HerStory 2023: Powerful Stories About Women Who Inspire Us

HerStory 2023: Powerful Stories About Women Who Inspire Us

Every one of us has a HerStory to tell about a woman who has inspired or motivated us. This year, the theme for National Women’s History Month is “Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories.”

That is why we have decided to not only celebrate a history of female accomplishments but the extraordinary women who have touched our lives in a more personal way by sharing their stories; HerStories. Throughout the month of March, we will be adding stories of inspiration to this article that were submitted by employees, consultants, and clients.

So check back often and enjoy the journey.

These are our stories.

Leigh Anne Lankford

HerStory Submitted by Nicole Darby
When I was 14, I was hit by a car and was left in a coma when a man ran a red light. I awakened from that coma with severe memory loss, learning challenges, and paralysis.

The hardest thing for me, aside from the physical challenges, was the loss of confidence in myself and my abilities. I carried this self-doubt around like oversized luggage for most of my adult life.

One superwoman that helped change that is a true modern-day guardian angel. We have all heard the phrase, “When the student is ready, the teacher appears.”

Leigh Anne Lankford is that for me – so much so that my nickname for her is “Jedi.” She is a visionary who sees the possible in your impossible and uses non-confrontational, motivational strategies to catapult you into being your best self!

Melissa Pribbenow

HerStory Submitted by Elias Pribbenow
As far back as I can remember, my mother has always been supportive of my dreams. I learned from her what it means to be compassionate, hardworking, and creative in everything I do.

Melissa Pribbenow | Herstory 2023


Caring for others is something I grew up seeing my mother do every day. She would sacrifice her time to drop off homework I forgot at home or plan elaborate birthday parties for my siblings and me.

She would do whatever it took to always go the extra mile for our family. My mother has always been on my side with my career and life choices.

She pushed me to do my best and never give up. She taught me how to express my creativity and encouraged me to become a graphic designer.

To this day, she continues to inspire me to be a better person and love those around me.

A Mother’s Discipline and Dedication

HerStory Submitted by Stacey Piccolo
I’ve had several women throughout my life influence who I am today. A grandmother who taught me how to love without boundaries. Aunts who taught me what it meant to accept people for who they are.

Teachers who showed me what it meant to nourish the minds of young women and to believe that if you set the bar high, the young will rise to meet it. This became the cornerstone of how I guided my daughter as we navigated life together.

But today, I want to share the story of my mother, the woman who taught me the value of hard work, determination, and resourcefulness.

When I was 10 years old, my mother was offered an entry-level position within the New York State court system, in Brooklyn, NY. The job came up fast, and she needed to be there ASAP.

A move that big, from a small town upstate to the big city, required time for her to get settled before I joined her on this new adventure.

She took that job making just $10,000/year and headed to the Big Apple with nothing more than the faith that this would end up being the best decision she ever made for me and her.

I stayed behind with my grandparents and extended family for what was supposed to be one school year.

Traningpros - A Mother'S Discipline And Dedication | Herstory 2023

I never did make that move. Instead, I spent my school years with my grandparents in schools that were safe and secure and my summers with my mother on the beaches of Long Island.

There, I often helped her with administrative tasks at the courthouse. What I experienced during those visits had a significant impact on the adult I would grow to become.

Through the eyes of a child, I watched my mother, a strong, resourceful, independent woman, start at ground zero and work every waking minute to build a bright future for both of us by advancing her career.

With no formal college education, she made a name for herself among her supervisors and peers as the person everyone sought to get the job done. Whatever job that may be.

There was nothing beneath her or too high above for her to tackle.

When she wasn’t at work, she was studying for the next government test to continue moving up the court system ladder. She was consistent, relentless, and determined to be 100% prepared for each and every test she took.

She would go so far as to record herself reading all the study materials. For months before the test, she would play those recordings back on her little walkman cassette player.

On the subway, sitting on the beach while I played with friends, even while we sat watching Broadway plays, nothing kept her from studying. By the time my mother retired she was the first female ever to hold the position of Chief Clerk of Civil Court in Manhattan.

A proud accomplishment by all standards!

Witnessing the discipline and dedication my mother had to work hard, to provide for me and my future was without a doubt the cornerstone of my own work ethic today. She taught me the value of not only hard work but also discipline.

She taught me to never stop learning. And most of all she taught me that nothing is out of your reach if you want it bad enough.

Margaret Jane Patton Baughman

HerStory Submitted by Michelle Estrada
Recently my husband brought up the women in our sons’ family — their intelligence, strength, and independence. This made me realize we often overlook the impact in our lives of our own mothers, aunts, and grandmothers.

We often focus on well-known, historical figures. But, I am humbled and amazed when I think of the women in my own family.

Margaret Jane Patton Baughman | Herstory 2023One woman, in particular, is my grandmother on my mother’s side. She was raised on a farm in a small town in Illinois.

After marrying my grandfather, she dutifully served as a military wife. While he was stationed in Japan and Germany, it was up to my grandmother to move the family.

My grandfather had to report to his post ahead of her, so she was on her own. That was not an easy accomplishment in the late 1940s to mid-1950s, as travel was not as easy as it is today!

It involved going by ships and trains with an entire household and their two daughters.

By knowing their history and seeing these great examples of women in our family, I hope my sons cherish the wonderful gift it is to have such strong, independent, and intelligent women in their lives.

Mary Barry

HerStory Submitted by Susan Barry Sheehan
My beautiful, determined, tenacious mother, Mary Barry was my inspiration throughout life. She raised five young children on her own. Social security checks were her income.

My father died suddenly at the early age of 36, three days before Christmas. I was eighteen months old and had four older siblings; the oldest was 13. It was a horrible holiday for the Barry family.

