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It seems over the last few years, influential and inspiring women have come into my life to help me develop a more sense of self and the positive attributes that I didn’t realize I had within myself. I find this no coincidence, as I have learned along my academic journey, to not only learn from those who are teaching you but to be guided by their devotion to integrity, their resilience, their humility, their love of community and overall, their strong sense of self.

As we move into celebrating women of these qualities during March, we can think of so many women who move us to be better students, leaders, and innovators in our fields of study. The one woman who came to mind for me is Carla Harris, who is a Managing Director at Morgan Stanley where I worked for almost twenty years before retiring last April. Ms. Harris is Senior Client Advisor and the Vice Chairman of the Wealth Management division at Morgan Stanley. She is was appointed by President Barack Obama to chair the National Women’s Business Council. She is a Harvard University graduate, a gospel recording artist, and a popular public speaker who gives moving speeches on career guidance in corporate America.

I was honored to hear Ms. Harris speak many times while working at Morgan Stanley, and perhaps, she was one of many that motivated me to take on more leadership roles in my community and to have more confidence in my public speaking opportunities.

I reached out to Ms. Harris a few weeks back, and was able to have a short phone conversation with her. Showing that in true leadership, you make the time for those who wish to be mentored by you, no matter the limit on your time. I asked her about her plans for Women’s History Month. She stated that not only would Morgan Stanley promote March as a celebration of women’s achievements, but would also continue to advance women’s interests, not only in corporate America, but in education, in politics, in teaching women about finance, and in making change for women in our communities. Ms. Harris’ words moved me to continue to pay it forward by continuing to give back to my community, and being a mentor to those who come along my life’s path.

Please take the time this month to not only become a mentor to someone who wishes to be taught, but allow yourself to be mentored. To learn from those who have gone before us in whatever role we are seeking to fulfill. Knowing that the right women will show up at the right time in our lives. To teach, or to be taught. Be ready…and may you celebrate yourself and the vibrant women that surround you this month, and every month. Happy Women’s History Month!

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