TO EXTRAORDINARY WOMEN

This year, as we celebrate International Women's Day on March 8, and Women's History Month (more on how we're supporting women's efforts in stores below), we are coming together to recognize women who have done and continue to do extraordinary things.

 

Particularly in the past year—juggling life, leadership, a pandemic, and helping others—we are in awe of the empowering stories of the five women below.

 

We encourage you to continue to celebrate women every day and to share your stories—the more we do this, the stronger we become.

 

Jasleen

Photo Credit: Courtney Halip Photography

 

Our frontline workers amaze us every day and how they have handled the past year. Jasleen, is a San Francisco-based Registered Nurse in a local hospital. 

 

Name: Jasleen 

 

Job: Registered Nurse

 

Where I Live: San Francisco, CA

 

Women Are Extraordinary Because: We are resilient, patient, and caring. With the right mix of persistence and determination, I feel that women are capable of accomplishing anything in today's world. It continues to boggle my mind that a woman's body can nourish, foster and develop a unique and original human being (or multiple). On top of that, women have the option and freedom to bring new life into the world while pursuing their career aspirations.

 

The Most Touching Moment From The Past Year: Happened during peak pandemic craziness in the couple month span between March-June of 2020.  In the City of San Francisco, every evening starting at 8 PM sharp, city residents would lean out their windows and emerge on the streets banging on pots and pans in an amazing show of solidarity and mutual support. The COVID pandemic has been physically and emotionally exhausting, but it warmed my heart to see and hear the Bay Area community come together in this way.

 

Biggest Takeaway From The Past Year: Is to not take any moment on this earth for granted. Moments like: long laughs with friends; putting on a sundress to go to happy hour with the girls and dinners with family. Making time for the people I love is more important to me now than it ever has been. 

 

Advice To All Women:  Stay true to yourself and pursue your passions! 

 

The Best Thing About Being A Woman:  Is sisterhood. I love that we want to support one another and build each other up. Good girlfriends can become your sisters. 

 

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Jenny Despotovic

Photo Credit: Alejandro Alvarez 

 

The youngest director at one of the largest pediatric hematology centers in the world— Jenny has dedicated her time to working with immunocompromised children at Texas Children’s Hospital.

 

Name: Jenny Despotovic

 

Job: Pediatric Hematologist; Director, Texas Children's Hematology Center

 

Where I Live: Houston, TX

 

Women Are Extraordinary Because: Women tend to be exceptionally good at multitasking, Most women are juggling a ton of things! From managing homes (an enormous mental load!), taking care of children, and maintaining their best performance at work or other endeavors. Also, I find women are generally really great at leaning on others and getting help from their tribe when things seem overwhelming. I am fortunate to have a circle of close friends who are successfully juggling all these things, and we all help each other out when the balance isn't quite right. 

 

Most Touching Moment From The Past Year: My husband and I were both affected with COVID-19 in early March, when everyone was trying to figure out how to handle the virus. I have two young children, and I needed to get them out of the house immediately to prevent them from being infected. Help came pouring out to us from near and far. A close friend took my children to be tested, and then drove them to my family member, who kept them for two weeks having to miss work to do that. We had food delivered almost every day, calls to check in on us, and I had coverage at work every day. I was incredibly touched and feel blessed to have all the support we have. 

 

Biggest Takeaway From The Past Year: Even when this country seems so deeply and painfully divided, I have found that most people want the same things. Most people are good and want to help others. That has been the brightest light in a dark year, watching people come together (with social distancing) to help people out as they navigate an unprecedented set of circumstances.

 

Advice To All Women: Fight for your dreams! In the past, I struggled with self-confidence. I had dreams and aspirations but didn't have the confidence to go after them. I decided to "fake it till I make it". I decided to project confidence even when I didn't feel it, and to smile, and dive into any challenge, even when I felt I wasn't capable. Soon, I realized I was capable of far more, and the confidence then came naturally. Don't let anything hold you back!

 

The Best Thing About Being A Woman: Power!! Imagine a world without women! Women are capable of bringing children into the world, leading people toward common goals, running companies, developing new and innovative products, the list is endless. I would encourage every woman to recognize and harness their power toward whatever they dream to do. 

