Ballerina in Charge, Lourdes Lopez


Lourdes Lopez was already a serious dance student at the prestigious School of American Ballet before she realized she could pursue a career in the art form she loved. It was while preparing a school report on what she wanted to be when she grew up that she found an article on famed New York City Ballet dancer Jacques d’Amboise.

“Until I read that article, I never believed that I could actually do what I do for a living,” remembers Lopez. “I don’t think we deliver the message as a nation that you can support yourself as an artist.”

Not only would she become a principal for the New York City Ballet, where she worked with legendary choreographers George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins, it also led to a varied post-ballet career. Lopez was still with the company when she was offered a job as a cultural reporter for WNBC-TV in New York. She took a leave of absence which became permanent in 1997. “No one dances forever,” says Lourdes.

Lopez went on to serve on the faculties of New York’s Ballet Academy East and Barnard College, became the executive director of the George Balanchine Foundation, and co-founded Morphoses, a contemporary dance company, with Christopher Wheeldon.

Now Lopez is the artistic director of the acclaimed Miami City Ballet since taking over for its founding director in 2012. She’s made it one of her missions to ensure that all south Florida school children can see a future for themselves in the arts.

Lopez understands what they’re up against. Born in Cuba, Lourdes emigrated with her family to the United States in 1959 and started dancing at the age of five. A Ford Foundation scholarship made it possible to study dance in New York City full time.

“I never thought I could do what I was doing, there was always something that I had to be better at when I was dancing,” admits Lopez. “One of the things that I love about dancing is that it’s never perfect and you’re constantly trying to achieve this goal.”

The rigorous world of ballet prepared her well to lead a company as dynamic and diverse as the Miami City Ballet. Though she’s one of the few women to hold the top position in a national ballet company, she keeps this singular achievement in context.

Continue onto NBC News to read the complete article.

2018 iHeartRadio Nominees Have Been Announced!


The 2018 iHeartRadio Music Awards is set to air live on Sunday, March 11th at the Forum in Los Angeles, California. For the fifth straight year, the ceremony will celebrate the most talked about artists and songs heard throughout the last year across radio stations and the iHeartRadio app. Throughout the year, these artists have released hits that have impacted radio stations across the nation.

For the first time, iHeartRadio will be including fans in this year’s show. Fans will be able to vote for “Best Fan Army”, “Best Cover Song”,  “Best Solo Breakout”, and even “Best Musician Pet”.  Voting for these categories are now open at the iHeartRadio awards page. Don’t forget to vote! In the mean time, Check out the ladies who are holding it down in the music industry.

1. Rihanna

Making her debut in 2003, Rihanna has not stopped pushing the barrier in her musical career. The singer has continuously challenged the media and has showcased the balance of being a humanitarian and one of the most notable pop icons of the decade. Her nomination for the 2018 iHearRadio female artist of the year and Best R&B Artist is no surprise, as her release of her 8th studio album, ANTI, brought on a new sound for the singer.

2. Camila Cabello

Cabello first made her debut in the all girl band, Fifth Harmony. Making her own spotlight in the band, she departed in 2016 to start her solo career. The  young star made waves with her Latin influenced Havana, a homage to her birth country, Cuba. Her unique voice and smooth Latin influence has landed her as a Best New Pop Artist Nominee.

3. Shakira

Her pop hit Whenever made Shakira a superstar. Her collaborations with Latin and American artists solidified her as a versatile musician, and being a guest judge on NBC’s The Voice made Shakira even more adored by American fans. Her nominations as Latin Artist of the Year. Her hips definitely don’t lie.

4. Cardi B

Debuting with her smash hit, Bodak Yellow and being featured on Migos’ ever popular Motor Sport, Cardi B continues to release strong hits such as Bartier Cardi. It comes as no surprise as to why this artist has been nominated as a Best New Hip-Hop Artist.

5. SZA

Although SZA has been in the music industry since 2013, it wasn’t until she dropped her 2017 album Ctrl, where she earned critical acclaim, that she received popular success. Recently, she has been featured on the Black Panther soundtrack with Kendrick Lamar.

