Women Make Change

March, as you may know, is #WomensHistoryMonth—a 31-day celebration of women’s accomplishments, historical and present-day, in fields as far-ranging as politics, art, tech, science, and more. The truth is that—despite the fact that they’re not always recognized—women’s contributions have changed the world in every imaginable way.

As a women-owned business (with over 75% female-identified folks on our team), we’d be remiss not to use this opportunity to highlight some of the amazing women in our own community who are changing things for the better. The truth is, we should be celebrating these accomplishments every day. But what better time to start than the month dedicated to women?

For the past month, we’ve been using the tools at our disposal (namely writing, photography, and social media) to highlight the powerful ways women are making change. The results are here, below. This isn’t a comprehensive list, of course—these are just the women in our network, in our region. But doesn’t that almost make it cooler?! We guarantee your network, too, has plenty of women doing amazing things.

This is a great way to close out Women’s History Month, sure, but we want it to be more than that—we want this to be the impetus for everyone who reads this to do more. Dig into your own communities and networks. Find out what women are doing to make your region, your field, or the world a better place, and how you can support those efforts. Celebrate Women’s History Month every day.

Theresa Widmann

Theresa Widmann is the founder of Anahata Yoga in Kingston, NY, where she teaches Kundalini yoga and meditation—plus she’s a certified Gong Master and Sound Healer (seriously!). She uses these skills to improve the lives of women and girls who have experienced domestic violence. And apart from making people live’s better in the studio, she’s focused on improving access to healthcare for all as board president and “LO+VE Director” (why are all of her titles so cool?!) of the O+ Festival, an event that allows artists to exchange art and music for medical and dental care.

"It's my vision that everybody—regardless of income, education, background, upbringing—can have access to the healing arts and complementary healthcare. When I think equality, I think smiling faces, and to me, smiling faces means reduction of conflict and reduction of struggle. The only way we can do this, to create equality for all, within a community, is for us to know our community, to have a diverse community that we are connected to." —Theresa Widmann

Savannah Leone Bundy

Small business owner Savannah Bundy started Dimple+Dot, a “minimalist skincare” company that makes products for all genders and ethnicities. The inclusive way she runs her biz is cool, but what’s equally important is how she got there—through connection. “More than anything, I make connections,” she says. “I wasn’t able to start my company just because I care about skin a lot (its certainly a prominent factor, though), I was able to do it because I was constantly making connections”—between people, concepts, industries, and places. From her background studying culinary arts and working at the Nature Center in Oakland, to knowledge and inspiration she gained from her family; each piece of Savannah’s history has connected to make her present possible.

"Equality means being treated with the same value as others. It means balance. I don't think equality really has to do with sameness, the way it's often presented. I like to think I'm making a difference by creating something that considers all types of people. Something that ignores the categories and 'supposed-tos.' Women are 'supposed to' spend a whole bunch of time and money on beauty products, regimens, etc. Men aren't 'supposed to' care about that stuff at all. You're 'supposed to' look a certain way to be a model, or a lumberjack or an accountant or whatever. All due respect: I'm not fucking with that method anymore." —Savannah Leone Bundy

Lauree Ostrofsky

In her “day job,” Lauree’s a career and business coach, helping people create the lives (and jobs) that truly fulfill them. It’s something she has personal experience with—after Lauree was diagnosed with a brain tumor in her late 20s, she made the leap from a corporate job she didn’t love, travelled the world, and changed her entire life. She writes about this experience in her first of two books, I’m Scared and Doing It Anyway. In her spare time (if you can call it that!), Lauree runs Hudson Valley Women in Business, a networking group to empower women in our region.

“I’m helping people love each other more, that includes helping them love themselves and love their lives and what they’re doing every day.”
—Lauree Ostrofsky

Amy Papaelias

Amy Papaelias is a self-described “font nerd” (that’s even her Twitter handle) and design and typography educator. She doesn’t just practice and study typography—although that would be cool in and of itself, since design is a pretty male-dominated field—she also founded Alphabettes, an online resource and showcase for women in type design that runs a pretty great mentorship program. Even cooler—her most recent academic work actually explores the role of gender in typography.

"When people think of type nerds, there's a certain monolith of who that is—and we're maybe challenging that a little bit."

—Amy Papaelias

Kelly Lyndgaard

For those who struggle with addiction, it can be difficult to break free from the cycle of buying and selling drugs without a support network, an outlet for creative expression, and economic independence. Kelly Lyndgaard hopes to provide all of the above through Unshattered, a social enterprise program that partners with the Walter Hoving Home for women. Though she’s technically an engineer, Kelly considers herself a problem solver, and she founded Unshattered in 2013 to solve a problem for formerly addicted women. The women involved become part of a small business that makes handbags and other textile products out of repurposed materials, and are involved at every level of the business—from the design and production of the bags, to the photography and marketing, to the management and bookkeeping—allowing them to gain skills, experience, and community that last beyond their rehab program.

Equality [means] having knowledge of what you're good at doing, what you thrive at, what's gratifying—and what you can contribute to the world. And having the opportunity to do it."

—Kelly Lyndgaard

Eileen Uchitelle

As a developer/programmer who has worked in security, performance, and is now a senior systems engineer at GitHub, Eileen Uchitelle is used to being one of only a few women in the room—or even at the conference. But that hasn’t stopped her from becoming an active contributor in her field—or from being names the first woman on the Rails Core team, the group who guides the Ruby on Rails framework in which Eileen works. “I started out writing blog posts so that folks having the same struggles I was working with code would be able to find the solution faster,” she says. “I eventually started speaking at conferences to share my work and a lot of attendees have benefited from my talks on performance and security. For a few years I’ve been contributing actively to open source, especially the Ruby on Rails framework. I love being able to drive a language forward and help make the tech industry a little more welcoming.”

"Equality means having the same opportunities, [regardless of] gender or income or socio-economic status or where you live—just to always be evaluated for who you are on the inside. Equality isn't about there being 50/50 women/men at the table. Equality is that women had the same opportunity to be at that table, because their skills are top notch. The argument that we have to 'lower the bar' for anyone to be at the table is garbage. We're already exceeding the bar, and it's time to get out of our way."

—Eileen Uchitelle