What does it mean to be a Woman of Vision?
Mary Jo Johnson, CEO/Owner – EO Johnson Business Technologies, was named a 2018 Women of Vision by the YWCA in Wausau, WI. The program honors strong women in the community who have stepped out to advocate for and/or blazed a trail for others, launched a new solution to a community issue, or created an innovative program with broad and lasting impact. Mary Jo shares her insights on the award and what it signifies.
With their mission of eliminating racism and empowering women, the YWCA is the perfect organization to sponsor the Women of Vision program. The program’s focus on calling out innovative service to the community that particularly benefits women, girls, and/or minorities draws attention to this important need.
Most of us have had the good fortune to be surrounded by hardworking and purpose-driven women. They are our mothers, grandmothers, and women in the work place – from educators to C-level leaders. They have been the force that drives tradition, values, and family legacies. Past, present, and the future, so many of the women right around all of us have shaped the world to be as we know it. Empowering women happens both unintentionally, through families and culture, as well as intentionally, through business initiatives and community programs.
Risk takers, advocates, and trail blazers
Women of Vision launch new solutions to community issues and create innovative programs with broad and lasting impact. This doesn’t require a certain business title, specific wardrobe, or special permission. It rests in the vision that women have for themselves and their communities, be it their work place, a community need, or their families. It simply requires a strong character of integrity and personal values. A foundational principal for Women of Vision is they are clear on their values and they do not sway from them.
There is no real finish line for Women of Vision. They are always looking for a need to fill, and when the most amazing women accomplish a goal they don’t forget it, but check in to ensure great work continues. They are always looking forward.
Dedication and perseverance are cousins, and when they are aligned leaders (both women and men) get the job done. A hunger for always learning and seeking knowledge is another characteristic in Women of Vision. Be it formal education, self-study, or learning from others, continually acquiring knowledge is a fundamental characteristic in the people who are changing our communities.
Feet on the street leader
Not only do Women of Vision lead institutionally but they are hands on and lead “on the ground” through example. They are accessible and inspirational to others in daily life as mentors, friends, advisers, and role models. They are intentional communicators and build strong resource networks. Women of Vision know they don’t accomplish anything by themselves but by working together.
Perhaps the most inspirational speech calling out the need to work together was by Queen Elizabeth II of England, a true Woman of Vision. On April 21, 1947, in a radio broadcast speech to the Commonwealth, she demonstrated her dedication to the service of her country and importance of all working together. She stated: “I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great Imperial family to which we all belong, but I shall not have the strength to carry out this resolution alone unless you join in with me, as I now invite you to do. I know that your support will be unfailingly given. God help me to make good my vow and God bless all of you who are willing to share in it.”
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