Doddle & Company is a women-founded, women-led, women-run company (yep, you'll find a lot of women behind the scenes!). When co-founders Nicki Radzely and Janna Badger created the team, this of course was in no way part of a "master plan." The best people they found to help them realize their dream just happened to be women. And since bringing all the talents of their team together, a group from all over the country, many of them moms, Doddle couldn't embody the ethos of a day like #iwd more. The company could never have grown as quickly as it has (we just celebrated our first birthday!), were it not for the tenacity, vision, empathy, humor and creativity of the team. So of course on a day like today we wondered who has had a hand in guiding their visions.
Nicki, co-founder of Doddle
The lady who inspired me, through and through would definitely be my Aunt Robin. My mother's little sister. She had painted nails, a briefcase, high-heels and a terrific laugh. Everyone loved her but I loved her the most.
To describe my Aunt Robin is like finding words to describe fireworks. You'll never be able to do it justice and even you, yourself, forget how wonderful it is until the 4th of July. It's spectacular. I thought of myself as her little best friend. She is one of few people I know that completely takes an interest in what you have to say. The idea of someone seeing you and hearing you is epitomized in our sweet relationship.
She is also a powerhouse.
She is no bullsh*t too (ha).
She is equal parts loveable by all—intoxicatingly so—and yet really firm and confident.
She is a member of Mensa which is most exemplified in her curiosity for everything.
She makes everyone feel like the childlike version of themselves, and taught me volumes about how to become really comfortable with yourself. And how doing that makes everyone else feel the same. It's a wonderful gift that she has in spades.
On my first visit out to Colorado, we drove off to Vail, CO with Led Zepplin on full blast as we were going to spend 2 weeks there. My aunt and uncle taught us so many life lessons on that trip about money, marriage, goal-setting and the trick to being happy (it's so much more than looking happy). Even if they didn't know it, that little moment in Sept/Oct of 1994 set me up for life.
If I wanted to buy a really cool leather bag or unique picture frame... my Aunt would say to me.. "Why don't you just figure out how to make it?" Then we would spend the summer reading and buying materials to do just that.
Never underestimate the power you have over another person when you listen to them and are interested in what they have to say. It always leads to good.
This is dedicated to all of my grandmothers, all of my aunts, my mother, my sisters and the wonderful friends I have in my life. Iron sharpens iron.
Janna, co-founder of Doddle
In 2007 I was flipping through the TIME magazine 100 most influential people issue and I froze when Lisa Randall's eyes caught mine. Her eyes bore right through my soul! At the time I was trying to find my place as one of just a couple girls in a "boys major" (Industrial Design), and I felt like Lisa was looking right at me with all the confidence and intellect in the world saying, "Don't find your place, make your place."
Though I didn't have any particular interest in physics at the time, I immediately ripped out her picture from the magazine and read her book. To this day I've kept them both as a reminder that my true value is realized when I walk with confidence down whatever path I choose.
Desiree, operations manager
It might seem cliche and obvious but everything I have done has been most inspired by my mother. Born in Puerto Rico and raised in Brooklyn (as one of sixteen children), my mom raised many of her siblings even before she started to raise her own family. My older brother and I were lucky enough to have our mom be home during our formative years.
Some of my favorite memories of my mother were going with her to Jazzercise class when I was off from school and her teaching me how to salsa dance in the kitchen. When my mother did finally go back to work, she worked as an assembly mechanic at General Motors. There is nothing more bad-ass than seeing your mother come home from work every day in greasy coveralls. She was not afraid of getting dirty yet she could run a mile in heels.
More important than all that, my mother always drilled it into me that I could really do anything I set my mind to. And she never EVER let me be a pushover. If I was being teased or bullied, my mom would turn me right around and make me stand up for myself. It is one of the most valuable things she could've given me.
Sadly my mother is no longer with me but, now more than ever, I see her in everything that I do.
Casey, Social Expert, Digital Marketing
I am honored to have worked for a purpose-driven company, Eileen Fisher, for the 6 years before I joined Doddle. Eileen had a vision 30+ years ago to create a clothing line that simplifies life for women. Spend less time getting dressed so you can spend more time doing what you love and making a difference. The purpose of Eileen's company and the EILEEN FISHER LEADERSHIP FOUNDATION is to empower women, care for the environment and educate their customers on the importance of innovation and sustainability. Through leadership training, Eileen focuses so much on developing talent within the company so her employees can find their own personal purpose. Personally, she taught me not to give up if I don't achieve my goals right away. That progress may start with baby steps, but if you stay true to your purpose then you'll soon be running a marathon in this crazy beautiful life.
Kimya, project manager
June Scangarello was my boss at my first "real job" after college. I worked in the Public Information department of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers headquarters in NY as a coordinator. I was 21 years old and the organization was a very large, professional non-profit organization. The Executive Director of the organization was not only an engineer but also former military. He was exacting and didn't mince words. The first project I was tasked to do was to compile media clippings about our organization and photocopy them in a large stack and highlight the significant ones. This stack (think thick book) was then sent to a few in upper management including the Executive Director. He sent it back to me with huge letters written on the front "WHAT A TREMENDOUS WASTE OF PAPER!!" Ha!
