The photo above is one of the only photos I have of my Mother, Violet, and my wife, Kerry, together. It certainly is one of my favourite. It was taken nearly 20 years ago in Cyprus during the summer of 1998. Kerry and I had been together for just over a year, and my Mum was happy and healthy. I guarantee you that back then, at 20, I really did not appreciate the impact both my Mother and Kerry would have on my life.
Last week was International Women’s Day. The 8th of March is a global day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. If you have not already, I recommend visiting the website and commit to how you will #BeBoldForChange. I decided to select celebrating women’s achievements, and no better place to start with the two people that are responsible for forming the person I am today.
I’m often asked whom has shaped my career to date. In my case, the leaders and peers that have influenced and inspired me at work over the last 15 years have mostly been men. However, if I really consider who has led, inspired and guided me over the last 38 years more than anyone, well that’s easy, Violet and Kerry.
Violet: She was a beautiful Irish woman, who was strong, funny, intelligent, creative, loving to many and above all a fantastic (the best) mother and a friend to me. She taught me to be always be interested, to learn about the world and take time to talk and listen. She single handily brought me up and guided me through my early life. Her life was not easy, it was hard, but her tenacity always got us to the best possible places. People loved my Mum, she had lots of friends, but she always took time to hang out with me. Our summer evenings on the balcony talking until late, I will never forget. Sadly, my Mum passed away in 2001 to cancer, and was only 52 years old. Far too young. I still miss her deeply.
Kerry: My gorgeous wife, friend and partner in crime. We met at 18. We have become adults together. Kerry has guided me through ever decision I, we, have made. She is an amazing Mother to our children, and above all, a completely loving person. I am a lucky, very lucky man. I would not be where I am today without Kerry. Kerry is a brilliant children’s nurse, and dedicated to her career, she loves caring for people. To be honest, I have always been completely jealous of Kerry, she is absolutely content with her job and more importantly her life. Kerry has cared for me through both my parents passing, and life has not always been easy for Kerry, but she is the rock in this family and a reminder that the women in your life are far more important than we tend to appreciate.
I could write all night about both, but I won’t. They have both achieved so much, and I am fortunate that I was am part of their lives.
Finally, there is one other women that makes my life worthwhile everyday, and that is my daughter Mia. I hope that she grows up to experience a better working world, a more inclusive, gender equal world.
Thanks for reading.