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“Dashing” to Success!

The great Maya Angelou once said, “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” Ladies … I’m writing to you in recognition and honor of Women’s History Month, celebrated in March, declaring that we’ve come a long way! This letter is a symbolic toast to all of us women birthed into a formidable sisterhood of significance following those that have preceded us.

We are here today as the sum total of our unique life experiences: good and bad, ups and downs, highs and lows. Every broken road and hurdled barrier has led us to this very moment. Since birth, every breath that has filled our lungs has been a gift to continue to paint the canvas of our lives. As I reflect on some of the historical contributions that women (yes, that means you, too) have made, and will make, to the fabric of the family, nation and society as a whole, I am both inspired and amazed.

Someone once said, “Make your ‘dash’ count!” What dash you might ask? It’s the dash that marks every gravestone, etched between the “born on” date and the date following the dash, signifying the completion of a life’s journey. It is such a small, seemingly insignificant symbol that represents so much. Think about it … your entire life will be encapsulated and defined by that little dash—a small thing but a very BIG deal. Understanding that, as women, we must commit the rest of our days to journey on with that “dash” in mind.

Women that have gone before us have done that very thing, many representing the state of South Carolina. I think of Charleston native Beth Daniel, an accomplished professional golfer, who is one of only three LPGA players to win Rookie of the Year and Player of the Year in the same season.  

I think of Mary McLeod Bethune, a former slave and Sumter County native who, just after the Civil War, decided that acquiring an education was the key to ending the vicious cycle of poverty. Bethune started a small school for African American girls, known today as Bethune-Cookman University. She also founded the National Council of Negro Women in 1935, and her portrait can be found hanging in the S.C. State House today.

Carol Connor, a native of Kingstree was elected to the S.C. Circuit Court in 1988. As an acting member, Conner became the first woman to serve on the S.C. Supreme Court.

What do all of these women have in common? Each made significant investments in the “dash.” What about you and your investment? Remember, it’s not how we start in life but how we finish. It takes courage and much determination to finish strong. Every day, women everywhere invest in the “dash” in very unique ways: the soccer mom that makes every game to root for her favorite little star, the single mom that strives daily to make a better future for her kids while bravely staring down national statistics, or the accomplished professional determined to blaze a trail—all are worthy of honor and praise.

Every road traveled is different, but each ultimately leads to the same place–the “dash” and its respective dates that should summarize the history and life’s journey of a woman that, as Angelou observed, is determined to “thrive” with, passion, compassion and style–“dashing” to success with purpose!       

Investing in the “dash,”

Annette Briggs

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