6. Alessia Cara

After releasing hits like Scars to Your Beautiful and Stay, Cara collaborated with Logic and Khalid on 1-800-273-8255 and earned a Grammy on the way. Earning a nomination for Female Artist of the Year is just another stop on her way to pop stardom.

7. Halsey

Starting her career on YouTube, Halsey has emerged as a popstar to watch out for as she releases her second album. Her hit sing Bad at Love has been a fan with radio listeners and iHeartRadio takes note with a nomination for as Female Artist of the Year.

8. P!ink

Bursting onto the music scene in 1999, P!nk has not stopped creating hits or albums. With a recent collaboration with Kenny Chesney, P!nk has dazzeled audiences and critics with her pop R&B tunes. With her nomination as  Female Artist of the Year, P!nk does not plan on slowing down anytime soon.

9. Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift has been the pop princess for over 10 years. The world has seen her transition seamlessly from country star to a powerhouse pop star. With the success from her 1989 album, Swift has released numerous pop hits that continue to be played on radio stations across the nation. As Female Artist of the Year nominee, Swift continues to make pop hits and collaborate with fellow iHeartRadio nominees,  such as Ed Sheeran and Future.

Check out iHeartRadio for more information on these talented artists

Chloe Kim: US teenager makes history at Winter Olympics

olympic snowboarder chloe kim

Hers is a life changed.

From 17-year-old standout to Olympic champion.

Standing at 5ft 3in, it is not always easy to spot Chloe Kim in a crowd, but on a cloudless Tuesday in South Korea it was obvious where America’s new golden girl was.

Kim had already done enough to win the women’s halfpipe gold before she started her final attempt, only to knock it out of the park with a near-perfect score of 98.25.

At the bottom, she was engulfed in a crowd of reporters and photographers, all competing for her attention over the relentless clicking of camera shutters, with yells of “Chloe! Chloe! Chloe!,” the shuffling throng following her every move like ducklings.

Journalists from all around the world wanted to speak to the new Olympic champion. She ran the gauntlet of TV interviews and negotiated the maze of reporters with equanimity.

Fans wanted a piece of the action too, craning necks, standing on tip-toe, sticking their smartphones in the air. Any sort of picture would do.

Such was the madness, minutes before Kim — the youngest female Olympic gold medalist on snow — stood tearfully atop the podium, her mother Boran was pleading to be let through a security check point.

It was a circus. That is what happens when a teenage sensation fulfills her destiny.

Champion performance

The first female snowboarder in history to land back-to-back 1080 degree spins in competition aged just 15, the four-time X-Games gold medalist is not an unknown. She is used to being in the spotlight.

But on a day when the sun’s glare dazzled off the pristine snow, Kim’s star shone as brightly as any of sport’s biggest names. She has entered a whole new world.

The girl who would climb onto a trampoline each morning before elementary school to practice jumps and flips later admitted she felt like crying before embarking on her thrilling grand finale.

She performed three spins on the left side, becoming the first female to land consecutive 1080s in the halfpipe at the Olympics.

Members of Kim’s family whooped and hollered. Overcome with emotion, Kim’s sister could not speak. American flags were raised towards the azure sky. It was spellbinding.

Her final score of 98.25 was eight-and-a-half points clear of Chinese silver medalist Liu Jiayu.

An hour after her first Olympic gold had been won, the Californian cheerfully sauntered to the press conference, arm around her beaming father. Sharp elbows were needed to capture the moment.

“There’s not enough of her to go around,” said one journalist. “So aggressive,” muttered another, dismayed at her fellow reporters.

Red mist nearly descended as a wayward tripod brushed a member of Team USA. Some needed reminding that these were the “Peace” Games.

Mirai Nagasu first American woman to land triple axel at an Olympics


Mirai Nagasu has become the first American woman — and third overall — to land a triple axel in the Olympics, accomplishing the rare feat in the women’s free skate at the team competition in Pyeongchang.

