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Inspiring Women February 2023

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My-Linh Kunst, AWC Berlin<br />

Thu Pham Nguyen<br />

In her late 70s, my mom<br />

was the first one in our<br />

extended family to own<br />

an iPad. Also in her 70s,<br />

she took courses on<br />

HTML and Excel “just<br />

because I want to know<br />

what it is.” My mom is<br />

not only book-smart, she<br />

is extremely curious and<br />

resourceful – traits that I<br />

value and try to emulate.<br />

Now in her 90s, she<br />

continues to tango,<br />

manage her own<br />

investments, live on<br />

her own and travel all<br />

over the world to visit<br />

her younger relatives.<br />

While she does<br />

appreciate familiar<br />

surroundings and<br />

routines, my mom has<br />

a joie de vivre for all<br />

things and places new<br />

and exciting.<br />

Norah Yates Lissimore<br />

Norah Lissimore (1906-1994) was my maternal grandmother. Born in the West<br />

Midlands, England, she was the eldest of three and grew up living over the pub.<br />

Her diminutive height (she was only 5ft 1) hid a steely strength and determination<br />

to better herself. In the late 1920s, at a time when it still remained tough for women<br />

to obtain places at university, Norah won a place at the University of Birmingham to<br />

read History. She then went on to get her teaching certificate in 1931. At university<br />

she met my grandfather, Philip Lissimore, but told him she wouldn’t marry him until<br />

she had had a chance to teach for five years, to use the qualification she had worked<br />

so hard to get; in those days married women were not allowed to teach. Due to the<br />

depression, finding a teaching job was not easy and she applied for 80 positions<br />

before she was appointed in Sheffield. She was a kind and generous woman, who<br />

spent hours playing “make believe” games with, and reading to, her grandchildren.<br />

But you also knew you couldn’t cross her as she was a force to be reckoned with too!<br />

Definitely an inspirational person in my life.<br />

Liz MacNiven, AIWC Cologne<br />

Through her many<br />

personal challenges<br />

(including losing her<br />

“country” and everything<br />

she owned and worked<br />

for, starting over as a<br />

refugee in the US in her<br />

40s, going bankrupt in<br />

her 50s, and getting<br />

divorced in her 70s), my<br />

mom was and is the<br />

role model of strength<br />

and resilience.<br />

She taught me to ask<br />

the questions, to be<br />

independent and to<br />

never give up. Everything<br />

that I am today, I owe to<br />

my mom.<br />

44 INSPIRING WOMEN INSPIRING WOMEN 45

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