March 31, 2021

8 Lessons from Women Leaders Across Our Workforce

Devin Hiett

Throughout Women’s History Month, 1Huddle has been highlighting women leaders from our nation’s past and present who deserve to be celebrated. 

As we look back on the trailblazing women who have made their mark in history, it’s also important to reflect on the perspectives of the women who are leading our workforce today. So, we sat down with women leaders across every industry and asked them for their viewpoints on the challenges and triumphs modern women face in our workforce today.

Here is what they had to say:

1. Shadae McDaniel

Shadae McDaniel is the Vice President and City Leader at the All Stars Project of New Jersey. Shadae is an impactful nonprofit leader and social entrepreneur who has spent more than 15 years in the local, state, and federal nonprofit sector. 

Shadae provides innovative, community-based education to thousands of young people, their families, and underserved communities using performance-based approaches to human development. She works with activists, corporations, philanthropists, youth, and community members to build environments for growth and social transformation.

Lessons from Shadae

“When I think about women running the world, it reminds me of all “unsung” women leaders who hold our communities together in times of crisis. Really, the greatest lesson I’ve learned about leadership has come from the women at the All Stars Project, where I am VP and City Leader in NJ. They have taught me that our collective power is inseparable from the relationships, collaborations, and bridges we have built between diverse communities over the last 40 years. 

My philosophy on leadership and power is that those who wield it best have a collective and inclusive approach that doesn’t rely solely on their own understandings. We don’t just need more women at the table; bringing in more women leaders should inspire and motivate us to build a whole new table!”

2. Suzette Grillot, PhD

Dr. Suzette Grillot is a professor, entrepreneur, and advocate who founded Equity Brewing Company, the only all women-owned and operated micro-brewery in Oklahoma. Dr. Suzette Grillot serves as a professor of international studies at The University of Oklahoma by day (and some nights and weekends). She served as the Dean of OU’s College of International Studies for nearly a decade, and she was integral to creating the College during her tenure as the CIS Associate Dean. Dr. Grillot has been living, learning and lecturing on and around college and university campuses for more than 30 years. She’s also a successful, people-focused entrepreneur who spearheads several projects outside of the ivory tower. 

Dr. Grillot owns and operates a number of educational and social justice enterprises, including The Third Space, a shared, supportive and empowering co-working space in Norman, Oklahoma; The Third Space Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to empowering marginalized groups; and AMPLIFY, formerly proFmagazine, an online publication that amplifies and magnifies the voice of feminists and other marginalized communities.

Lessons from Suzette

“Why do women run the world? Because they have the grit and determination to do so. Whether women are running a small business, multi-national corporation, college classroom, busy household, charity, 5K, or all the above, they have likely persisted through barriers that men don’t often face. 

Ultimately, the process of overcoming the gendered constraints of the patriarchy is precisely what results in the most incredible combination of strength, vulnerability, intelligence and intuition – and makes women ideally suited for the creation and management of anything.”

3. Kathyann Powell

Kathyann Powell is the CEO and founder of Saving Jane, a nonprofit committed to ending all forms of modern-day slavery and human trafficking by raising public awareness, educating youth through prevention training, and helping free survivors from the trauma of their past experiences. 

Kathyann Powell migrated to the U.S. from Barbados with her mother in 1986 and was interested in fashion from an early age, eventually attending FIT and obtaining a merchandising degree. She then parlayed that experience into a 14-year career in luxury retail sales which she found to be lucrative, but unfulfilling in spite of winning accolades from her management team and national recognition while being featured in company magazines. In 2017, she attended a leadership training program and chose to retire from fashion and sales and use her new freedom to explore all the things she never had time to do. She became a gourmet chef, took up Pilates and yoga, and moved to Las Vegas to enjoy the weather. About three months later, in late February of 2018, she had an epiphany and chose to dedicate her life to helping survivors of human trafficking. She founded Saving Jane in March of 2018. Today she spends her time creating new ways to address the three pillars of Saving Jane: Awareness, Prevention and the Aftercare of survivors.

Lessons from Kathyann

“Since the invention of agriculture, women’s traditional role was to work the fields, prepare food, and manage the household, including all the children. So you could say that we have been preparing for management roles since the dawn of time.

In modern times this traditional role leads us to train and manage the next generation by ourselves. Effectively, this ensures the world keeps running because of all the training that mothers impart to their children. Why shouldn’t the benefit of this lifelong training be extended into the workforce?”

4. Michelle Gacio Harrolle, PhD

Dr. Michelle Harrolle is the Director of the Vinik Sport & Entertainment Management Program at the University of South Florida. She teaches courses related to marketing, sales, and fundraising in sports and entertainment in the School of Marketing and Innovation. Dr. Harrolle also serves as president of WISE Tampa Bay, a nonprofit that empowers women in the business of sports with the tools to reach their career goals.  

