Since the beginning of time, women have held important roles but it has taken a long time for us to catch up professionally to men. On August 26, 1920, when the 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote throughout the United States, we saw hope.
With the help of Michele Howard, EVP, Programs and Leadership Development, Cobb County Chamber of Commerce, Smyrna Vinings Lifestyle sat down with Tracy R. Styf, Sara Sorenson, Jenn Bimmerle, and Barb Allen of for making tremendous contributions to our community.. Each woman, in a letter, addresses the next generation of women on how to have a meaningful career.
Tracy R. Styf
A meaningful career has three key ingredients – flexibility, grace, and passion. Many women set out on a well-planned career path with a job, family, and extracurricular. Then, life happens. Opportunities come when we least expect them Challenges create beautiful new chapters, and we are capable of more than we can ever imagine.
A previous boss said, “Women can have it all, just not all at once.” At the time, I scoffed. But today, in my 40s, with an incredible career, family, and lots of interests and passions, I have learned one skill – grace. Giving myself grace – whether it is knowing I cannot cram in one more meeting or that learning that saying “no,” actually means saying “yes.”
My role at Town Center CID involves working with incredible people. I am grateful because I have found a meaningful career where I can make an impact in my community, all while juggling our “busy” and showing our daughter that there is more than one path to a rewarding/fun life.
Tracy R. Styf, Executive Director, Town Center CID
As a young lawyer, I felt there were specific paths and expectations required of me to become a successful attorney, including long hours, high stress, and cut-throat competition. I found no joy in that journey. Eventually, I decided to do things my way and work towards focusing on an area of law I enjoy and serving my clients without sacrificing my life outside the office. My work is tough and stressful at times, but meaningful because I love what I do and for whom I do it.
I think women often feel pressured to fit into the stereotypical mold expected for their career, but the journey to a meaningful career is often different for everyone. Your journey may include unintended diversions (a worldwide pandemic, perhaps) and purposeful detours (motherhood, travel, or another degree). I believe that these experiences make us who we are and help define a meaningful career.
Sara Sorenson, Founder & Partner, Sorenson Law, LLC
Jenn Holt Bimmerle
My advice is simple and something you don’t realize at the moment. Choosing a career seems permanent and dire; truthfully, what you decide on day one doesn’t transpire. Know that your career will follow many different stages – none are wrong as long as you stay you.
Follow the path that allows you to take risks and discover your voice because you will always be your own best advocate. I was going to be a New York City lawyer with a corner office, an assistant that fetched me coffee, and never have kids because…gross. Instead, I served coffee at Rev, the shop I opened with my husband, I am a software Project Manager, and I have three beautiful, inspiring, and amazing babies. And if I’m honest, kids are kind of gross, but being Chief Operating Officer of Mess is my favorite title.
Whatever you do, commit to happiness, and remember sometimes you have to find out what you don’t love before you find out what you do love.
Jenn Bimmerle, Project Manager, Rev Coffee, Partner and CFO and Bimmerle Household CEO, CFO, COO, Smyrna
Wow! As you launch a life and career journey, expect it to take many different twists. After spending over 20 years in the non-profit world, I transitioned to an incredible role in banking two years ago. My path was not a straight line and I hope yours isn’t either. The superpower of seeing the future would be comforting, but the beauty is that you can create your future. Discover your passion, then follow that passion. How do you ask? Get involved. Ask questions. Participate in activities of interest. Identify mentors and shadow them. Help people around you and better others’ lives.
Yes, you have to be brave, confident, take chances, and embrace change to create your path. Always stay true to yourself. A nougat passed through generations – “don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” Be involved in different activities and organizations and have more than one revenue stream.
Always be the girl who decided to go for it. And never, ever give up. You hold the power in this journey. Enjoy the ride!
Barb Allen, Community Engagement Impact Analyst, CenterState / South State Bank