Yesterday was "International Women's Day" and throughout the entire month of March, people here in the United States will share stories of powerful women as part of "Women's History Month." 

I didn't have a chance to write a heartfelt "International Women's Day" post until late last night, mostly because I was busy being a woman absolutely kicking butt in my career.  I'm so fortunate to work for a station where, as a woman, my ideas are truly respected and encouraged. A lot of the passion, drive and loyalty I bring into the office every day is a direct result of having these women I'm about to introduce you to in my life.

Denise Gorksi

Michelle Heart, Townsquare Media

Denise Gorski was my high school track coach. She coached a team of 66 women with all ranges of ability. Some of my teammates competed at the national level. Some of us, like me, were decently fast in our region. Others came out for the team because they just wanted to be on a sports team and track didn’t cut athletes.

You know what? She treated all of us identically. She cared just as much about the girl scoring the most points on the team as the girl who was just happy to finish. She reinforced Henry Ford’s ideals of “Coming together is the beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success” in every athlete she coached.

Even the little things she taught us like eye contact with the person speaking to you or a large group you were part of have stuck with me for years. That's why when we're in meetings at the station, I'm the last person you'll see looking around the room or playing with my phone. Those are the types of things she taught me that have really shaped me into the woman I am today! Coach G, thank you for being one of the most phenomenal mentors in the world. 

Kimberly Simmons

Michelle Heart, Townsquare Media

Little did I know when we ended up in the same race photo together at the Beer N Brats Half Marathon in Eagle, that Kimberly would become an amazing friend just a few months later! Not only is she an amazing friend, she's also my current marathon coach for this year's Lake Lowell Marathon coming up in April.

Kimberly's  a three time Boston Marathon qualifier but had hurdles to jump to get there. At one point she had to have knee surgery as a result of soccer injuries. She bargained with her doctor for one more marathon and he agreed. Well years later, she’s done way more than over 20 marathons, more than 50 half half marathons and a handful of Iron Mans.

For someone as injury prone as me, she’s an absolute inspiration! And she puts up with all my shenanigans, weird crap I say during long runs and incessant out loud "mantra-ing" I do when she’s running a race with me. I probably sound like a crazy person, but she'll never tell me that! 

The Bowerman Babes

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And finally, let me introduce you to the Bowerman Babes from the Bowerman Track Club. In high school I ran against (and about a lap behind) a girl from Beaumont High School named Emily Infeld. She was a sub-5 minute miler and won multiple state titles, but if you bumped into her on the streets you’d never know it. That’s because Emily was legitimately one of the nicest, most genuine, down to earth competitors I met in High School.

I doubt she remembers losing her spikes at Boardman my senior year, but my dad and I were normally the last ones at the track after home meets so we were still there. We tried to help her find them. She didn’t know us, but was so grateful. Emily went on to compete at Georgetown (actually capturing a title in the 3000 at the NCAA Indoor Championships when they were held in of all places, Nampa. You bet your last dollar I went to go watch.) It’s no surprise she went on to crush it on the world stage as a pro, representing the Bowerman Track Club.

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From following her on Instagram, I got to know more about her amazing teammates in the club and started following them too. Those close to me know that prior to my move to LITE-FM, 2017 was a challenge for me and it was in large part because of trolls on social media cutting down not just my character, but the character of those I consider family.  I'm so happy that I cleaned house, got rid of those people and started following the Bowerman Babes instead!

Their posts (especially Colleen Quiqley’s) are truly inspirational and are the ultra positive things that I love seeing my newsfeed filled with! Even if you don't run and can never picture yourself doing that, I still recommend checking out their socials. The quotes and stories they share will inspire you to do big things at your job, inside the household or whatever hobbies you're in to!

From NYC marathon champion Shalane Flanagan, to bad ass steeplechaser Courtney Frerichs and all the other gals who are part of this team...I’m just in awe of the talent, beauty, compassion and grace of the ladies!