Celebrating Women’s History Month

Celebrating Barbara Sherburne West
Laura Presnol, Vice President, Talent & Culture

March 22, 2021

I know that It is cliché to say that your mother has been your strongest female influence. But not only does my mom have the most important and the toughest job of being mother of my 2 older brothers and me, she had 3 additional titles that were incredibly demanding, selfless and in her opinion very rewarding.

She not only had the role of supportive International Airforce/Boeing Spouse that required moves all over the world, but she was also a Registered Nurse with an incredible bedside manner. However, later as an active retiree, she took off her nurse’s cap and put on the apron and the amazing role of Mrs. Claus! My mom brought such joy and read so many books to so many children from all walks of life. In fact, she has been recognized at airports. She obviously made an impact on the child’s holiday experience.

I look back to who I am and how my own family has been formed. There is one common factor. My mother. When I reflect on my own career path, I see my business side of my resume that really comes from my father and his no nonsense, practical business mind. However, my career has always been in hospitality and geared toward taking care of others. There is no doubt, my mother was my strongest influence on being sincere and putting others first. My mom was Martha Stewart before we knew who Martha Stewart was. She had an incredible way of making events special and making people feel like they were at home at our house. No matter where we lived, our home was the place you wanted to be. On top of instilling a life of serving from the heart, my mom gave me the love of reading and the incredible passion for traveling and exploring the world. She has also instilled that in my own daughter and I see that every day.

She is the most patient, loving person that will always be the first to laugh at herself and has never, ever met a stranger. She made all of these characteristics very important while raising me and my brothers and she now ensures our children see value in living life this way.