Remarkable women shine so brightly. And this year, the National Women’s History Alliance is honoring “Women Providing Healing, Promoting Hope” during Women’s History Month. In the spirt of this theme and to celebrate, five Goodway women spotlight extraordinary women in their lives who provided comfort, encouragement, hope and healing when they needed it most. Here are their touching stories to inspire.
Bridget Anderson’s Encouraging Sister
To me she’s “Air Bear,” or Ariel, my older sister by four years, and to others she’s Dr. Ariel Anderson. She’s been by my side my whole life, but she took on a new role providing healing and hope when I was in a serious accident in 2015, requiring a prolonged hospital stay, 11 leg surgeries and relearning how to walk.
Having a personal doctor to answer my million questions then (and now) is convenient, no doubt, but I will always be most grateful for the way she was there for me and continues to be after such a traumatic experience. Ariel encourages me to be my best self while also acknowledging the healing process.
In addition, she was an NYC front-line physician in 2020-21 as COVID swept the world. And now, she’s training to be a pediatric cardiac anesthesiologist at Children’s Hospital LA, one of our Goodway Cares clients. I love that our jobs share a connection!
I’m thankful her patients get to experience her compassionate care. She has the gift of being a healer, and her drive, determination, hard work and sacrifices have led her to where she is today. I am so proud of her, and I’ll look up to her forever!
We’ll be reunited this month to dance at a bluegrass festival our family has been going to since 2001. I can’t wait!
Paige Callaway’s Exceptional Best Friend
I always wanted a sister. Maybe it’s because I grew up watching Mary Kate and Ashley movies on repeat, and sharing clothes seemed like a no-lose situation. Instead of a sister, I’ve shared 26 years and all seasons of life with my best friend, Jordan Waters.
From childhood onward, we shared everything from clothes to makeup to secrets about the boys we liked. The foundation of our friendship became evident in 2014, the most brutal year of my life.
Life had taken us down different paths, and I was expecting a baby boy with a fatal genetic condition. Throughout my pregnancy, Jordan cried with me, listened to my every angry rant and validated the range of emotions I experienced.
During my son’s brief life, Jordan came to the hospital essentially every day, with my favorite foods in hand, and offered me an escape from reality. In the days following his passing, she was the only person who understood what I needed to feel whole again. She allowed me to experience joy again and didn’t judge my attempts to feel somewhat normal. On the other hand, Jordan understood I could go from anger to tears in a flash, but she never failed to be an ear in the most challenging waves of grief.
Our lives have continued to take different paths, but that hasn’t changed our friendship. Each experience has only enriched our bond. She may not technically be my sister, but I certainly consider her family.
Aubrey Eckerson’s Comforting Grief Counselor
When my father passed away in 2020, I was his legal guardian and conservator. His passing was sudden, and I didn’t quite know what to do with myself when my role as caretaker was no longer needed. Although his illness was brief, he was under the care of hospice, which plugged me into a grief counseling network.
I decided there was never a better excuse for me to start therapy for the first time in my life and was connected to a counselor named Cassandra. She showed me that strength can be silent, that healing can be slow – at times almost unrecognizable in its progress – and that hope can be as simple as taking the next right step.
Cassandra allowed herself to be vulnerable with me, sharing her own story of grief to show me I was in a safe space with someone who understood my pain. We met regularly for six months before mutually deciding I was ready to graduate that stage of my grieving.
As women, we often think that strength means covering our emotions, but she showed me that leaning into those emotions shows even more strength, that carving out space to feel things shows grit. I am so grateful for the hope and healing she provided during one of the most difficult times in my life.
Erin Jeffery’s Superhero Sister
We always joke about her doing too much and being too busy, but my sister, Eriel, truly is a wonder woman to me. She leads the Autism Resource Services (ARS) program and teaches ARS students at a public high school by day, and at night, she teaches English as a second language through a community program. While teaching from home in the depths of the pandemic during the 2020-2021 school year, she became a consistent support system for her students as they navigated the difficult waters of remote learning while overcoming disabilities.
She cares deeply about her students and wants each and every one of them to have the necessary tools to succeed. So each year, she applies to various scholarships and grants to secure funds that have provided them with extra school supplies, books, standing desks and even allowed her to take them on museum field trips.
In addition to her day job, she’s a former D2 college volleyball coach (and former D1 player) who has mentored her athletes throughout their college careers and into their post-graduate endeavors.
She’s such an inspiration, and I’ll never know how she’s able to juggle so many things while still making time to be the best big sister around.
Mackenzie Van Riper’s Inspirational Mother
My mother discovered she had Multiple Sclerosis (MS) when I was 8 years old. The disease was still quite mysterious back then, and I’m sure she was beyond frightened for what could or would happen. This did not impede her from living an amazing life and making an indelible impression upon everyone she met.
Throughout the years, she would repeatedly have her dignity taken away, as well as her independence, yet she was always there for her family and friends. She had an amazingly kind and generous heart, and there was nothing she loved more than a “strong hug.”
Despite her diagnosis and suffering, she exuded such compassion and empathy. Everyone who met her felt that she “saw them” and felt extremely comforted in her presence. It was hard to give up when facing life’s many challenges when you had Diane Greenwood as your cheerleader on the sidelines. She’d fill your heart with positive affirmations and give you a sense of hope so even in the face of adversity you would overcome the difficult obstacle.
She passed away in fall 2021, and my siblings and I are taking part in a three-day MS Challenge Walk next November in her honor. All my mom wanted to do during her life was to help others, and now she will continue to help others struggling with MS.
At Goodway Group, we celebrate women not only during Women’s History Month but every day. After all, our virtual workforce is made up of 70% women. We’re always on the lookout for the brightest minds in digital, and we can offer competitive pay and unrivaled benefits, such all-company summits, dedicated days for personal learning and development and programs that support your mind, body and spirt. Plus, we’re 100% remote, which means you can thrive doing what you love, with the flexibility to work from anywhere. Now’s the time to fully embrace your own brilliance; apply today.