Articles Tagged with: Sacred Fire Creative

Sofia Ionescu-Ogrezeanu

“This operation changed my life for the next 47 years, as I became a neurosurgeon, turning 180 degrees away from what I had chosen for myself before, the quiet life of an internist in my hometown.” – Sofia Ionescu-Ogrezeanu

 Few people are familiar with the name Sofia Ionescu-Ogrezeanu. Despite this, she holds a unique position in history. In 1944, when female doctors were relatively rare, she became the first female neurosurgeon in the world. She was only 24 years old.

Dr. Ionescu-Ogrezeanu was born in România on April 25, 1920. She decided to pursue becoming a doctor after one of her best friends died from an infection after brain surgery. Although female physicians were not the norm then, her mother supported her decision. She studied medicine in Bucharest between 1939 and 1945. At first, she planned to specialize in ophthalmology. However, the beginning of World War II would change this and the rest of her life.

During the war and between semesters, she volunteered to care for injured Soviet soldiers in Stamate Hospital in Fălticeni, Romania. There, she gained experience doing surgical operations, usually limb amputations that were common at the time. In 1943, she began work as an intern at Bucharest’s Hospital Nr. 9.

The following year, an 8-year-old comatose boy came in with severe injuries sustained in a bombing. Because of the war, the hospital was short-staffed, and Dr. Ionescu-Ogrezeanu had to perform emergency brain surgery on the boy herself. This operation transformed her life and officially made her the world’s first female neurosurgeon.

She spent the next 47 years of her life at Hospital Nr. 9, working as a surgeon. She was also part of the first neurological team in Romania that would later be known as “The Golden Neurosurgical Team.” Dr. Ionescu-Ogrezeanu performed all neurosurgical procedures available at the time. This exceptional team helped develop neurosurgery in Romania and had a lasting impact on the country’s healthcare system.

Dr. Ionescu-Ogrezeanu received many accolades and distinctions during her life as a doctor. She received the Red Cross Distinction Mark for her work and dedication early in her career. The World Health Organization also declared Dr. Sofia Ionescu-Ogrezeanu a hero, together with 65 other doctors who achieved exceptional marks in the medical profession. Dr. Ionescu-Ogrezeanu was also recognized and appreciated by her country and received the highest honor bestowed on a Romanian citizen, the Star of the Republic.

She died at 88 in Bucharest after many years of serving and caring for patients. Her influence opened many doors to medicine and neurosurgery for female doctors. While she may not be well-known outside the field of medicine, her global impact is undeniable.

Dr. Sofia Ionescu-Ogrezeanu’s passion for medicine and courage to do what no woman had done before her paved the way for other female doctors to pursue careers in neurosurgery. Her recognition as the world’s first female neurosurgeon inspires all women, not just doctors, worldwide.

Sacred Fire Creative honors women who have achieved the exceptional in their line of work in the series #WomenWhoMatter. Aspiring to achieve the exceptional in your business? Let’s work together to make your aspiration a reality.

Alicia Garza

“Change does not occur without backlash–at least any change worth having–and that backlash is an indicator that the change is so powerful that the opposing forces resist that change with everything they have.” – Alicia Garza

In 2013, a Black-centered political movement was born called Black Lives Matter. The movement started after George Zimmerman was acquitted for the death of Trayvon Martin the year before. Alicia Garza, along with Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi, was one of its founders. Since then, Black Lives Matter has transformed into a national movement dedicated to fighting racism and anti-Black violence.

While she is most well-known for helping transform Black Lives Matter from a hashtag into an international network, Alicia Garza was already an activist, strategist, and organizer. She has spent more than half her life bringing change to society through different venues. Alicia is also the host of the political commentary podcast “Lady Don’t Take No” and a co-founder of Supermajority. This voting advocacy hub brings women together as a political force transcending race, age, and background.