The 24-year-old from Arcadia, California, skated first of the five women and led her routine with the triple axel 21 seconds in. The feat drew huge cheers from the crowd at the Gangneung Ice Arena.

Nagasu completed a flawless routine, pumped both fists as she finished and got a standing ovation from the excited crowd.

Although Canada won team skate gold, Nagasu was the star of the night, and the Americans took bronze behind the Olympic Athletes from Russia.

Not only did her teammates rise in applause, but so did skaters from other nations, and not simply because she landed the triple axel so few women even attempt.

Nagasu’s career hit several roadblocks since she finished fourth at the 2010 Olympics, including when she was bumped from the U.S. team for Sochi in favor of Ashley Wagner by a federation committee.

Like Nagasu, Adam Rippon was left off the U.S. roster in 2010. And like Nagasu, he turned in a stellar performance Monday, landing both triple axels in his program.

“I just remember four years ago, Mirai and I were in a dark place. Honestly, we were depressed that we weren’t at the [Olympics],” said Rippon, who choreographed Nagasu’s gala program at the 2014 nationals, which she performed hours after learning she hadn’t made the team. “I told her as we were going through that, Mirai, I’m so lucky to have you by my side. We’re going to get through this together.”

In the wake of that rejection, Nagasu turned to Colorado Springs-based coach Tom Zakrajsek, who challenged her to become an even better competitor. They set out in their first session together four years ago to learn the jump, which took Nagasu about two years to master. She practices it about 30 times a day, according to Zakrajsek.

Nagasu has struggled with inconsistency throughout her career, but Zakrajsek wasn’t worried about his student on Monday.

“Today was different,” he said. “Today I knew Mirai didn’t need a lot of help. I could tell she was in a good place backstage in the off-ice warm-up. She just seemed very present.”

“I don’t know if you could tell — it was more something I could feel — but to nail it the way I did, even out of the corner of my eye, I could see my teammates standing out of excitement,” Nagasu said. “And at that moment I wanted to stop the music and get off, but I still had my whole program ahead of me, and to complete the performance to the best of my ability is really exciting.”

Continue onto ESPN to read the complete article.

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun(damental) Workplace Rights

Elizabeth Bradley

Young women professionals entering the workforce have little to no knowledge on how to handle workplace issues such as harassment, discrimination, and the gender wage gap. “Unfortunately, this lack of knowledge could put an entire generation of women at a disadvantage and seriously affect their earning potential,” said Elizabeth Bradley, Partner with Beverly Hills-based civil litigation and trial law firm Rosen Saba LLP.

“Most women are not taught to recognize subtler forms of discrimination that are less obvious than open harassment, but no less pervasive,” Bradley said. “For example, they may not realize that a man getting more promotions and advancement opportunities than his equally qualified female colleague is just as discriminatory as a man being paid more than a woman for doing the same job. They also may not realize that in several states, now including California, prospective employers are not permitted to ask for candidates’ salary history.”

Bradley, who has handled countless discrimination and harassment lawsuits, explains that gender doesn’t have to be the only motivating factor that is taken into account when filing a discrimination lawsuit. She is available to discuss this, as well as:

  • Important workplace rights that many young professional women are unaware of.
  • Ways that women can document harassment and discrimination so that allegations are not dismissed as hearsay, and without jeopardizing their careers.
  • Why the gender wage gap persists, and how women can advocate for higher salaries even if they have been underpaid in the past.
  • Specific industries where these issues are especially prevalent.

For information about the law firm, visit


The “She” Suite Celebrates International Women’s Day with Women in the C-Suite and in Leading Roles

International Women's Day

International Women’s Day is quickly approaching, and six leading business women will discuss their journey to the top of the corporate ladder. Gender diversity and inclusion remains a pressing issue across industries and sectors – and by ignoring this issue, companies may be hurting their bottom line.

