To celebrate International Women’s Day, we wanted to share a few stories of women in our lives who inspire us. It can feel like a battlefield as we advocate, create opportunity, and raise awareness about causes that we are passionate about. To remind you that you are not alone in the work you are doing, we decided to call some of our most empowering female friends who are making waves and asked them how they’ve done it. We hope you are inspired to live loud
by the stories we have the honor of sharing this week!
Heather Avis is shouting value and worth over her family and a generation. Her work as an advocate for people with Down Syndrome has empowered hundreds of communities to “make some room.”
It is evident that Heather’s work as an advocate for people to accept themselves and one another begins in her own home. Heather has two beautiful daughters, Maycn (11) and Truly (8). When asked what she hopes to pass on to daughters, Heather said she hopes that they will be “confident in exactly who they are, not feel a need to fit into a mold that is suffocating. To be confident in their body, skin color, and to be content.” Sitting in the Avis’ vibrant living room listening to Maycn and August (her son) rock out to Beyonce was confirmation that what Heather speaks to her wide audience is authentic and nurtured with her family first.
Heather is inspired by women who came before her; who personally taught her grace and who have paved the way for women to have the rights we do today. The women Heather mentioned were her grandma, Mary Ester, her mom and Rosa Parks. Heather’s grandma was an inspiration to her because “she never said a bad thing about anyone, or complained about anything, ever. She was genuinely positive and full of grace.” Heather’s mom also carried grace and loved and accepted people well. While Rosa “lived out of her convictions, against all odds.”
Her final encouragement to women who are diving out of their comfort zones to make an impact is to keep showing up. “Take anything that you think about yourself as a negative and flip it to see it as a positive.” Heather’s work in shifting narratives has made her an expert on acknowledging what culture and society say is a weakness and claiming that very thing as your greatest strength. As women, she encourages us to enjoy being exactly who we are and find people who can remind us of the unique, important qualities we have along the way.