March 8, 2021

Happy International Women’s Day!

Happy #InternationalWomensDay!

We applaud and support those who #choosetochallenge, every day.

Today, we celebrate all the women at McFarlan Rowlands who are expanding our future from behind the scenes and at the forefront.
Our Operations Team is predominately powered by outstanding women, with some pictured here.

Sarah Heiser – Director of Group Operations
Kendra Holden – HR Manager
Rebecca Reed – Director of Operations, Personal Lines
Christa O’Neil – Director of Operations, Commercial Lines
Tracy Bucholtz – Communications Manager

Over 70% of our staff are women and we don’t know where we’d be without them!

We can all choose to challenge and call out gender inequality. We can all choose to speak out and celebrate women’s achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world.

Today, we’re sharing thoughts from our female leaders on what actions they have taken, or interactions they have had throughout their life, that have helped them move forward in challenging gender bias and forging equality on all fronts. Read on for their inspiring thoughts!

Kendra Holden, HR Manager

We all have choices to make on a daily basis. A choice to stand up for what we believe in, voice our opinion, take risks, push ourselves outside our comfort zone; a choice to learn and overcome our fears.

These are all choices I’ve had to make in my career so far and will continue to. Many times throughout my career I have been put in uncomfortable situations being the only woman in the room or involved in a discussion. I choose to raise my hand first and make my voice heard even if I am shy or unsure. I force myself every day to step outside my comfort zone and that is the reason why I am where I am today.

Know your worth, be methodical, confident and always chose to express yourself!     #choosetochallenge

Christa O’Neil- Director of Operation, Commercial Lines

When I look back, I think one of my early encounters with gender stereotypes came when I started grade school.  I exerted my will to wear sports-friendly play clothing instead of dresses so I could join the recess games of 3-pitch and monkey bars hanging contests.  My parents encouraged my will to choose and be true to myself as a strong, capable girl.  Over time, I have sometimes lost sight of that girl but with support from coaches, mentors, friends and family – often strong women – I know that I AM strong and capable.  The journey of staying true to self is continuous for all women and I truly believe that supporting each other is a critical component.  Now as a coach, mentor, friend and mother I strive to support others and also continue to accept support myself.  We are all stronger together!

Rebecca Reed – Director of Operations, Personal Lines

ChooseToChallenge: Empowering Women to Reach Their Potential

 As a child, you hear empowering messages like “believe in yourself”, or “you can do anything you set your mind to”. As an adult, these reaffirmations subside and inequality generates a culture of competition and oppression. In an effort to shatter the glass ceiling and defy gender bias odds, professional women often cut down, belittle, judge and label each other. I have experienced cultures of both inclusion and conflict. In an unhealthy environment, successful and strong women are targeted and ostracized. In a forward-looking environment, women are mentored so they can realize their potential and reciprocate by celebrating and supporting others. Throughout my life, both male and female influencers supported my potential as a professional woman. Leaders removed barriers for me, for instance allowing a flexible work schedule when we adopted an older child without compromising my career advancement. Colleagues supported my ideas, such as sacrificing her major project to help get mine off the ground. I’ve seen firsthand that when we cheer women on and celebrate each others successes, it brings about innovation, change and togetherness. I choose to give back by fortifying a way of life that uplifts the women around me. For International Women’s Day, I choose to challenge these competitive behaviours not only today, but everyday. We can remove barriers and create opportunities for women through our day to day interactions. Just as I have been given, we must ensure equitable recruitment and career development for women. I strive to boost women up by celebrating their accomplishments and following through when they need me. These experiences are humbling and they remind me that I still have work to do in myself. I will make every effort to be a champion for women and crush gender bias and inequality. Today, I choose to challenge you to empower the women around you.

Sarah Heiser – Director of Group Operations

When I think of the values that I have carried through my life that have helped me overcome challenges, I think of my mantra, “Books. Gratitude. Grit.”

Books: I am inspired by and in awe of;  Elizabeth Renzetti (Shrewed), Brene Brown (The Gifts of Imperfection, Daring Greatly, Dare to Lead) and Glennon Doyle (Untamed).

Gratitude: I have been witness to progress, I choose to celebrate small successes.

Grit: Once, in a performance review, it was written that I was ‘relentlessly tenacious’. At first I took offense but then I realized, it was actually ‘grit’ and that is a good thing.

Tracy Bucholtz – Communications Manager

I am so grateful to have been surrounded by many strong women as a young girl who knew the importance of building a girl’s self esteem. From my mom, to my grandmothers and aunts. I am lucky to be the youngest of four girls in our family, whose talents inspired me to set my own goals, explore my interests, and who challenged me to stand up for what I believe in, speak my mind, and to be comfortable in my own skin.

My parents fostered an environment in which they encouraged many extracurricular activities outside the home, and I was naturally drawn to sports- hockey, soccer, and horseback riding in particular. I remember one coach in particular throughout my high school years, a female, helped me maintain confidence which is an important time for any young woman.

My father never let me submit to roadblocks and encouraged me to go for my dreams. To never let anyone, or anything get in my way.

As my competitive nature stayed with me as I grew older, on the field and on the rink is where I felt support from my fellow girls, allowing me to feel what success is like by achieving our goals together, and equally experiencing loss together. 

When we support each other, we all win.