Celebrating Women’s History Month

By Beth Posluszny | March 1, 2024

In the rich tapestry of American history, the Women’s Rights Movement stands as a cornerstone, tracing its roots back to the seminal convention in Seneca Falls, New York, in 1848. From the hard-fought battle for suffrage culminating in 1920 to the ongoing advocacy for equality and recognition, the journey of women in America is one of resilience and progress.

In recognition of this legacy, March marks Women’s History Month—a time to celebrate the indomitable spirit of women and honor their contributions to society. This year, under the theme “Women Who Advocate for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion,” we are proud to amplify the voices and experiences of the remarkable women of Picnic. As a woman-owned and run business, we embrace this opportunity to reflect on our collective journey towards gender equality and the ongoing pursuit of a more inclusive world.

As Gloria Steinem eloquently stated, “The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.” Join us as we delve into the diverse perspectives and insights of our team members, each contributing a unique chapter to the ongoing narrative of women’s empowerment.

 

Liz Ahearn-

1.  What are your responsibilities at Picnic Wine & Provisions? As the proud owner and founder of Picnic Wine & Provisions, my responsibilities span across all facets of the business, both visible and behind the scenes. While my presence may not always be visible, rest assured, I am actively engaged in every aspect. One of my primary roles is overseeing our exceptional team of women who greet you with warmth and expertise every time you visit Picnic. Beyond personnel management, I handle critical functions such as bookkeeping, marketing strategies, social media engagement, payroll, and tax matters.

Moreover, I play a hands-on role in curating our wine selection, particularly focusing on our quarterly wine club offerings. Through close collaboration with our dedicated team, I ensure that the vision I set out to create for Picnic is consistently realized. It’s a privilege to witness the vibrancy and success of Picnic, a testament to the collective effort of our remarkable team.

2.  How has gender equality impacted your life and/or where do you see the biggest opportunity for improvement? While significant strides have been made in the realm of gender equality, there remains a considerable journey ahead. In the United States, disparities persist, particularly concerning the treatment of women in the workplace and familial roles. Women often bear the disproportionate burden of adjusting their schedules and making compromises when balancing work and caregiving responsibilities. Research has highlighted the additional challenges faced by mothers in the workforce, with assumptions about their commitment and competence shifting upon parenthood.

My own experiences as a single mother navigating the corporate world underscored these disparities. I encountered firsthand the wage gap between genders, as well as the need to consistently prove my capabilities in a culture that often underestimated women’s potential. Despite these challenges, I learned to harness the power of being underestimated, turning it into a driving force for my success. However, it’s essential to recognize that not all women have the privilege or opportunity to leverage this hidden strength, and they shouldn’t have to.

In the face of multiple global crises, achieving gender equality is more critical than ever. Empowering women and girls across all spheres of life is not only a matter of justice but also imperative for building prosperous economies and ensuring a sustainable future for generations to come.

3. Describe a time when you were able to inspire or advocate for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. Reflecting on opportunities to inspire and advocate, I am reminded of the fundamental values that guide my actions every day. While I may not always feel like I’m doing enough, I firmly believe in the importance of celebrating and respecting the unique qualities that make each individual special.

Diversity, to me, goes beyond mere acknowledgment of differences—it’s about embracing and valuing those differences. Rather than attempting to erase distinctions, such as ‘not seeing color,’ I advocate for celebrating diversity and recognizing the richness it brings to our lives.

Equity is at the core of fair treatment and opportunity for all. In my role as a business owner, I strive to ensure that every member of my team, regardless of background or circumstance, has access to the tools and support they need to thrive. This includes accommodating individuals with disabilities or challenges, enabling them to participate on an equal footing.

Creating an inclusive environment is paramount to fostering a sense of belonging and acceptance. At Picnic, inclusivity isn’t just a value—it’s a way of life. I endeavor to make everyone who walks through our doors feel welcome, supported, and valued. I hope that by embodying these principles, we can inspire others to embrace diversity, champion equity, and cultivate a culture of inclusion in all aspects of life.

 

Alicia Obertin-

1.  What are your responsibilities at Picnic Wine & Provisions? General Manager. I get to work a little bit with everything. I have some shifts in the shop, ordering, overseeing other employees, collaborating on events, and of course, the fun part, tasting with our wine reps for weekly tastings and wine club.

2.  How has gender equality impacted your life and/or where do you see the biggest opportunity for improvement? I think that even with the changing times, women are still underpaid for doing the same jobs as men in many cases. Women seem to have to keep proving themselves over and over that they are competent and know the job. I know, working in restaurants, I would typically be working 2 full time jobs, ie 80-90 hours a week and make less than other employees at an equal level of management who were working less hours. It’s also a process of educating ourselves that we don’t have to do that anymore and there are so many things in life to enjoy and experience and be a part of. We need to love ourselves and be confident in our skills.

3. Describe a time when you were able to inspire or advocate for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. I’m going to turn this question around a little bit. This is one of the first jobs I’ve had that is all female, not intentionally, just the majority of our applicants are female. Picnic and the community have really taught me a healthier way to collaborate with women, where at previous positions, there weren’t very many of us, so we were always competing. We are really here to support and listen to each other and encourage creativity and growth. It’s a beautiful way of working and it’s such a fun way to bring in new neighbors and friends to the fold.

