For many generations, women’s progress meant incremental access to token roles of influence and power. From business owners to doctors, managers to entrepreneurs, key leadership positions were reserved for the few and exceptional. Progress in the 21st century means that seeing a “Ms.” in a leader’s title no longer causes a pause or a second glance. Valparaiso’s women influencers and innovators prove that leadership is a gifting that transcends gender.
Judith Neville, who, along with her husband, David, owns Gratz Opus 118, stresses that it’s important for women leaders to have confidence in their abilities and vision as there are those who still have trouble perceiving women as equipped to lead. “People will try to put you in the category where they want you and, as a woman, that can make you second guess yourself. But, if you’re made to do something you’re made to use that gifting.” For Neville and her husband, helping people recognize, embrace, and use their unique gifts is the mission of their ministry, Neville Ministries Incorporated, a mission which is at the foundation of Gratz Opus 118, too. “I’ve always wanted to go into business and to own a music studio, to have a place where people can be the best they can be and express their giftings.” She says the music store fits perfectly into David’s and her mission, and that the retail end of the store was a sweet part of the deal.