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Women's History Month | Meet 6 Inspiring Women Of Snyder Diamond

Celebrating the women who inspire us, every day.

 By Renée Soucy

Celebrating the achievements of extraordinary women as they happen, while also honoring the trailblazers who paved the way through their guidance and inspiration, is not just a yearly event—it's a core value we strive to express every day at Snyder Diamond

This year's Women's History Month theme, "Women Who Advocate for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion," honors women who champion a future free from bias and discrimination. For this special Women’s History Month edition, we've gathered six phenomenal colleagues whose talents inspire all of us at Snyder Diamond to keep aiming higher: Jennifer Tarus, Catalina Gutierrez, Yvette Gilcrest, Lauren Mitchell, Jules Meneses, and Estelle Huart.

Catalina Gutierrez, SD Builders Sales, and Jennifer Tarus, SD Luxury Trade Sales

Each shared her unique perspective on her career and, echoing 2024’s theme of #EmbraceEquity, recalled the women who have profoundly impacted their unique journeys and perspectives. More than a series of conversations, this is a celebration of the power of mentorship, of inspiration, and the collective strength that emerges when women lift each other up. 

Estelle Huart, SD Senior Marketing Manager, and Lauren Mitchell, SD Business Development

EARLY INSPIRATIONS

Our mantra is ‘always be first with what’s next’, but we know that the only way to embrace tomorrow is to truly understand who and what has come before. So, we started our conversation with memories of childhood heroines. 

“Female rock stars! I recognized that there weren’t that many, and I thought it was so badass to see women doing something in what was, and still is, very much a man’s world. They are still my heroes but so are female trailblazers in any field,” shared Jennifer Tarus, SD Luxury Trade Sales.

Lauren Mitchell, SD Business Development, concurred, “I am proud to say I was a HUGE Spice Girls fan! I loved them because they came on the scene and were all about Girl Power but in a really fun and funky way. I loved the fashion, the music, the attitude, all of it.”

The love and wisdom of mothers and grandmothers informs the lives of every woman we spoke to. Yvette Gilcrest’s (SD Senior Accounting Clerk) mom blended the pragmatic and spiritual into what she considers some of the best pieces of advice: “Never leave home without God and some pocket change.”  

Yvette Gilcrest, SD Senior Accounting Clerk and Jules Meneses, SD Customer Accounts Manager

Jules Meneses, SD Customer Account Manager, recalled her Tia Flora (Aunt Flora) “...She made my skin thicker and taught me not to give up on my goals and dreams. She taught me the importance of determination and persistence. She taught me the importance of never feeling sorry for doing my best and to never apologize for something that you honestly did your best at. [She] has now passed on and still at my 42 years, I still can feel all of her encouragement she gave me through my life. Something that I will be passing down to my two daughters.”

EMBRACING EQUITY

Equity for women isn't just about fairness, it's about unlocking society's fullest potential. By dismantling barriers and promoting equity, we empower women to be the architects of a brighter future. Looking to that future, Estelle Huart, SD Senior Marketing Manager, considers equity today as the essential ingredient for tomorrow’s growth, “I’d love to see more and more women in leadership positions. They bring unique perspectives, experiences, and skills to the table and I do believe they drive positive changes and enrich decision-making processes. A more inclusive workplace is needed in today’s society and has been shown to enhance organizational performance, innovation, creativity, and drive business growth.”

While equity is this year’s theme, Jennifer Tarus sees it as something far beyond gender: “We are focused on women, for good reasons, here but this is just basic humanity. Everyone should be treated with respect, without prejudice and given opportunities... We should be paid based on our abilities and efforts. We should have complete and total autonomy over our own bodies.  Full stop. I know we have come a long way, and I am grateful for that, but it is shocking to see the disparities that still exist.”

GETTING THE MESSAGE OUT

Looking back at the women who have paved the way, from Catherine the Great, who Lauren Mitchell would love to invite to dinner, to Condoleezza Rice, Yvette Gilcrest’s choice, it’s clear that so much of history is in fact her story. Knowing this, how do we embody this rich heritage and get the message out to the women and girls of today? Unity and compassion lead the way, summarized beautifully by Catalina Gutierrez, SD Builders Sales: “Speak up and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. You’re not alone.”   

Happy Women’s History Month!


IRIS APFEL - IN MEMORIAM

Just before Women’s History Month began, the world of design lost one of its brightest lights, the inimitable Iris Apfel who died aged 102. If the word icon had not been squandered on lesser talents, we’d call her one. She was more than an icon: interior designer to US presidents, Greta Garbo and Estee Lauder; a ‘geriatric starlet’ and influencer before the term was coined; and a fearless experimenter who used her apartment and personal wardrobe as chromatic and textural laboratories that inspired millions. 

A native New Yorker who traveled the world sourcing textiles with her soulmate, business partner and husband Carl (who lived to be 100 and died in 2015), her adventures in styling rooms and herself grew ever brighter and bolder as the years passed. It was after her 80th birthday that her trademark maximalist spectacles and Nancy Cunard-worthy bakelite cuffs gained her mainstream recognition with a 2005 show at the Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute, a 2007 coffee table book “Rare Bird of Fashion: The Irreverent Iris Apfel,” by the photographer Eric Boman, and the 2014 Albert Maysles documentary “Iris.”

Society, especially the one Iris was born into in 1922, expects women of a certain age to politely fade away and embrace invisibility. To quote the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas and his famous poem Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night: Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light.  

Iris Apfel took this sentiment to heart, blazing a trail for another kind of dotage, one where years of experience, experiments, aesthetics, moods and memories, are blended into a personal kaleidoscope which, in spite of the inevitability of aging and mortality, insists on celebrating life in all its colors. Thank you, Iris, we want to be like you when we grow up.

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