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Blog: Learning every day is International Women’s Day

Thursday, March 22, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Melissa Neeley
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On March 8th, I celebrated International Women’s Day with an inspirational panel of five women and 560 women in business at Greater Houston Partnership’s Rise to the Top Luncheon. Traditionally, International Women’s Day celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. It also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. Rise to the Top is an event that recognizes the steps Houston women have taken to succeed in their careers and provide inspiration to those of us in the trenches.  One of the panelists commented that “Every day is International Women’s Day” which resonated with me.


The Greater Houston Partnership’s Women’s Business Alliance (WBA) is 206 members strong and our role is to inspire, develop and grow our group of members and businesswomen across Houston.  I joined the WBA three years ago and now proudly serve as the Chair this year. The women I have met through the WBA not only have helped me professionally as a fundraiser, but they have been an encouragement as friends and fellow women in business. I believe we should not only encourage each other as women in business, but as women in the profession of philanthropy. We are not alone as fundraising professionals as we try to balance life as women, mothers, spouses, supervisors and employees.

What makes Rise to the Top unique, and one of the best events I attend each year, is that each panelist had a personal story on to how they “rose to the top.”  They each had mantras, nuggets of wisdom and insight for those of us in the trenches of middle management. Advice like: “Never say no”; “Be authentically clear”; “Take the challenges, that’s where the opportunities are”. As Chair of WBA this year, I was proud to be a part of this event and announce the panel of women comprised of Moderator: Misty Mousa-Lanza, Partnership and Business Development, Univision Houston; and Panelists: Shauna Clark, Head of Employment and Labor, United States, Norton Rose Fulbright; Luz Damaris Rosario, General Manager, Goya Foods Texas; Lisa Darling, Head of School, The Awty International School; and Carolyn Rodz, Founder, Alice.


Themes that emerged for me that day included the power of connection and the importance of women helping women. Why I am committed to serve on the WBA is the networking aspect of women in business helping other women. I find there to be a collaborative and helpful nature within this group. I have gained friends who want to help each other succeed in our respective businesses/organizations.
As fundraisers, this collaborative nature is imperative. We are stronger together and as we break down barriers of competition and make it about mutual success, we help our fellow professionals and our organizations as a whole.

We also discussed the importance of Allies in our lives, men who have stood and continue to stand beside us to help us grow personally and professionally. There are many men I can say who have believed in me and my career, and continue to encourage me in my path. We need to continue to talk about how we can best engage our male counterparts in the dialogue surrounding women’s issues. Otherwise, we are having the conversation in an isolated tunnel.


Oprah Winfrey has been quoted as saying, “The key to realizing a dream is to focus not on success but significance, and then even the small steps and little victories along your path will take on greater meaning.”

International Women’s Day this year was of particular significance for me because of my involvement with Rise to the Top. May we continue as fundraisers to participate in events like this that Inspire, Develop and Grow us not only as women in business, but as fundraising professionals.


About The Author: Amy Schwab Lampi

Amy S. Lampi has more than 15 years of fundraising experience in the performing arts, education and health care. As a development generalist, she has a wide range of experience from gift processing and database administration to major gifts and the management of a development team. In her current role, as the Director of Development at Theatre Under The Stars, she oversees all fundraising aspects of the theatre including board, individual, corporate and foundation giving; capital campaign and major gifts; special events; prospect research, development operations and gift processing. Prior to TUTS, Amy was the Associate Director of Development at the Alley Theatre, where her cutting-edge work in fundraising analytics with Josh Birkholz of BWF was featured in the August 2016 issue of The Chronicle of Philanthropy.

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