During Women’s History Month, Inspire celebrates the stories of our corporate and franchise team members, as well as franchisees as we reflect on the significant roles that women have played in shaping American history. Today, we spoke with Jessica Barker, who is a Senior Manager of Operations Integration and has worked on the Buffalo Wild Wings brand for six years. She is also a member of Inspire’s Champions of Women Leaders Business Resource Group, which is dedicated to helping members strengthen their leadership skills, utilize networking opportunities and provide resources that support the needs of women in the workplace.
Why is being a member of the Champions of Women Leaders BRG important to you?
Being a part of the Champions of Women Leaders group is important to me because it has provided me with opportunities to meet, learn from and interact with a wider network of champions and female leaders both internally and externally. I love the camaraderie of being a part of a group that celebrates and seeks to encourage female leaders specifically in the food and beverage industry.
What are your goals as a member of this BRG?
My goals as a member of the Champions of Women Leaders group include continuously learning and providing other members with advice on navigating their teams, their work and life in general. I enjoy cheering on female leaders as they achieve and encouraging them to continuously learn and grow.
What does Women’s History Month mean to you?
Women’s History Month spotlights the desire to celebrate the accomplishments of women and champions of women who have helped shape our present and future. As a mother of a daughter, I feel it’s my duty to teach her that although it hasn’t always been easy for women, we’ve come a long way and it’s important that we continue to work towards equality.
How are you celebrating women’s achievements?
From a (virtual) hi-five to an audible squeal while jumping up and down, celebrating women’s achievements has been extremely fun the last several months. Many women leaders in all sorts of industries have had tremendous achievements. I feel that no recent accomplishment compares to that of Kamala Harris. She is the United States’ first female vice president, the highest-ranking female official in U.S. history and the first African American and first Asian American vice president. I’m so happy to have seen this in my lifetime and can share this success with women across the world.
Is there a particular woman in history that has influenced you in either your personal life or career?
- I’ve always been intrigued by Elenore Roosevelt’s life and influence on American history. She was outspoken and swam against the current of the time striving for equal rights for all humans regardless of race or gender. I relate to those personality traits and strive to be outspoken when voices are not heard and raise my voice for equality and what is right.
- Although they are not famous in most people’s history, my grandmothers had a tremendous impact on me that manifests in how I live my life, specifically how I fight for what is right. Both were born around 1920, both attended and graduated from college, both volunteered and gave back when they could. Both settled into the role as homemakers, had amazing minds and always encouraged me to think for myself and “set high goals because, you never know, (you) might just achieve them.”
- Lastly, I recently read Glennon Doyle’s Untamed where she reminds us that “We can do hard things.” It’s a fantastic mantra to repeat when things seem too difficult. It reminds me that we can survive hard times if we have the courage to remember we are braver than we believe.
A challenged world is an alert world and from challenge comes change. How can you help forge a gender equal world?
I will continue to lift up women leaders and develop emerging leaders. I will celebrate successes and learn from challenges. Lastly, I will speak out when I see examples of inequality, both in and out of the workplace.