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Tampa Bay's women making impact, for the community and for their fellow women

Nancy Vaughn is principal and pr & marketing director for the White Book Agency. Photo courtesy of Nancy Vaughn
Nancy Vaughn is principal and pr & marketing director for the White Book Agency. Photo courtesy of Nancy Vaughn
Published Mar. 24, 2018

We highlight March as Women's History Month, an important time to honor the people who have come before us and paved the way for opportunities.

It's also a time to remember how our contributions today will, hopefully, impact the future in a positive manner.

From movements like #MeToo, Time's Up, and Black Lives Matter, to the inspiring response from students in the wake of the Stoneman Douglas shooting, women young and old are helping craft history-making moments.

And it really feels like this is just the beginning.

Like any city and state, there's always work to do. And Tampa Bay's women are working and making a daily difference, from those pursuing entrepreneurial dreams to those working their 9-to-5 jobs to those serving as CEOs of their households. Tampa Bay has enjoyed growth and positive progress over the years, and with women making up 51.1 percent of the population, they've definitely played an active role in the region's success.

What we all ultimately have in common is our desire to make an impact, not just for ourselves, but for the women standing next to us, and the women coming up behind us. And we also want to do right by the women who came before us, because we know they traveled a difficult journey, and as women we still face challenges today.

There are many organizations in Tampa Bay that work incessantly to support women, including: Working Women of Tampa Bay, Athena Society, The Junior League of Tampa, The Centre for Women, Ekhos, the Hillsborough Commission on the Status of Women, and many more. Through various programming and events, Tampa Bay women can call upon a supportive, collaborative network that encourage and foster a true spirit of community.

What about women who aren't sure how to launch their second act, how to get their first act started, or the women of the future? Organizations like the Working Women Foundation provide a community of mentors and offers startup grants to women entrepreneurs. The Athena Society awards grants to striving college women through the Phyllis Marshall Career Assistance Grants Program, and provides assistance to high school girls through the Dr. Sylvia Richardson Young Women of Promise Program.

The tried and true Girl Scouts of West Central Florida has adapted with the changing times and provides leadership skills to our future generation while allowing women in the community to give back and act as mentors and guides at its Camp CEO.

Like the variety and diversity amongst women, this sisterhood network is not homogenous — harmonized but not same-same. There is something in the region for every woman, and for things that may not exist, there's room (and openness) for creation. Tampa Bay's occasional two or three degrees of separation (as opposed to the oft-referred six) allows for quick connections and access points to the movers and shakers, and its emerging city vibe means there's room for even more collaboration and creation.

So, as we highlight Women's History Month, look at the women around you and know that history is being made — right before your eyes by half of Tampa Bay's population. I encourage you to get to know the fantastic women's organizations in our region. In the comments below, share the names of other women's organizations that should be on everyone's radar for the work they're doing in our community. Use hashtag: #TBWomenUnited.

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And thanks to our male allies who understand the importance of this month.

We're really all in this together.

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