Make History With Your Impact
Black History Month, observed across the United States and Canada in February, and the United Kingdom in October, is a celebration of incredible contributions from African Americans. African American men and women alike had to struggle to participate in business, despite their many talents. When we consider the terrible legacy of slavery, the travesty of the Jim Crow era, and the continuing struggle for women’s rights, it is striking to note that even before the civil rights movement of the 1960s, a number of black women became successful businesswomen. I am proud to say that African American women have played a significant role in history that is often times overlooked, yet the impact is beyond remarkable, it is our history.
African American women have made tremendous impact across Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematic (STEM) fields. Consider Shirley Ann Jackson, a physicist who is the first African American woman to earn a doctorate at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is credited for many telecommunication industry discoveries due to her experiments with theoretical physics. Or, the work of Dr. Patricia Bath, an ophthalmologist, who created the Laserphaco Probe which is used to remove eye cataracts. Used around the world, this was the first medical device patented by an African-American woman doctor. Finally, Valerie Thomas, who was interested in science as a child, went on to work at NASA and invented an illusion transmitter. Thomas received a patent for this invention that provided ground breaking innovation in the area of 3-D technology that is still in use today.
These are just a few examples of great accomplishments made by African American women. Today, African American women are CEOs of multimillion dollar corporations, controlling companies that pioneer new exciting technologies, and commanding media empires whose influence spans the globe. Women have reached the heights of success in the business world through hard work, focus, a willingness to innovate and embrace change, and a determination not to be intimidated by the obstacles in their path.
As we celebrate Black History, I encourage everyone to pause to acknowledge parents, children, grand-parents, extended family members and friends that have supported you along the way. Let this not be a month to just observe our history, but rather make this the month that You Make History by impacting someone’s life with the gifts and talents you possess. Be not defined by title, position, paycheck or perception. Be defined by YOU!