Who would your daughter say is the most influential woman in her life? If she’s like many of the women and men below, chances are very good that it’s her mom. Women have so much power to shape not only our own children, but countless other young women who are watching and listening to us at work, at home, and in the community.
In advance of International Women’s Day we asked our AfL Role Models, a team of leaders who influence and impact so many people every day, to share with us a woman who has been influential in their lives. Their answers are an uplifting reminder that you never know how your actions will impact those close to you and even those you’ve never met. They also remind us how important it is to raise confident, engaged, daughters who will one day impact the world as powerful women. Let’s all #BeBoldForChange today, and every day, investing in both our daughters’ and our sons’ health, happiness, and physical literacy.
“Without any doubt, my mom is the woman who has the most influence in my life. She’s a really positive person with a big heart. Every time I felt down or angry with myself, she was the one cheering me up again. My mother taught me how to love, how to respect, how to be courageous, how to persevere. She showed me to how to take care of one another and to appreciate the world we live in. Today, I’m proud to love the smallest details in life and appreciate the people surrounding me. When people say they see my mom written all over me, it has to be the best compliment someone can ever get!” — Philippe Marquis
“I grew up in Norway in the ’70 and ’80s so the most influential woman in my life is a Norwegian woman with an international legacy in female, environmental, and health issues. Gro Harlem Brundtland was Norway’s first female Norwegian prime minister (1980) and later worked for the UN and WHO. She showed me that being a woman is not a curse. You can do whatever you want in life. You are in control of your own destiny. And she showed me to never be afraid to speak up and advocate for what you believe in. This is something I try to teach both my girls today.” — Kari Svenneby
“Lucie Huot (my mother). She was an amazing mom that raised her child with her best abilities, sharing with us her great values of life. She was the perfect example of a woman in my life and a leader in her own way.” — Benoit Huot
“My wife, Christie. She continues to encourage, uplift, enhance, and challenge me to continue becoming the best version of me.” — Dai Manuel
“Hands down, my mom. Always encouraged us to do a sport, and juggled four schedules to make sure we all did so. She saved up so we would have the gear, and could do whatever we wanted to try. Even after I moved out of the house, my parents had a “recreation plan” where they would pay for one sport a season. Now they give lessons & passes as gifts to my kids. Knowing you could always afford to do anything you wanted was a major luxury. More than that, my mom actually made a night out on Saturdays where my sister, mom, and I would go to the local ski hill and learn to ski together, and eventually, my brothers joined in, too. The older I get, the more I realize what a courageous step this was to learn at her age with us.” — Holly LaRochelle
“Maya Angelou. Her words are ones that have carried me through some of the most challenging times in life, but that always leave me filled with hope.” — Jennifer Powell
“Without a doubt, I have to answer my mom! Well beyond my athletic career, she played a thousand different roles in order to keep me motivated, happy, energized, and on time for training. She helps me develop in every aspect of my life. My mom always had (and still does) a positive effect on my mood and that really helps me get through the hard days.” — Antoine Valois-Fortier
“It’s a tie between Sara Renner and Beckie Scott, my cross country skiing heroes who couldn’t have been more amazing, strong, supportive, and inspiring role models for me.” — Chandra Crawford
“My mom. She loves me unconditionally and is always there. If I’m struggling with something, need help, or anything else at all I can go to her with anything and trust her completely. She makes me laugh and she’s one of the strongest people I’ve ever met. I wouldn’t be who I am today without my mom’s hard working and determined personality.” — Tory Nyhaug
“My stepmother. She gave me my love of nature, and her capacity to give to others is limitless — she feeds the homeless — and she even had a homeless woman live with her for a month. She put my brother through medical school and is a two-time cancer survivor. She also has my dream job as head of the TransCanada trail system strategy.” — Leigh Mitchell
“My mom! She has always inspired me to do better, be faster, and be happier while doing it all. Even now as she turns seventy this year, she continues to garden and do yoga, try new activities (learn to weave anyone?) and remains more fit than people half her age. She will always be my role model in the way she expressed her love and encouragement and her belief in us that we could achieve whatever we set out to do.” — Puneeta Chhitwal-Varma