Dayna Davis – Co-Executive Manager, Academic Affairs
Program Manager, Entertainment Arts & Photography Departments, Interim Co-Executive Manager, Academic Affairs

March 2021

Since 1981, the month of March has been proclaimed as Women’s History Month. The esteemed designation is intended to “celebrate the contributions women have made and recognize the specific achievements women have made of the course of American history.” Annually, March 8th is marked as International Women’s Day, where women around the globe “come together to celebrate women’s achievements and rally for women’s equality.” And to address one of the many facets of equality, Equal Pay Day is March 24, 2021. “This date symbolizes how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year.” And this just the average date for women as a whole. The date will slide further into the calendar year, depending on your minority status and specific demographic. Thus, the month of March is a great time to acknowledge the work that has been done, gain focus on the work that needs to be done and to galvanize and synergize to employ strategies to impact the world for the better. This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is “Choose to Challenge”. Women have the choice to challenge themselves, challenge others and challenge systems that oppress women’s rights and their advancement.

Part of being empowered is having the freedom and space to challenge yourself. Having the time, space, and resources to learn and try new things, partake in self-care of the mind, body and soul, create balance, give grace to yourself, celebrate yourself and be yourself are all wonderful and necessary for one’s evolution. However, these are all challenges, especially in times of uncertainty and transition. The good thing is that you don’t have to challenge yourself in every area at once. Taking bite-sized, forward steps can be less overwhelming and potentially more lasting, than trying to digest everything at the same time. Having frequent, “small victories” will create a consistent movement and momentum in the right direction. Being mindful of how you see yourself and what you speak to yourself can be a great starting point. Perhaps, vision boarding or journaling, could be a great way to get your thoughts down and have a visual reminder to motivate you past the negative chatter that can pop up in your mind from time to time. Learning what you like and love is a great way to discover yourself (again) and to find new things you may want to learn or try. Give yourself some grace as you navigate this personal process. This process can evoke every emotion from frustration to excitement. Finding time, energy and resources to do these things can be more than a notion. So, when you have a victory, be sure to celebrate along the way, no matter how small and large the achievement. This should breed compounded self-love, because you’re working towards who you aspire to be. And because of the consistent improvements, self-love, confidence, and strength are being built in an iterative fashion. As time goes on, you’ll begin to show up each day, boldly as your authentic self.

As you learn, grow and evolve, this often inspires others to do the same. It’s like a silent challenge for others to look in the mirror and do some self-evaluations. Being an example of strength, confidence, professionalism, intellectualism, etc will speak louder than any words you can utter. People will often seek you out to understand how they can know better, get better and do better. This is the perfect opportunity to share your journey and personal story, to help be a catalyst for positive change in others. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable to others, can be very scary. However, when you do so, it not only allows people to understand your humanity and the multiple facets of your life, but it in turn, it also yields empathy. The more people have the opportunity to empathize, the better they become at that practice. The more people hear about different ways of life, different cultures, different struggles, and just general differences, the more they become enlightened. In this way, however small it may seem, we are all educators. While challenging by example can sometimes seem like a lofty idea, it is probably the most effective. Yes, there are times when you need to challenge words, behavior, ignorance, and oppression head on. But your point is always stronger when you can embody it. Remember to give grace to those navigating their own challenges. No one’s shoes nor path are the same. So, be sure to listen, have patience and support others through their self-evolvement.

As we all work on ourselves and grow better and higher, we can continue to lift one another up, give a hand and be a bridge. We can galvanize our passions, efforts, initiatives, ideas, and expertise to fuel the advancement of all women. History has proven time and time again that whenever we come together for a common goal, we are an unstoppable force. We can corral our strength and energy to challenge and tackle the outdated systems, beliefs, behaviors and practices that oppress us. We can move the needle in the right direction, not just for women across the globe, but for all mankind. As things improve for women, everyone regardless of gender, will feel the impact. As women begin to receive equitable and fair pay, have their voices heard, receive equal respect and take their seats at “the table”, everyone will benefit.

It’s a challenge to balance professional and personal life. It’s a challenge to look yourself in the mirror. It’s a challenge to find energy and resources to accomplish some goals. But, if we can help and lean on one another along the way and up the proverbial ladder, great progress can be achieved. As we achieve, our businesses will be more productive, our relationships and families will be stronger, and our lives will be richer. “There is no force equal to a woman determined to rise.” #choosetochallenge


Rochelle Riley headshot

Monday, March 8 at 11:30 a.m. EST: Women at Work
Zoom ID: 916 7480 7818
City of Detroit Director of Arts & Culture, Rochelle Riley, will kick off a panel discussion on her career journey, as well as other women at CCS about how they attend to their total wellness and how we can further support, promote and advance women and wellness.

Tuesday, March 30 at 8:00 a.m. EST: Michigan Diversity Council: Michigan Women in Leadership Symposium. CCS serves as an Enlighten Sponsor of this event.

This 4 hour symposium will highlight women in leadership across several sectors and industries and conversations surrounding the theme of “Onward and Upward: The Era of the Empowered Woman”. This year’s symposium will explore the ways women can empower themselves and one another to conquer new norms throughout the journey of life. This virtual event has limited spaces. If interested, please email Dr. Deirdre Young, Assistant Dean of Institutional Equity & Inclusion at , and she will confirm your ability to attend.

Local Events

Detroit Regional Chamber
Celebrate International Women’s Day
March 5, 2021 at 11:30 a.m.

There’s still time to join the Detroit Regional Chamber’s virtual 2021 International Women’s Day event focusing on the theme Choose to Challenge. Everyone has a role to play in ensuring current and future generations practice fair, inclusive business tactics to continue moving the needle forward. Leading executives will speak on how they can engage in inclusive practices to foster diversity of thought and encourage all employees to have a voice. Click here to register and view the full agenda.

Detroit Experience Factory
Happy Women’s History Month, Detroit! We’re excited to be offering a few opportunities to learn about the Detroit women, past and present, that have been an integral part of our city’s growth and success.

RSVP for our virtual tours celebrating women’s history in Detroit:
3/8: International Women’s Day Celebration: Detroit’s Innovative & Inspirational Women
3/11: Women’s History along Detroit’s Riverfront in partnership with the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy
3/18: Matriarchs of the Motor City in partnership with Detour Detroit