Truth: The older you get, the more you realize who your true friends really are. For some of us, it's the childhood chums from the neighborhood. For others, it was those college roommates that got you through everything from finals to fraternity parties. But there's also plenty of women who didn't make those "true blue" connections until they became adults. No matter what category you fall into, one thing's for certain: Your relationship with your girlfriends has the power to go way beyond deaths, divorces, marriages, breakups, new jobs, and bad haircuts.
Photo courtesy of Mic. Magazine.
Case in point, we stumbled across this insightful article from Mic. magazine, which takes a look at the extraordinary power of female friendship and how, when women work with—not against—each other, magic can happen. For example, Gloria Steinem, Dorothy Pitman Hughes, Patricia Carbine, Letty Cottin Pogrebin, and Marlo Thomas banded together to create the Women's Action Alliance back in 1971, which influenced the inception of the first women's shelters. Groups like the Rockford Peaches baseball team (who doesn't love A League of Their Own?) and the 46 women who filed a class action suit against Newsweek magazine for discrimination in the workplace were game-changers in paving the way for equal rights for women in areas that were traditionally run like an episode of Mad Men.
All of this rich history prompted us to take a look at what's been going on in our own backyard. After all, it's no secret that Chicago is filled with accomplished women in all fields, but there are a few worth mentioning that took the term "help a girl out" to an entirely different level.
Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King
The legendary talk show host, actress, and philanthropist has been friends with her spunky sidekick since they were in their early twenties and, despite becoming one of the most influential women in the world, she wasn't afraid to share the spotlight. Along with being her business associate, Winfrey also helped King get her own show—The Gayle King Show via the OWN network—and become O magazine's editor-at-large.
Michelle Obama and Valerie Jarrett
While this pair became friends long before moving into the White House, Jarrett definitely has proved she's not riding on anyone's coattails. According to an article in New Republic, Obama consults Jarrett on every major decision, and Anita Dunn, Obama's former communications director, said, “(Jarrett's) role since she has been at the White House is one of the broadest and most expansive roles that I think has ever existed in the West Wing.” So, while the duo may still share friendly conversation, Jarrett's definitely accountable for her own success. Fun fact: It was Jarrett who was responsible for getting those beautiful rainbow lights up on the White House in honor of the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage.
Linda Johnson Rice and Desirée Rogers
Johnson Rice is chairman of one of the most successful African-American publishing houses in the country, but in order to keep up with the ever-changing media industry, she appointed best friend and accomplished business woman Desirée Rogers to come on board as the CEO of Johnson Publishing. Rogers, an expert at rebuilding businesses, was brought on to help save the struggling publication, starting with a re-brand. Of course, it also doesn't hurt that she has friends like Michelle Obama who agree to be on the cover of Ebony.
Melody Hobson and....
You can connect Hobson—president of Chicago-based Ariel Investments and chair of After School Matters—to numerous ventures where her equally successful pals also were involved. For example, back in January, Hobson—along with business execs like Desirée Rogers and Dona Scott—raised $100,000 for 10,000 teens to see "Selma," the Academy Award nominated film about the great Martin Luther King Jr. Hobson is also friends with the Obamas, helping raise money for the 2008 campaign as well as the re-election bid.