Isn’t it hard to believe that women just got the right to vote less than 90 years ago? Of course, it’s even harder to believe that many men will still debate the notion that women are the “weaker” sex.
Well, they’re not to me.
I’ve been nurtured, raised, and affected by strong women my whole life. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been surrounded by powerful women who shaped—and continue to shape—who I am and will become. So in the spirit of this, our first-ever “Women’s Issue,” I decided to give thanks to the women who have been an important part of my life, my career, and my home. Consider this my shout-out to the fairer sex.
No, this isn’t a Mother’s Day column, but I have to start with the most obvious choice. I owe everything to my mom, and I’m not just talking about the whole “giving birth” deal. No, I’m talking about an education, a love of books, a deep interest in music, and a strong sense of values. I truly believe that I owe most of my personality to her.
When I received a significant recognition at my alma mater last year, I dedicated the award to my mom. Her goal of her youngest son getting a college degree and pursuing a meaningful career was on full display. It’s the one time I’m proud to say I brought her to tears.
Like many men raised by a strong woman, I married one myself. Karen, my wife of 17 years, is passionate, loving, and dedicated. And way smarter than me. She’s been my editor since the first freelance article and, let me tell you, she’s not an easy critic. I’m not sure what she’s going to have to say about this one!
My work life also includes a strong woman. Ocala Style Publisher Kathy Johnson has always possessed a clear vision of the positive impact of her publications in the community. Together, we’ve shaped that vision over the years, but the impetus for the magazine you hold in your hands today was all hers more than a decade ago. She has a great business sense, but an even bigger heart. No matter where this career takes me, I owe her more than she’ll ever know.
Of course, the other women of my office family aren’t exactly shrinking violets! On any given day, Cynthia, Karin, Krissy, and Kellie will tell it like it is. I should know because on many occasions they’ve told me! Their contributions to our monthly pages are invaluable and their assistance, advice, and friendly personalities make this great job into an extraordinary one.
When we were all kicking around editorial ideas for this issue, many topics floated to the surface. The best one, though—and the centerpiece of this issue—was a roundup called “Leading Ladies,” a celebration of local women who have become local leaders (see page 34). Editors Karin Fabry-Cushenbery and Kristina Kolesa and photographer Steven Paul Hlavac did a masterful job in capturing their unique stories.
But I still have one more important person to acknowledge who’s quickly becoming a woman in her own right. My daughter, Allyson. She performs well in school and has a love of books, a cool interest in music, and a deepening sense of values. Karen and I are raising her like my mom raised me—with the notion that anything is possible with the right goals, the right attitude, and the right support. Her choices in life will be hers to make.
And that’s the way it always should be.
All my best,