International Women's Day
It's a beautiful spring day, and women worldwide are celebrating International Women's Day.
In every corner of the world, women celebrate their achievements, demand change, and inspire one another on this day to keep fighting for their rights. They are united in their determination to make the world a better, more equal place for all.
From Asia to Africa, Europe to the Americas, women are coming together to celebrate their achievements, highlight their challenges, and demand change.
In a small village in India, a group of women gathers in a community center. They shared their stories of resilience, courage, and determination in adversity.
One woman talks about how she had fought against child marriage and persuaded her parents to let her continue her education. Another speaks about how she had started a business, despite facing discrimination and harassment from her male competitors.
In a bustling city in Brazil, a group of women marches through the streets, chanting slogans and holding signs demanding equal pay and ending violence against women.
In a refugee camp in Syria, a group of women gather in a makeshift classroom, determined to continue their education even in the midst of conflict and displacement. They share their dreams of a better future where they can contribute to their communities and have a say in their own lives.
In a boardroom in New York, a group of women executives discusses ways to promote diversity and inclusion in their companies. They share their experiences of overcoming gender bias and discrimination, and they brainstorm solutions to the challenges that still exist.
On this International Women's Day, voices ring out loud and clear, reminding the world that the struggle for gender equality is far from over but that we can make progress and build a better future for all.
Crystal’s Clear View
What it takes to be a leader
Most companies have a leader. But not all companies have great leaders. It takes a lot to be a great leader.
A great leader is not someone you must follow, but one you want to follow.
Last week I watched first hand as a leader of a company took on a dirty maintenance job.
This job could have easily been dictated to another person in the company, one or any one of the ones who were not on a "leader level."
However, I watched as this leader did the job themselves. Never once asking or expecting anyone else in the company to do the job.
Over the years, I have been both an employee and an employer, and to be a great leader, you must be willing to serve and treat those around you with respect. I witnessed that in that leader that day.
The great leaders know they are responsible for establishing the tone of the company. A great leader knows how to teach, and if done correctly, employees will follow and learn wholeheartedly.
A great leader is also a master of communication. If you are a leader of a company, remember to communicate with not only managers but your employees as well. A well-run team will take their leader far.
If you are a leader, here are some tips you can start doing today to help not only yourself but your team:
Build trust. When it comes to leading a team, you must be willing to go out on a limb for your employees to show them you have their back.
Promote an open environment for two-way feedback.
Be a coach.
Show confidence in your decisions.
Crystal's Clear View
I was watching a television show recently where one person asked the other, "how is your day?" That person was complaining that it was Monday and they didn't want to be at work, didn't want to get out of bed, had too much to do, and the list went one.
The other person, with their upbeat and positive attitude, quickly pointed out, "You have a job, don't you? You have a home, don't you? You have a bed to sleep in, don't you? ... Then life is not so bad."
Many people in this world don't have those things and long for them each day. You see this every day if you travel the city streets.
Having an attitude of gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness.
In a study published by Harvard Health, researchers found that gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity and build strong relationships.
Two psychologists, Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, Davis, and Dr. Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami, have done much of the research on gratitude.
In one study, they asked all participants to write a few sentences each week, focusing on topics.
One group wrote about things they were grateful for that had occurred during the week. A second group wrote about daily irritations or things that had displeased them.
After 10 weeks, those who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives. They also exercised more and had fewer visits to physicians than those who focused on sources negatively.
So, remember to be grateful for all the things in your life, both big and small and even during times of adversity.
It is often challenging times and experiences that prepare us for future opportunities.
Crystal Vandegrift is professional wedding photographer based in Virginia. Her email address is email@example.com
Crystal’s Clear View
Equality for all
On the third Monday in January, America celebrates the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, and for many, this day means a day off. For others, it means taking part in a "day of service" and helping others.
For some, it is a day to remember how Dr. King fought and died for equality.
Some see that Americans have come a long way in equality for all; for others, that justice is still lacking and fought for.
Though we as Americans have come a long way when it comes to equality, there is still work to be done.
Since the 1960s, several laws have been passed to guarantee civil rights and freedoms to Americans; however, there are still groups who are still fighting for their rights day in and day out.
Those groups, including women who are still wagging the war on the pay gap between their male counterparts and people with disabilities, the homeless, those with mental illness, and the LGBTQ community, are still in a fight for equality.
Everyone, no matter their skin color, gender, or financial status or mental capacity, deserves to be accepted and treated with dignity. Think back to a time when you may have not felt accepted. Remember how that felt? Probably not good. Some live with that feeling each day.
You do not have to agree with what a person does or does not do to show them respect. We all deserve respect.
The next time you encounter someone who is "not like you," remember, meeting that person can be a blessing. They could have come into your life to help you or even teach you. Just because someone is different from you does not make them less of a person.
In the end, we are humans and I think King said it best, “People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.”
Crystal Vandegrift is a professional wedding photographer based in Virginia. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Crystal Vandegrift is a wedding photographer covering Virginia, D.C. NC and Maryland.
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Pictures were one of my top priorities for my wedding. I spent a lot of time reading through photographers and even contacting some. I was also pretty nervous, I had never been professionally photographed before. Crystal and her team were SO easy to work with and immediately took away the nerves. I trusted her completely and I am so happy I did. Cannot recommend enough! Ellen - Yorktown VA
If you're looking for an amazing photographer who is relaxed, has experience, and knowledge look no further. Crystal took our engagement and wedding photos. Not only were her photos amazing, but she is extremely responsive to messages and will even help you when planning your big day. It was important to us to work with a photographer who has experience with same sex couples, and Crystal and Casey did a great job capturing everything for my wife and I. We couldn't have asked for a better experience. - Emily - Nellysford, VA
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