Photo courtesy of the UW-Eau Claire Department of Communication and Journalism
Four years ago, I was juggling a laptop while receiving hugs and well wishes after the Ann Devroy Forum at UW-Eau Claire. Needless to say, as the newest Ann Devroy Fellow, I was beyond thrilled. During this, a man approached me and introduced himself as a family member of Ann’s. I’ll never forget what he said to me.
“I see Ann in you.”
Talk about an emotional moment. To this day, it’s one of the highest compliments I’ve received because Ann was simply amazing. She, among many, many other things, was a UW-Eau Claire alumna who went on to cover the White House for The Washington Post. She was passionate and determined. Ann was the quintessential reporter I have always strived to be like.
The reason there is an Ann Devroy Fellow, though, is because the world lost Ann. She died in 1997 after a battle with cancer. After her death, Ann’s colleagues, husband Mark Matthews, the university, and many others worked together to create the Ann Devroy Fellowship. It’s an opportunity awarded to a UW-Eau Claire journalism student who shares Ann’s passion for journalism. The fellowship includes a three-week stint at The Washington Post, followed by an internship at a Wisconsin newspaper.
Tonight is the 17th annual Ann Devroy Forum and the start of the 17th fellow’s journey. I am simply thrilled for him. I know he’ll be another fantastic part of Ann’s legacy.
One of my proudest moments as an undergraduate was being elected to be editor-in-chief of my university’s student newspaper. I ran because I believed I had what it took to lead the organization into the future, and the election showed that a majority of my co-workers agreed, too. I was elated. But during the planning process for the semester, a co-worker (without thinking, I assume/hope) took me down a peg. He told me that my theme song should be the Kelis song, ‘Bossy,’ because I was bossy. Knowing him, it was meant as a compliment. But it didn’t feel that way, because that word made me shudder.
I remember the shame I felt. I wasn’t a leader. I was just being bossy. I remember making an effort to shrug it off and carry on because I had a job to do. I filed it away as a critique and strived to be a good leader, not a ‘bossy’ one.
But years later, I think about that moment and about all of the moments before and after that when I would second-guess myself. It was hardly the first time I was called ‘bossy’ or ‘boss.’ The question plagued me constantly. Was I leading or was I being bossy?
That moment and those before and after it are why I am thrilled that #BanBossy is working to change the conversation. I am ashamed of being ashamed. I am a woman who strives to serve as the best leader I can be, who takes critiques in stride so I can always improve. If that makes me bossy, so be it. I know that it also puts me among the growing number of people who want to take back the word, who want to #BanBossy. Let’s eliminate this word’s negative connotations for women and encourage leadership.
To learn more, visit banbossy.com.
Every time I watch this story about an amazing boy paying it forward, I cry. It’s well worth a watch.
Alexis Madrigral sums up my feelings perfectly with this line:
“I don’t know about you, but the idea that every single person in America who has ever had an injection has been protected because we harvest the blood of a forgettable sea creature with a hidden chemical superpower makes me feel a little bit crazy. This scenario is not even sci-fi, it’s postmodern technology. “
This piece is yet another example of the fun I have at work.
Wisconsinites have a passion for euchre. While sheepshead and cribbage have their ardent fans in certain parts of the state, euchre seems to cross all of Wisconsin’s geographical and cultural divides. WPR’s Breann Schossow tells us the story of this simple but competitive game.