Mary Barry | Herstory 2023However, we all worked together to survive the tragedy. No one more than my mother.

She gave us the strength to believe in ourselves. She taught us honesty, integrity, and the value of hard work (both manual and intellectual).

As soon as I was old enough, I started working and earned enough to pay for the majority of my college expenses. I cleaned classrooms, cleaned residential homes, and was even a part-time bank teller.

Despite being determined to be self-sufficient and pay for my own education, my mother was always there for me! She attended every high school and college event possible.

Mary also taught me to be dependable and reliable. She was my inspiration to get a master’s degree and build a successful corporate career for myself.

Today, I feel lucky to be a part of the TrainingPros family. I am also proud to share the morals, values, and integrity that my mother Mary instilled in me with my two wonderful children.

Thanks, Mom!

Cate Miller

HerStory Submitted by Nicole Darby
Early on in my professional journey, I believed two things with equal conviction: the first was my ability to excel as an L&D practitioner.

The second was that, unfortunately, and because of prior character-building experiences, I would probably always attract unconscious leaders.

Cate Miller | Herstory 2023Cate Miller quickly crushed this belief. She became the ultimate definition of what I believe a leader truly is:

                    • Accountable
                    • Thoughtful
                    • Loyal
                    • Supportive mentor and coach

She was someone who people would follow anywhere, all while maintaining a seat and voice at the executive table. Cate definitely had the “Pied Piper” leadership approach.

By the end of our working relationship, our team referred to her decision-making style, so often, we all got W.W.C.D. bracelets.

Yes, you guessed correctly – What Would Cate Do?

Maddie Pribbenow

HerStory Submitted by Elias Pribbenow
My wife, Maddie, has pushed me to be who I am today.

Maddie Pribbenow | Herstory 2023She has held me up through the toughest times in my life and celebrated with me in the happiest. Maddie has taught me to step back from the seriousness of life and to go have fun, relax, and not care what others might think about me.

She is sincere, hardworking, and dedicated to her family and friends. Her work ethic is unlike anyone I know and motivates me to finish everything with my full effort. Maddie is someone who embodies her true character and loves with no fail.

My favorite memories are when I am with her.

Penny Miller

HerStory Submitted by Michele Carello

In 2009, while living in Georgia, I had the pleasure of meeting Penny Miller. Little did I know how this amazing woman would change my life and inspire me in ways I could never have imagined.

This is her story.

Desperate Dogs

I had just adopted a rescue dog, Lulu, who, at the time, was not acclimating to our new home as easily as I had hoped.

Penny Miller, Desperate Dogs | Herstory 2023



She was so timid. She would not walk on a leash, take food, or allow me to show her affection.



Lulu tried our patience daily, and we were close to giving up.

So, I searched for solutions. Our dog rescue organization introduced me to a dog behavioralist named Penny Miller.

At that time, Penny owned and operated a small dog boarding facility out of her house named Desperate Dogs. Later, I learned that she had no staff assisting her and that boarding dogs was incredibly time-consuming.

And yet, she still managed to find time to help me through repeated texts and phone conversations, even though I was not a customer and she had never met Lulu.

Penny helped us rescue our dog, which has become a huge and very important part of our lives these last 11 years. But the inspiration did not stop at Penny helping to rescue our dog.

Soon thereafter, we started boarding Lulu with Penny and really got to understand first-hand Penny’s all-consuming passion and commitment to dogs. As I was taking vacations, I learned that Penny did NOT take vacations.

Her canine dedication was a 24-7-365-day commitment. Penny would tell us, “I don’t need a vacation because every day with ‘my dogs’ is a vacation for me,” and she meant it.

Drive and Perseverance

As a result of Penny’s determination to help dogs, we watched her tiny little boarding operation grow, and grow, and grow.

Penny Miller, Desperate Dogs | Herstory 2023She went from boarding three dogs at a time on a one-acre property to owning a six-acre ranch with over a dozen dogs. Penny also had a full-time staff of equally committed dog lovers.

Penny now runs a very successful business, which is so successful, in fact, that it allowed Penny to spin off a non-profit operation that takes in old and infirm dogs free of charge.

These dogs would otherwise be put down but instead get to spend their last days being cared for properly with love, comfort, and affection.

Penny Miller, Desperate Dogs | Herstory 2023If you ask Penny what her greatest professional accomplishment is, she will NOT tell you about: the six-acre ranch, her thriving and profitable business, or that she finally took a vacation last year.

Rather, she will eloquently and tearfully tell you about the dozens of dogs she has come to know and love and whose lives she saved, including our sweet Lulu. Penny did not start her business to be successful and make money.

She followed her passion with love, patience, determination, and an indomitable spirit.  As a result, success found her.

In so doing, Penny continues to remind me to follow my personal and professional passions with similar drive and perseverance.

Final Thoughts

We invite you to join us on a month-long journey as we celebrate the female spirit through stories of empowerment and accomplishment.

Every week during National Women’s History Month, we will share more HerStories that chronicle the women who inspire us.

Do you have a story about a woman who has affected your life, or have you overcome extraordinary odds yourself? Share your story with us on LinkedIn or Twitter!

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Patrick Owens

Patrick Owens was a member of the TrainingPros Digital Communications team for many years. His favorite day of the week is Tuesday and has deemed it a special time for tacos. Always looking for adventure Patrick uses his downtime to explore and create.
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Patrick Owens was a member of the TrainingPros Digital Communications team for many years. His favorite day of the week is Tuesday and has deemed it a special time for tacos. Always looking for adventure Patrick uses his downtime to explore and create.

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