March 8, 2018
7:15 AM – 9:15 AM

Washington University in St. Louis – Emerson Auditorium in Knight Hall
Snow Way, 1 Brookings Drive
St. Louis, MO 63130

Rebecca Boyer, Chief Financial Officer, KellyMitchell Group, Inc.; EMBA alumna
Andrea Faccio, Chief Marketing Officer, Nestle Purina North America; EMBA alumna
Linda Haberstroh, President, Phoenix Textile Corporation; EMBA alumna
Mary Heger, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Ameren Services Company; EMBA alumna
Deborah Slagle, Senior Vice President, Biologics Technology Cluster, MilliporeSigma; EMBA alumna
Joyce Trimuel, Chief Diversity Officer, CNA Insurance; EMBA alumna

According to a McKinsey study, diversity at the executive level strongly correlates with profitability and value creation. In fact, companies in the top quartile of executive-level gender diversity have a 27% likelihood of outperforming their less diverse peers.

On March 8, Washington University in St. Louis (WashU) will host a special panel discussion celebrating International Women’s Day featuring six business women who demonstrate their value to their companies as leaders every day. They are entrepreneurs, corporate executives, and global leaders representing companies. such as Nestle Purina, Ameren, and more.

One thing they all have in common: their Executive MBA experience from WashU, which is ranked among the top 10 EMBA programs in the country by several noted business publications including Financial Times.

From Real Estate To Tech Startup As An Over-40, African-American Female Founder


Denise Hamilton left a very successful career in commercial real estate, as well as several other wide-ranging past endeavors, to start WatchHerWork. She elicits elegantly raw, specific and action-focused insights from professional women to help other women navigate successful careers. The thousands of interviews she’s done, combined with her own experience, fuel Denise’s powerful straight talk about career success, particularly for women and minority professionals.

Nell Derick Debevoise: What’s your current role?

Denise Hamilton: I’m the CEO and Founder of WatchHerWork, a multimedia digital platform that is closing the achievement gap for professional women by providing the much-needed professional advice they need when they need it, how they need it.

Debevoise: Tell us about your transition. It was a big one, right?

Hamilton: I had a successful career in Commercial Real Estate when I walked away to start a tech company, which is

Debevoise: What was scary to you about that big shift?

Hamilton: Economic Security is always the scariest part of any leap for me. There aren’t a lot of 47-year-old African American tech founders out there. I worried whether I would be welcomed into the space and if my unique perspective would be welcomed or marginalized. But I knew I had to bet on myself.

Debevoise: What was the hardest thing once you made the transition?

Hamilton: Patience. When you come from a salaried position with a large staff, it is a brutal transition to being alone or in a skeleton crew with limited resources. I used to have 10 direct reports to assign things to. Now, I have as many action items as they do at Goop with about 300 fewer people. I had to learn to be patient with what I was capable of accomplishing each day.

Debevoise: What was the most fun?

Hamilton: Constant reinvention and exploration. I learn something new every day and I am incredibly passionate about changing women’s lives the way we do at WatchHerWork. I feel the constant stretch and growth and I love it!

Debevoise: Who was most useful during your transition?

Hamilton: I had incredible mentors and cheerleaders who encouraged me and invested time to help me in the areas I needed support. No one has all the answers, but together, we all do.

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

Naomi Parker Fraley, the Real-Life Rosie the Riveter, Dies at 96

Rosie the Riveter

Naomi Parker Fraley, the inspiration for the iconic female World War II factory worker Rosie the Riveter, has died. She was 96.

The Tulsa, Oklahoma, native, who was born on August 26, 1921, died on Saturday in Longview, Washington, according to the New York Times. The California waitress-turned-factory worker began her job at the Naval Air Station in Alameda and was among the first women to be assigned to the machine shop after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in late 1941.

Then in 1942, 20-year-old Fraley posed for a photograph wearing her signature red-and-white-polka-dot bandana and working on a turret lathe, for a photographer touring the Naval Air Station, where she and younger sister Ada drilled and patched airplane wings as well as operated rivet machines.

The picture was quickly featured in newspapers and magazines nationwide before it caught the eye of artist J. Howard Miller, whose 1943 Rosie the Riveter poster bears a striking resemblance to Fraley’s photo, even down to the exact bandana.

