As Schlegel Villages honours International Women’s Day, we reflect upon the fact that within our Village communities, strong women of conviction and compassion can be found at every turn. They are leaders and mentors, friends and family; across generations they have led by example and in their wisdom and sacrifice, they have paved the way towards a better future.
We celebrate, among so many women connected
to our Villages, (from left to right) our podcast co-host
rin Davis along with guests Dee Preikschas,
Betty Anne Millar and Louise Joliffe.
Among the thousands of women who make their home in our Villages rests a wealth of wisdom to be shared. We know that in every long life lived, there are stories of meaning we can all learn from but in many cases, only the team members who are fortunate enough to connect with each individual in a village or neighbourhood will hear of their inspiration.
On International Women’s Day, we think to the lovely women who have shared their wisdom for thousands more to hear as guests on the Podcast by Schlegel Villages. #ElderWisdom: Stories from the Green Bench draws the stories of our residents out thanks to the expertise of host Erin Davis, whose personal story is as inspirational as any, and her current cohost Douglas Robinson and former cohost, Lloyd Hetherington.
There are so many great episodes to point to where we hear from women who, in the course of their life and the development of their own philosophy, shine a light upon a path towards contentment that younger generations can learn from. Dee Preikschas and the way she speaks of living and dancing with Parkinson’s disease comes to mind. Her approach to life and her pointed humour in the face of adversity is an example of overcoming what could be perceived as darkness with the light of optimism and hope.
The theme this year for International Women’s Day is #BreakTheBias, and we’re drawn to others guests who, in their stories, show us the biases that existed and still exist today and the ways they can be overcome.
Betty Anne Millar was able to rise above any bias that may have existed. She speaks of her path from secretary at the Burlington Mall when it first opened in the late 1960s to becoming the manager and eventual trainer of leaders who would run Shopping Malls across the country. She never once considered a “glass ceiling” barrier, for she felt that if she lived by her four-D’s – Determination, Dedication, Discipline and Diplomacy – she could achieve anything. Yet she also recalled the president of her organization inviting her fellow leaders and her to the Toronto Club for a private lunch at a time when she, as a woman, wasn’t allowed to eat in the main dining room.
Betty Anne thrived, despite the barriers that existed.
Louise Joliffe also shares her experience in the workforce at a time when it seemed women had few rights. She was fired from one job, for example, as soon as she told the company’s owner she was expecting a child. “No pregnant woman is going to work for me,” she recalls him saying, and she was shown the door with no recourse. She persevered, however, and followed many career paths while raising a family, and her story lifts the spirit.
We invite you to think of the women of inspiration in your life today and take some time to listen to the wisdom of others. The examples set on trails carved in the past will help us as we move to an inclusive world where equality is not questioned. There is much to be done, however, and together we all have a part to play to #BreakTheBias.