 

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Angela Baldanza

Photo Credit: Robert Baldanza

 

A local restaurateur from Darien, CT, Angela and the Baldanza Bistro partnered with Corbin Cares and The Darien Foundation to deliver ready-to-eat meals to those in their local community who are food insecure and hospital and healthcare workers.

 

Name: Angela Baldanza

 

Job: Founder and Chief Culinary Officer of Baldanza Restaurants

 

Where I Live: New Canaan, CT/ Norwalk, CT

 

Women Are Extraordinary: Because they are strong, intelligent, and most of all multi-taskers.

 

Most Powerful Moment In The Past Year: I lost my dear parents within a very short period of time and then welcomed their second great-grandchild which made me realize their spirit will always live on. Also, my work allows me to feed people in need and nurture them through this pandemic, it has been powerful.

 

My Biggest Takeaway From The Past Year: Take care of yourself, nourish your body, relax your mind so that you can think clearly.  This will enable you to be strong and help others.

 

Advice To All Women:  Believe in yourself, embrace change, reach for your dreams, never give up, always listen, and be kind to others.

 

The Best Part Of Being A Woman: We are caring, maternal, loyal, and always uplifting the people in our life.

 

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Alix Redmonde

Photo Credit: Lori Sax 

 

Trading in six-inch heels for sneakers, Alix has spent the last year virtually connecting with those suffering from Parkinson’s Disease along with their family members and caregivers by empowering them to believe they can do anything through her Zoom fitness classes and private groups. Born out of necessity, teaching and connecting with members now from all over the world, Alix has been utilizing her previous 30 years of experience as a group fitness instructor to keep members active and connected.

 

Name: Alix Redmonde

 

 Job: Chief Executive Officer of Parkinson Place, a non-profit 501 that offers more than 65-programs free for people living with Parkinson’s disease and caregivers.

 

Where I Live: Sarasota, FL

 

Women Are Extraordinary Because: We take care of the world—some of us even do it in high heels.

 

 Most Touching Moment From The Past Year: Joining members at the end of fitness classes shouting “I believe I can do anything!”

 

 Biggest Takeaway from The Past Year: We must constantly reinvent ourselves to stay connected (No resting on laurels). Resilience is key. Necessity is the mother of all inventions. The need to go virtual allowed me to stay connected and empower those in my classes- keeping them connected through group fitness and giving them a space and the tools specific to Parkinson’s disease. 

 

Advice To All Women: Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you are too short, too old or lack credentials to do amazing things.

 

The Best Thing About Being A Woman: Being able to be strong and soft at the same time.

 

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Nubia Bernard

Photo Credit: N/A 

 

During a year unlike any other, we are so grateful for the unsung heroes, Mothers. Taking on new roles in addition to being a mom of two young kids, wife, friend, and of course, wonderful JMcL Store Manager Nubia has had to do double duty. This year, we honor all moms and caregivers, for doing one of the toughest jobs, while still providing their loving energy and caring for others.

 

Name: Nubia Bernard Landry

 

Job: J.McLaughlin Store Manager & Mom

 

Where I Live: Corona del Mar/Newport Beach, CA

 

Women Are Extraordinary Because: Of our ability to be professionals as well as homemakers. We are able to take care of our family and handle different challenges with ease. 

 

Most Touching Moment From The Past Year: The many phone calls, texts, and emails from loyal customers inquiring about the well-being of myself and family. It definitely touched my heart.

 

Biggest Takeaway From The Past Year: The resilience I have. I was able to adapt with my two children (2nd and 3rd graders at the time). From going to school to homeschooling them the past year, and still being able to work while being a teacher, mother and wife. 

 

Advice To All Women: We are stronger than we think! We are able to accomplish anything we set our minds to i.e. career goals in our lives and still raise a family. 

 

The Best Thing About Being A Woman: Our confidence, strength, resilience, and our ability to adapt to any situation whether bad or good, we overcome it. 

 

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In Our Stores All Month

Throughout the month of March, our stores will be partnering with local organizations that support women in their communities and spotlighting amazing women. To find out more, visit your local store.