Her years of experience in the sports industry include being aquatics director at Providence College; swimming coach at Providence College, Florida State University and The Ohio State University. Harrolle was one of three head female collegiate coaches of both men’s and women’s D1 athletics. She was the director of a Tampa Memorial Golf Tournament from 2003-2007. At North Carolina State University, she received the highest teaching honor bestowed on a professor, the 2012-13 North Carolina State University and College of Natural Resources Teacher of the Year awards.Harrolle earned a PhD, master’s and bachelor’s degrees from the University of Florida where she was an All-American Honorable Mention collegiate swimmer.

Lessons from Michelle

“Women should start building their network and building strong relationships in their industries, as soon as possible in their career. Connect with a women’s organization, attend events, ask someone out for coffee (and pay for their coffee), and ask others for advice (most people love to give advice). And then, follow up with your new contacts, let them know how you are doing professionally, your successes, your challenges, and provide them with value (latest trends or research you have read). Most importantly: start today and continue to connect in the future.”

5. Sara Jane Rose

Sara Jane Rose is the Founder and Executive Director of Sally’s List, a nonpartisan organization with a clear mission: to train, support, and elect progressive women to public office in Oklahoma. Since 2010, Sally’s List has empowered candidates and campaign staff to incite change in Oklahoma. As a nonpartisan organization, the women of Sally’s List support community-building issues like public education, healthcare, and a strong economy. Their training programs mobilize women to make a long-lasting impact in their communities.

Sara Jane moved from California to Oklahoma in 2005 with her husband, an Oklahoma native, and two daughters. A 1982 graduate of Brown University in Rhode Island, her career in California included directing episodic series for network and cable television, and five years teaching martial arts and self-defense as an instructor with a leading national studio chain. She has a black belt in Shaolin Kempo Karate. In 2010, Sara Jane founded Sally’s List, which is named after the political trailblazer and advocate Sally Rae Merkle Mock, who passed away in 2009. After serving as board president of Sally’s List for its first six years, she has been its executive director since 2017.

Lessons from Sara Jane

“Women run the world because they do the lion’s share of cooking, feeding, cleaning, child-rearing, nursing, errand-running, gardening, and pet care. If we stopped doing these things for even a few days, life would fall into disarray. We are the glue that holds it all together. On a personal level, being a woman who has had children makes knowing that children go hungry around the world absolutely intolerable. Putting myself in the shoes of a mother who cannot feed her children makes my heart ache. I’m not sure this is an emotion most men are capable of experiencing so keenly. 

Women should be running the workforce because we are experts at multitasking. We see the big picture and the small picture simultaneously and have always had to do at least twice the job of most men just to be taken seriously. Honestly, I believe we are ALREADY running the workforce. We just don’t have the fiscal power to make the changes that are so badly needed.”

6. Cindy Meiskin

Cindy Meiskin is the Chief Experience Officer at Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa, a 400+ unit Massage and Facial Spa with a mission to bring affordable massage and facial services to the masses, tapping into the ‘day-cation’ market segment. Cindy has been in the Health and Wellness Industry for close to 20 years, heading her own fitness firm, after achieving CPT and CES certifications from the National Association of Sports Medicine (NASM). She led corpo- rate training for a major banking institution and is responsible for all aspects of Hand & Stone training.

Cindy is a seasoned business owner with entrepreneurial experience. In 2003, Cindy founded Fitness for Life LLC, where she taught youth, adult, and senior exercise programs. Cindy is known for her ability to interact with and motivate people both individually and in a group setting. Her specialties include seniors, children, women with postpartum depression, teenagers with eating disorders, and clients with PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome and Multiple Sclerosis.

Lessons from Cindy

“Don’t fall victim to tearing other women down. Women need to build each other up and support each other’s successes. A victory for one is a victory for all. When we stop competing, and start cooperating, everyone wins.”

7. Paige Colston

Paige Colston is the Finance Director for Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester, who has represented Delaware’s at-large congressional district since 2017. Paige graduated from the University of Oklahoma with her B.A. in Political Science and Italian Language and Literature in 2018, and she has made remarkable strides in the workforce since graduation.
Paige started her career in fundraising as the Deputy Finance Director for former Congresswoman Kendra Horn’s campaign. She then moved to D.C., where she has served as the PAC Fundraising Coordinator for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and more recently as a Southern Finance Associate at the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

Lessons from Paige: 

“Women run the world because we’re not afraid to take a seat at the table — and we’re certainly not afraid to make our own tables when we’re not made equal partners. The workforce needs to catch up to us!”

8. Our 8th woman leader is…

Here at 1Huddle, we are dedicated to uplifting and recognizing women’s contributions all year long. So although this blog completes our Women’s History Month 2021 series, we want to hear from you about a woman in the workforce who has inspired you for an upcoming blog post.

If you would like to see a woman you know featured on the blog, email with the name and a short bio on who you would like us to feature.

Devin Hiett, Content Marketing Lead at 1Huddle

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