However, Fraley was not identified as the muse for Rosie because another woman, named Geraldine Hoff Doyle, who worked in a factory in Michigan, was labeled “the real-life Rosie the Riveter” since she believed she saw herself in an uncaptioned reprint of Fraley’s photo in the 1980s.

Continue onto PEOPLE to read the complete article.

Women With Disabilities Face High Barriers To Entrepreneurship. How To Change That


The University of Illinois — Chicago is home to a unique education program for entrepreneurs with disabilities run by associate professor Dr. Katherine Caldwell. It’s called Chicagoland Entrepreneurship Education for People with Disabilities.

“We wanted to really bring disability studies and entrepreneurship to the same table to look at, ‘Okay, well where are we now?’” Caldwell said. “What does it look like, what are the main barriers that they’re running into, and what sort of facilitators would help them out?”

Caldwell found that Chicago-area entrepreneurs with disabilities had trouble finding resources to grow their businesses, had high barriers to entry and faced structural challenges from the disability benefits system.

Caldwell also notes that most of the entrepreneurs she works with are women of color. Women and minorities with disabilities face extra challenges. “There’s that whole discussion of the pay gap that we’ve been having in women’s rights circles,” Caldwell said. “But it hasn’t included women with disabilities.”

Accessible opportunities

Chicagoland Entrepreneurship Education for People with Disabilities aims to help participants understand the benefit system and other typical barriers to entrepreneurship so that they can find a way to be most successful in building a business.

Like in any demographic group, there’s plenty of desire to build businesses in the disability community. Perhaps, it’s even stronger, Caldwell said, because traditional employment opportunities for people with disabilities are often less than ideal.

“They want to take control,” she said. “ They want to start a business so they can, not just create a job for themselves, but also create jobs for other people with disabilities.”

Many people with disabilities are employed through something called sheltered workshops. Which, Caldwell said, “Is basically work in a segregated work setting where they’re paid less than minimum wage.”

Sheltered employment was originally intended to give people with disabilities a chance to get work experience and skills that they could use to get other jobs. But, “Only five percent of workers actually go on to competitive employment from sheltered workshops,” Caldwell said. “So it’s not effective at achieving what it was supposed to back in the ’30s and yet for some reason we’re still doing it.”

In fact, she argues many companies are exploiting workers with disabilities through sheltered employment because it’s a way for companies to employ people who they can pay significantly less than minimum wage.

In addition to entrepreneurship as an escape from sheltered work, people with disabilities can use entrepreneurship to tackle challenges they face every day navigating a mostly inaccessible world.

“They can tap into that innovative potential of having experienced the problems that their business serves first hand,” Caldwell said.

Representation matters

Caldwell believes there needs to be an increase in representation of entrepreneurs with disabilities on a wider scale.

“One thing that they really need, and one thing that they currently lack are mentors, are examples of success,” she said. “Which is why having more visibility of entrepreneurs with disabilities especially women entrepreneurs with disabilities in the media would be super helpful.”

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article

How to Promote Increased Inclusivity in the Workplace

Rochelle Ford

By Rochelle Ford

When it comes to diversity and inclusion in the workplace, we often view it from two camps: diversity of thought, and race and ethnicity. Both should achieve the same goal: people bringing their unique perspectives, experiences and knowledge to the table and respectfully engaging with each other.

However, it is often not enough to just hire a diverse group of employees. That is an important first step, but once the right people are hired, it is essential that every team member works to promote a more inclusive environment. Crucial to understanding our own role in this effort is recognizing the most innocuous ways we obstruct inclusivity. After self-evaluation, there are two essential tactics we must take: promoting empathy and combatting microagressions.

Cultivating a work environment based on empathy involves implementing programs and initiatives that will elicit positive engagement from team members at every level. Setting up programs for mentorship and affinity groups is a great way to connect employees with people outside of their usual circle.

