Happy International Women’s Day! Who run the world? Yeah, you know.

“I don’t like to gamble, but if there’s one thing I’m willing to bet on, it’s myself.” – Beyoncé

Here at Ray Rico Freelance – a company made up of mostly women – we wanted to celebrate the women who made a difference in our lives. We encourage you to think about the women in your life who have made a difference and celebrate them, too.

An Extraordinary Educator

Ms. Betty Eubanks

RRF Art Director Daphne Butler celebrates an incredible teacher, Ms. Betty Eubanks.

“I’m giving honor to Ms. Betty Eubanks, a past Memphis City Schools strings orchestra teacher. She was my instructor from 5th-9th grades. Ms. Eubanks didn’t just teach a class and be through for the day, she had a gift that if her students were in need of inspiration she’ll be there. For anything! She saw how I loved playing the cello and encouraged me to pursue not only first chair in the school orchestra but playing in city and statewide orchestra competitions. She happily transported students to auditions and rehearsals.

Also, Ms. Eubanks saw how as a lefty, I had trouble with my writing skills. I would write many letters upside down and/or backward. She would take time after classes to give me writing lessons. Getting this attention and inspiration from someone in the school system gave me the encouragement many introverted students always need. She’ll always be a part of my heart.”

“Women will be hidden no more. We will not remain hidden figures. We have names. … It was woman that gave you Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It was woman that gave you Malcolm X. And according to the Bible, it was a woman that gave you Jesus. Don’t you ever forget it.” – Janelle Monáe

A Priceless Memory

Rico's mother, Tammy

This International Women’s Day, RRF owner Ray Rico pays tribute to his mother, Tammy.

“I love celebrating women. What better way to shine the light on some of the most influential women in my life through the work I do and share some insight on our blog?

From a young age, I was always very close to women and still remain the same. Women molded me into the person I am today. They helped me to accept to authentically be me.

I’ll start with my mother, Tammy. She was a very lively spirit and always there for you when you needed her. Even if you didn’t, she would show up and give you a kick in the ass. She was strong and courageous and I feel like I get a lot of my drive from her.

My favorite memory of my mother was when I took a trip home to Colorado from Memphis. It was the weekend after Mother’s Day in 2003. I tricked her and surprised her with a visit. My cousin Jaimi helped me pull off the prank. She told my mother to drop her off at the airport, she hid, and then, I showed up. Jaimi called my mom back and said she missed her flight so naturally mom drove back around and… SURPRISE! My mother was so excited! She smiled so big and cried because it was very hard to surprise my mother. I gave her a $100 bill in a card and she demanded we go to Cripple Creek to gamble. So off we went from the airport to the slot machines. 

We walk in, and she puts the $100 bill into a dollar machine and two spins later hit a jackpot! It was so exciting! Still, until this day, one of the sweetest memories I have of her. 

Later that year, she passed away tragically.

Losing her was really tough. I was very young (23) and still learning what I wanted to do and be in life. It did teach me lessons that sadly I would have never learned otherwise. It has made me work even harder and appreciate people more, especially other women.

So today, and every day, I cherish my mom and all the women out there who raise folks as she did for me. To be proud, work hard, and support your circle.”

“I have chosen to no longer be apologetic for my femaleness and my femininity. And I want to be respected in all of my femaleness because I deserve to be.” – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

A Wild Pioneer

Jane Goodall

Leila Hinkle, RRF’s Finance Manager, finds inspiration in one of her sheroes, Jane Goodall.

“Jane Goodall is my inspirational woman shout out. Since I was 4, I have had a love for gorillas and just about all primates, thanks to a gift from my grandmother. When I learned about Jane Goodall, I was mesmerized. Here is a woman who gets to hang out with chimpanzees. In the wild. And she’s helping them! Through the years I have grown to admire how inspiring she really is. As a young woman, she traveled to the jungle, to study chimpanzees in 1960. That is incredible! Thanks to pioneers like Goodall, not only did she lead groundbreaking research but the respect she earned through her hard work showed little girls [and everyone else] everywhere that you can follow your wildest dreams and accomplish anything. Cheers to you, Dame Jane Goodall!”

“I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.” – Maya Angelou

Birds of a Feather, Now and Forever

For International Women’s Day, RRF’s Digital Marketing Specialist Sheena Barnett honors two of her best friends and podcast co-hosts, Lori Pope and Hannah Donegan.

“I am lucky to have so many incredible women in my life. My grandma and my mother are two of my biggest influences – but I will share more about them on Mother’s Day! Today, I want to shine a light on two of my best friends, Hannah Donegan and Lori Pope, who always inspire me.

Picture it: Ole Miss, 2005. I was editor-in-chief of The Daily Mississippian, the student newspaper at the University of Mississippi. I hired Lori as my arts and entertainment editor and Hannah as my managing editor. We started as classmates and co-workers, but quickly became good friends.

After graduation, we remained close, usually getting together at least once a year for a Halloween trip to New Orleans. It’s been 16 years since we graduated college, and our lives have all taken different paths. Hannah has made major moves, from Mississippi to Colorado, back to Mississippi and then to Chicago. Lori is the only one of us who is married, and she has two adorable kids. 2020 was tough for everyone, and all three of us faced our different hardships. But at the end of the year, we decided to combine our strengths and create a podcast. It has been so much fun to create and work beside these two smart, funny, hard-working ladies again. Working on this show each week has brightened our spirits and helped ease pandemic-induced loneliness.

Lori and Hannah always face any problem head-on, with grace and maybe a few cuss words, and are always strengthened by their experiences. They’re fiesty, fearless and fun – and I’m a better woman because of them.

Thanks, Lori Lou Who and Spider Monkey, for always being there for me, and for being amazing women in your own ways. I’m so lucky to know you both and to be your cheerleader.”

“For there is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.” – Amanda Gorman

The 2021 International Women’s Day theme is Choose to Challenge. Learn more about it, and celebrate the ladies who challenge the status quo!

Additional Reading:
Building a Legacy of LGBT + Latinx Equity by Celebrating Life-Long Work
Workaversary: Daphne Butler
The Jane Goodall Institute