“In the future there will be no female leaders. There will just be leaders,” said Sheryl Sandberg. The month of March is the woman's month. March is celebrating women's accomplishments and proactive efforts toward equality. There are women all over the world that deserve to be recognized for their hard work. One of these women that deserves to be recognized is Cheryl M. Welch.
When Mrs. Welch was young she did not know she wanted a position in leadership. She had a few positions in high school, but it didn't really strike her as something she wanted to do in life. That changed in March 2016. Welch attended a woman's march in Denver, Colorado that had 90,000 people attend it. “I just found it really inspiring to be surrounded by that many women. It was very transformative,” said Welch. After that she started to push others around her to take a position on the city council, because she believed we did not have enough female leadership in this town. Eventually, she came to the conclusion: “There’s no reason for me not to do it.” She ran for the position and began her time on Chadron City Council.
Mrs. Welch has been on city council for one year and so far she has found it to her liking. The position she holds is a council member. As a council member she votes for the mayor and other important town decisions. There are five people all together on the city council, the members and the mayor. She is the only woman on the council, currently, which has its pros and cons. One of the pros she mentioned was that she brings “a female perspective, a new perspective.” The cons she referred to were, “there are just male red coats, and they do not fit, making it very uncomfortable.” City Council Members must wear a red coat for the duration of their meetings. She also mentioned that since the majority of the vote is male, the female vote is underrepresented. Although other than that she said that everything else is pretty much equal.
Mrs. Welch does face opposition as it is expected, but she does try to stay open and non-confrontational. She mentioned “that you need to be willing to compromise.” Mrs. Welch also said, “If you want to be on city council, you need to compromise and to do what's best for the community.” As well, it is important to be patient and open-minded with those around you, or else you're not going to go anywhere. Although she does say sometimes it's hard because many people are not open to change, they find “change scary and unnerving.” Mrs. Welch said to be on the City Council one must prepare for lots of time it takes, and going through lots of documents. It also takes being willing to compromise for the “greater good.” You may ask how does she stay motivated. Cheryl mentioned that she attended a Greta Thunberg rally, and asked her how does she stay motivated. She responded with this, “I can't look at myself in the mirror with the thought of not doing something to change what I believe needs to be changed.”
Mrs. Cheryl Welch advocates for things such as social justice, health, and people from a different background to be welcome in our town. Another large goal of hers is to improve upon our sidewalk quality. She mentioned that she sees many people walking in the streets and sees it as possibly dangerous. Better sidewalks would make commuting easier to school and jobs for those who do not drive. The thing she is most proud of is getting new lighting for the police department. The lighting doesn't only make it brighter and makes work easier, it “reduces our carbon footprint.” She hopes to continue making positive changes like this one.
Overall Cheryl M. Welch has done many positive things for the city of Chadron despite what challenges she might face. She continues to fight for what she believes in and doesn't let gender equality get in her way. All in all I believe everything stated above makes her a wonderful example for women in leadership and women's month.