As a female-owned business and all-women team, we are incredibly grateful to honor the powerful, trailblazing and disrupting *super*women who paved the way for us and for generations to come. In celebration of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, our team is spotlighting the women who have invested, inspired and influenced our careers and lives. Read on to learn about the amazing women who have made us better people and professionals:
Blair Poirier, Account Coordinator
Every year during Women’s History Month, I can’t help but reflect on my years at Saint Mary’s School, an all-girls high school in Raleigh. My advisor and history teacher, Ms. Grabarek, became one of the greatest mentors in my learning and growth, and I’m constantly inspired by her legacy, leadership and compassion she had on the community.
I was a quiet student and Ms. Grabarek challenged me in new ways that prepared me for college and life beyond. Academically, she preached Chicago-style writing (which as an AP-style fan I find funny today) and while my assignments often turned into a holiday party from her red and green editing pens, it’s to her I owe my love of writing. When it came to extracurriculars, Ms. Grabarek reminded me there’s nothing that can stand in my way. She was ultimately the first person in my life that encouraged me not only just to think this but really know this in everything. Her lessons of being bold and confident I still reflect on today and will forever appreciate.
Sarah Mickle, Director of Operations
I still remember the first day I met Julia Bonner. I knew within the first five minutes of talking with her that she was a woman unlike any other. Every time we spoke I left inspired, feeling better about myself and the world as a whole. We were colleagues in different industries, yet we were able to work alongside each other in some capacities. During those years I would intently observe her wisdom, her strong, yet gentle leadership skills, her incredible work ethic, and her ability to see the best in people while lifting them up. I’ve always wanted to be so much like her and I still do.
Now I get the pleasure of working alongside her with a common mission: advancing Pierce PR’s success. It still feels like a dream to be a member of this team and to watch Julia in action every day. She lovingly guides and challenges our team members because she can see the potential bubbling inside them. She is by far our biggest cheerleader, quickly pointing out our “wins” and celebrating with us. If there’s an opportunity for improvement, she’s excited to equip us and watch us grow. Likewise, I love watching her heart for our clients come to life. She cherishes each one and that is evident in her work. I’m continually inspired by her in every way and could truly write an entire book about why. I am endlessly grateful to have her in my life.
Carson Brown, Account Coordinator
When reflecting on Women’s History Month, one woman immediately comes to mind. My highschool government teacher, Mrs. Mills, has easily been one of the most impactful women I have ever met. Not only did I greatly admire her passion for teaching and organized approach, but years after graduating from high school, I got to see her as a working mom.
In 2020, I began nannying for Bonnie and her husband, and over the following months, she and I had many big talks about life, work and family. I saw firsthand how she navigated working at a job she loved with a newborn at home during a pandemic. She ended up being a constant source of support and comfort in a time when I was really unsure of my future. The day I got offered my current job at Pierce PR, Bonnie and her family were the first people to hug me and say how proud they were.
Being in her presence over those few months taught me so much about work life balance, self worth, self care and perseverance. She indirectly taught me valuable skills that I lean on everyday while working from home. I am more thankful than words can express to have a female figure in my life that I can look up to for so many reasons.
Bri Carlesimo, Senior Account Manager
The right female influence can have a huge impact at the start of a young woman’s career. I was lucky enough to experience two incredible mentors within the first five years out of college, and I’m certain they have both changed my perspective and career for the better.
I landed my first co-op during my senior year of college and continued with the position following graduation. I will always be grateful to have had Bridgette [LaRose Moscoso] as my first boss. She pushed me in the ways I needed to be pushed, and she always had my best interests at heart, even if it meant going my own way. She’s ultimately one of the first people to push me towards a job at an agency, and she was right – this is a perfect fit for me!
Aside from Bridgette, I would be remiss to not acknowledge how my life has been forever impacted by Julia Bonner. Not only is she the exact role model and mentor I had always hoped I’d meet, but she is one of the most supportive and encouraging bosses (and people) on the planet. In my job at Pierce, I have been able to learn and explore in areas I hadn’t had strong experience in and am continually pushed to keep growing every day. Julia represents the epitome of a hard-working, humble leader who is only thriving when her team does, and her outlook encourages me every day to become a better leader and role model for others.
Julia Bonner, President
I’m fortunate that one of my greatest mentors has also become one of my dearest friends. I was introduced to Laura Smith, Vice President and General Counsel for Nashville Electric Service, shortly after I moved back to Nashville from New York City. Laura recommended leadership development programs of value as I started my business that allowed me to build relationships with other ambitious young professionals. She also showed me the power of a good introduction. She would often invite me to be her guest at events and introduce me in a way that instantly gave me credibility and confidence in new circles. Because of the ways she opened doors for me, I am now able to do so more effectively for others. Laura has had an incredible impact on my career and life, and I will always be grateful for her mentorship, leadership and friendship.
Grace Obletz, Spring Intern
Throughout my life, I have been fortunate enough to have known some amazing women; my middle school science teacher, high school soccer coach, senior year English teacher, and my college advisor to name a few. One woman that has inspired me and influenced me in all parts of my life is my older sister, Sarah.
Growing up, I always wanted to be just like Sarah. Throughout our childhood we did everything the same- same outfits, baby dolls, hairstyles, soccer team, you name it. Even when she begged and pleaded with me, I still wanted to follow her along everywhere. As we grew older, and found our own interests and passions, I still admired her. Now, as a young woman beginning my professional career, the same still holds true.
Sarah is a ‘go getter’- she is hard working, driven, and kind. Since she started her career as a digital marketing specialist, I have watched her grow personally and professionally. Not only has she become more confident and independent, she has advanced and grown in her career. Her hard work ethic and determination inspires me everyday, as I strive to be the same.
Despite a four year age difference and a few hundred miles in distance, Sarah never fails to make me laugh with a funny text, offer her advice, or help proofread a paper. Although we may not wear matching outfits or play with our baby dolls anymore, I still hope to be as kind and determined as her.
Kara Weller, Communications Specialist
The woman who has had the largest impact on my career is my mom, Mary. I appreciate how she has always encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone as I’ve taken personal and professional “leaps of faith” (attending college in a different region, moving to Nashville without a job to pursue a career in PR, going to law school, navigating my 20s in general). It’s truly the darndest thing that when my mom says everything is going to turn out okay, it does, in fact, turn out okay.
She’s modeled how to balance a demanding (but fulfilling) career while leaving time to relax and enjoy life. My mom is also a PR Pro, now retired, and spent her entire career working in corporate communications. Despite holding an executive-level position at a large company and parenting, she consistently prioritized community service and giving back. She has inspired me to shoot for the moon professionally, while also focusing on family, friends and serving others, which I find to be the real gems of life. Her heart and drive are unmatched, and I want to be like her.