One of my favorite and, I think, most poignant recent observations regarding how far women have come in leveling the field in the workplace comes from comedian Sarah Silverman.
She tells her audiences that the biggest mistake anyone can make is to tell girls they can be anything they want when they grow up. This is a mistake, not because it’s not true, but because girls would never think otherwise if someone didn’t say so, she says.
Of course, even a few short decades ago, this was not the case. And to some extent today, women continue to battle glass ceilings in terms of pay and in job availability. As a female stand-up comedian, an historically male-dominated profession, Silverman is no doubt herself no stranger to gender-related professional battles. But her success in today’s comedy industry has paved the way for a slew of up-and-coming female comics who seek to be recognized for their quick wit and originality rather than their gender.
Likewise, many of the women featured in our inaugural top 25 women in business list believe strongly that women can now pursue and succeed in any career without paying heed to gender. Several women featured on the list have succeeded in making a name for themselves in industries such as manufacturing, where women continue to comprise a minority of the workforce, but they have risen to the top of their professions regardless.
We are thrilled to introduce you to the women who made our list and believe they set a strong example for the region’s entire business community, male and female. I’d also like to extend our congratulations to all who were nominated. Because this was our first time requesting nominations for the women in business list, we weren’t sure what to expect. I speak for the entire team when I say we were blown away by the number of nominations we received and the high caliber of nominees. More than 100 women were nominated from throughout the region, all of whom were strong contenders. It made our job of selecting just 25 quite difficult, but it was also great to see how many inspirational and successful business women call the northern Plains home. We look forward to making this list an annual event. Read about this year’s selected honorees here.
This issue also includes several entrepreneurial-focused articles. I had the pleasure of sitting in on part of the first North Dakota Women’s Startup Weekend in late January, which was organized to promote entrepreneurship among women throughout the state. It was great to see so many budding female entrepreneurs working toward their goals. Their enthusiasm was matched only by that of the coaches, all successful female entrepreneurs, and I look forward to one day covering the launch of companies formed over the course of that weekend. Our digital edition includes a review of that event.
We also highlight Dakota Rising, an entrepreneur development program based in South Dakota. The program has supported a number of entrepreneurs in rural communities who have gone on to great success since its launch several years ago and may soon expand to include rural communities in other states. Read “Rising up” to learn more.
Read the entire issue here.