This March we will take time and reflect on the various contributions of women in our lives and around the world. I also like to extend Black History Month as long as I can and celebrate the contributions of Black women in society. In March, I like to think of all of the amazing women who have helped make me who I am.

For many, their first role model and woman they admired is their mother. I have been blessed to have an amazingly talented and brilliant mother, Gloria Greer, who has been a trailblazer in so many facets of her life. She was raised in a small rural northern Florida town, became a flight attendant, saw the world, and rose through the ranks of corporate America. She instilled in me my love of travel and so much more. Her strong relationships with her sorority sisters and other female friends provided a foundation for me in my friendships with my sister and so many other brilliant Black women in my life.

My Black female friendships have sustained me during difficult times personally and professionally. Those same friendships have provided a safety net as I navigate this world. Just as important, these same women have been right next to me as I have celebrated various milestones and accomplishments. Lifting as we climb, these Black women have brought out the best in me even in a society that has told us we were less than and not welcome at the proverbial table.

There are also so many Black women who have been beacons of light for me and other Black women. I often think of the bravery of women like Ida B. Wells, investigating lynchings, or Rosa Parks, investigating rapes of Black women across the U.S. south. I often think of Mary McLeod Bethune, an educator who went on to found a college, serve in President Franklin Roosevelt’s unofficial “black cabinet,” and serve as a civil rights leader.

There are so many women who have inspired us in our personal and professional journeys. For Women’s History Month, I ask that we make a list of the women in our lives who have influenced us to be better versions of ourselves. Many of the women on your list may never make it into the history books, but they may have quietly help lift up an entire community. They may not have fancy degrees or be philanthropists, but they have contributed to our lives and likely the lives of so many men and women in large and small ways.

I ask that we take the month of March to reflect and also let the women in your life know all of the ways they have changed lives and subsequently changed the course of history. Happy Women’s History Month to all!

Christina Greer, Ph.D., is an associate professor at Fordham University, the author of “Black Ethnics: Race, Immigration, and the Pursuit of the American Dream,” and the co-host of the podcast FAQ-NYC and also What’s In It For Us podcast.