats down to connect with her students who are in wheelchairs at an eye to eye level. She speaks to her students as she speaks to her peers. She sets boundaries, explains the why behind the rules of her classroom, and is firm that tantrums don’t allow you to get your way. It inspires me to keep pushing forward in my career and to do the best I can with each new opportunity. The photo is of her with a student that she invited to be the ring bearer at her wedding. #InternationalWomensDay is about celebrating all women – from CEOs to homemakers. This years IWD theme is #BalanceforBetter, and asks us to reflect on the value that women’s perspectives bring to any field.” – Brittany Bernardi, Human Resources, Project Manager
“I learned to hustle from my mum. Her constant example of hard work has brought me to a career at IX that I could have never imagined. In my personal life, she has taught me not to settle and to have the courage to demand to be treated as a woman with a voice that deserves to be heard. Those are values that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. As much as she may (sometimes) regret the stubbornness that has resulted, she always taught me to stand up for what I believe in, and for what’s right. In today’s world, I think that lesson is more important than ever as we face seemingly never-ending attacks on the liberties of those around us. We have to use our voices and whatever platform we have to make a positive difference in as many lives as possible. My mum has always worked hard to provide the best possible opportunities for her children. When we moved to Canada, she held our family together during some of the hardest times we have faced. It’s hard to move a teenager and a five-year-old away from everyone and everything they know while trusting that you are making the best decisions for their future. We have all flourished since moving here – I have found a wonderful home at IX, my brother is off to college next year, and my mum has started her own small business (if you need a beautiful door wreath I can get you that family and friends discount;))– and has inspired me to do the same! I see her passion for what she does every time she stays up later than she should to finish a product, or every time she’s up before dawn to get ready for a craft show. She brings her best to everything she does. #IWD19 gives us a chance to reflect on the women that have made a difference in the world and in our own lives. I think it is also an opportunity to reflect on the world we live in as a whole, and to remember that there are still places where women are considered second-class citizens. It is a reminder that empowering and educating women makes the world a better place for all.” – Holly McHale, Workplace Project Manager
“My wife has always been, and continues to be, my biggest motivation and inspiration. A few months into our relationship I almost died of a rare disease (Addison’s). Not only did my wife stick around while I was sick/struggling, she was INCREDIBLY patient and supportive while I adjusted to the meds (it took almost 2 years, so not an easy task). Her patience is that of a saint and her heart is even bigger. After my struggle, she decided to go back to school to work in philanthropy because she wanted to make a difference in other people’s lives. I started volunteering in my community three years ago because of her influence and it’s positively impacted my life. Along with working full time in philanthropy and taking care of our 4 year old daughter (and me), she volunteers for a homeless shelter in her spare time because that’s who she is. If that wasn’t impressive enough, she completed her first triathlon last year! It’s hard to find a better role model for our daughter and she makes me a better person (maybe just by association, but still). My wife does all these great things and never asks for anything in return or even any recognition. Her commitment to giving and helping others made me start volunteering myself. Her ability to achieve the goals she sets for herself is also truly inspiring. The patience she has shown me during a hard time was more than just love. To me, #InternationalWomensDay is an opportunity to point out the obvious; women make such an impact on all our lives all the time and historically we have often forgotten, or allowed ourselves to forget, the important role women play in society. This day allows us to remember and celebrate women all around the world and in our lives.” – JJ Ledoux, Engineering Manager
“As a child I was frequently hospitalized due to asthma. I still recall all the nights my mom would have to carry me from my bed because I was too weak to walk. Upon suggestion from our physician in Taiwan that Canada would provide a cleaner living environment, one that would not trigger my asthma as much, my mom wasted no time in immigrating our family over to Canada. She was often met with resistance because she did not follow the social norm, but my mom was an optimist and nothing ever got her down. Even when she was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer, she lived every day to her fullest. Not once did she complain about the pain she was certainly enduring while in treatment. In testament to her faith and her indomitable spirit she volunteered each and every day at her church. The last of my birthdays that we were able to spend together, she went shopping for my birthday gift even though she was wheelchair-bound. She’s no longer with us, but she will be forever missed. She was a university graduate, a teacher, an entrepreneur, an opera singer, and my amazing mother.” – Frank Huang, Technical Evangelist