December Member of the Month!
Mary Ritter, Chief Strategy Officer at Fallon Community Health Plan, became a member of the Women’s Initiative when co-founder Lois Green “suggested” she do so. Mary thought back to childhood to explain her pathway to membership: “When I was in grade school, there was a rule. The boys could play in the field during recess, but the girls had to stay on the paved courtyard. I have five brothers and grew up playing in fields, so this seemed like a stupid rule. In fifth grade I organized a protest. I convinced all the girls to line up at the fence of the courtyard and chant. It went pretty well until I got hauled into the principal’s office. But in the end, the rule changed! Now, I’m married and have three sons. I have a lovely, strong, and very supportive mom, but I have spent practically my whole life living with only men. As a young professional, I eschewed events and efforts targeted toward women because I wanted to be treated the same way as ‘the boys.’” Now, the Women’s Initiative is one of Mary’s favorite networks to be a part of. She explained that she’s come to understand that the Women’s Initiative funds and produces programs that give local girls support, mentoring opportunities, and skills that they might not otherwise have. “And maybe they’ll start a protest and change a rule,” she added.
When asked what being a member of the Women’s Initiative meant to her, Mary recalled the Eleanor Roosevelt adage, “we must do the things we think we cannot do.” Mary believes the Women’s Initiative’s goal to build, strengthen, and support the development of girls through philanthropic efforts is bold. “The world around us is changing so fast that it’s almost counter to what we’re trying to do,” she said. “I worry that for all the advances we’ve seen in technology, it makes it harder to achieve our goal. But I know that this group of bold women is on the right track, no matter how hard it is.”
because the time invested in helping others brings rewards to all of us.”
- Jan Hammarstrom, Saint-Gobain