Naturally, I felt like I wanted to shrivel up an die. But, June stepped in and took the blame for assigning me the project, shielding me from his wrath. After that she acted as the go between for all of us in our department, as our tyrant ED became more and more critical. She simultaneously gave me the skills to be prepared to stand up for myself later in my career. She was very supportive of my ideas, and helped me learn to think through each step of any plan. She allowed me to take over a program to landmark mechanical engineering historic inventions around the country. I traveled alone and worked with highly regarded engineers. I learned how to speak to and work with anyone regardless of their professional level. She gave me the freedom to continuously grow my position and expand my skills. And she was a beast with a red pen. It drove me nuts to see repeated edits to my written material. But she was always happy to explain her changes and I learned a lot in those 3 years.
Twenty-two years later, we still speak regularly. She attended my wedding and though she now lives in South Carolina, we visit each other almost yearly. She's a valued friend and mentor. I attribute much of my gumption, attention to detail, and love of travel to her influence.
Jane, art director
My mom is a very smart woman, staunchly private, and so hilarious. Once on a 13 hour road trip to visit her parents she declared in the first 30 minute of the drive, "I just want to laugh all the way home!" and we did. We laughed so hard we cried. She did things her way when it came to her relationship with my father and her role as a mother - I sensed at a young age that she never let any outside influences determine how she should be a "good wife" or a "good mom". That is something that has really stuck with me. You can't let anyone else determine how you should be the best parent to your kids or the best spouse to your partner - she taught me that only I can know what that is.
Also, my sister is as witty as they come. She is fierce feminist and her young kids can speak with confidence when it comes to subjects like gender fluidity and gender equality. She is the health tech at an inner city Portland school where she helps kids dealing with traumatic life events. She has taken it upon herself to be many of these kids' sole advocate and mentor. She is the most empathetic person I know and always knows exactly what to say to me (or not say) when I am having a problem.
My childhood best friend, Sara, is an endless source of inspiration—sometimes, while hitting my head against a wall wondering why I can't figure out a synonym for "cool," I think about her because she really takes things to another level. She's spent her entire career helping children in the NYC public school system, first as a teacher in Spanish Harlem, simultaneously running a nonprofit org supporting low income children by providing free access to extra curricular classes in art + athletics (Urban Enrichment), and now is an administrator at Brooklyn Arbor, an award winning dual language school in South Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Yes, she's made some ridiculously selfless professional choices but in addition to that she has a trademark unassuming sense of humor that keeps me laughing often—even when it's entirely inappropriate to.
Most of my fondest memories of family (aside from my own family) involve being with hers in her home which was conveniently located within walking distance of all the parks, parking lots and candy shops we frequented as kids and eventually teenagers. It was the home you could show up at pretty much any time and be welcomed with copious amounts of delicious snacks that took up permanent real estate on the kitchen counter—and maybe a movie in the den upstairs. Or in the summer, a swim in the pool out back.
Sara was my rock and remains my most treasured connection to an upbringing I cherish now, as a mother, more than ever. Selfishly she's made my life infinitely better, but less selfishly, she's dramatically improved the lives of hundreds of students + anyone who has the pleasure of being in her orbit.
Sometimes the universe whispers in your ear, “pay attention to this one.” That’s what happened when I met Hilary. She looked like Holly Hobby, but in a bad ass way. She’s a radical feminist who has a thing for glitter. Hilary loves hard – loyalty is both her superpower and her kryptonite. I was lucky enough to work with her at the same company and this gave her ample opportunity to be the heroine in the never-ending cautionary tale that is my life. Hilly tells the hard truth, gives the best advice and laughs like hell. She’s the girl you want to happen upon you when you fall into a well. She’ll throw you a ladder, climb down with a bottle of wine and tell you that you can come out whenever you want, but 'why waste a nice quiet hole and do you have an opener?’. Everyone loves Hilly most. But I love her most of all. She is what joy looks like to me.
Shandelle, client relations manager
The woman who has made the biggest impact on my life would be my Dad's neighbor, Debbie. At a young age it was always my Dad, my brother and myself. I'll never forget the day we moved into our first house and was instantly greeted by the woman who lived down the road, Debbie. I was 5 years old. She took me in as one of her own kids. She stepped into my life when I didn't have that female role model that I needed at a young age. She taught me countless lessons about life, determination, risk taking, forgiveness, and love. She even taught me all about the birds and the bees when my Dad panicked one day after I had asked him a simple question. Debbie showed me what it was like to have a Mom and to be a great Mom. Without having her in my life, I wouldn't be half the woman or mother I am today. I am forever grateful for Debbie, also known as "Grammy" to my kids.