Celebrating Women’s History Month in Fargo

by Gabby Ruddy and Emily Baago – Fargo  |  May 17, 2018

During the month of March the Fargo Inside Sales Center celebrated Women’s History Month by hosting sessions with the theme #PressForProgress. Sessions included keynote speakers, facilitated discussions, and a panel of women leaders in the Fargo Inside Sales Center.

The first session was a facilitated discussion lead by GROUP THINK. GROUP THINK is a Fargo based group that allows the community to engage in public conversation on various topics. The session was focused on how our minds are shaped as children and how this affects the female workforce. The conversation centered around several key questions: how gender impacts how we are seen by others, how we see ourselves, and how we see other women; how gender can enable our sense of belonging in our communities and in our workplace; and how women can help to remove barriers for others in their networks.

From employee to entrepreneur

Becky Newell, a Fargo area native and co-founder of Stoneridge Software and President of Levridge, shared her experience moving from employee to entrepreneur. Becky had worked for Microsoft and leveraged the knowledge and experience gained during her tenure to open Stoneridge Software, a Microsoft Partner. Sharing the challenges and triumphs she faced both personally and professionally left the audience inspired and motivated by her story.

Career journeys

The third session in our Women’s Month was a panel of women leaders at Microsoft in Fargo. Facilitated by Connie Altringer with panelists Jenny Olson, Jessica Ridout, Theresa Garrett, and Sara Gjerdevig, the panel opened with rapidfire questions:

* Designer Bag vs. Backpack?

* Lipstick vs. Chapstick?

* Tennis Shoes vs. High Heels?

Panelists shared their career journeys and stories about the source of their inspiration, mentors and sponsors who had changed their path for the better, and what kept them motivated when they found themselves in a less than ideal role.

Lessons learned

Finally, First Lady Kathryn Helgaas Burgum presented her platform for Reinventing Recovery in North Dakota. Kathryn shared her own story of addiction and recovery has along with the lessons learned along the way. Passionate about collectively eliminating the shame and stigma of the disease of addiction, Kathryn pushed the audience to engage in an open conversation about addiction in our community and to help those suffering from the disease feel supported. Audience members each received a Recovery Reinvented coin as a reminder to use our voices every day to bring an end to the shame and stigma of addiction.

Bringing it all together

What a wonderful opportunity to celebrate Women’s History month alongside the men and women of Inside Sales. Sharing different perspectives and histories, these stories remind us of the many different women who have struggled, faced hardship, and seen success in their careers.

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