International Women’s Day (IWD) provides an opportunity to celebrate women’s achievements and raise awareness about women’s equality. The IWD organization says the global day has been marked for more than a century. This year the campaign theme is Inspire Inclusion. The goal is “when we inspire others to understand and value women’s inclusion, we forge a better world.”

With that in mind, we asked TDS’ women leaders about who inspired them in either their personal or professional lives.

“My mother is the most influential woman in my life. She has been a constant pillar of strength. She is my biggest champion and always made me feel that anything is possible. She instilled values of hard work, perseverance, and ethical conduct. She never put boundaries up, giving me the courage to reach for whatever goals I put in front of me. She instilled a core foundation throughout the years that anything is possible with determination, grit, and effort. She has been a role model with her ability to focus on the positive and good intent around any situation.” Michele Slattery, VP of Sales

“I have been inspired my entire life by Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She was a trailblazing academic, attorney, and dedicated wife and mother. Ruth was a leader and driver of change.

“She famously said, ’Fight for the things that you care about but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.’ Ruth’s lessons of courage in the face of great challenges resonates with me as a leader of people and a mother.” AnnMarie Kreitzer, SVP of Human Resources, CHRO

“There are three women who have had the most impact on my life. Two of them are my daughters: Taylor and Raynie. Both adults pursuing careers of their own in the banking and nursing fields are who I wanted to show they can do anything they set their minds to with hard work, discipline, and determination. It is not just about career focus that I wanted them to think of me as having, but also who I helped along the way and how to foster a network of support through friends and family. Our children absorb everything we do and everything we DON’T do. They see it all! They still make me want to be better every day. Like all parents, we want to give them ’things‘ we didn’t have when we were young, but not necessarily in the material sense. We also want to ensure we pass along the things we did have that we know are a part of who we are, and of the success we have achieved.

“The third woman is my amazing mother. She was the sole provider for our family of seven. She taught us we didn’t need material things to be happy and to have fun. She did, however, instill a strong work ethic in all of us, often working multiple jobs while continuing her education. She also could make an adventure out of just about anything we did as a family. I owe a lot of who I am, professionally and personally, to her.” Lynette Maynes, director of Field Services

“I am beyond grateful for many strong women along the way. However, I would like to call out those strong women who were willing to share their knowledge and expertise when I was brand new to a role in CCO (from HR) when I made the move in 2016. Britt Meiller, Michele Burreson, Molly Post, and Nicole Muzzi were/are integral to my growth and learning at TDS. They are collaborative and generous with their time. Their expertise in sales, financial services, operations, contact center data, agent experience, and customer experience … amazing and invaluable! Not only do they know the business, but they are also strong leaders who lead by example in all they do. They have inspired me every day to be the best leader I can be.” Nicole Joraanstad, director of Customer Engagement Center of Excellence

“There was a special teacher in high school, Mrs. Lucille Smithback, who played an important role in my life. I came from a family with no expectations or encouragement to attend college. Mrs. Smithback took a special interest and encouraged me to consider a technical college. She helped me learn about and obtain both private and public scholarships to make college affordable. I became the first person in my family to attend college and my first job out of college was with TDS!

“At TDS I have had a string of managers and colleagues who encouraged my drive and curiosity which has been the basis for all my advancements within the organization.” Carla Baumgartner, director of Engineering and Network Records Center of Excellence

“The easy answer is my mom, Sara Orvick. Sara was raised on an Iowa farm where they grew and harvested most of their food, and daughters were raised to be good farm wives and mothers. As a youth, she was an athlete, musician, and winner of the local Betty Crocker Home Economics award. Sara became the first in her family to go to college, and she was one of only four women in her veterinary school class at Iowa State. One week after graduation she moved to Wisconsin (with my dad and their two-week-old baby) where she practiced veterinary medicine part-time, raised four kids, volunteered at church, played accordion at the local nursing home, and taught her daughters they could do anything they were willing to work for. I could write so much more, but I will conclude by saying she still inspires me every day.” Becky Mittelsteadt, lead corporate counsel

“My mother’s determination and passion for success in her career served as a powerful inspiration for pursuing my dreams. Witnessing her hard work, dedication, and commitment to her goals has shown me the importance of perseverance and believing in yourself.” Jackie Diebold, director of Order Fulfillment & Support

“My Grandma Downing. She was a strong woman who worked very hard for what she had. Eleven births, eight that survived, and worked full time as a teacher in a one-room schoolhouse. She taught kids from kindergarten through high school.

As I grew up, she was always letting me know I could be anything I wanted to be. Never give up, always work hard, and remember to make time to care of yourself no matter what happens in life or who needs you. She inspired me, and always will.” Kristine Keip, director of Sales

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply