Dana Williams with her mother, daughter, and granddaughter

The Women Who Taught Me to be Courageous

Dana Williams with her mother, daughter, and granddaughter in

Author Dana Williams shares the three women who have taught her that courage comes in many shapes.

March 1st marked the first day of Women’s History Month, so to celebrate the month, I have encouraged my team to reflect on the women who have made an impact in their life. When I think of courageous women, I think of three women who have inspired me- my grandmother, my mom, and my daughter. 

My grandmother, Maude Chenoweth Leaman- The Pioneer 

Born in 1904, Maude Chenoweth Leaman was a courageous pioneer. She has taught me no matter your circumstance, make the most of the situation, serving others first. Shortly after she passed, I found the following short story about her online.

Maude Chenoweth Leaman- Dana's courageous grandmother
William’s grandmother, Maude Chenoweth Leaman

Maude was the oldest of ten children and her mama’s extra right hand – helping in the vegetable garden, feeding pigs, milking cows, churning butter, making twelve loaves of bread a week, sewing, and raising nine younger siblings on the farm.  She began collecting dolls and sewing for family and friends at an early age.

Maude was very smart (valedictorian of her high school) and creative.  Besides being an excellent seamstress, she was a poet.  When married, Maude’s roles changed as she raised her own three sons while working full-time in her husband’s electrician shop in Clinton.  As the Depression heightened they moved to Oklahoma City where she worked first for $1/day, then as Rosie the Riveter at Douglas Aircraft, and for 40 years as alterations lady at a Department Store.  During that time she raised two of her grandchildren and cared for her in-laws, son, and mother who lived with her. 

Maude always kept her hands busy serving others, making quilts, or sewing for others.

My mom- Marillyn Seeberger- The Trailblazer

I have previously shared how my mom, who decided at 80-years-old to get her college degree, has had a large impact on my personal mission statement and the legacy I want to leave.

Dana's courageous mom, Marillyn Seeberger, on set of the first ever Southwest Airlines Commercial
Marillyn Seeberger, on set of the first ever Southwest Airlines Commercial

As a woman without a college degree, my mom worked her way up from secretary, to a TV producer, to Vice President of an Ad Agency, all back in the day when women were not in high leadership positions. She also produced the first Southwest Airlines TV Commercial. Marillyn was honored in the ’90s by Women in Film as the Achievement Award Recipient which recognizes outstanding contributions and trailblazing efforts in film.

My mom has taught me to be courageous in chasing my dreams, no matter my age.

My daughter – Whitney Williams Rowell-The Mompreneur

Dana's daughter, Whitney Williams Rowell, taught her to be a courageous entrepreneur
Whitney Williams Rowell, founder of Miracle Milkookies, By Mom for Mom, and HerStory

As I have launched The Strengths Journal™ and my consulting company, Dana Williams Co., I have looked to my daughter for both advice and inspiration. In addition to being a wife and mother of two (with a third on the way!), Whitney is a courageous entrepreneur. She has taught me how to step out of fear and get stuff done.

Whitney had a lemon aid stand at 10, a stationary company by 11, and a jewelry company by 15. She also has a heart for female entrepreneurs -she created a group called Collective 31 to bring community, inspiration, career intel, and support for local female entrepreneurs.  Whitney also has a passion for helping moms and has created two mom-focused companies, Miracle Milkookies and By Mom for Mom.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Whitney helped launch HerStory, which helps women-founded, women-powered small businesses stay afloat while supporting thousands of employees and their families during this time of crisis.

I am blessed to have so many strong women in my family that I look to for inspiration.

What about you? What women do you look up to and why? Leave us a comment or send us a DM on one of our social platforms!

Happy Women’s History Month!

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