Career, Life

Being Your Own Role Model

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about role models. I feel like it is especially important today to point out who good role models are for young girls. For instance, I’d prefer for my daughter to say she wants to grow up to be like Emma Watson and not like one of the Kardashians. Is there a woman you look to as a role model?



women's history month role model


It might come as a surprise for me to admit that I really don’t have any women who served as role models for me. At least, I didn’t have any role models in the respect that saw these women doing something a certain way and wanted to do it like they did. I attribute a big part of that to the fact that I don’t recall a gender consideration ever crossing my mind. It seems like we are extraordinarily concerned with labeling and defining people today based on gender, race, and political affiliation. I never felt pressured to do something because it was a “girl thing” and never felt prohibited from doing something because it was a “boy thing.” I always just found what I liked and did what I wanted. Gender did not once factor into my choices at all. I just never thought about it.


The other reason I think I didn’t have role models is that there were not other women doing many of the things I chose to pursue. You can’t really have a woman as a role model in your career if there just aren’t many examples in the first place. During my four years of undergraduate studies, I was the only female geophysics major. Nobody had served a role model for me, but it was just something that I wanted to do. The same was true when I got involved in Army ROTC. Later, I went on to pursue graduate degrees in finance. It was not a topic that drew a lot of women into the field, and I only had one female finance professor in all my years of school and across many universities. Again, gender never crossed my mind when making this decision. I simply thought it was something I would be good at and might like to do.


I suppose that in some way those experiences allowed me to pave new roads for girls after me. I’m aware that today I probably serve as a role model for younger women, especially those coming up behind me in academia. I guess I am okay with that. I’ve done some good work and achieved a moderate amount of success along the way. Of course, things always look better from a distance, and we only flaunt our most positive side. I’m not claiming to be a perfect role model because I sure have a heap of my own issues. As long as you only try to model my better parts, I supposed you’ll be fine. Perhaps being someone’s spirit animal is a better job for me. Embody my spirit and vibe without getting caught up in the uglier details. Real-life role models are not perfect. No woman is perfect. Some are just more honest than others about their flaws. As for me, I’m here to share the good and the bad.


Finally, I want to clarify that I am not saying there was not a woman in my life who influenced me. I would not have become the person I am without the influence of my mother. She always encouraged me to be strong and independent, and she never made me believe that there was anything I could not be or do. Sure, she still tells me that the things I want to do are insane, but she doesn’t say I can’t do them. Nothing would have been possible without her influence and parenting. So, really, you have her to blame for all of this.


I’d love to hear about if you have a role model or someone you would want your daughter to consider a role model!



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