“I can keep going forward.” That’s the pledge Mam-Yassin Sarr has her students make each day at their school in The Gambia, West Africa. She founded Starfish International School to educate girls to be independent, entrepreneurial and prepared for higher education, breaking through traditional cultural and economic barriers. In a country where the average family subsists on $1 day, Starfish offers scholarships to girls for a world-class education focused on service to humanity. Business Consultant / Executive Coach Tanya Monsef tells the story of her friend and colleague the brilliant and determined Mam-Yassin Sarr, and how she came to discover her mission to empower the African women and children of her homeland.
Donatella Cinelli Colombini changed the face of wine-making in Italy… after oh, say, a thousand years of male vintners. When Donatella inherited her family vineyard she broke with tradition, rather than have a husband manage the fields and the business as expected, she decided to run it herself. Shocking! And she chose to work with other women to do it. Marvelous. Writer and traveler Susan Van Allen tells the story of this trailblazing bella donna who always wears pearls and says the vines tell her what they need. Watch and enjoy!
Doctoral student Clementine Bordeaux, a Lakota woman, tells the story of Ella Deloria, a brilliant Dakota ethnographer, educator, and linguist who had the vision not only to gather oral histories, myths, languages and evidence of her people’s culture before they were lost forever, but to tell their story from their own perspective. The books Ella Deloria wrote, Speaking of Indians and especially Water Lily, affected Clementine as a young girl on the Pine Ridge Reservation and sent her on her own life path. Among other things, the books teach “what it means to be a woman” and how to “keep the rules of kinship” with all people, including yourself. Powerful and relevant messages. Please watch the story of this visionary Native scholar who was far ahead of her time.
Nancy Hanks had a mission– “to make sure every American had access to the arts.” It was her life’s work and she permanently changed the landscape of arts in America, inspiring generations. As a Southern woman lobbying in DC politics in the 1960’s and ’70’s, she had her work cut out for her, but she persisted and grew the National Endowment for the Arts to 14 times its size when she took over. Thank you, Nancy! Martha Richards (another persistent woman dedicated to lifting the arts!) tells the story. Heard of the ART Train? Check out the video!
Mary Edwards Walker, one of the first female doctors in America and the only woman to win the Medal of Honor, served in the military during the Civil War despite relentless efforts to stop her. This independent firebrand had other ideas. Mary followed her own path with tenacity, courage and an extremely modern sense of how to be a woman. For starters, she wore pants to her wedding and deleted the word “obey” from her vows. (In the 19th century!) Dee Johnson tells us the charming and crucial story of this original American patriot, a “pants girl” and a true inspiration.
Pilot Jackie Cochran broke every aviation record she could find, speed, altitude, you-name-it. Jackie was a wit and a powerful personality, soaring from the humblest of beginnings to the upper echelons of American society and politics. Emmy Award winning writer/director Jane Anderson tells the story of the complicated soul of Jackie Cochran, a take-no-prisoners woman who busted through every barrier in her way but in the end of her life erected barriers for other women. A thrilling woman, a cautionary tale.
Estelita “Esty” Juco was a budding debutante in Manila when she was injured by a bomb in the final days of WWII, disabling her for life. Undeterred, this brilliant young woman went on to become a street parliamentarian and a justice-seeking journalist, protesting dictatorship and martial law. Esty Juco is a legend in the Philippines, a bold activist, a lifelong educator, and ultimately a legislator in the first post-dictatorship Congress, representing women and the disabled. Cora Oriel tells us the story of her brave, witty teacher and mentor, Esty Juco.
Mary Pacifico Curtis tells us the story of Gitta Ryle a child survivor of the Holocaust who found her purpose after a long life of struggle and anxiety. Gitta visits dozens of schools each year telling the story of the Holocaust and encouraging children toward peace and making the world a better place. Personally, Mary benefited from Gitta’s wisdom and friendship to understand there can be life after profound loss. Gitta’s hard-earned message: we must keep rising to meet the new day.
Laurel Burch started with less than nothing and built a global brand expressing joy and beauty. As a teenager on her own in 1960’s San Francisco Laurel created original jewelry by hammering metal on the back of a frying pan. Despite poverty, single parenthood and chronic illness Laurel persisted to build a design empire still thriving more than a decade after her death. Laurel’s daughter Aarin tells the story of her remarkable mother.
CEO/President/Entrepreneur and all-around innovative leader Cynthia Cleveland tells us the story of the remarkable mother-daughter team who created the single most impactful personality test ever designed. Still used world-wide by both major corporations and individuals, The Myers-Briggs instrument makes Jung’s personality types understandable and useful in people’s lives. The idea came from the mother, Katharine Briggs, then the daughter, Isabel Briggs-Myers, built it into a reality… devising a tool that has lasted for decades, helping people understand who they are and how to work together. What type are you???