The real celebration of the election results is that, for the first time in our history, the Vice President-elect is a woman: Kamala Harris. She is a true leader in every sense of the word.

When Barack Obama became the first black President of the U.S., I saw the positive impact it had on my son, who is also black. Harris serving as vice president (and maybe president someday) is inspiring to young girls and women everywhere. Through her, they see they can achieve anything they set out to do in their lives; hence, my motivation to write on this topic today.

In March, Mission Critical magazine will feature the winners of the Women in Technology contest. Environmental Systems Design Inc. (ESD) nominated Maria Lupo, Amanda Carter, and Jennifer Reininger. Good luck to them! 

Although we narrowed it down to just three nominees, there are so many women who have influenced me throughout my career. Though I can’t list everyone because of time, space, and memory contraints, I wanted to highlight a few of them here, in no order of importance. 

Rose Marie Quilty, former senior vice president at ESD. Rose was one of the first employees at ESD after it opened in 1967. Throughout her career, she filled so many roles at the company and was loved by everyone. The thing I remember most about her was the way she remembered every single ESD employee — nearly 20,000 people.

Meredith O’Connor, internal director and co-chairman of headquarters practice at Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL). Meredith is a true leader, demonstrating corporate direction and business development on a global basis. She is at the forefront of market conditions as well as client relationships and has been a leading force in JLL’s expansion. Plus, she throws one hell of a holiday party!

Tanya Harris, CEO, Dream Girl Collections. As an entrepreneur, musician, and model, perhaps one of Tanya’s biggest leadership skills is brand development and marketing within Dream Girl Collections. She has developed a brand that boasts more than 137,000 followers within a short period of time. To put the number in perspective, ESD has approximately 15,000 followers. I have so much respect for her. 

Julie Lardenoit, practice leader for workplace solutions at ESD. Julie and I both came to ESD about 15 years ago. She was a mechanical engineer, and I was a contract employee. As time progressed, she advanced her career by opening our office in Abu Dhabi, excelling at business development in a market that is particularly challenging for women. Today, she is a practice leader at the top of her field and is a thought leader in engineering and business.

Mindi Zissman, president at Zissman Media. Over the last 15 years, I have had the privilege of working with Zissman and her firm as my publisher and professional confidant. She consistently keeps me on my toes when it comes to meeting deadlines and editing my material. Thanks, Mindi!

Katie O’Hara, vice president of business development at Stream Data Centers. If you’re in the data center industry, you probably know Katie O’Hara. Over the years, I have seen her grow within the data center brokerage industry. She is currently employed with Stream. In addition to her career, she has transformed women of leadership within the data center industry. Congrats, Little Big Sister!

Amy Al-Katib, editor-in-chief of Mission Critical magazine – As a Mission Critical columnist and advisory board member for the last seven years, I have seen great progress under Amy’s direction. The increase from bimonthly publications to monthly publications creates additional revenue through hard work, and the topics are progressive and on point. Well done, Amy — I look forward to working with you in the future.

Christy Weed, director of marketing at ESD. When Christy came to our company, she started in the marketing department generating proposals. Through her drive, ambition, and positive attitude, she has elevated her career to the point that she is now an essential part of our Leadership Team. I thank you every day, Christy.

In this time of stressful election rhetoric, pandemic disarray, rioting, and division, we are beginning the start of a new positive era. All of us know women in business, and it’s time for celebration. If you didn’t nominate them for the Women in Technology contest, that’s OK. You can always reach out to them personally to thank them for their hard work or to congratulatate them on their successes.