Bringing the Women in Housing blog series back for a second run was a complicated, emotional decision. As the first month-long series wrapped up last March, I was unexpectedly exhausted from caring for the stories that were shared. Curating the posts into a series required more of my time than I anticipated, calling for early hours and late nights of editing and scheduling posts, following up with authors about drafts, and finding the places in online communities where stories would be held and celebrated with the care and respect that the authors deserved.
At the end of the month, I also found myself reading public comments from those who disagreed with the series, and I struggled to not internalize those negative thoughts about the project. How anyone could oppose a place where women could come together to share their experiences and lift one another into the light was beyond me, beyond my understanding.
In November, still wrestling with the decision of whether to return to the series, I facilitated a Women in Housing panel at a regional housing association's conference. Three of the four panelists were women who wrote for the series last year; the fourth was a woman whose voice I value immensely and was hoping would be willing to write in the future (spoiler alert: she did!). I was met with a full room on the final day of the conference, a sign to me that this was a conversation worth having and continuing. And over the course of an hour, the panel discussed balancing gendered expectations with professional goals, motherhood, moments of being bullied in the workplace, and more. I openly cried as I stepped out of my moderator role briefly to tell the story of meeting last year’s anonymous author at a conference after her post was published. As women lingered after the session, no one quite ready to leave the room where we found community and hopefulness, I knew the decision was made for me. The series would be back.
And here we are.
I’m pleased to announce that Adirondack Solutions, a worldwide leader in providing innovations solutions primarily for the college student life market, graciously agreed to sponsor this year’s series. There are costs associated with the blog series, and Adirondack is helping with those. My relationship with Adirondack Solutions runs deeper than our professional connection, though, and in a post later this month you’ll learn more about why and how they lead by example in our industry. Here’s a teaser: they are the only company of their kind that is woman-owned. You’ll meet Randi and read about her journey; you'll learn more about why that journey means so much to me.
Over the next month, you will hear from women whose professional and personal experiences widely. You’ll learn about journeys that resemble your own; you’ll read about journeys that are confusingly dissimilar. You will cry and laugh and you may be inspired to share your own story, here or in another forum.
The 2017 Women in Housing blog series is sponsored by Adirondack Solutions.