I thought it was a good time to reflect on this journey that started as something so small and has turned into something so significant in my life.  I started Inspiring Women In Surgery at the turn of the new year in 2016.  I sit here 10 months later having told the stories of 206 amazing women, started on a book that I hope will be amazing, and created a whole platform for all to draw inspiration from.  No, I'm not writing surgical research articles in NEJM, but there are plenty of amazing people doing that.


Inspiring Women in Surgery was created out of tragedy, but within that darkness, I have found the ultimate light - hope.  To think that all of these amazing women have taken time out of their precious days to chat with me, provide me invaluable insight into their journeys in both life and career and perhaps most importantly, share insights that will be the guiding light for the next generation, has been the most incredible part.


I started this initiative with little-to-no knowledge of social media and believe me, I'm still learning.  I had never built a website before, and I know it's not some mega-fancy site, but it is something I can call my own.  It's my site, but  it's built on your stories.  The stories make the initiative and I never forget that.


I've been lucky that in the aftermath of tragedy, I've been given time - time to heal...time to reflect...time to find myself.  I went to college on a scholarship for Cinematic Arts and Print Journalism, but left that to pursue a career in the sciences.  Somebody saw talent in me then - an ability to tell stories, juxtapose words and pictures in a way that was provocative, and create a very rare form of art.  Perhaps, Inspiring Women in Surgery was not only my way of healing, but also my way of reconnecting to a love of my life.


I don't know where this story goes from here, but I do know that as long as women are still drawing inspiration from this initiative and these amazing women are still willing to tell their stories...I will continue on.


Somebody recently told me, "Wow, you've created such an influential platform for women in surgery in such a short period of time."  Perhaps that was an overstatement, but I do understand and respect the influence that this platform has achieved.  It's not perfect, but I continue to strive to showcase the 'best of us' so that one day, the idea of women as equals in the Operating Room is met with a yawn because it's the norm, not the exception.  As our country goes through its own trials and tribulations, I still believe in what this country was built on - a meritocracy where everyone (regardless of gender, race, political beliefs, sexual orientation or otherwise) is given equal opportunities in their respective pursuits of happiness and...their dreams.


So as I sit here 10 months after my first Instagram post, my only reflection is this - 'Thank You'. Thank you for sharing, reading and encouraging; thank you for standing up for yourselves and each other; thank you for continuing to reach even when your arms feel stretched.  Thank you for creating a light for me that I was able to shine on hundreds of mirrors that has in-effect, gone solar.  It is renewable, sustainable, and only limited by our abilities to harness it.


With Gratitude,

Jill