Women Who Inspire Me - Women's Foundation California

By Former Development and Communications Officer Kim Kenny

When asked “who inspires you?” I began ticking through a list of women: Maya Angelou, Eleanor Roosevelt and Madonna came to mind (yes Madonna!). Then I thought of my mom.

My mother is a true inspiration. She wanted to go to college but her immigrant father said that would be a waste of money. She went anyway. My mom married at the ridiculously old age of 24. What Italian man in his right mind would marry a spinster like her? No need to worry, she found an Irishman.

My mother raised four children and a husband.

To this day, my father has not cooked a meal on his own (does cheese and crackers count?). I do not think he knows how to use the washer and dryer and I am quite certain “helping to vacuum” means holding up his legs as the vacuum passes under them.

My mom maintained the house, kept four kids functioning quite well and somehow managed to volunteer and give back to her community. My mother was always giving her time and energy – and the little money she had – to numerous worthwhile causes. After 15 years of raising children, she re-entered the workforce and still had the full time job of taking care of her family. She kept her volunteer commitments too.

While my mom has not won an award for her efforts, she inspires me daily. Truly, her story isn’t unique. There are millions of women like her, unsung inspirations who keep their families, friends, and communities knit together, body, mind and soul.

Recently, I was thinking of other women who inspire me. I have the great fortune to work with amazing women every day. On Friday May 7th, the Women’s Foundation California will honor three inspiring women at our annual Momentum Awards Luncheon:

  • Aileen Adams was the first statewide board chair for the Women’s Foundation California. She is a long time advocate for women and girls and a true leader. I wouldn’t be surprised if Aileen knows more people than Oprah!
  • Laura Chick is a powerhouse. She was the first woman elected to a city-wide office in Los Angeles and the first Inspector General for the state of California. Her fast talking, no nonsense approach is legendary.
  • Connie Rice is a civil rights activist and lawyer. She has dedicated her life to changing the government and societal systems that keep people entrenched in a cycle of poverty. Connie is brilliant, whip smart and funny!

At the Momentum Awards I will have the opportunity to thank these women for their amazing work and to tell them that they inspire me. As of today, we’ve sold out, but we’ll be sure to share the speeches, photos and video from this inspiring event. Visit www.womensfoundca.org to stay up to date.

PS – My mom is turning 68 this year and she is busier than ever with her volunteer work!

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