Whenever our team drafts content recognizing awareness months, we are careful to balance the celebration of history with the anticipation of the future. Each contribution made by the advocates, mentors, and leaders of the past has created the world we exist within today. And this is the world we’ll use as a foundation to create a better future for the generations to come.
As Women’s History Month comes to a close, I sat down with a leader who played an essential role in building the empowering and impactful world that I get to work in everyday. Cori Streetman is the co-founder and CEO of our team of purpose-driven communicators and designers at Barefoot PR. In the workplace and the community, Cori is a dedicated champion committed to uplifting and advancing the rights of women and girls. I learn something everyday from Cori about what it means to elevate and inspire women to be who they are and reach for their goals.
Here’s what she taught me today about how she paves the way for women to lead during Women’s History Month and beyond.
Why is it important to you to be a champion of women and girls?
Cori: The business world was not created by or for women. Whether we like it or not, society places different expectations on women than men – from how we show up in the home to how we contribute to our communities. We can’t assume that young girls will know how to navigate a society that isn’t set up for them. It’s our responsibility to help prepare them for what’s ahead. I recognize it’s really hard to change a system and support other women as they find success. But as a female leader in business, I’m proud to take on that challenge.
What are the challenges you’ve faced as a female leader? What are your big successes?
Cori: I’ve faced different challenges throughout different phases of my career. Early on I found it was hard to find women who support other women. Being a woman with a big personality and having started my company young, it took more for me to be taken seriously. I was pushing back against assumptions of what I was capable of because of how I looked or dressed. I didn’t fit into a mold.
Being a mom in the workplace was also tough. A success for me is being able to create an environment that allows women to be who they are and show up as they can. There’s room for flexibility in how you approach work. To find a team that understands and supports that is special.
Tell us more about your service with Girls Inc. and the Women’s Chamber Foundation?
Cori: I got involved with the Colorado Women’s Chamber Foundation because there was a need for an organization that was dedicated to advancing women in business and changing the system by supporting one another. We all had to come up with our “why statement” when we got involved. Mine was a vision for a future where women can be successful in the workplace and the home and be celebrated for what they’re doing in both of those spaces.
I was initially interested in Girls Inc. because I’ve always been a fan of organizations that lift women up. But as I got to know the organization more, I realized how innovative they are. When they’re thrown a challenge they’re able to shift and pivot. I have been continually impressed with how they show up for their community no matter what roadblock is in their path.
How do you pave the way for women to lead?
Cori: This seems cliché, but I just want women to be themselves. If I learned anything it’s that you shouldn’t be unhappy at work just because you feel like you don’t have another option. I hope I can show women that you can be successful by being who you are. I can’t tell you the number of times I was told I couldn’t show up to work being myself when I was younger. To tell someone they have to change what they look like and change what they stand for in order to be successful is wrong. It’s important to find the things that make each person unique and special. I think if we can give each other the same grace and be ourselves, we can have it all.
I’m grateful that Cori is paving the way for women like me to be ourselves in the workplace. This month and beyond, the Barefoot team is grateful for the female leaders who are building a better place for us all to work, grow and lead together.
Thanks, Cori. And Happy Women’s History Month!
Written by Maura O’Leary, Strategy Associate at Barefoot PR