A note from the SJ Family:
Typically our blogs, emails and social media presence are written from our collective voice. For us, Steven James has become the personification of our combined perspectives & truths. But as we celebrate Women’s History Month we want to acknowledge that to remember Women’s history is to recall a series of stories, and so we transcend the voice of Steven James to that of the women in our SJ family. -- We do so because as storytellers, as brand professionals, as creatives, we know the whole of your identity, or that of your company, is made authentic by all its contributing parts, especially by those that historically go unheard or undervalued.
The women in our SJ family have incredible stories to share, as does every woman in our lives; stories of the bold, brave, uncompromising feminine who made a difference whether on the front lines of a march for equality, or by being a force of great influence in our own home through the unassuming fortitude of a mother, a daughter, a sister, a wife, a friend, or a colleague. As such, let us all make an extra effort to listen a little harder to the women in our lives and our workspaces, and to the stories they share. That authenticity of your identity, or that of your company, is made complete only when every voice is heard.
There is no doubt that being a woman is to be a special kind of human. The beauty of motherhood, the wonder of the female body, the ability to nurture and stand firm in their truth -- so many traits that make women so fascinating. I’ve learned growing up about those before me who have fought for our right to vote, for our right to work in certain industries, to break stereotypes all while embracing these instinctual female traits.
I’ve also come to see the dark side of being a woman -- societal pressures to be or act a certain way, unachievable standards of beauty, human trafficking and harassment -- the list goes on. I’ve both experienced & witnessed sexism in many forms, and it’s undoubtedly stopped me from doing something I really believe in many times -- as I have witnessed the same and worse with other women around the world and across many generations. We sure have a long way to go as a society, but it’s important to me to take what I’ve learned, observed, and experienced as a young woman, and continue to fight for what’s right -- including following my passions.
I come from a family of passionate people: my paternal grandfather who started his own flooring company, my grandmother who worked alongside him at the store while raising three kids, my maternal grandfather who served his country & would soon after own his own golf course, my father and uncles who started a digital advertising business, and definitely my mother who enlisted in the army, would go on to work as a personal trainer, serve our church for 15+ years, and has always been my dad's partner in every sense of the word. Throughout their careers, my parents also kept their creative passions alive and started making feature films when I was just a kid. My dad found a way to work full-time and run a movie set, and my mom whole-heartedly supported him, getting involved in more ways than I could count. Getting off the school bus to 40+ people in my driveway and the garage completely turned into a movie set was anything but ordinary, but it certainly was telling.
The pursuit of movie-making wasn’t enough, though. SJMG was a vision brought to life from these passions, and the cinema creatives I admired and looked up to as a child on these films would someday become my coworkers and the people I get to learn from and work with every single day. The same people that not only empower me as a woman in this field, but empower me as a young woman in this field. More recently, I've been able to watch & work with the SJMG team on our latest movie, The Mystery of Her. It tells the story of a young girl who loses her memory after a near-fatal accident and gets a second chance at a more meaningful life. This story really ecompasses what it’s like for a young woman in her late teens, struggling with who she is, who people want her to be, and who she is meant to be. The theme of this movie is something everyone experiences at some point in their life, and I happen to relate now, especially as a woman in my 20’s. I’m living the theme of this movie, between navigating the workforce, creating a life of my own, and finding a way to follow my true passions -- one of which is my lifelong love of songwriting which I've been able to incorporate into this movie. It’s been amazing to share this part of me through this project, and it only emphasized the importance of chasing your dreams, no matter what stage in life.
I understand and acknowledge the sacrifice of so many great human beings, both historically and personally, and how their hard work, respect, and core ethical beliefs & values have contributed significantly to the life I get to live right now. It’s my duty and obligation to take what I have learned and live my life by setting an example: to follow my passions, to voice my opinions, to share my story and the stories of those before me, to radiate and empower the female energy, and to give tangible opportunities to the women coming after me. All of our stories are important, mine and the story of every individual reading this, and I am proud to be a part of a team that is dedicated to continuing the telling of these stories. In honor of #WomensHistoryMonth, may we all support the brilliant & talented women in our lives and never stop chasing our own dreams.