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Learnings to Inspire the Next Generation of Women’s Leadership

6 min read
March 23, 2021

Inspiration comes in many forms. To honor Women’s History Month and the groundbreaking women who have come before, we asked members of female leadership at The Martin Group about women who have made a difference in their lives and what advice they can pass down to the next generation.

This year’s International Women’s Day theme is #ChoosetoChallenge, promoting the need to challenge gender stereotypes and inequality across all components of our culture. Whether choosing to challenge the gender pay gap, paid family leave, or gender equality itself, the women who have paved the way continue to inspire future change. To celebrate women of the past and present, here are just a few who have made an impact on The Martin Group:

Robin Needham, Media Director

What woman has inspired you or made a difference in your life/career?

Trina Burruss, SVP and District Manager, Northwest Bank. Trina was my college lifeline. As a fellow adult learner, wife, and mother, Trina understood and provided the drive and focus needed as we navigated through our college years together. We were always there for each other and I treasure Trina’s support and friendship. I always knew Trina would make a positive impact not only in the corporate world but in her beloved community.

What advice can you pass down to the next generation of female leaders in the industry?

It’s important to earn your stripes by learning, understanding, and participating in as many aspects of your business as possible. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or admit you do not know the answer – honesty and transparency will carry you far. Be a good listener and know you are important in any conversation or meeting you are invited to attend – speak your mind with intelligence and kindness.

Lisa Strock, Chief Operating Officer

What woman has inspired you or made a difference in your life/career?

I’m so proud we have this dedicated time to share our thoughts on influential women in our lives, but I also find it one of the most challenging to reflect on when trying to narrow it down. The truth is, I draw inspiration from many women both in the public eye and those I work with and spend my personal time with. But most notable is Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

What advice can you pass down to the next generation of female leaders in the industry?

When I had a chance to see [RGB] in person and hear her speak, it was at a time where I needed a nudge of professional confidence and inspiration. In particular, I found her delivery to be articulate and calm and her petite stature didn’t water down her confidence, which I loved. Another woman of influence that I have come to hold in high regard is Reese Witherspoon because she identified an issue and took action. I encourage our next generation of women leaders to be open-minded and action-oriented, but more importantly, to be themselves.

Kelli Putney, Vice President | Business Development

What woman has inspired you or made a difference in your life/career?

While my mom and several colleagues have been my personal mentors over the years, the most well-known woman who has inspired me the most is Serena Williams. She is strong and fierce, and very comfortable in her own skin. She’s obviously a champion tennis player, but she is also a highly successful businesswoman, philanthropist, and mom. A final reason Serena is such an inspiration to me is that I played tennis in high school – although I had to play on the boys team because my school didn’t have a girls team at that time!

What advice can you pass down to the next generation of female leaders in the industry?

When I began my professional career, I often talked about “having it all.” Over the years, I have discovered that life ebbs and flows, and you can have it all – just not always at the same time. Life is long, so enjoy each part of the journey as it prepares you for what’s coming next.

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