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Guest Opinion: Gentlemen deserve headlines too


By Michelle DeClerck | President, Conference Event Management

It might be entirely possible that headlines regarding women’s issues resonated across the world more so in 2017 than in any year of memory. While many of the headlines were ones no one wanted to see, the ones never written deserve to be. 

In a year when gratitude also was a trending topic, the everyday gentleman was slighted. It’s only fitting that we purposely focus on showing our gratitude as well as giving space to these men whose ongoing beliefs and support fail to make the news. Grandfathers, fathers, husbands, sons, male co-workers and friends — these wonderful men made an impression and an impact on helping support and develop wonderful women.  

These men have encouraged women to make their mark, whether through the work they do for others or the work they do for themselves by achieving their place with successful business ownership. The women who came out of positively supported situations may not have experienced major equality setbacks, allowing them to be passionate about their causes and have strong self-esteem. They may have persevered without succumbing to self-sabotaging thoughts.   

The men who cared helped lift up women, encouraging them to follow their dreams. I’ve experienced this with my own biggest supporter — my husband, Jaime, who has consistently helped me see that anything is possible and that if anyone can do it, I can. 

Women who had this type of support system are now able to do the same for other women. With men and women supporting women in business, it’s impossible to dream a future that’s not radiant with possibilities, profitability and success. Organizations that don’t embrace the power of women will no doubt be left behind — the good ol’ boys club is sure to become short-lived.    

As foreign as it is to think back 30 years ago, when women had to take men to the bank with them to get a business loan, this article will seem just as out of place 30 years from today when they’re getting ready to ring in 2038. We’ll have accomplished so much, and tomorrow’s children won’t understand how women were disadvantaged in many situations. 

I’m convinced it will be commonplace for men and women to have equality in business – after all, we’re not raising our children today to know any different. If my daughter and son continue on their paths to success, they will make their mark by making a difference, by being supportive, and by building each other up – together, free from gender boundaries, alongside your children and grandchildren.  

With gratitude to men who do the right thing today — we appreciate you.  

Michelle DeClerckfounded West Des Moines-based Conference Event Management and Financial Speakers Bureau. She is a 2017 Goldman Sachs 10KSB graduate, the 2017 Iowa SBA Women in Business Champion of the Year, the 2017 Inspiring Women of Iowa – Character Award winner, and a Smart Meetings Top Influential Woman – Innovator of the Year Award winner. She recently founded Iowa Hospitality Donation Network to rescue usable products from hospitality venues and get them into the hands of the hungry and homeless, and Mentor Tank to provide opportunities for young women to jump-start their careers. She sits on the Executive Council for Iowa Women Lead Change and for the Lieutenant Governor’s Million Women Mentors. She also enrolled her company in the Epic Corporate Challenge to foster opportunities for women at all levels of their careers. Reach out to Michelle via email.

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