How This Tech Founder Is Giving The Internet A Face Lift By Changing The Way We Shop

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Shirley Chen’s list of experiences is as diverse as it is impressive: she spent her childhood on China’s national gymnastics team, studied biochemical engineering at Columbia University, interned at Chanel, Bergdorf Goodman, and Vogue, and worked as a media and retail consultant at McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm.

Chen never imagined her resume would include founding a company. But when a former Vogue colleague tapped her on the shoulder to run the marketing and business development for luxury goods brand Moda Operandi, a seed was planted. Chen was tasked with driving customer acquisition with a specific focus on digital e-commerce, and that’s where she spotted a gap in the market.

Companies were so focused on the traffic from traditional platforms like Google and Facebook that they were missing a valuable source of customer acquisition—online content. When consumers wanted to find the trendiest swimsuit, most effective blackout curtains, or best-priced coffee maker, they looked for the answer in online magazines and blogs. The problem with that was two-fold. On the one hand, thanks to an aging internet, many older links on publishers’ pages are dead, leading consumers to 404 pages. On the other, many publishers were using hardcoded, static links to Amazon product pages (some 650 million times per month), meaning consumers didn’t have the opportunity to consider purchasing from other retailers, even if Amazon didn’t have the best price. In either case, it was a lose-lose-lose situation for consumers, advertisers, and publishers alike.

Chen devised a solution with Narrativ, a tech company that’s using AI to #EndThe404 and build a better internet for shoppers by making sure that every time they click on a product link on a publisher’s site, it will lead not just to an active page, but to the retailers with the best price.

“We built a SmartLink technology that repaired broken links online, and we democratized that pipeline that was being hard credited to Amazon through content,” Chen explained. “The mission is to improve the consumer shopping experience and build a better research experience as well when it comes to buying products.”

The results so far have been stellar. In the year since their launch out of stealth mode, Narrativ has raised over $3.5 million in venture capital, rewired more than one billion links, and impacted more than 200 million internet users each month. Narrativ, who has also partnered with notable brands like Dermstore, Ulta Beauty, and New York Magazine, is set to deliver more than $600 million in advertiser value in 2018, and has earned a nod from the World Economic Forum as a Technology Pioneer.

Chen stands at the helm of it all, CEO of a game-changing tech company she was once almost too afraid to build. She recalls the nervousness she felt when the idea first came to her. She approached two former employers to build it, but both declined. That’s when Chen’s mentor, head of McKinsey’s North America Media spoke the words that fired her up: “Why don’t you build this thing on your own? I think you’re being a real coward.” She knew that he spoke not to discourage her, but to push her to make a move.

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

Memo to the Silicon Valley boys’ club: Arlan Hamilton has no time for your BS

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Backstage in the greenroom of the podcast festival where she’s scheduled to appear, Arlan Hamilton is quietly singing the lyrics to Janet Jackson’s “Control.” She’d like to walk on stage as the song plays, but the festival crew has copyright concerns. So instead, she is shimmying offstage in her chair, half-humming the chorus under her breath: “I’m in control / Never gonna stop / Control / To get what I want / Control / I like to have a lot.”

Like everything Hamilton does, the song request is equal parts self-aware and unapologetic. Hamilton knows that she stands out—she is the only black, queer woman to have ever built a venture capital firm from scratch. She also knows that she has a reputation for being direct, particularly when it comes to Silicon Valley biases, and how her own story is portrayed. (Indeed, the song is a jab at Gimlet Media, the podcast festival hosts, who devoted an entire episode of their StartUp series on her to what they saw as her sometimes counterproductive need for control.) But Hamilton exudes calm, even as she attempts, through her L.A.-based firm, Backstage Capital, the near impossible task of disrupting the way that venture investors pick winners and create wealth.

“It was crazy to me that 90% of venture funding was going to white men, when that is not how innovation, intelligence, and drive is dispersed in the real world,” she tells me. “I had no background in finance, but I just saw it as a problem. Maybe it’s because I was coming from such a different place that I could recognize it.”

Three years ago, the then 34-year-old Hamilton arrived in Silicon Valley with no college degree, no network, no money, and a singular focus: to invest in underrepresented founders by becoming a venture capitalist. The story of how the former music-tour manager studied up on investing from her home in Pearland, Texas, and pushed her way into the rarified world of venture capital, scoring investments from the likes of Marc Andreessen and Chris Sacca, has become legendary in the industry. After making contact with Y Combinator president Sam Altman, she bought a one-way ticket to San Francisco. For months she stalked investors by day and slept on the floor of the San Francisco airport at night. She was broke. Finally, in September 2015, she got her first check, for $25,000, from Bay Area angel investor Susan Kimberlin, who believed in Hamilton’s vision that the Valley’s lack of diversity wasn’t a talent-pipeline problem as much as a resources problem: Diverse entrepreneurs needed money. With Kimberlin’s endorsement, Hamilton created Backstage Capital and began investing. Other funding soon followed, from backers including Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield and Box CEO Aaron Levie. This past June, Hamilton announced that Backstage had exhausted its first three seed funds, doling out between $25,000 and $100,000 to 100 startups in everything from beauty products to business analytics. And at all 100, at least one founder is a woman, person of color, or someone who identifies as LGBTQ.

