“She Says”: What WE is Thankful For

Women Employed
She Says
Published in
6 min readNov 17, 2022


As we prepare for next week’s Thanksgiving holiday, many individuals across the country are in deep reflection on what they are thankful for. For some, this time of year reminds people of the love that has been poured into them and for others, they are grateful for the five F’s: Family, Friends, Faith, Food, and Fellowship. But regardless of whether they are thankful for their jobs or just waking up another day with air in their lungs, one thing is clear, this holiday season is an ever-present reminder of the little things and to give thanks for them.

Much like most families near and far, the staff at Women Employed are also looking forward to next week’s Thanksgiving celebrations. Between preparing our menus, hosting our families―some for the first time!―and looking forward to watching the countless hours of Thanksgiving football games, WE have also taken an introspective look into our lives to think about what and who matters most. From working with amazing colleagues and impacting change, to our families and fur babies, one thing is clear. And that is the dynamic women of Women Employed have quite a bit to be thankful for.

In this month’s installment of “She Says”, you, our valued supporters, will read touching notes on what staff members are grateful for this Thanksgiving season and beyond. And don’t forget — one of the things we are all so thankful for, each and every day, is YOU. Your support drives our work and fuels the progress we’re making for working women and families. So, sit back, relax with the warm beverage of your choosing, and enjoy this glimpse into what WE are thankful for!

Linda Ballard, Senior Development Officer

“I am thankful for my grandchildren. They give me immeasurable joy and it fills me with gratitude to see them growing to become confident, kind, and successful adults.”

Leticia Trujillo, Graphic Designer

“I am grateful for many things, but what I’m most thankful for are the people who encourage and support me through all my ups and downs. My family and friends are who I cherish and I’m so glad they are in my life; from my mother who gives me advice and love, to my boyfriend who listens to my every thought or worry, to my best friend who roots for me in my accomplishments, and to everyone else in between who has been there.”

Mary Kay Devine, Chief of Staff

“I’m thankful for family road trips with my husband and four kids. I’m thankful for the beautiful places we’ve seen and adventures we’ve pursued. I’m thankful for friends from across the years and miles who open their homes to us along the way and offer us a meal and a place to stay. At the end of every trip, I’m thankful the path leads me back to Women Employed and the work I do to build women’s economic power.”

Amanda Sousa, Senior Development Officer

“I am grateful for Nate, my best friend, partner, and co-parent. I feel so lucky I have him to share a seat with on the rollercoaster of life! He is smart and sensitive, has excellent taste in music and food, and parents our child with heart and purpose.”

Christina Warden, Director of Policy and Programs

“I’m thankful for my family, and I do my best to show them that every day. I am also thankful for the amazing women and men that I get to work with from Women Employed, funders, community colleges, advocates, community partners, state and city agencies, as together we build a more just, humane, and robust future for women workers and learners.”

Judy Miyashita, Director of Marketing and Communications

“I am thankful that I get to spend every day working with funny, bright, supportive colleagues who make changing the world fun! And for my amazing family, friends, husband, and fur-kids who keep me grounded and who surround me with love and light.”

Cher Alfaro, Marketing Coordinator

“I’m grateful for my family and friends that love and support me. I’m unbelievably blessed to work with my wickedly smart, passionately driven, and unstoppable colleagues at Women Employed. And lastly, I am thankful to be part of the change in social justice and equity for the future of girls and women.”

Racquel C. Fullman, Communications Coordinator

“I’m thankful for the love that grows inside and all around me. I’m thankful for my village who shows up for me when I least expect it. I’m thankful for new beginnings, second chances, and answered prayers. I’m thankful for my colleagues who inspire me to be a better version of myself every day. I’m thankful for my tiniest blessings because they have had the biggest impact in my life. And I’m thankful for my partner who keeps me grounded and reminds me every day that I am enough and that I’m worthy.”

Ibie Hart, Director of Business Development

“I’m thankful for my husband arriving in Chicago. He’s my peace, laughter, and reminder that God is faithful. I don’t know what I’d do without him here, taking care of me and our home.”

Elizabeth Cunneen, Chief Financial Officer

“I am thankful for my amazing daughters who challenge me to be better and do better every day.”

Sharmili Majmudar, Executive Vice President of Policy, Programs, and Research

“I am grateful for so much, for everything from a warm home, clean water, good food, and healthcare, to loving family and friends, to caring, smart, committed, and talented colleagues making the world better every day, to a supportive and flexible workplace. I am also grateful for my mug warmer and milk frother 😁. And every day I am thankful for my wife and our kiddo who both keep me grounded and remind me I can fly.”

Tara Driver, Senior Career Pathways Manager

“I am of course thankful for my mother, my partner, and my family. I have to give a special shout-out to my lifelong crew. Had it not been for my Creator and My Girlz…… these last few years would have been a LOT more challenging for me. We always check on each other, are there for each other, and know how to make sure that we are all OK. Oh…….. and we know how to have FUN!!!!”

Michelle Schwartz, Senior Events and Volunteer Manager

I’m grateful for family. They love and challenge me in the best ways, and I am a better person because of them.”



Women Employed
She Says

WE relentlessly pursue equity for women in the workforce by effecting policy change, expanding access to education, & advocating for fair, inclusive workplaces.