GSWNY Power List: Women Making HERstory – Tiana Stephens

Interview with Tiana Stephens, Communications Officer, Greater Rochester Health Foundation 

What is your passion? 

I am passionate about giving back and uplifting the work of people and organizations in Rochester, especially those that have been supportive of my four children. There are countless amazing non-profits and grassroots groups in our city that have helped my kids throughout their education and development. Some of these organizations are also grantees or work in partnership with the Health Foundation, so I am fortunate that my personal and professional passions align in this way. In my role as a communications officer and the work I do as a freelance communications consultant, I enjoy sharing their stories and amplifying the important work they are doing.

Why is it important for young girls to develop leadership skills?

Women get the job done. I’ve witnessed this in my own family, having the benefit of being raised by a strong mother and watching my two grandmothers run their households and businesses and still manage to nurture each family member and make us feel safe and loved. As a young girl, I myself was shy and rather quiet and never thought of myself as a leader. As I got older, I realized that leadership does not always mean you need to be the loudest person in the room. A person who is a good listener, who thoughtfully observes the world around them, and has empathy can also be an effective leader. Leadership to me involves identifying one’s own strengths, growing those strengths, and then putting those skills into action when needed. These skills -in whatever form they take- are crucial for young people to develop, and being part of the Girl Scouts of Western New York that help girls “grow into their strongest, kindest, most resilient selves” is a great place to start!

What 3 women do you admire most personally and professionally?   

  • My mother
  • My two grandmothers
  • Michelle Obama 

Why do you believe this year’s Women’s History Month theme: “Providing Healing, Promoting Hope,” is important?  

These past few years have been hard for everyone, but I think, especially hard for women who were already “doing it all” before the pandemic. The stress of working from home while having kids at home doing virtual school while being socially isolated is having lasting consequences for women. Research shows the economic impact and toll on women’s health, and experts say that the negative effects will continue to impact women disproportionately. For these reasons, the theme of this year’s Women’s History Month, “Providing Healing, Promoting Hope,” could not be more spot on. Continuous self-care—in whatever form that takes for each individual woman—is not a luxury. It is critical right now.

Throughout March, GSWNY will be highlighting more local women making HERstory in the community. Celebrate Women’s History Month with us by sharing the stories of these incredible women who help make the world a better place!

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