Galentine’s Day: Women of OH

If you’re a fan of the hit TV classic, Parks & Recreation, you’ve most likely heard of Galentine’s Day. Basically, it’s a Leslie Knope made-up holiday in which she celebrates her closest female relationships on the day before Valentine’s Day. She showers them with love, gifts and kind words of encouragement.

To celebrate the women inside the walls of OH, we asked our ladies to give their thoughts on womanhood, for nuggets of advice, and inspiration behind their personal and professional development. Here they shed words of wisdom and drop insightful anecdotes on the power of sisterhood and female friendships. Here’s to you, Women of OH!

Hannah Vandeventer
Becoming the woman you are today took courage, perseverance, and a whole lot of self-love. What would you tell your 15-year-old-self?

IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK, YA GOON! Also, take a big deep breath, do one thing at a time, and get some sleep.

Jennifer Harlan
Who are your biggest female inspirations, personally and professionally?

The character of Elizabeth McCord in Madam Secretary on CBS, is a great inspiration both personally and professionally. She kicks butt around the world and always finds a way to make it home for dinner with the fam. All while being dressed to the 9’s.

Madison Kaiden
What does ‘Galentine’s Day’ mean to you and your fellow female crew?

I like to think of myself as a confident person, but I believe that is the result of surrounding myself with supportive women. Galentine’s Day is the perfect day to celebrate those who have lifted me up during difficult times, given me extra love and helped me go through boxes of chocolate!

Hannah Steward

I would tell my 15-year-old self to stop wearing white eyeshadow.

Megan Conner

I would tell my 15-year-old self to not compare her beginning to someone else’s middle. Everyone is on their own journey and be present for yours. Don’t ever let someone tell you that you aren’t worthy, whether it be personally or professionally. You are capable of so much more than you realize!

Debbie Sadowniczak

My biggest female personal inspiration is my Mom. She raised a family of five: Mom, Dad, Sister, Brother and Me, on limited income. However, we always had a family vacation at the New Jersey shore every year. This was unheard when I was growing up in Philadelphia. We never felt like we did not have money. My professional inspiration is Vee Neill, who is a professional make-up artist. She has paved the way for other female artists in that field.

Chelsea Smeland

Whatever is bothering you now, probably won’t matter 5 years and it definitely won’t matter in 10! Do what’s right, take a deep breath and enjoy the moment.

Alex Mayes

Your true friends will never judge you, leave you or criticize you; those who do aren’t your true friends and you don’t need them in your life. It’s better to have a few great friends that a lot of just okay ones.

Chelsea Varilla

To not worry so much about what people think, and to embrace my weirdness!

Traci O’Connor

I would tell my 15-year-old self that even though you may be unsure of a lot of things in your life right now, you are going places kiddo! You will spread your wings beyond your wildest dreams and won’t even live in the same state you are now! You will meet so many wonderful people along the way that will mentor you and help you along your path. And most importantly, even though there’s a lot of stuff your mom does that you just don’t understand, she loves you and is doing the best she can with the tools she’s been given and is so proud of you.

Lauren Laspisa

Be true to you and don’t let others influence who you want to be.
Who are your biggest female inspirations, personally and professionally?
My Mother 100%

Maddie Lydon

It’s actually GOOD to feel a little lost. It’s ok to not know exactly what you want to do for the rest of your life, and sometimes it’s easier to figure out what you don’t want to do first. Focus on what makes you happen in the moment, and put your all into that. It’s ok if that changes, too! Also, your diary entries will make you laugh one day, relish the drama.

Dawn Kemmer

I would tell my 15-year old self to listen to older people because they REALLY do know what they are talking about and have the experience to back them. Ha!

Paige Buffington

I would tell my 15-year-old-self to not worry so much about what other people think and do what makes you happy. High school can be rough, but the best years are about to come and to just enjoy the little moments.

Megan Golab

I’d tell myself to not worry about what people think, or let them determine my value. You can’t please everyone, and at the end of the day, no one else’s happiness matters but yours. You have to just keep pushing past any negativity and focus on your goals and what’s important to you.

Christine Caprise

I would tell my 15-year-old self so many things:
• It’s ok to say no.
• You can never please everyone no matter how much you want to. Trying to do so will only make you lose parts of your true self.
• The most important thing would be to not ever settle for less than your heart’s greatest desire out of anything in life (personal or professional). Don’t let fear or lack of self-confidence make you feel like you have to accept anything less than what truly makes you happy and fulfilled.

Jaimie Beazer

I would tell my 15-year-old-self to do what makes you happy. There will always be people and things in this world that will try to upset, confuse or distort your life and goals, and they aren’t worth worrying about. Stick with Family, good friends and God and you’ll end up exactly where you need to be and have fun along the way.

Hillary Houghton

Pick your friends wisely, because your circle will be the biggest influences and supports in your life. The best friends are the ones that encourage you to be your unique self, not the ones who expect you to fit a mold. And remember that those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.

Kate Ortega-Foster

One of my biggest female inspirations is Reese Witherspoon! Aside from portraying some strong, female leads in her acting career (Legally Blonde, Big Little Lies, Walk the Line), the focus of Reese’s media company, Hello Sunshine, is to recognize and elevate women through storytelling. Also, her persistent positivity is something that I aim to emulate in my own life.