International Women’s Day (IWD) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day, held March 8 annually, also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality. It’s an important day to:
- celebrate women’s achievements
- raise awareness about women’s equality
- lobby for accelerated gender parity
- fundraise for female-focused charities
Events are held around the world to celebrate women’s achievements and continue the call for gender parity. The first international gathering was held in 1911 and was supported by over a million people. While much ground has been gained in the last 100+ years, much has yet to be achieved. The 2022 theme, #BreakTheBias, asks people to imagine a gender-equal world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination.
Harney has always been an equal opportunity employer, embracing diversity and shunning discrimination. We most certainly celebrate not only women’s achievements around the globe, but right here in our homes and corporate headquarters. We learn from the women in our world and frankly wouldn’t be where or who we are without them!
While it’s not possible to mention every woman who has had an impact on our lives or made our company better in so many ways, there are three in particular we’d like to take this opportunity to lift up.
Elyse Harney. Without my grandmother, there likely wouldn’t be a Harney & Sons Fine Teas company today! While my grandfather, John Harney, started the Harney tea company in the basement of their home, my grandmother sold real estate, founding her own company and paying the bills while our grandfather got Harney up and running. She’s been a beacon of what hard work, commitment and loyalty can accomplish. Her warm heart and ability to bring people together are traits that each of her children and grandchildren (and now great grandchildren) all try to emulate, and we’re all better people for her influence. To this day, she is still working alongside her daughter, Elyse Harney Morris (another woman to celebrate!), having turned Elyse Harney Real Estate into the #1 real estate agency in the New York tri-state region. Next time you brew up some Harney tea, raise your cuppa to Elyse – without her, who knows what less-excellent beverage you might be sipping! Try Elyse’s Blend, made in honor of the Harney Elyses, my grandmother and aunt.
Brigitte Harney. My dad, Mike Harney, met my mom, Brigitte, while she was working as an au pere in Salisbury, CT, and then followed her back to Paris. How he convinced her to move from her native France to cold upstate New York I’ll never really understand, but love’s funny like that! There’s so much I could say and admire about my mom! She’s our family rock and brings much-needed calm and culture to the Harney clan. In addition to the fact that having a French mom is just cool, the exposure we had to another language at a young age is priceless, and her artistic flair is something that we all continue to admire and benefit from. Her effortless sense of style is something that we continue to try and incorporate into the business. She’s an indispensable part of our company, running our Millerton, New York store efficiently and beautifully. She also assists in the tea-buying process and travels internationally with Mike to source wonderful teas for our customers to enjoy. Our Brigitte’s Blend was named in honor of Mom and as we say, “It’s perfect in many situations, just like her.” This tea is also served at the Dorchester Hotel in London under the name Dorchester Blend.
Elvira Cardenas. Born and raised in Colombia, Elvira moved to the U.S. in 1996 at the age of 20 and began working as a tea packer for our company. Working closely with my dad learning about tea blending and tasting, it wasn’t long before Elvira joined our team as a tea purchaser and has been a vital part of our tea tasting and blending every day since. If she’s not on a tea-purchasing trip, you’ll most likely find her in the tasting room, artfully slurping and swirling and tasting the next great Harney blend. Elvira has broken barriers as a woman in a male-dominated industry, and we couldn’t be luckier to have her on our team. She’s been an amazing friend, confidant and mentor to me as I have grown into the family business. It was Elvira who suggested to us that there was some good tea in her native country, and because she knows what she’s talking about, we listened. Try this wonderful Colombian Green tea from Elvira’s homeland.
We’re so thankful for all the women at Harney & Sons Fine Teas who are true professionals, leaders, mentors, colleagues, and friends. As far as we’re concerned, every day is International Women’s Day!