Be Bold for Change
POSTED ON March 07

March 8 is International Women’s Day. The theme for 2017 is “Be Bold for Change.” But what empowers a woman to carry this charge forward?

On the wall of the former location of Origami restaurant in Minneapolis hung a serigraph of a woman running with horses entitled “Blue Lady.” Horses embody speed, strength, and endurance, and the woman in the work—a blue figure seemingly comfortable amidst a flurry of movement and color: reds, browns, yellows, oranges, and black—seems to draw from these very qualities. Speed, strength, and endurance carry her forward. Horses also symbolize freedom. The woman is free to be herself.

My sister, Connie, is a horsewoman and a math whiz.  In the mid-sixties, she attended University of Iowa as a math major. She was the only female student in the department. I asked her what it felt like to be a trail-blazer. She told me it was lonely.

That was the sixties. What about today?

In my day-to-day life at Shepherd Data, I rarely think about gender issues. Generally, I’m thinking about the best way to dig around in a hard drive’s unallocated space to find that vital nugget of data I seek.

Outside of Shepherd Data, however, I often become aware that maybe I don’t look like every other forensic investigator. Recently, I attended a forensics training class. There were about 25 people in the class. I was the only woman.

History gives us examples of those women that challenged the norm. Tomoe Gozen, a 12th century female samurai and superb horsewoman, rode into battle swinging her long sword to engage the enemy. She embraced leadership and directed thousands of men in victorious battles. I doubt she ever looked back at her troops and thought, “Geez, I’m the only woman here; maybe I should have thought of a different career choice.” No. Instead, she rode into a 30-strong pack of fierce Taira warriors and beheaded the scariest one!

Modern-day women warriors take different tactics, of course. They cannot charge around lopping people’s heads off (although, I do think Carly Fiorina and Hillary Clinton fantasized about it). Today, the successful woman leader stands confidently and speaks her position with clear action steps and well-articulated goals. These women represent the best of us.

Perhaps one of the keys is belief in your goals. What is right? What is fair? What is worth fighting for?  In the face of loneliness and hostile adversaries, we must draw upon those ideals to carry us forward.

We recently lost one of our warriors: Melissa Anderson, of 3M. She embodied the themes displayed in “Blue Lady.” Her faith carried her forward.  Melissa’s Caringbridge website contains this entry from her family, describing Melissa:

“I am a warrior who boldly and confidently walks with angels and the Holy Spirit disregarding the praise of man and humbly seeking the praise of God. I am not concerned about today, tomorrow, or beyond, as the battle is not mine alone, but my Father’s, and surely He dresses me in His armor and the helmet of salvation, gives me the sword of the Spirit, and the strength and courage to fight on. I truly am a warrior, a warrior and humble servant of Christ, who seeks not answers, but God.”

Journal entry by Jen and Joe Curran — 2/17/2017, https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/melissaanderson2016/journal


About the Author Chris

Author Avatar Christine Chalstrom is the Founder, CEO, and President of Shepherd Data Services, Trustee, Mitchell Hamline Law School and Adviser, Center for Law and Business. She has spoken widely on the Amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedures, Digital Forensics, and eDiscovery best practices. Her credits include presentations to the American Bar Association, Association of Certified e-Discovery Specialists (ACEDS), Corporate Counsel Institute, MN Association of Corporate Counsel, MN Association of Litigation Support Professionals, MN CLE, Mitchell Hamline School of Law, Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute. She is an attorney, programmer, and forensic examiner.