“I raise my voice—not so that I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard… We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back.” – Malaya Yousafzai
March is Women’s History Month—a month that commemorates and encourages the study, observance, and celebration of the vital role of women in American history.
It’s also vital to note that women make history worldwide—not just in the United States. Have you heard of Nzambi Matee? This remarkable young Kenyan woman is making history in the recycling industry—revolutionizing how less-resourced countries deal with the mounds of plastic waste that mostly come from developed Western countries. Through her brilliant innovation, her company, Gjenge Makers, turns recycled plastic into even stronger bricks than traditional concrete bricks. This brilliant discovery is not only helping Kenya deal with the plastic polluting their country but provides a more circular solution—taking plastic waste and turning it into a valuable and evergreen building product. Nzambi was awarded the United Nations Environment Program’s “The Young Champions of the Earth” prize for 2020. This prize is the United Nations’ leading environmental initiative to engage youth in tackling the world’s most pressing ecological challenges—giving winners funding and mentorship to support their environmental initiatives. I commend Nzambi for her impeccable work and hope to see her continue to flourish for years to come. To see her company and learn more about how you can support Gjenge Makers, visit her website here.
A popular proverb goes, “Behind every great man is a great woman.” While I believe this sentiment has excellent intentions, I would argue that next to every great man is a great woman. Men and women are equals; one is not meant to be behind the other. They share in their successes, and they share in their losses. That’s what equality is supposed to be—a shared collective of experiences, regardless of the outcome. We’re in this together, always.
Throughout my career, I am blessed to say that I have met and worked closely with some of the strongest and most intelligent women—both in business and the renewable energy sector. The women here at Brightmark are some of the brightest, most influential women I have ever had the pleasure of working with—and I am proud of it. Our leadership team comprises highly successful yet humble women with years of unmatched business experience and expertise. If you have not yet seen our Women’s History Month campaign, I encourage you to “Meet the Women Reimagining Waste” by exploring their features here.
Outside of my professional career, I am thankful that both my mother and grandmother act as strong female roles in my life—reminding me of what is important and to live in a way that positively impacts those around me. I am glad to see my daughters, Grace, and Claire, following in my mother’s footsteps, becoming strong female figures in their own right as they grow older. It makes me optimistic for the future generations of women, and I hope that by the time my daughters reach my age, the world will be even more equitable than it is now.
I will leave you all with these final thoughts:
- Remember, a great character can come from anyone and anywhere
- You don’t need to make history to make a difference; change starts with you
- If you’re going to make history, make it about what you’ve done for others instead of what you’ve done for you
While Women’s History Month is imperative and cause for celebration, it’s critical to remember that women make history every day, every month, and deserve recognition always. Let’s lift each other, recognize each other for our achievements, and create a better world. Seize the day, my friends; we do not have a day to waste.