With over twenty years of experience as a strategist and organizer, Alicia decided to share her personal story through the book “The Purpose of Power: How We Come Together When We Fall Apart.” Here, she shares her experiences as an activist and beacon for change. The book focuses on sharing her story as an organizer and offers new perspectives to guide a new generation of young adults who want to change the world. Alicia describes the book as the book she would have liked to read when she started as a young organizer.

Alicia wears many hats – organizer, activist, author, podcast host, and more. However, her goal in all her endeavors remains the same – to bring change to the world around her. While she continues to advocate for change, she understands that there is still much to be done. She also understands that she is one person, and more than bringing change on her own, her role is to inspire others around her to work on transforming the world.

She shares, “For a long time, I did this work but wasn’t really hopeful about change. It sounds counterintuitive in some ways, but it happens to a lot of people, actually. You have to believe that change can happen if you are going to be a part of making change. That doesn’t mean we don’t hurt, that we don’t despair, that there isn’t grief—there is all of that. But there also must be a belief that we, too, can make the change we long for. It must be the thing that wakes us up in the morning, the thing we fall asleep thinking about.”

Alicia Garza is a true inspiration, not just for Black women, women, or Black people exclusively. She inspires people worldwide, regardless of race, gender, or nationality. Her dedication to bringing much-needed change and leaving the world a better place encourages others to do the same. How Alicia inspires others around her is her legacy, and this is the welcome impact she makes on society.

Sacred Fire Creative honors women who work to change the world in this #WomenWhoMatter series. If you want to create a lasting, positive impact on your tribe through your business, work with us.

Serena Williams

“I don’t like to lose – at anything – yet I’ve grown most not from victories, but setbacks.” – Serena Williams

If you have access to TV or the Internet, you know who Serena Williams is. She is only one of the greatest tennis players of all time. In 2002, when she was only 21 years old, Serena was named the world’s number 1 singles tennis player by the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA). Since then, she has gone on to win 23 Grand Slam singles titles, second only to the record of Australian tennis player Margaret Court.

Serena is known for her powerful style of play and excellent athleticism. She started her tennis career playing on public tennis courts in Los Angeles with her father. In 1995, she turned professional, one year after her equally famous sister Venus. In 1999, Serena won her first Grand Slam title at the US Open. Serena and Venus played as partners at the same tournament and won the doubles event. They have won 14 Grand Slam doubles titles together.

The living legend believes she, together with her sister, brought about significant change to the world of tennis. “We changed it from being two great Black champions to being the best ever, period. And that’s what we did. We took out color and just became the best. Records are proof, and that’s what it is,” she said in an interview.

No doubt about it, Serena and Venus changed the face of women’s tennis. From their sheer athleticism to their standout fashion choices while playing, they created an impact on the court that will last well after they retire. They have empowered other women athletes to do better and hit harder, no matter what other people might say.

Today, Serena is the proud mom of Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., her 4-year-old daughter with her husband, Alexis Ohanian. After a rough start to motherhood, which involved an emergency C-section and four surgeries within a week of becoming a mother, Serena has settled comfortably into her role as a doting parent. Although she is still an active tennis player, she has not joined recent tournaments and spends most of her time with her daughter and other endeavors.

“Despite my body’s wreckage – and the fact that I couldn’t get in much breastfeeding – connecting with Olympia at long last was amazing. It was both the reward and the validation for all I’d been through. I went from not being able to really imagine her in the womb to us being completely inseparable. I still feel like I have to be around her every day of her life, as much as possible. I’m anxious when I’m not around her,” Serena shared.

The quote we started with seems to sum up Serena’s life. While she is known for her victories, she has learned more from setbacks and failures. For every triumph, Serena faced countless hours of practice and a number of losses before finally getting that win. Even motherhood did not come easy for her. After her initial medical issues after giving birth, she came out stronger for it and with an even stronger bond with her daughter.

If you’re looking for inspiration to power through difficult challenges, look to Serena Williams and see how a young girl playing tennis on public courts grew up and became a world-class athlete.

Sacred Fire Creative honors women who change the world in this #WomenWhoMatter series. If you want to change your world and leave a lasting, positive impact on your tribe through effective digital marketing, work with us today.

