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Happy International Women's Day

A Blog post by Sue Jacquette, President & Founder of J Suites about International Women's Day

I'm so excited to write a blog post about this topic on this day! As with all women around the world, the experiences that not only I've had, but those of my mother and grandmothers, of my daughter, of my friends and co-workers, have all shaped my view of the world and the decisions I've made along the way. This is my story.

Both of my grandmothers lived in the same small village in Turkey, two women who had no place in the world other than to tend to their husbands, children and homes. They did not work, they actually could not even read or write as they weren't sent to school. They were completely dependent upon their husbands in every way. My mother became the most educated woman in her family when she got her high school education, then she and my father, at 17 and 18 years old, decided to take a chance at coming to the United States and starting their married life here. They didn't speak English or know what to do when they got here, but they figured it all out and succeeded beyond their dreams!

My mother always worked, even when my father made enough money that she didn't have to. I believe she got some fulfillment in having a life outside of the home, and she was proud to have money of her own. I remember the conversations my parents would have about it - my father telling my mother that the money she brought in wasn't necessary, that he paid all the bills, and then her insisting that it didn't matter, that she wanted to work, and so she did.

Both of my parents felt it was absolutely imperative that I have a college education. They wanted me to make my own way in the world and not rely on any man to provide for me. That was a refrain I would hear over and over again as I grew up. My father is a proud feminist and raised me to be one, too. My mother and grandmothers put their hopes into me, and with that, I became the first person (man or woman) in my entire family to receive a college degree. I'm very proud of that and it was because my family expected that from me. I am very aware that if I was born in another time or in another country, the simple fact that I graduated college would never have happened.

When I left school, I went right into the corporate world knowing I would take it by storm, that I would work very hard and climb the ranks. It was the 1990s and things were a bit different then (and in many ways still the same). I dealt with sexual harassment, men who took credit for my ideas and work, the disparity between my pay and that of my male peers, being overlooked for promotions, being made to feel guilty when my role as a mother got in the way of my work and so much more. There were very real obstacles everywhere I turned. I don't think most men understand just how much harder women have to work every day to do the same job, while getting paid less.

Eventually I decided that working for someone else was never going to be how I will make my mark in the world so I started my own event planning and marketing firm and then now J Suites! With my own business, I could control my schedule and be there for my daughter when she needed me while taking great pride my work. And I'm very proud to have a career where I was able to employ and mentor many women who are now are off living beautiful lives in various positions and careers.

If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then you are an excellent leader. ~ Dolly Parton

As a female entrepreneur, I feel very strongly that supporting other women is one of the most important things we can do. Dolly Parton once said “If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then you are an excellent leader.” That has always motivated me and with J Suites, that's exactly what I feel I am creating - a legacy of women (and men) going into business for themselves so they can feel the same way I did, empowered, free, in control of their lives and money.

Happy International Women's Day to all the women like my grandmothers, my mother, and my daughter. I know my life is far beyond anything my grandmothers would have imagined for their granddaughter, and for that I will always be grateful to them and all of the women who came before me. And I will do whatever I can to make the world better for daughter and the women who come after me.

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