Mentor programs that focus specifically on under-represented employee groups, such as women or ethnic minorities, can prove monumental in creating a positive learning environment for both mentors and mentees. Not only does the mentee gain advice from an experienced professional on how to navigate challenges, but the mentor also gains valuable insight into the conversations and resources that may currently be lacking in the company. Mentoring relationships that cross race, gender, age and ethnicity are important for people to learn about each other but also to emphasize solving organizational problems together.

Likewise, affinity programs, or employee resource groups, can also help build a more inclusive workplace by connecting Respectemployees who share a similar identity or cultural background and providing them with an avenue to seek support and career advice. These programs give employees the assurance and comfort of knowing their thoughts and opinions are being heard — whether it’s through regular interactions with a higher executive or connecting with team members from similar backgrounds in a familiar setting. Each program has its purpose, but they all aim to encourage team members to listen and connect with the people around them.

The second key step in successfully promoting inclusivity is learning how to combat microaggressions. They don’t have to be obvious, like blatant racial slurs, to be harmful. These actions can be seemingly small, ranging from verbal remarks that demean an employee’s heritage to language or behavior that exclude the feelings of employees who represent a different group. Executives have the responsibility to implement training programs that educate employees about the damaging effects of unconscious bias and microaggressions.

Employees on the receiving end also have a responsibility to combat this behavior and change the conversation moving forward. Knowing how and when to respond when confronted with microaggressions is critical. According to Jody Gray from the University of Minnesota and the American Library Association, the most important thing to do is take a minute to reflect before responding on an assumption. Asking a person to explain or restate their comment can often serve as a check for them to rephrase it in a more inclusive manner. If a response is needed, focus on the event, not the person—this lowers the likelihood of a defensive tone and can make the other person more receptive. Respond how you want to the other person to act, and avoid sarcastic or condescending tones. Gray suggests using yourself as an example: talking about how you’ve “unlearned” certain behaviors is a good way to get on the same level and can help reframe the conversation in a way that makes it click.

Additionally, if someone witnesses what is seemingly a microaggression toward someone else, the witness needs to follow the same steps but adding in the question of “Why am I offended?” Once that understanding occurs, keep the focus on oneself and not the supposed recipient because that person may not feel offended and may not want or need the witness to “come to the rescue.” Instead, follow the same steps of clarification, focusing on the event, using yourself as an example and creating a possible learning opportunity.

At the end of the day, creating an inclusive environment simply comes down to respect—authentic and mutual respect for your team and the common goal you are working to achieve. It’s important that employees understand and utilize the resources and programs that are in place to foster a workplace based on growth and personal development. From top to bottom, employees at all levels and backgrounds want to feel supported and valued for their different perspectives, and achieving inclusion requires full commitment and patience from all team members in order to succeed. What are other programs or initiatives that have been used in your own workplace that have proven successful in promoting diversity and inclusion?

Google Celebrates Virginia Woolf’s 136th Birthday With Iconic Illustration


Thursday’s Google Doodle celebrates British literary luminary Virginia Woolf, with a portrait to mark what would have been her 136th birthday.

The author of Mrs DallowayTo The Lighthouse and A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf’s life and work remains highly influential on the world of literature and beyond. Born on Jan. 25, 1882, Woolf’s early life was infused with creative connections, as both her parents were prominent figures in London’s literary and artistic circuits. Woolf, her husband Leonard and her sister, artist Vanessa Bell, would become core protagonists themselves in an intellectual circle known as the Bloomsbury Group; a collective of writers, artists, and thinkers who enjoyed their heyday during the first half of the 20th century.

Virginia Woolf is regarded as one of the greatest authors of her time due to her exploration of modernism and feminist narratives, inspiring authors such as Margaret Atwood and Gabriel García Márquez. While Woolf’s pioneering, stream-of-consciousness novels received critical acclaim during her lifetime, she was affected by recurring bouts of mental illness, and died by suicide in 1941. As TIME’s obituary of Woolf noted of her novels:

To some readers they didn’t always make sense, but they made her name and parts of them almost made music. Like a musician, she liked to strike the mood of her books with a borrowed lyric on which she improvised infinite variations.

Continue onto TIME to read this complete article.