Celebrating International Women’s Day

Posted on March 8, 2019

Jill Ellis

Right Now with Nick Smith (Linkedin/Twitter)

What I’m watching: Sadly, the #SheBelieves cup ended before Alex Morgan could get her 100th international goal, but at least we beat Brazil.

What I’m listening to: Charly Bliss – Guppy because they’re dangerously close to putting out a new album …

Despite my usual co-opting of Groucho Marx’s line about not wanting to anything to do with any club that would have me as a member, I’m always grateful to be part of ELGL, and a large part of that is the fact that it’s made up of so many smart people with different points of view than mine — whether that’s because they come from a Public Works background, live in a different part of the country, or they were born or identify differently than me.

So since it’s International Women’s Day, I’m not going to blather on about me, or what I’m thinking about some science or technology thing — instead, I want to start a conversation about some inspiring ELGL members who happen to be women.

Obviously, none of it would be possible without our Executive Director Kirsten Wyatt and her past, present, and future associates on the board, currently Bridget Kozlowski (who’s somehow taken the role despite being a new mom AND a world-famous traffic control barrel) and the work they do to elevate women is fabulously uplifting.

I’ve made a ton of great professional friends whose advice I regularly seek outside the organization as well, not just outstanding communications professionals like Aly Van Dyke and Kristen Waggener, but people outside my field: grants professionals like Laura Hardwicke, and administrative professionals like Laura Savage (who selflessly spent almost two hours on the phone with me one day to help me write a 10-minute presentation for municipal clerks).

ELGL isn’t just about the professionals, either, students like Hannah Lebovits and Rosemary Stump (who was a student when I met her) make me hopeful about the future (not just in local government — like, the future) in a great way.

Speaking of Hannah, it was because of her leadership that I got to present at ASPA 2018 with Sereniah Breland, who is presenting at ELGL19 and I’m not even 100% sure what the topic is because I’m going to watch it no matter what. She’s easily the most dynamic public speaker I’ve ever met (no disrespect to Josie Gatti Shaffer who absolutely crushed it as the keynote at ELGL18).

Then, there are people outside local government like Ellory Monks (who I met at ELGL18 and got so excited I somehow mispronounced her five-letter last name) and Mariela Alfonso whose organizations — that they founded — work tirelessly to help the people who help people, and I think that’s extraordinary.

Finally, I wouldn’t even be writing this without my boss Amy McGuire and her wisdom and leadership, as well as our boss Britta Monaco who isn’t an ELGL member but is a prodigious public servant nonetheless.

There are at least a hundred more as well, just within the confines of ELGL. This organization is an unbelievable blessing because of the people who comprise it, and no matter who you are, if you’re reading this, and there’s a woman who inspires you to be better and do better, I hope you tell them today — but more importantly, whether you’re a man or a woman or neither, I hope you internalize that gratitude and show each and every one of them every day, if only by being the person they deserve.

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