Sacred Fire Creative’s Statement on the Overturning of Roe v. Wade

In Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale, a fundamentalist country called Gilead rose out of the ashes of what was once the United States of America. In this autocratic country, men ruled with exclusive and absolute power.

Women, on the other hand, are relegated to being housewives and child-bearers. They are not allowed to have jobs. They are not allowed to have an opinion. They are not allowed to read. They are not even allowed to use their own names. If they cannot have children, their husbands can request for child-bearing handmaids if they are wealthy and influential enough. If not, these hapless individuals become labeled as “unwomen” and exiled for life to an island filled with nuclear waste.

The Handmaid’s Tale was first published in 1985 and adapted for television in 2017. At that time, the future that this novel described seemed unthinkable. After all, women’s rights in the US are protected by landmark rulings such as Roe v. Wade. Gilead could not become a reality, could it?

After June 24, 2022, we are no longer so sure. On that fateful day, the US Supreme Court voted to overturn Roe v. Wade nearly 50 years after it was first upheld.

As an organization led by and made up mostly of women, Sacred Fire Creative decries this decision. We are heartbroken beyond words at this blow to our human rights.

Roe v. Wade goes beyond abortion.

On its surface, Roe v. Wade is a 1973 US Supreme Court ruling that federally protects a woman’s right to privacy and to terminate her pregnancy legally.

But it goes so much deeper than that.

Roe v. Wade is a statement about women’s human rights. It recognizes that a woman has the right to self-determination and can decide for herself what to do with her own body. It also acknowledges that a woman has the right to fully and equally participate in the workings of society.

Roe v. Wade is an assertion that a woman is a person and not just a walking uterus.

Roe v. Wade is overturned. Now what?

The overturning of Roe v. Wade doesn’t change a number of fundamental facts:

  • Banning abortion has a significant economic impact. To this day, women are still the primary caregivers in the family. Parenthood forces 43% of highly qualified women to leave the workforce. This translates to lower paychecks per household, lower spending power, and lowered demand for consumer goods that drive GDP.
  • No matter how passionate pro-life advocates are about saving babies from abortion, our society does not have adequate support in place for mothers. As mentioned earlier, parenthood often pushes women out of the workforce. Women who have to stay working often face reduced earning capacities simply because they don’t have access to affordable childcare. We also don’t have a national policy for paid parental leaves.
  • Banning abortion forces women, especially those in lower-income and minority groups, to live in poverty or stay with abusive partners. In fact, it’s already a reality today. Many studies, including the 2010 Turnaway Study by the University of California in San Francisco, found that the majority of women who sought abortions did so to protect and provide for their already existing children.
  • Removing safe and legal access to abortion denies women with unwanted pregnancies, particularly teenage women and rape survivors, the ability to move on with their lives. It can prohibit them from seeking higher education and better work opportunities. It can also have a significant effect on their physical and mental health.

Our society does not have ample support for mothers. Nor do we have policies that protect against unwanted pregnancies. Even with abortion bans, women will continue to seek abortions. The difference now is that they may resort to illegal and unsafe means to terminate pregnancies. The consequences can become much more dangerous.

A woman is a person too.

Don’t get us wrong. We believe that motherhood is a beautiful thing. We support women who choose to become mothers. But the keyword here is “choice” – women have the right to choose when and how to become mothers, and this right needs to be protected at all costs.

A woman is a person too. There is more to her than her uterus and her ability to bring forth children. That, we believe, is the essential message of Roe v. Wade. By overturning this landmark ruling, the US Supreme Court signals that we are less. We might as well wear a Gilead handmaid’s red dress.

