International Women's DayThe Innov865 Alliance is dedicated to developing, supporting and promoting the Knoxville region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. For International Women’s Day, the Alliance sat down with several female entrepreneurs in the area to get their take on what the day means to them.

Tricia Martínez, Managing Director, Techstars Industries of the Future Accelerator

International Women’s Day is a celebration of all the exceptional, gritty, and determined women who have broken down barriers and forged a path for people like me. It is a day to remember those who walked before us and a day to appreciate and praise all the women around the world defying odds and persevering. 

Angelique Adams, Founder and CEO, Angelique Adams Media Solutions

International Women’s Day has special meaning for me. It really marks my personal transition from a corporate executive to an entrepreneur. Last year, my book on Women in STEM came out in January. By February, I was getting booked for speaking engagements. On International Women’s Day, I had 3 speaking engagements and several that I had declined due to scheduling conflicts. That was when I knew I had a message that people wanted to hear. I’ve been going ever since.

Lia Winter, CEO and Co-Founder, Winter Innovations

International Women’s Day is a time to celebrate the tremendous achievements of the inspirational women who are making a positive impact on the world. It’s also a time to set future goals and actionable steps for ways that we can uplift other women.

Erica Grant, Founder and CEO, Quantum Lock

I love that it celebrates women and their achievements. I hope that we see more young women pursue PhDs and become tech companies founders. You don’t have to be a genius. I’m certainly not, but I’ve worked hard, been strategic, and surrounded myself with the right people.

Courtney Jones, CRO, Boulo Solutions and Founder, MomSource Network

This is a day to inhale deep, realize how far we’ve come and give praise to the women in our lives who have carried the torch this far. It’s also a day to look back and ask what we can do in service to the women who are coming up behind us. 

Anna Douglas, Co-Founder and CEO, SkyNano

To me, International Women’s Day is a time to celebrate not just all that women have accomplished, often with the cards stacked against us, but who we are to the core of our human beings. The women in my community are among the fiercest, most competent, hardest working group of impact drivers, and International Women’s Day should be a time to reflect on how much our society gains from the involvement of women in the workplace, in our homes, and in our communities.

Danielle Castley, Founder and CEO, Becq

International Women’s Day is an opportunity to appreciate that we live in a country where women have the same rights as men and to appreciate the strong support from federal and local governments for entrepreneurial pursuits.  

Stacy Baugues, CEO and Founder, PowerUp Fitness

I’m one of four girls and a mom to two little girls. Each of my three sisters has excelled in male-dominated fields in the medical sciences. My four-year-old daughter wears her “twirly dress” with a superhero cape and when confronted with a challenge, often tells me, “It’s okay mama, we can do hard things.” For me, that mindset defines International Women’s Day, a celebration of doing the hard things and accomplishing the unexpected. It’s about encouraging and empowering all females, from young girls to grown women to break the glass ceiling, to go for it, and when things feel overwhelming, to remind one another, “It’s okay, you can get through this, you can do hard things.”

Jenna Johns, COO, RDI Technologies

International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate how far we have come as women even in the last generation. When I look at my generation of women, I see how hard my mother worked to give me the opportunities and choices that she didn’t have. She even stepped in to help on a daily basis when I became a mother so that I didn’t have to choose my career or my kids. For me, it is a day of reflection to honor the women who came before us and paved the way to opportunity and equality. It truly takes a village to make progress and the village of women that exists in this world is definitely something worth celebrating probably more than once a year.