Why sisterhood is our greatest power

(L to R) Meredith Ernstrom, Whitney Cook, Courtney Cotrupe
(L to R) Meredith Ernstrom, Whitney Cook, Courtney Cotrupe

It's an unstoppable and perpetual force, and one to be celebrated, writes the president of Partners + Napier.

Sisterhood — once defined as a hereditary link between two women — has now grown to become a bond of solidarity that means a whole lot more than shared DNA.

Sunday is National Sisters Day, and it really is an opportunity to appreciate all our sisters — the women who support us, who push us, and who make us stronger.

I grew up as the oldest of three girls. We stole each other’s clothes and certainly had our squabbles, but it was never the same two-on-one. At any given time, we could be each other’s teammate, or we could be totally at odds. And in those rare moments when all three of us came together as allies… watch out (our poor parents).

In high school, we all played on the same varsity softball team. I played first base, Whitney was shortstop, and Meredith was catcher — each playing to our own strengths. Now in adulthood, having each other as teammates is more important than ever.

We work at it, and while we’re not the sisters that call each other every day, we’re always there for each other for the important stuff. Through life’s ups and downs, our bond has only gotten stronger as we’ve learned how precious and powerful sisterhood can be.

The tragedy of our dad’s death brought us together in a way we never could have imagined. It allowed us to be strong together even though we felt weak on our own, and it showed us that there is nothing we can’t overcome, especially when we have each other’s support.

As women, we are resilient. This is something I’ve learned over and over again myself, and witnessed among my sisters, friends, and colleagues.

We raise families. We lead companies. We cure diseases. We support each other. We are not strangers to adversity. But when we come together as allies, watch out.

In January 2018, women all over the world came together to start the Time’s Up Now movement, an effort to combat sexual assault, harassment and inequality in the workplace. Since the advertising industry in particular needs to change, Times Up Advertising began by women joining together to pledge their support for systematic change.

I signed the pledge because our sisters need our help. But signing a pledge is the least we can do.

It is the conscious actions we take, big and small, every day, that can make a powerful difference for our sisters and for our daughters. Conscious actions like grabbing a cup of coffee with a young female leader and offering some mentorship. Or creating an opportunity for a bright-eyed mind to tackle a new project.

We can create a powerful impact in those one-on-one moments, and in the moments we join together. I’m proud to be a part of the 4A’s Women’s Council and help out in organizations like the Junior League and She Runs It — organizations that bring together different perspectives to push our sisters forward.

Thanks to the incredible power of sisterhood, the Times Up movement has made unprecedented social progress in less than a year. And while there is plenty more to do, I know that we can do it — by everyday conscious actions and continuing to support movements for systematic change.

I think back to all of the times Meredith, Whitney and I came together as allies, and am reminded that sisterhood is an unstoppable and perpetual force. As long as there is sisterhood, there will continue to be progress. For sisters always stick together, and they show up when it counts.

Courtney Cotrupe is president at Partners + Napier.