Josie Natori: Filipino Fashion Trailblazer

“I just don’t like to settle. Good enough is never good enough.” – Josie Natori

Josephina Almeda Cruz, also known in fashion circles as Josie Natori, is considered one of the most outstanding women business owners in the Philippines. This Filipino-American entrepreneur runs The Natori Company, an international women’s fashion brand. Her products retail in the U.S.’s most prominent department stores, including Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdales, and Neiman Marcus. Her products are available worldwide today through her brand’s website

All in the family

Josie grew up in a matriarchal society surrounded by her close-knit Filipino kin. “Women are encouraged to be entrepreneurs,” Josie says of her family. This encouragement stayed with her throughout her life. Even when she was a child, her grandmother would remind her that she should never be in a position where she had to depend on anyone. This upbringing gave her the motivation and inspiration to start her own business.

When she was younger, Josie didn’t plan to enter the fashion industry. Artistically talented and naturally inclined to play the piano, Josie performed in a solo concert with the Manila Philharmonic Orchestra. She was only 9 years old. At 17, she left for New York and pursued an economics degree from Manhattanville College. 

From banking to fashion

After graduation, Josie embarked on a career in banking. Eventually, she became the first female vice president of investment banking at Merrill Lynch. There, she met and married Ken Natori, a fellow executive in the banking world. She then gave birth to her son Kenneth Jr. in 1976,

The following year, Josie found herself looking for new challenges and wanting to start her own business. Before entering the fashion industry, Josie opened several different ventures, from a McDonald’s franchise to a carwash.

Josie’s namesake company began when she brought an embroidered garment from the Philippines to a buyer in Bloomingdales. The buyer advised her to turn it into a sleep shirt; the rest was history.

In the early years of The Natori Company, many of Josie’s friends and relatives pitched in to help her make her vision a reality. For example, an uncle pitched in to sew labels onto clothes. Other family members once gathered to help make a small trim cut on a special order of a thousand blouses. In 1985, Josie convinced her husband, who was still working on Wall Street, to help run her growing business. He became chairman of The Natori Company.

An international empire

More than four decades later, The Natori Company has transformed into a lifestyle brand that includes popular lingerie collections, ready-to-wear apparel, home items, eyewear, and fragrance. Aside from being the founder of an internationally successful fashion business, Josie works to give back to society. She sits on the board of several organizations, including the Asian Cultural Council and the Fashion and Design Council of the Philippines. Her factory in the Philippines handles over 60% of her company’s production and employs 500 workers.

Josie Natori is an admirable example of a woman who pursued her dreams and achieved success with the help of family and friends. From a single sleep shirt, she has built an international empire now seen as one of the world’s top lifestyle brands. “Now, as the company grows, we grow our sensibility too, taking our concept and making it a whole world. As we say here, Natori is ‘where life meets art,’” she shared.

Sacred Fire Creative honors visionary women who forged their own path to success in this #WomenWhoMatter series. If you see yourself as a visionary, who wants to create a lasting, positive impact on your community, come work with us.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: A “Notorious” Icon for Women’s Rights

“The decision whether or not to bear a child is central to a woman’s life, to her well-being and dignity. When the government controls that decision for her, she is being treated as less than a full adult human responsible for her own choices.” – Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Few women are more well-known in the legal world than Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She served as an associate justice of the United States Supreme Court from 1993 until she died in 2020. She was only the second woman to hold this position.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, or RBG as she is often called, is a feminist icon worldwide. Much of her work centered around championing gender equality and women’s rights. For example, she helped reverse legislation that allowed discrimination based on gender. She was also a founding counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union’s Women’s Rights Projects. She additionally created, designed, and taught law courses on gender discrimination laws.

RBG started excelling at her craft early on in her life. She entered Cornell University on a full scholarship, where she also met her husband, Martin. He would also become a well-known tax lawyer and one of RBG’s biggest supporters. They both studied at Harvard Law School, but after moving to New York City, RBG completed her law degree at Columbia Law School, where she graduated tied for first place in her class.

This stellar start paved the way for an esteemed career as a lawyer, professor, and Supreme Court justice. She did all this while also being a mother to two children. RBG balanced motherhood with her work as one of the most respected figures in gender equality. Interestingly, she delivered a lecture at New York University Law School in 1993, offering a critique of the reasoning of Roe vs. Wade. This case would give women the right to choose to have an abortion.

