I stood at the podium before a crowded room, the clank of forks hitting porcelain plates, and I began my acceptance speech. I was one of 12 award recipients at this year’s Fresno Advertising Federation Honors Luncheon, and as the second to last speaker, I realized our respective awards has caused us honorees to pause and reflect.
Some of us mentioned a pivotal teacher or mentors we had along the way. Others reflected on how great it is to love what you do and get paid for it. Many of us acknowledged the support of family, friends, and co-workers that had led us to this point in our careers.
I dedicated my acceptance of the AAF Silver Medal Award to Dr. Edythe K. Eymann. She earned her doctorate in education from UOP and was a working mom at a time when that was definitely not the norm. Dr. Eymann was a pioneer in her job at the Tulare County Office of Education, and I was lucky to be able to call her Grandma Dee Dee.
She would tell me things that have stuck with me for years. “See that really crooked left ear of yours?” she would say to me, “I have the same crooked left ear. Don’t tell anyone, but it’s a sign of a genius.” I believed her, and words like those made a significant impression on me when I was very young.
I remember being kindergarten age and she would take me to her office. Dressed head to toe in a turquoise polyester pantsuit with bulky costume jewelry and very big red hair, she was larger than life to me. She would hold my hand and briskly weave me through the cubicles to her office. Yes, Grandma Dee Dee had an office on the third floor with windows! Dr. Edythe K. Eymann was a respected and successful professional, and feeling so close to her world made me realize that possibility could be mine someday, too.
I’m not only humbled to be recognized with this honor, but I’m also thankful for the opportunity to look back to one of my earliest role models and the influence she had on my life. If I could ever be half the role model that Grandma Dee Dee was to me, I will have done this award justice.
–Jane Olvera Quebe, President