Women's History Month | Who Inspires You?
Since 1995, March has been nationally honored to celebrate the contributions and achievements women have made to the United States over the course of American history across a variety of fields. The observance first originated in 1981 as a week in March designated as Women’s History Week.
To celebrate Women’s History Month this year, Adventist Health is asking our own women leaders to share who inspires them and why. We invite you to learn more about some of the incredible women who have shaped history and our own stories.
"My mother would say, 'Kamala, you may be the first to do many things, but make sure you are not the last.'" – Vice President Kamala Harris
"Eleanor Roosevelt said, 'Do what you feel in your heart to be right – for you’ll be criticized anyway.' I was taught to always do the right thing. When you do the right thing, most of the time it is the right decision and the right leadership. When you lead with your mind and heart aligned, your congruency is revealed – and it is a beautiful place to be. You come across as confident, calm, and collected."
– Alice Issai
President, Adventist Health Glendale
"I am inspired by Harper Lee. I first read her book 'To Kill a Mockingbird' in high school, like many people do. Its impact has stayed with me, though, and I’ve read it several times since. It taught me about empathy — to seek to understand people for who they truly are — and the importance of trusting my conscience and staying true to my beliefs. Channeling a well-known quote from the book, 'People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for,' I frequently ask myself what I’m looking for, and what I’m listening for. It can make all the difference, and I’m grateful to Harper Lee for sharing what was on her heart."
– Emily Groff
Story & Experience Operations Manager, Adventist Health
"I am inspired by Florence Nightingale. Not only did she recognize the need to provide care differently, but she also looked at the data and outcomes on what made a difference. Queen Victoria was quoted as saying that if she had Nightingale running the war front, she would have no supply issues."
– Jackie Liebowitz
Chief Nursing Officer, Adventist Health
"I am deeply inspired by and grateful for women who have taken action against injustice despite tremendous personal sacrifice – women like Rosa Parks, who is best known for using an act of defiance to make progress in the civil rights movement, and Corrie ten Boom, who saved hundreds of Jewish refugees during the Holocaust."
– Janelle Ullrich
Marketing Executive, Adventist Health
"We all face challenges every day, big and small, personal and professional, spiritually and physically. These words by Joan of Arc remind me that I am capable if I choose to be, I am resilient if I open my heart, and I am supported by God if I believe: 'I am not afraid. I was born to do this.'"
– Jennifer Diehl
Human Performance Executive, Talent Acquisition & Workforce Planning, Adventist Health
"I am inspired by Esther and look to her example often, both personally and professionally, as a strong historical woman. Esther led with a courageous heart and determination to be brave and stand for people and things she believed in. She was respected for her ability to remain faithful and humble even in hard times, and to be loyal, even if that meant putting herself in harm’s way. She reminds me to lead with a courageous heart, because if God can use an ordinary woman like Esther to do great things, He can use me, as well."
– Jennifer Stemmler
Consumer Digital Strategy Executive, Adventist Health
"I respect the work of Anne Lamott and read her work ahead of most every other book in my stack. She is authentic, raw, vulnerable, and transparent. Anyone who is creative enough to equate grace with spiritual WD40 is my kind of woman."
– Joyce Newmyer
President, Pacific Northwest Network, Adventist Health
"There are so many trailblazing women throughout history who have paved the way for us. One of my favorites since I was in high school is Queen Elizabeth I. She survived many adversities in her early years that shaped her to be one of the most influential females in history. She defied all odds and refused to let others dictate who she believed God created her to be and successfully led for one of the longest reigns in history. At the same time, she cultivated culture and leaned on her faith to guide her throughout her life."
– Lisa Nunes
Learning & Organizational Development Executive, Adventist Health
"It’s impossible to select just one woman that I admire, because so many women have bravely and beautifully achieved so many things. I find inspiration from the remarkable women who came before me and with whom I work together today. Women leaders are uniquely capable of communicating with love and empathy, leading with fierce kindness yet accountability, all the while carrying the multiple responsibilities of their personal lives."
– Michelle Fuentes
President, Adventist Health Sonora
"Artemisia Gentileschi (1593–1656) was a female Italian Baroque painter who thrived in a male-dominated art field. She is an inspiration for her ability to overcome the limits and prejudices of her time while creating radical depictions of women. She depicted women in ways her male contemporaries rarely had – as strong, fierce, and powerful."
– Heather Tucker
System Art Director, Adventist Health
"Ruth Bader Ginsburg — the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court, trailblazer, and lifelong advocate for gender equality — broke many glass ceilings during her lifetime. Not solely for her betterment, but more importantly, to better the lives of all women. She is an inspiration and a powerful reminder to stand up for your beliefs, speak your mind, and fight for the things that are important to you."
– Gabrielle Nichols-Roy
Film Production Director, Story & Experience, Adventist Health
"I have always admired First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. She led with grace and boldness in challenging circumstances and showed us what women in leadership could do."
– Christine Pickering
Communication Executive, Adventist Health
"I'm inspired by Mother Teresa, who once said, 'Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.'"
– Jennifer Swenson
President, Adventist Health Simi Valley