The Impact of Women’s History on Our Mission to Build a Better World

Mar 11, 2022

Andrea Butler is a content strategist and writer. She started her career at Willard Powell as one of the firm’s early hires when she was in her final year at Fairfield University and is thrilled to return to the team as a consultant. Andrea is passionate about helping mission-driven firms develop their brand voice and create impactful content.

Though we hardly need a special day to celebrate how the accomplishments of women have shaped us, International Women’s Day is a great opportunity to step back and reflect on the trailblazing, influential women in our lives. At Willard Powell, we build teams that build a better world. Since our firm’s founding over a decade ago, women’s history has been a key aspect of our own evolution.

When our founder David McInnis set out to shake up the recruiting industry, he turned to influential, historical women to shape the ethos of the new firm. David is a graduate and current Trustee of Lasell University. The university was founded in 1851 as the Auburndale Female Seminary, the country’s first two-year women’s college, and has since maintained its status as a leader in women’s education. Though the university began admitting male students in 1997, Lasell’s maternal and female-led culture is still a core part of the university’s culture today. When it was time to start Willard Powell, David held on to these values and integrated them into the firm.

In fact, it was a key figure in women’s education who partially inspired the name of the firm. Emma Willard was an early women’s rights activist and champion for girls’ education and founded the first school for women’s higher education, Troy Female Seminary (now a private high school named the Emma Willard School, in honor of its founder). The accomplishments of innovative women inspired Willard Powell’s early days, and continue to play an integral role in the firm’s present and future.

Willard Powell’s culture is centered on elevating women to make their own history.The firm has a strong commitment to empowering women early in their careers, providing opportunities for recent college graduates to gain valuable experience and build lasting connections with successful female executives. Some of Willard Powell’s earliest hires have gone on to have thriving careers at booming companies like HubSpot, Indeed, Willis Towers Watson, and Deloitte, and are continuing to have lasting impacts in their own professional endeavors.

Willard Powell champions working women at every stage of their careers. We also understand that the best employees are ones who feel supported in their personal lives, too. Flexibility is a key part of our culture, and we work to make sure that all members of our team feel like they can put their families first. When both mothers and fathers can prioritize parenthood alongside their careers, employee satisfaction grows, and businesses thrive. Our Director of Engagement Operations and Research, Theresa Cavinee, is a prime example of this.

“I was the first of my friend group to become a Mother and it was a bit isolating for me. I was not used to being alone all the time. For the most part, my friends and family worked full time, so I did not have as many people to talk to during the day. Willard Powell changed that. Two of the partners on the team had children as well, so they understood where I was coming from. Within a year or so of working at Willard Powell, I was working with a team of mostly women who were Mothers and whom I had shared experience with. It made me so happy to help others not feel isolated during their journeys.” shares Theresa. Learn more about her journey as a working mother at Willard Powell here:

Historically, women have been the glue to many families, but their impact can reach beyond that. For instance, 3 notable women who have made an impact on the workplace are Lucy Parsons, Frances Perkins and Lilly Ledbetter.

Parsons organized the first Chicago Hunger Demonstration and was a co-founder of the Industrial Workers of the World in 1915. Perkins was the first woman appointed to the US Cabinet as Secretary of Labor in 1933. During the Great Depression, she helped create job programs and policies regarding workers’ rights. She also influenced the need to create the Social Security Act. Finally, Ledbetter influenced the Fair Pay Act after learning male colleagues were making more than she was.

Women make quite an impact at home, and it continues to expand into the workplace. These are just a few examples of how women continued to inspire and create an impact.

As Willard Powell has grown, we’ve taken time to assess our own privileges and the importance of our own internal DE&I efforts. Willard Powell recognizes that womanhood is not a uniform experience, and an intersectional approach is needed to ensure that we give every woman the opportunity to make their own history. Diversity Ambassador Carmen M. Peña and Managing Director Laurena Mitchell are integral members of our team and have helped Willard Powell be an industry leader in elevating women professionally. Women’s history is not just white women’s history, and Willard Powell is committed to advancing the careers of all women, both on our own team and for our clients.

At Willard Powell, we build teams that build a better world. Without the talents, insights, and dedication of women, those better worlds wouldn’t be possible. This International Women’s Day, we celebrate the women in our lives who have made history, and the ones who are still writing their own stories.

Learn more about Willard Powell, our commitment to Diversity and Inclusion, and the opportunities we create for working women in corporate America by visiting our website or connecting with David Mcinnis.

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David McInnis

President & Founding Partner

David has two decades of global recruitment experience and is Founding Partner of Willard Powell. Prior to founding Willard Powell, David worked with Leathwaite International, a global executive search firm. Before his employment with Leathwaite, David worked for Wachovia Securities (now Wells Fargo Securities) supporting the firm’s Investment Banking & Capital Markets Technology group. David is a graduate of Lasell College in Newton, MA, where he received a Bachelor of Science in Business Management with a concentration in Management Information Systems. David also serves as a Trustee on Lasell’s Board.