To mark International Women’s Day, we asked our most intrepid and inspiring female friends to tell us about the women who influenced their life and their most valuable lessons.
“What’s the most important lesson you learned from a strong woman in your life?”
Susanna Corchia–Barcelona Gallery Weekend Director, Barcelona
"Coming from a family of strong women, it’s hard to know where to start. I can’t think of a particular lesson, but I can definitely say I absorbed my grandmother and my mother’s ways of seeing and navigating the world. Despite being as tough as a rock, my grandmother was the kindest and most delicate person I knew. My mother is a very resilient woman and an example of integrity. They both shaped me into who I am today and gave me their sense of affection and respect for any living species, their love and attention for others, a strong sense of social responsibility and relentless endurance and perseverance.”
Sandra Benbeniste–Ibiza Preservation Fund Director, Ibiza
"There have been several important women in my life, starting with my mother. She always supported and fueled my desire to work in sustainable development, even though that meant living abroad for many years and renouncing to the traditional lawyer career path I was offered. Aside from my mother, I drew a lot of inspiration from my former manager at the United Nations in Mexico. She firmly believes that no matter how big the challenge is, there is always potential to make a difference with small actions. Her vision helped me to stay motivated throughout my career and I still carry her sense of hope and optimism with me today.”
Nancy Poleon–Entrepreneur and founder of BrandedU, Amsterdam
"I learned my biggest life lesson from my mother. She had a difficult childhood marked by hardship but she never made me or my brothers feel unloved. The way she dealt with her past taught me the importance and the power of resilience and today I strive to respond to my own life challenges with the positivity and strength she gave me.”
Ilknur Boyraz–Actress, Berlin
""Stop worrying and start living!”—the words of a very close friend of mine who passed away but will always be in my heart. She opened my eyes during a pivotal moment of my life and made realize that it’s better not to spend too much time with worries and self limitations. She empowered me to trust and integrate positive affirmative sentences in my life, make bold decisions and celebrate my failures as much as my successes. Everything can be possible as long as I think and feel it is possible and when I open up to my creativity.”
Ann-Kathrin Grebner–Books & Booze host at Sir Savigny, Berlin
“My grandmother used to say "get outside your head so you can see what’s inside”. She taught me to distance myself from my thoughts and recognize my own limiting beliefs. She invited me to connect with what’s around me—what’s right here, right now. Her garden looked like paradise on earth and she taught me to appreciate nature and the little things in life—the wind on my face, the trees I would lie against in her garden, the grass beneath my feet… She was the most grateful person I knew."
Tina Oelker–Artist and Sir Explore host, Hamburg
"The most important lesson I learned in my life was from my grandmother. She was a calm, strong and meek individual who taught me to beware of power and money. I must have been about 14 years old when she asked me: "who will benefit from the money if you keep it for yourself only?”. That’s when I decided to become an artist.”
Dagmar von Renner–Artist manager and coach, Hamburg
“During one of the hardest moments of my life, I leaned on a very special woman who empowered me to take control over my life and heal myself. She taught to value and trust myself.”