In celebration of Women's History Month, Chartwell Law’s women attorneys share their views on the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in their personal and professional lives. This week, Elissa Boyd, Carmen Nicolaou, Alex Rives, and Samantha Ward tell us about their childhood influences.
Elissa Boyd (Portland, OR): When I was young, I was very strong-willed. Many people would have told me to be quiet and know my place (in fact, many people did). But my mom was different, her response always was, “Elissa is going to be the CEO of a major corporation someday.” I have thought about my mom’s words often as I progressed in my career – being a strong woman was never something to be embarrassed of – it was something to celebrate.
Carmen Nicolaou (White Plains, NY): When the war broke out in Lebanon, it was my mom who helped us escape to Greece. It was my mother's strength and determination to protect her daughters and bring them to safety – she fought to get us a passport, meeting up with the individual outside the embassy, who stamped her passport in his car. It was my mother who courageously navigated the roads, when the car behind us was blown up. It was my mother who had us sleep on the floor of a room, out of concern that bullets might come through a window and kill one of us. It was my mother who had us go on a cargo ship, where we stayed in a boiler room, while it brought us to Cyprus before we made it into Greece where my father was waiting for us. Not many could have accomplished what she did. Aida Nicolaou was a force to be reckoned with, and no one could push her around.
Alex Rives (Peoria, IL): Fictional detective Nancy Drew. She was smart, independent, and did things that only men were supposed to do–while doing them exceedingly well. Adjectives that come to mind for Nancy Drew are bold, daring, tenacious, and tough, among others. She was a resourceful problem-solver, with a determination that never let anything stand in her way of solving a mystery, no matter how baffling the case. Thinking back on it today, her character and all the Nancy Drew books I read during my childhood just may have been what motivated me to become an attorney, whether I realized it or not!
Samantha Ward (Peoria, IL): My mom, Connie Ward, is my best friend and biggest influence. She is brilliant, funny, and interesting - and what’s more, she is a truly kind person. This Women’s History Month, I celebrate my mom and everything she has done for my family. I am so proud to be her daughter. I love you, Mom!