RBG argued that the Supreme Court should have issued a more limited decision, giving more power to state legislatures to decide on specific details. This way “might have served to reduce rather than fuel controversy,” RBG commented. Fast forward to today, this makes even more sense considering the current controversy surrounding this ruling.

Throughout her career, RBG remained consistent with her decisions regarding gender equality and women’s rights. While she often voted with the other liberal justices on the Supreme Court, she respected and formed well-known friendships with conservative judges. These relationships earned her even more regard from her peers. RBG became particularly outspoken during the Obama administration. This was when she reached peak popularity as a progressive feminist that many women looked up to and followed for guidance.

Two years after her death, Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s legacy and lessons live on. She is immortalized in several books, a documentary, and a movie. RBG remains one of the leading figures in gender equality and a beacon of women’s rights. In these challenging times when women’s rights are being questioned and removed, we should all look to RBG for guidance and inspiration on continuing to champion the progress she fought to achieve.

Sacred Fire Creative honors women who have made a difference in their world through this #WomenWhoMatter series. If you want to make a difference in your own world and become a force for good through effective digital marketing, work with us today.

Sanna Marin: Pushing for Social Equality in Finland

“The strength of a society is measured not by the wealth of its most affluent members, but by how well its most vulnerable citizens are able to cope. The question we need to ask is whether everyone has the chance to lead a life of dignity.” – Sanna Marin

This admirable quote from Sanna Marin sums up her brand of leadership, which has guided Finland for the past two years. Marin is known for being the youngest person to serve as the prime minister of Finland when she assumed the position at 34 years old. At the same time, she also became the world’s youngest state leader.

Marin became prime minister in 2019 after her predecessor resigned. This automatically earned her and her coalition government (at the time, her party’s leaders were all women, with the majority of them under the age of 35) global recognition. However, more than the fame of such a unique position, Marin would rather be known for pushing for equality.

The prime minister had a working-class upbringing and was raised by her mother and her mother’s same-sex partner. She had no interest in politics growing up and was the first person in her family to attend university. This is where she began to develop a consciousness of politics. She became a member of the youth wing of the Social Democratic Party, which started her journey to becoming prime minister.

She was an elected official of the Social Democrats and served as minister of transport and communications. However, when the Finnish prime minister at that time was accused of mishandling a pay dispute with the postal service, he stepped down, and Marin replaced him as prime minister.

From the beginning of her tenure as prime minister, Marin was respected for her focus on policy and known for her clear thinking. Her agenda focuses on improving the country’s social welfare program, social equality, and climate change issues. Although the global media tends to focus on her being a young female role model, Marin would instead turn the spotlight on the issues she values. These are crucial issues such as equality, closing the pay gap, and pledging to make Finland carbon neutral by 2035.

“We have long been pioneers in gender equality,” Sanna Marin says of her country. “So, maybe it’s not as big a deal in Finland as it would be somewhere else.”

Sacred Fire Creative honors women who serve the greater good. We help women in business become a force of good and create a lasting positive impact, not just in their businesses, but also in their communities. Contact us to learn more.

Monique Lhuillier: Elegance for the Everyday Woman

“I am a perfectionist, but I know how to live life. When I’m working, it’s 100%. When I’m with my friends, I put everything away and enjoy life. When I come home to my kids, it’s pure joy and everything’s worth it. Every time, I really focus, 100 percent on one thing, I’ve learned how to juggle my life and I feel like now I have the perfect balance.” – Monique Lhuillier

What do Taylor Swift, Michelle Obama, and Reese Witherspoon have in common? They’ve all worn Monique Lhullier’s creations. The Filipino-American fashion designer has made a mark on the fashion industry with her sophisticated, feminine, and glamorous ready-to-wear and bridal collections. 

