#WomensHistoryMonth Highlight: Becca Anderson

As we wrap up Women’s History Month, we are proud to highlight Mandarins Creative Director, Becca Anderson!

“Women’s History Month serves as a time to honor the achievements and contributions that women of all backgrounds have made throughout the history of the United States, both by remembering those who paved the way in the struggle for gender equity in the US, and by recognizing the history-makers and barrier breakers of today. “  Quote from NYC public schools.

When I read this quote, I immediately think about those who inspired me along the way.  I’m so lucky that I have had incredible women in my past that were the history-makers and the barrier breakers in our own community.  I pay homage to those women like Jeannine Ford and April Gilligan-Martinez who showed me from the beginning of my pageantry career that a woman can be the most powerful leader in the room. In some of my most impressionable moments of growth, I saw women creating and running organizations at the top of our craft that were undeniable like Rosie Queen, Shavon Garcia, and Jill Moser.  I saw adjudicators that sat in the most prolific seats in the house while aiding in the growth of performers and staff like Shirley Whitcomb.  Even today, having the privilege of being a part of an organization run by powerful women with decades of excellence at the highest level who continue to help me develop as a creator like Stephanie Furniss.

But we still have not done enough.  When the room we work in finally looks like the membership we teach…When the number of women in leadership is more than one person in the board room…When the performers don’t have to point out you’re the only woman of representation and celebrate your minority within the masses, then we have done our job.  So to those of you that do the hiring, that make the choices within your staff, ask yourself, have you done your part?  We are not asking you to hire people that are not worthy. You see – that’s the thing.  We have to change the narrative.  There are so many women out there that are incredibly talented, have ridiculous drive,  the highest of intelligence, and are just plain powerful.  But they have been passed over time and time again when you hire the same people as a safety net.

I’m beyond humbled to work for an organization that took a chance on me to do a job in the drum corps activity that I had never had before.  The Mandarins hired me with zero experience in the activity in my role.  I’m proud of what we have cultivated not just as a drum corps but as a community of diversity.  In 2023, we had the most diverse organization with a staff that looked like its membership.  We also employed the largest number of women than any other organization filled with talent, intellect, and the highest quality teachers.  That was not done by accident.  We sought out these leaders amongst our community that we knew were at the top of their craft.  A lot of them had never had drum corps experience.  We took a chance on them and it had a huge payoff.  So to the future history-makers and barrier breakers, I reach out my had to you and say one thing.  Don’t wait for someone to offer you an opportunity, go out and create one.  Walk in that door and show them who you are because you are enough.

“As women achieve power, the barriers will fall. As society sees what women can do, as women see what women can do, there will be more women out there doing things, and we’ll all be better off for it.” — Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman to serve as a Supreme Court justice.

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