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Behind the Scenes: Making HERstory

Written by Ashley Gonzales and Nikki Kielkowicz

What would it look like to take one day to support and inspire women in their unique struggles as business owners, mothers, community leaders and more? Inspired by the countless women who inspired us to step into the best version of ourselves, today is about honoring those who commit to elevating the next generation.

October 2018: We were in Sue Ray’s CVPP class when all of a sudden something came to mind. “Whatever happened with that women’s seminar that was supposed to happen this fall ..? Is it not happening AT ALL ..?”

Attempting to focus on the ins and outs of Cardiac Tamponade, a crazy thought kept on creeping its way back into our minds, “What if we did something instead?” Notebooks in hand, we took a couple laps around the school and started brain-dumping all our ideas, as if the idea had been marinating for years. It was the start of something bigger than we could not have possibly imagined.

Throughout our chiropractic school careers, we have continuously been inspired by the words of women who collectively preached and exemplified the same idea: A magical thing happens when women come together and lift each other up. Through our experiences as exec board members of the League of Chiropractic Women and our personal lives, we knew it was time the students at Life West had an event dedicated to celebrating the successes and wisdom of the strong women surrounding us. It’s not enough to celebrate International Women’s Day. It’s not enough to celebrate International Women Chiropractors Day. It’s not even enough to celebrate Women’s History Month. This is something that should be acknowledged continuously because women have a power that no other creature can emulate. It is truly something special.

Building a new event

Making HERstory was nine months in the making, and quite frankly, it’s something we continue to build on, take critique on and learn from. This is a first for both of us. Prior to this, the biggest event we planned was for approximately 150 people, but we were part of a bigger team (15+ people), and those events had been successfully repeated year after year. Let’s face it – we still have no idea what we’re doing! But we’re doing it and we’re learning along the way. We wouldn’t have it any other way. Our hope is for the inaugural event to be as successful as possible so it can be repeated in the future.

We are in the middle of a women’s movement in chiropractic – and the world! We acknowledge that women have stepped up from the very beginning when Dr. Mabel Palmer was alive, but during the last few years, we have seen the patterns of countless women sparking fires in the chiropractic profession so their male counterparts can see them as equal. We see this in the groundbreaking work of Heidi Haavik in New Zealand. We see this in Jeannie Ohm’s legacy and the wave of awakening that builds higher and higher in pediatric chiropractic. We see all this and wonder how anyone could be anything but inspired.

A question we get asked often is whether men are allowed to partake in the festivities. Our response: “Why wouldn’t they?” This is a CELEBRATION in which every human being, regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion or skin color, is 100% invited to partake. It’s not a single-gender conversation*, it is a HUMAN issue, and that means getting EVERYONE involved in the conversation. The only thing we reserve is our speaker lineup. We can’t have a celebration about women without an amazing lineup of women to celebrate! (Insert clapping, cheering gif here!)

This will be the first event of its kind – 100% student-led with a millennial perspective, building off what women before us have created. We could not have gotten this far without the support of so many people who support our mission. A huge thank you to Student Council, the LCW club, Luke Choi, Aubrey Huey, Pooyan Shirazi, Therapy Media, Jacob Tortorete Design, and so many others that have helped us along the way. We hope you join us for a day of inspiration, growth and empowerment as we strive to make “herstory.”

*Our definition of gender is inclusive of cisgender and transgender people as well as gender non-binary individuals.

This article first appeared in the August 2019 issue of Lifelines, the Life West student magazine.

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