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Margaret H. Woodward

Margaret H. Woodward is a decorated member of the United States Air Force. Born in 1960, Woodward was raised in India and Pakistan, where her father was employed by the US Agency for International Development. Her family later relocated to California. She went on to graduate from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Aerospace Engineering. She then attended Air Command and Staff College at Air University. Woodward went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Aviation Science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida. A great believer in education, she earned a second Master’s Degree in National Security Strategy from National War College. Woodward joined the US Air Force the year after obtaining her Bachelor’s Degree. She spent the majority of her military career refueling aircraft. While she was growing up in Pakistan, she dreamed of one day flying an aircraft. She was saddened an annoyed when…

Malala Yousafzai

The youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate, Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani activist for the education of girls and women. In a culture where girls were at one time banned from attending school, Malala’s efforts at education reform for girls has become an international movement. Injuries she suffered in 2012 following an assassination attempt by a Taliban gunman, ignited an outpouring of support for Malala and her cause. Dubbed the most famous teenager in the world, she used the ensuing fame to become a rising activist for the education of women and girls. Her story is chronicled in the documentary, He Named Me Malala. Other notable achievements include: Named one of Time magazine’s Most Influential Global People from 2013 to 2015 Received Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize in 2012 Was the co-recipient, along with Kailash Satyarthi, Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 Of Sunni Muslim decent, Malala was named after a famous…

Ronda Rousey

A September 2015 poll called her the Best Female Athlete Ever. Ronda Jean Rousey is a mixed martial artist, judoka, and actress. The Bronze Medal winner in the 2008 Summer Olympics, she was the first American woman to win a medal in the sport of judo. Her other achievements include: One-time UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight Champion Winner of twelve consecutive MMA fights The youngest of three girls, Rousey struggled with speech and language development as a child due to a condition called apraxia which affects speech and sound. Her family relocated from California to North Dakota so Ronda could receive more intense speech therapy at Minot State University. Struggling with the death by suicide of her father, Rousey endured many childhood difficulties.  Earning a GED after dropping out of high school, Rousey chose not to pursue a traditional line of work. She started studying Judo with her…

Joanne Liu – Doctors Without Borders

Dr. Joanne Liu is a Canadian pediatrician born in Quebec, Canada. Like many women, she was inspired in her youth to strive for great things. At the age of thirteen, Joanne read a book about Doctors Without Borders and began dreaming of one day joining their ranks. She spent her academic career working toward that dream. Taking her education very seriously, she excelled in high school and went on to obtain several degrees on the road to becoming a doctor. After graduating from the McGill University Faculty of Medicine, Liu trained in pediatric medicine at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Sainte-Justine. She later trained in pediatric emergency care at Bellevue Hospital Center of the New York University School of Medicine. Working toward her dream to join Doctors Without Borders, she worked with Malian refugees in Mauritania. Dr. Liu also provided medical support after the devastating 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake…

Ginni Rometty

Chairwoman, President and CEO of IBM, Virginia Marie Rometty is the first woman to take the helm at IBM. Named one Fortune 500’s 50 Most Powerful Women in Business in Fortune magazines for ten years running, she is a force to be reckoned with. Her rise to IBM leadership started in her college years when she was named president of her sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma. Upon her graduation from Northwestern University, she worked for General Motors Institute before joining IBM in 1991. A few steps along the way to President and CEO: joined IBM as a systems engineer – 1991 oversaw the $3.5 billion purchase of PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting named Senior Vice President and Group Executive for sales, marketing, and strategy – 2009 appointed President and CEO of IBM – 2011 The first woman CEO in IBM’s history, Rometty received acclaim for leading IBM into cloud computing technology and…

Ilhan Omar

Somali American politician Ilhan Omar is the Director of Policy and Initiatives of the Women Organizing Women Network. In 2016, she was elected a Democratic Farmer Labor Party legislator in the Minnesota House of Representatives. Prior to emigrating to the US, Omar spent time with her family in a refugee camp in Kenya until she was 14 years old. Let’s follow her amazing journey. Omar emigrated from Somalia to the US with her family, where she graduated from North Dakota State University with a degree in political science and international studies. Since 2015, Omar has served as the Director of Policy & Initiatives of the Women Organizing Women Network. Additional awards and achievements include: 2014 Rising Star in the Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party’s Women’s Hall of Fame. 2015 Community Leadership Award at the African Awards by Mshale, an African immigrant media outlet Omar’s victorious election to the House of…

Indra Nooyi

Named one of America’s Best Leaders by U.S. News & World Report in 2008, Indra Nooyi has come a long way. Nooyi was inspired by her mother who encouraged her to believe from early childhood that she could be whoever and whatever she wanted. She credits a dinnertime game her mother created for her two daughters. “Every night at the dinner table, my mother would ask us to write a speech about what we would do if we were president, chief minister, or prime minister — every day would be a different world leader she’d ask us to play. She gave us that confidence to be whatever we wanted to be. That was an incredibly formative experience in my youth.” Indra Nooyi currently serves as the Chairperson and CEO of PepsiCo. She’s thirteenth on the Forbes World’s 100 Most Powerful Women list and 82nd  on the most powerful woman…

Michelle Obama

Though she will forever be remembered in history as the first African-American First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama is an amazing woman in her own right. Raised on the South Side of Chicago, she is a graduate of two Ivy League schools, Princeton University and Harvard Law School. Michelle Obama started her career in law at the Sidley Austin law firm where she met her husband, the future (now former) 44th President of the United States. Assisting in his successful campaigns, she delivered the keynote address at the 2008, 2012, and 2016 Democratic National Conventions each time receiving thunderous applause and critical acclaim. As a child, Obama was deeply affected by her father’s struggle with multiple sclerosis. She made up her mind to succeed for his sake and excelled in school attending Whitney Young High School, Chicago’s first magnet school for gifted students before going on to…

Regina Benjamin, U.S. – Surgeon General

The first African-American female physician under age 40 to serve on the American Medical Association’s Board of Trustees and the first African-American woman to head up the Medical Association of the State of Alabama. These are just two of the major accomplishments of Regina Benjamin. She went on to become the US Surgeon General following a historic nomination by Former President Barak Obama. Born in Mobile, Alabama, Benjamin comes from a family of pioneering women. Her mother raised her and her brother singlehandedly following the break-up of her marriage. Her grandmother was instrumental in establishing an African-American church in their hometown even holding Mass in her own home. Crediting these women as her inspiration, she received a Bachelor’s Degree in chemistry from Xavier University of Louisiana. Benjamin went on the attend Morehouse School of Medicine before receiving an M.D. from the University of Alabama, Birmingham. In March 2016…

Lt. General Patricia Horoho

Born in Fort Bragg, Lieutenant General Patricia Horoho graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1982, receiving a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing. She went on to attend the University of Pittsburgh, graduating in 1992 with a Master of Science Degree as a Clinical Trauma Nurse Specialist. In 2011 Horoho was sworn in as the first nurse, female Surgeon General. This historic day in US history was preceded by several stellar accomplishments, among them: named one of the top one hundred nurses in the state of North Carolina commanded the Army Nurse Corps received a two-grade promotion from colonel to major general served as assistant deputy for Healthcare Management Policy in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army Raymond T. Odierno, Army chief of staff, and retired Colonel praised Horoho saying, “She’s earned this extremely important leadership position, not only because…