Women’s History Month stands as an especially important time of the year for me. For obvious reasons, I am a woman, and as my mom would say, a trail-blazing one at that. But beneath the surface, I am a third-generation American with a legacy of strong, hard-working women that paved the way before me. I’ve been inspired throughout my life by the lives, choices, and fortitude of the women before me in my family, who overcame and accomplished so much. I hope they can inspire you as much as they have inspired me.
In the early 1900s my great-grandmother, Sarah, arrived in the United States through Ellis Island with little to nothing, not even her husband. Fleeing rising antisemitism and searching for a better life, my great-grandfather sent her to the States ahead of himself. What started as months of him working to join her in the US turned into years. In the meantime, my great-grandmother was determined to prosper. She was an independent woman who started selling homemade candy and toys to help make ends meet. She struggled, worked hard, and made a better life for herself and her family; she pushed forward toward the American dream. And now, nearly 100 years later, here I am, a third-generation American executive businesswoman pursuing the same thing and working hard to show my 4-year-old daughter just how badass women are.
Which is why I wish with all my heart that my daughter could have met my grandma Freda. Freda was a first generation American who settled in New York City. I was her youngest granddaughter, born on her 70th birthday, and she was an innovator in every sense of the word. All throughout her life, she was what we’d call a modern-day “wellness queen” and this was well before it was all the rage. She practiced yoga, took fish oil vitamins, wore SPF daily, and embraced every kind of healthy lifestyle practice. I remember watching her stand on her head! And remember, I was born on her 70th birthday! Safe to say, she was living in 2023 Los Angeles before its time. In her 97 years, she always had cinnamon gum in her purse, convinced us she was “allergic” to chocolate, and was reading no less than four books at a time. My love for her runs so deep that my daughter Olivia’s Hebrew name is Freda, in honor of her.
And then there’s my mom. My mom is a superwoman – she does it all. In the late 70s / early 80’s, she had an amazing early career traveling and working selling some of the first computers. She realized she excelled not only at sales, but was also a teacher. She later earned her teaching credentials and gave up her travels to be at home with my two brothers and me. Throughout my childhood, my mom was a volunteer extraordinaire. She never missed a performance, a soccer game, or an opportunity to be involved in our lives, and still had time to substitute teach to provide other children with a great education and experience. As we got older, she went back to sales – crushed it, obviously, and yet, still always had time for all of us. I wanted to be her so badly. She was everything; correction, she IS everything and told me day after day, I could do anything I put my mind to. And I believed her. I still do. That’s the amazing power Moms have.
But I never knew exactly what I wanted to be when I “grew up.” My answer changed many times over the years, from pediatrician to Broadway star, from politician to stay-at-home mom, but I was always confident that I could be whatever I wanted to be. My mom gave that gift to me. I spent some time in Washington DC interning with a congressman where I learned a lot, including that it wasn’t for me. While attending UCLA, I picked up a double major and took a Market Research class thinking it was interesting but didn’t know it would lead to an incredible career. Ironically, I accidentally interviewed for a Market Research position, not fully knowing what it entailed, but decided it was the best offer I had. Research spoke to me and satisfied my desire to understand people more – what pushes them to make decisions, allowing my perfectionism to shine through. Unbeknownst to me, I unlocked a career path in Market Research where I hustled and worked my way up. Today, my roles include being SVP of Global Innovation and Product Strategy at InnovateMR, President Elect of the Insights Association West Chapter, a Women In Research mentor, a wife, and a proud mom to two incredible children.
Thinking about the women in my family gives me great pride, and I am determined to pass on their legacy and the different lessons these women taught me. My hard-working attitude stems from my great-grandmother, Sarah, who persevered and made her candy and toy business out of nothing. She taught me that no idea is ever too small and that giving up is never the answer. My grandmother, Freda, showed me how to be a trailblazer and never be afraid to be the first to do something. Own your ideas and beliefs even if you’re not blending in with the crowd. My mom proved that balance and love are the keys to life. She made me believe I can do it all which led me to open doors I wouldn’t have knocked on otherwise. While I learned countless lessons from these women, very little of them were taught only through talk. They walked the walk, and their actions are what stick with me the most. I aspire to continue to walk the walk, and now to walk the talk, to pass on the countless words and acts of wisdom that have inspired me throughout my life.
InnovateMR is a full-service sampling and ResTech company that delivers faster, quality insights from business and consumer audiences utilizing cutting-edge technologies to support agile research. As industry pioneers, InnovateMR provides world-class end-to-end survey programming, targeted international sampling, qualitative and quantitative insights, and customized consultation services to support informed, data-driven strategies, and identify growth opportunities. Known for their celebrated status in customer service and results, InnovateMR combines boutique-level service with extensive global reach to achieve partner success.
About InnovateMR – InnovateMR is a full-service sampling and ResTech company that delivers faster, quality insights from business and consumer audiences utilizing cutting-edge technologies to support agile research. As industry pioneers, InnovateMR provides world-class end-to-end survey programming, targeted international sampling, qualitative and quantitative insights, and customized consultation services to support informed, data-driven strategies, and identify growth opportunities. Known for their celebrated status in customer service and results, InnovateMR combines boutique-level service with extensive global reach to achieve partner success.