From regular brides to famous celebrities, most women have heard of Monique Lhuillier. Her brand is synonymous with elegant and timeless feminine designs, whether in dresses or houseware. The renowned fashion designer has been a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America since 2003. Since then, she has ventured into fragrance, jewelry, and various partnerships with other brands, such as Pottery Barn.

Monique was born in Cebu City, Philippines, in 1971. She spent her childhood in the Philippines before attending boarding school in Switzerland at 15. Monique loved fashion at an early age, and after leaving Switzerland, she attended the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandise in Los Angeles. This school is where she met her husband, Tom Bugbee, who also became her business partner. Aside from being her life partner and father to her children, he has also helped her build her business empire.

She began designing wedding gowns in 1996 when she was preparing for her own wedding and couldn’t find anything she liked. Although she eventually found a wedding gown from another designer, this event sparked her motivation and interest in the fashion industry and began a successful fashion career.

Thanks to Monique and her elegant brand, women worldwide have access to sophisticated styles that are designed for a woman by a woman. Whether it is a milestone event like a wedding, or everyday pleasures, like wearing a favorite perfume, Monique Lhuillier continues to add beauty to women’s lives.

Sacred Fire Creative honors women who make a difference in everyday life. Contact us to learn how you can make a difference through your own business.

3 Key Leadership Lessons from Women CEOs

Did you know that, as of 2018, 12.3 million businesses in the U.S. are women-owned? That’s roughly 42% or four out of 10 of all companies in the country. Interestingly, these women-led enterprises generate around $1.8 trillion in earnings every year.

Judging by these figures, the current notion that men are better at leadership and women should emulate them is becoming obsolete. Women generally have a distinct leadership style that their male peers can actually learn from.

What leadership lessons can we learn from female CEOs? Let’s spend some time pondering these three:

Know your strengths and limitations.

Women tend to be more self-aware, and they’re usually not prone to bluster. This tendency for self-awareness gives women a deeper insight into their own strengths and limitations. They build on their capabilities and lean on others to make up for their weaknesses.

What does this mean for you? If you want to be a good leader, you need to learn more about yourself. Know the traits that make you strong and acknowledge your weak points. Use your strengths to grow your business and surround yourself with a competent and inspired team to make up for your limitations.

“It’s OK to admit what you don’t know. It’s OK to ask for help. And it’s more than OK to listen to the people you lead.” – Mary Barra, General Motors CEO

Put your team first.

Women are often stereotyped as too compassionate and relationship-oriented to be competent leaders. But the fact is that these traits are now seen as indicators of high emotional intelligence, which in turn has become a desirable trait among leaders.

As mentioned earlier, a woman business leader tends to surround herself with a team to augment what she lacks. But this relationship is rarely one-sided. Female leaders often serve as mentors and cheerleaders to their team. They encourage and empower their team to grow professionally and personally through validation and empathy.

“There is a formula for success in business, and it goes like this: You set out to find the very best talent in the marketplace, and then give them a compelling and inspirational vision of what you want them to achieve for you and the company. Then you empower them to achieve those goals using their own skills and talents in any way they choose.” – Cindy Gallop, advertising trailblazer and CEO of If We Ran the World

Be a transformational leader.

Perhaps one of the best leadership lessons we can learn from a woman CEO is the art of transformational leadership. A transformational leader is someone who leads by example. Their sense of purpose and values inspire their followers to change their own beliefs, bring out their best selves, and positively impact their world. Women CEOs tend to be gifted transformational leaders.

How can you become a transformative leader? It starts with yourself. You need to be a model of integrity and principle. You have to have a clear vision and measurable goals. And you have to win your team’s trust, be ever-reliable, and inspire them to serve the higher good rather than their self-interest.

“Leadership is service to others.” – Denise Morrison, Campbell Soup Co. President and CEO

These are only a few leadership lessons we can learn from women CEOs. Spend some time meditating on these lessons and see how you can apply them to your own business.

Sacred Fire Creative is a digital marketing agency that positions itself as a force for good. Reach out to us today and let us help you build a solid, authentic brand that matters to your audience.

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