International Women’s Day: Words from local women

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Left to right are Heather Gudger, Laura Quick and Lynsey Todd. (Contributed) 

CULLMAN, Ala. – International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. This year, The Tribune spoke to three entrepreneurial game changers in our community.  

“Why do you have to choose?”- Heather Gudger 

Through her several businesses and nonprofit endeavors, Heather Gudger brings a splash of creative flow to downtown Cullman. One of her major hobbies is design – from curating inventory for Southern Accents Architectural Antiques or arranging flowers for Pierce and Petal, Gudger is constantly flexing her creative muscle. 

Along with offering unique architectural antiques, Southern Accents also partners with Cullman City Head Start. “I always tell people that when they shop at Southern Accents, you’re helping our local head start,” she said, noting that children of all economic backgrounds gather together at Head Start. “We supply any books they need, if someone needs a backpack… we just want them to feel like they belong. That’s the future of Cullman.”  

In our interview Gudger shared that a recent mission trip to Uganda made her all the more thankful, and even more motivated to keep giving back. 

She credited the success she has enjoyed to her family and mentor. When asked about how her family supported her, she said “My family has always supported us 100%. I was raised that nothing is impossible, so I just think I can conquer everything. I was raised to work hard.”  

On the most profound bit of advice from her mentor, she said, “I asked my mentor, ‘Which door do I choose?’ and she came back with, ‘Why do you have to choose? Why can you not have both?'” 

Gudger said that in her experience women can sometimes feel pressure to stick to one avenue: either be a good spouse, be a good mother or be a good business owner. Gudger is proof that you don’t have to choose. 

Trust your gut.”- Laura Quick 

Laura Quick is a force to be reckoned with. With her print publication Good Grit, an agency, a tech company and her recent foray into the nonprofit realm, she is no stranger to hard work. 

Quick said her magazine was brought to fruition out of a need for representation of modern Southern culture. Somewhere between Southern Living and Garden & Gun, Good Grit was born. When asked about her motivation for taking on a project like that, she explained, “There just wasn’t a lane for inspiration. I believe the best way to be inspired is to hear someone’s authentic story. Good Grit started because I wanted to be the publication that did a damn good job of telling people’s real stories.” 

Quick made sure to give credit to the importance of the mentorship that contributed to her success. She noted a major piece of advice given to her from one of her mentors: “Trust your gut. Your gut doesn’t lie.” She explained the “gravitational” effect of listening to your intuition; it will pull you towards what you need, and tell you to run away from what you don’t. 

When asked about her own piece of wisdom she’d pass on to other young women starting their journeys – of entrepreneurship, marriage or motherhood – she paused and said, “Find a woman you admire and be a good student of her.” 

Take care of the pennies now, and the dollars will take care of themselves.”- Lynsey Todd 

If you’ve stepped into the Warehouse District lately, you’ve noticed gorgeous windowscapes with boutique clothing, curated décor and fresh spring colors. Six of those windowscapes belong to Lynsey Todd, owner of Monograms Plus. 

Todd took over Monograms Plus in her mid-30s after shopping there for years and cultivating a long-standing relationship with founder Margaret Hamm. Hamm would later turn into a major mentor for Todd. Of one of the most profound pieces of advice, Todd recalled, “It stuck with me to the point I got it embroidered for her: ‘Take care of the pennies now, and the dollars will take care of themselves.'” 

She credited much of her success to her rich resume of customer care and retail. When asked about her own piece of wisdom to give to other women starting or taking over an entrepreneurial journey, without missing a beat Todd smiled, “Get a good accountant. My accountant is one of my favorite people, because she keeps me out of jail.” She also noted the importance of learning from your leaders; she explained that through the course of her career she has learned just as much from the “bad” bosses as she the “good” ones.