Suzanne Balmer: making a world of possibilities for our daughters

Jane Counsel, front and centre

Not a day goes by that I’m not grateful to have been born in the time I was. I look at photos of my mother and grandmothers as young women and wonder “What if…?”. What could they have achieved had they been born in my era? A century ago, my grandmothers were experiencing a common theme: minimal education, early marriage, and big families. Of course, my sliding door moments won’t change history. Instead, what I will do this International Women’s Day is remember their joy at seeing their many granddaughters succeed in ways they could perhaps only dream of, if, indeed, they dared to dream. I also acknowledge on this day their contribution to the progression for women in their own small way; through conversation, through influence, and through encouragement. Perhaps in that light, times haven’t changed so much.

My aim is to ensure my daughters and granddaughters don’t ask the same “What if…?” question about me. Within my many life roles as an executive, coach, mentor, wife, mother, daughter, aunty, friend, sports person, hobby artist, and community contributor, I consciously strive to do three things:

  • to encourage women of all ages to embrace their God-given talents. Just imagine the exponential effect of each of us identifying the strengths and creativity that surround us?
  • to embrace true balance on a multi-dimensional level – diversity of people and diversity of interest. Having a career is not about choosing it over something else. It’s just one of many components to be chosen and lived. The key is choice.
  • to encourage the ‘old-fashioned’ art of conversation with a two-fold purpose: firstly, to lead to more understanding and deeper relationships and, secondly, in order to debate serious topics, and lead us to greater solutions. Something, in my opinion, society is slowly losing the ability to do.

So, on this International Women’s day, I want to leave you with a Salma Hayek quote that particularly resonates with me and reflects my interpretation of this year’s theme #balanceforbetter:

“You can be a thousand different women. It’s your choice which one you want to be. It’s about freedom and sovereignty. You celebrate who YOU are. You say: “This is my kingdom”.

Together, let’s continue to influence the conversation about balance and diversity. Let’s encourage authenticity, and choice, and watch great outcomes emerge – for women and for our society.

Happy International Women’s Day!


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