 

Brita Bednar-

1.  What are your responsibilities at Picnic Wine & Provisions? Assistant Manager, focusing on catering and events

2.   How has gender equality impacted your life and/or where do you see the biggest opportunity for improvement? I’m beyond grateful to benefit from the work that has been done up to this point and feel lucky to surround myself with an amazing group of empowered women.  At the same time, it’s so easy to go backward, and I’d like to call out the overturning of Roe v Wade as an example of that.

3. Describe a time when you were able to inspire or advocate for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. This is something that I HOPE I do every day.  It’s so fun to meet new people and hear their experiences and perspectives.  I strive to make everyone feel comfortable and welcome at Picnic!

 

Beth Posluszny-

1.  What are your responsibilities at Picnic Wine & Provisions? As the Operations Manager at Picnic, my responsibilities range from applying for grants to organizational projects and everything in between.  You can also find me working in the shop once a week, usually on Wednesdays or Thursdays, come visit me soon!

2.  How has gender equality impacted your life and/or where do you see the biggest opportunity for improvement? Around this time last year, I made the terrifying decision to leave corporate America after spending over 20 years in very male-dominated industries.  I’ve sold truck transmission, medical devices, and most recently I was in software/tech sales.  I have been to meetings where there was no women’s restroom available and I have had an overnight work trip where I was the only female and my room for the evening did not have a lock on it.  These are just some of the more mild things I’ve experienced in my career and I am grateful to have found a new path.  My hope for the future is that women in the workforce are not only given a way to report inequalities but are encouraged to do so.

3. Describe a time when you were able to inspire or advocate for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. I have been with my husband for almost 14 years and, in that time, I think I have been asked hundreds of times if or when we were planning to have children.  I imagine for many women, these questions can be heartbreaking to be asked.  For me they can be awkward, but only if someone follows up with “well maybe you’ll change your mind” or something equally as idiotic.  I am generally very comfortable talking about my choice to not have children, something that has become easier with practice and increasing acceptance.   There are so many reasons why women don’t or can’t have children and my hope is that any woman who is willing to share their personal journey is met with an open mind and heart.

 

Heather Miller-

1.  What are your responsibilities at Picnic Wine & Provisions? Marketing / graphic design

2.  How has gender equality impacted your life and/or where do you see the biggest opportunity for improvement? Gender equality impacts my life daily. If I was living back in… say the early 1900’s… I wouldn’t be able to work in the kind of job I do, have my own home and the responsibility of my finances, I would have to kowtow to a husband (even in the early 1900’s I don’t think I’m capable of doing this! Lol.), I wouldn’t be able to vote, have my own political opinions, etc. Thank you to the women who went before us fighting the fight so we now have the power and options that we do! Where do I think the biggest opportunity for improvement is? I feel there needs to be more women in places of political power – including the President. If more countries in the world had women in places of political power, I feel there would be less war, more empathy and overall better decisions would be made with less ego and narcissism involved. =)

3. Describe a time when you were able to inspire or advocate for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. I try to live my life overall in being inclusive vs exclusive. I feel awful if I feel like someone is feeling left out. It’s so important for people to feel connected. This can get me into trouble as my invitee lists for parties tend to be quite long and not all friends appreciate that if they want to keep things simple. =)

 

Emily Pleasant-

1. What are your responsibilities at Picnic Wine & Provisions? Administrative Assistant – I help mostly behind the scenes with marketing projects and managing the Art Gallery Program. You can also find me working behind the counter at Picnic from time to time. I enjoy being a jack of all trades and being able to help anywhere, big or small, to alleviate the pain points so others can use their skills to their full potential.

2. How has gender equality impacted your life and/or where do you see the biggest opportunity for improvement? On a personal level, I was a sporty “tomboy” growing up and this led to adversity from all angles about where I belonged and how I presented myself. Now that I’m older, I’m comfortable with my identity and gender expression and I’m happy to have found a space in the LGBTQ+ community. In my career, I’ve always worked in places that disproportionately hired more men than women (like me being the ONLY woman at a few jobs). In these spaces, I felt as if I needed to work twice as hard to prove that I belonged and that I was capable. I think an opportunity for improvement in gender equality is to remove the expectations society has put on gender. If we remove biases and seek equity, things like traditional gender roles or gender expression do not determine someone’s capabilities or worth. People deserve the same rights and opportunities, no matter what gender they identify as. Remembering the fight that came before us that led us to the opportunities we have today is never far from my mind and I will continue to work toward gender equality throughout my life.

3. Describe a time when you were able to inspire or advocate for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. Feeling excluded on several occasions based on things like how I identified, where I worked or what role I had, not wanting to have children, or being neurodivergent in a world built for neurotypicals, I strive to make every space I’m in a safe space where people are comfortable to be themselves, free from judgment. Whether I can relate to some aspects of their life or not, I want to show that they are not alone and that they belong.