The Women Before Me, Beside Me, and Behind Me

Originally posted on LinkedIn
Maral Farsi providing remote testimony before the California state legislature during COVID closures while caring for her infant daughter.
Maral Farsi providing remote testimony before the California state legislature during COVID closures while caring for her infant daughter.

#womenshistorymonth #internationalwomensday2021

In my professional journey, I have been lifted up, taught, mentored, and loved by so many women. I’ve also been chastised and demeaned–sometimes by women who felt that because things weren’t easy for them, they shouldn’t be easy for others. Other times because, well, maybe I’m just not everyone’s bag of tea. This is for them too, for teaching me how not to treat the women around me.

But today, on International Women’s Day, I want to acknowledge the ones who taught me, who believed in me, and took a chance on me. Because of them, I still learn. Because I strive to make them proud, I am on a constant path of self-improvement.

My mom: an immigrant who worked my whole life to make sure that my brother and I had everything we possibly needed, in a country that continues to see her as an outsider (though she doesn’t even notice and wouldn’t care if she did notice). She is also selfless to a fault and would take on the pains of the world if she could.

Wendy Lazarus who hired me when I was in grad school at probably the coolest place I’ve ever worked–trying to get children access to health care. She reminded me to pursue what I loved and I opted to pursue financial stability. She was right. And I was right. There are no universal truths.

Sarah Anderson who always believed in me and kept it 100% whether I did great or missed my mark. I wish you were still here. I miss you all the time and you’re still my mentor in this universe.

Dean Linda Rosenstock who gave me my first job and took me seriously when I was trying to find my way.

Tanya Robinson-Taylor who is my friend and guide and once told me I was destined for great things…. I hope to prove you right one day.

Mary Langowski who wrote me a letter of recommendation for my Masters of Science in Law but told me that I’ve got the stuff to be a lawyer and should go for the JD. (I ignored her–I wish I’d listened, but appreciate that I’m not in law school debt).

Panorea Avdis who gave me my shot in public service which was the whole reason I moved to Sacramento in the first place. She has always been straight with me about everything, including when I mess up.

Adama Iwu and Samantha Corbin for starting a movement– and when I was professionally scolded for standing up for what I believe in, they reminded me that we, as women, were in the journey together.

Isabel Guzman who is a fearless leader and has become a friend. I want those kinds of guts one day. President Biden is even smarter than I had anticipated.

Meghan Hertel and Kate Wright who I admire as friends and professionals. It’s like a one-two-punch. Thank you for your passion.

Ayda Safaei who teaches me that my life is a constant journey and that I should be kind to myself. And Farnaz Davoudi who gives me the tools to be kind to myself. And Mehrnaz Davoudi who coaches me through my personal and professional blunders. And all three of them for asking to see pictures of my nine month old every Friday like clock work.

Fiona Ma who, plain and simple, supports women. Period. She wants to uplift us, she wants us to win, and she wants us to support each other. That’s it. Plus, she reminds me that professionally, you’ve got to keep driving forward. Stay focused and stay loyal.

And also, to the many, many inspiring women professionals and friends who just plain and simple have my back and the backs of women around us– Christine WatkinsMandy LeeTia Boatman Patterson (also reinforces President Biden’s great decision making skills), Deanna Johnston (the connector), LaKenya Jordan (for inspiring this post and leading women and girls in California), Dorothy JohnsonRonda PaschalNicole JulalKristina ArnouxCarrie Tellefson (the most badass lobbyist in all of Washington state if you’re looking!), and Camara Price, and the many others who contribute to our community of women empowering women in a world where for every $1.00 a white man earns,

  • a white woman makes $0.79;
  • a Black woman makes $0.63;
  • an Asian woman makes $0.89;
  • a Latinx woman makes $0.55.

Now, I will pay it forward. For every chance I have to lift up a friend, colleague, or mentee, I will do what I can to help. Glass ceilings are being shattered and we must press forth. And, I hope those ceilings will no longer exist when my daughters are in my shoes in a few decades. We can do this!

Happy International Women’s Day to all the amazing women.

Maral Farsi
Maral Farsi shares news of interest to fellow Californians. Subscribe for updates!

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