Celebrating Women’s History Month and Women Who Tell Our Stories

This year, the theme of Women’s History Month is “Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories.”

As storytellers working for a PR agency and spending a lot of time telling stories, we find the theme particularly relevant and inspiring.

Each year, Ketner Group’s DEI Committee selects a few, team-voted monthly observances to recognize. This year, Women’s History Month is one of them. In celebration, our team is meeting via Zoom this week and each team member will present a short slide on a famous female figure of their choice.

To keep the celebration going, we thought it would be fun share more about the women we’re featuring and why they inspire our work. Here’s what we learned…

Agatha Christie inspires Jenny to connect with an audience

Jenny Bradford, account executive out of our NYC office, said she choose to highlight Agatha Christie, “because her writing has been an inspiration for me ever since I first read her exceptional detective mysteries.

“As someone who loves to write and tell stories for our clients, I always admire strong female wordsmiths and their ability to connect with an audience.”

Agatha Christie, or the “Queen of Crime,” is the best-selling fiction writer of all-time. Her work is only outsold by Shakespeare and the Bible. She wrote 66 detective novels and 17 short stories before her death in 1976, and her play “Mousetrap” is the longest-running play of all time.

Jenny is a big mystery lover, and “And Then There Was None” is one of her favorite books. If you’ve never read an Agatha Christie book, she recommends this New York Times guide to help you identify where to start.

Catherine admires Anna May Wong’s true grit

Our president Catherine Seeds will share more about Anna May Wong during our presentations to the Ketner Group team. Wong Liu Tsong, known professionally as Anna May Wong, was an American actress, considered the first Chinese-American movie star in Hollywood, as well as the first Chinese-American actress to gain international recognition.

Anna May Wong was the daughter of Chinese Americans who ran a laundry in downtown Los Angeles and grew up watching film crews. She worked as an extra starting at age 13, beginning with “The Red Lantern” in 1919. She faced racism because of her Chinese heritage and was underpaid compared to her white co-stars.

“While I can’t relate to the challenges and racism that Anna May Wong faced as a Chinese-American, I whole-heartedly admire her true grit, determination and desire to keep going – I try to remember that when things get hard in my work life,” said Catherine. “No matter what she was facing, Anna May never gave up and worked hard to cement her legacy.”

To learn more about Anna May Wong, Catherine recommends mobituaries, “Anna May Wong: Death of a Trailblazer.”

Kathleen Hanna reminds Jenna of the importance of expressing yourself

Jenna Jordan, account supervisor based in Austin, TX selected Kathleen Hanna, the lead singer of Bikini Kill to feature.

Bikini Kill was one of the most influential female punk bands and Kathleen Hanna was a pioneer of third-wave feminism through the Riot Grrrl movement in the 1990s. Before “Girl Power” was popular, Riot Grrls made it punk.

Case in point? Kathleen Hanna has been known for saying, “I’m not going to sit around and be peace and love with somebody’s boot on my neck.”

As for Jenna, she says about Kathleen Hanna, “Being an introvert in the communications world, Kathleen’s loud persona is a reminder of the importance of expressing yourself, and that there’s no one definition of what that means. She is all about finding ways to make your voice heard, and that translates in my day-to-day work when it comes to telling client stories.”

Sally Mann inspires me with her portraits

As for me, our VP of marketing working remote from Atlanta, GA, I selected Sally Mann to highlight. Sally Mann is one of America’s most renowned photographers.

Personally, I love the challenge of writing in a specific brand or person’s voice, capturing them uniquely. Mann’s portraits are a master class in capturing someone authentically.

While her work includes portraits as well as landscapes, my favorite (and what she is sometimes best-known for) are the pictures she began taking of her family in the 1980s. These pictures are complex visions of childhood, intimate family portraits that capture the photographed and reflect the mother behind the lens.

A mother myself, I was struck in my research by this quote of Sally Mann’s, “Having children…expanded the parameters beyond the decorative and opened up the tender as well as the political (in the broadest sense) side to my work.”

Continuing to be inspired by women storytellers

The Ketner Group team is lucky to have so many strong women storytellers as members of our communications agency and as part of our client base.

Women’s History Month is simply a month we acknowledge these women formally. The everyday work is in ensuring they (and each person we encounter) is valued each day.