IMAGE staffers on the women that inspire them the most
In honour of International Women’s Day, Team IMAGE are paying tribute to the women in our lives that endlessly inspire us to be the best possible versions of ourselves.
From lifelong friends and personal trainers to mother-daughter bonds — here are just some of the women that have shaped who we’ve become along the way.
I’m so lucky to know (and work with!) so many amazing women so this was a hard ask, but one woman I so admire is Becca Gillen. Becca has been my PT for over two years now and she’s been one of my biggest cheerleaders and supporters during that time. My starting goals were initially focused only on the physical but she’s helped me with mindset and positive thinking and so many other things along the way – I don’t think she realises how much of an impact she’s had on my life. Her work ethic is absolutely incredible and she’s such a kind and down-to-earth person. I feel very privileged to know her!
— Sarah Finnan, Acting Deputy Digital Editor
When I think of an inspiring woman, I immediately think of my Oma (grandmother in Dutch), Agnes. She is the strongest woman I’ve ever known. When she was just a child, she was placed in a concentration camp during WWII, and she was lucky to have survived. Then in her 30s, she and her husband moved across the world to the US for a fresh start, where she raised four children, one of whom, my aunt, was diagnosed with severe autism.
In her 50s, Agnes became a widow and instead of letting it break her, she said she was grateful for the time she had with her husband. She started an impressive garden in her backyard, and I have fond memories of gathering fallen fruit as she regaled me with relentless optimism and kind words. ‘Try to see it from their point of view’ and ‘Jesus says to love everyone, not just those we like’ were mantras of hers. Sadly, she recently passed away, but her memory lives on and I hope I can grow to be like her one day.
— Shayna Sappington, Senior Branded Content Writer
Every time I lean over the sink and secure the plug in place before changing my earrings I think of my mum. It’s just one of the myriad tiny things she’s taught me along the way; a lesson I’ve been so grateful for on the many occasions my new earring has gone clattering down the porcelain, only to be saved by the sealed plug.
Saying excuse me before interrupting her, using bread soda (for everything!), only using my ring finger to rub around my eyes, brushing my hair from the bottom up, marking ‘my stuff’ with red nail varnish… all the countless little things I’ve picked up along the way. And, of course, her mantra “Don’t forget to breathe…” – advice my siblings and I have often rolled our eyes at over the years. But when you think about it, is there any more universally useful piece of advice?
Regardless of the situation you find yourself in, or the emotion you’re battling, whether it’s anger, disappointment, confusion or shock, when you step back and take a moment to breathe deeply… in for six and out for six… you will inevitably feel just that little bit more capable of tackling the problem in front of you.
So this one’s for you mum. For all the small, but never insignificant, ways you have made me and shaped me into the person I am today.
— Lizzie Gore-Grimes, Editor-in-Chief
Myself and Elsje go back many, many years. We met on our first day of school and have been friends ever since, even though we ended up going to different universities, lived in different cities, and are now living on different continents. We don’t talk often, but stay in touch – she is and will always be my best friend. We were first to tell each other when we had our first kiss, we skipped school together, we went on diets together, and binged together, we went to our first dance together, we got drunk together. We have shared our darkest secrets, our heartache and laughed together trillion times.
She is one of the most beautiful people I know but always stays modest. She is really smart, very hard working, has a heart of gold and is a super mom! It is impossible not to love and admire her.
— Marlene Wessels, Art Director
The woman who inspires me the most is my Mam, Triona. She is kind, selfless and so giving, particularly of her time to others. She is also one of the hardest working people I know, and her work ethic continues to inspire me. Despite losing two of the closest people to her last year, she keeps going. She is our rock & I feel very lucky to have her.
— Saoirse McCloskey, Marketing Account Executive
To put my sister Katie into perspective, she just arrived home from three months spent traveling around south-east Asia with her other half, and the first thing she wanted to talk about was what’s been going on in my life. Throughout my whole life, Katie has always been keeping an eye out for me. From making sure I didn’t get squashed in mosh pits as a tweenager, to talking ad nauseam about article ideas and pop culture events that only we care about, we’ve got our own shorthand; a language that only we speak. She was the first friend I ever made, and the best friend I could hope for.
— Sarah Gill, Staff Writer