Now Hamilton is gearing up for Backstage’s next chapter, a $36 million fund dedicated exclusively to black women founders, a demographic that’s glaringly absent in Silicon Valley: Just three dozen black women entrepreneurs, nationwide, have raised more than $1 million in venture funding. Hamilton calls her latest initiative the “It’s about damn time fund.” Her first two $1 million investments, to be announced before the end of the year, will go to existing Backstage portfolio companies. And that’s just the start. This spring, Hamilton will launch the Backstage Accelerator to foster early-stage startups with locations slated for L.A., Philadelphia, and London. She’s also laying the groundwork for a $100 million fund to provide underrepresented founders with even larger checks.

Every nascent VC is under pressure to demonstrate success—Hamilton even more so. Those in Silicon Valley who believe that the next Facebook will be created by a woman or person of color are watching her portfolio closely. Others view Backstage with more skepticism, seeing her funds as relatively inexpensive ways for investors to appear committed to diversity without having to do the hard work internally.

Hamilton shrugs it off. In an industry where privilege begets privilege—and at a time when racial justice in this country seems precarious, at best—she is claiming her seat at the table. “How much of a fist in the air would it be to just be obnoxiously wealthy as a gay black woman?” she wonders. “And [how powerful] to be able to help other people do the same?”

Continue onto Fast Company to read the complete article.

Decades After Being Passed Over for a Nobel, Jocelyn Bell Burnell Gets Her Due

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Honored with a Special Breakthrough Prize, the astrophysicist says she’ll use the winnings to fund scholarships to support today’s outsiders in the field.

The Nobel Prize is infamous for snubbing women in the sciences. Just ask astrophysicist Dame Susan Jocelyn Bell Burnell, whose groundbreaking discovery of pulsars was overlooked when her male advisor was awarded a Nobel in 1974. Now, as Sarah Kaplan and Antonia Noori Farzan report for the Washington Post, 51 years after Bell Burnell made the first documented observations of the energetically charged corpses of bygone stars known as pulsars, her contributions to the field are being honored with a $3 million Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics. Bell Burnell is the fourth recipient of the prestigious award, whose previous honorees include Stephen Hawking, the seven CERN scientists whose leadership led to the discovery of the Higgs boson and the LIGO collaboration that detected gravitational waves.

“Jocelyn Bell Burnell’s discovery of pulsars will always stand as one of the great surprises in the history of astronomy,” says Edward Witten, the chair of the Breakthrough Prize selection committee, in a press release.

Bell Burnell was a doctoral student in physics at Cambridge University when she first noticed the series of mysterious, highly regular blips in the readout of a radio telescope in 1967. Further observations showed that the pulses were occurring every 1.3 seconds, creating barely perceptible “squiggles” in her data. Bell Burnell’s advisor, Antony Hewish, was, at first, skeptical of the findings, dismissing them as artifacts in her readings. But Bell Burnell was certain it was not just artifical noise. In early 1968, her work paid off with the publication of the first scientific paper documenting pulsars.

As Space.com writer Calla Cofield explains, pulsars, compact, spherical objects belonging to the “family of objects called neutron stars,” emit beams of radiation from their two poles—but because pulsars rotate, these energetic jets appear to “pulse” as they pass in and out of view. Due to these precise pulses, astronomers can use pulsars as landmarks to map the cosmos, or as metronomes to track the timing of interstellar events millions of lightyears away. In the decades since their discovery, physicists have also used pulsars to test Einstein’s theory of general relativity and detect gravitational waves.

The discovery of pulsars was such a big deal that in 1974, Hewish shared the Nobel Prize in Physics for it alongside fellow astronomer Martin Ryle. It was the first time the prize had ever been awarded to the field of astronomy—but Bell Burnell’s contributions to the breakthrough find went unmentioned.

As Bell Burnell told Jane J. Lee at National Geographic in 2013, such an oversight was more or less par for the course: “The picture people had at the time of the way that science was done was that there was a senior man—and it was always a man—who had under him a whole load of minions, junior staff, who weren’t expected to think, who were only expected to do as he said.”

The Special Breakthrough Prize honors not only Bell Burnell’s landmark discovery, but also her constant engagement with the scientific community and beyond. In the past five decades, she has remained both an educator and researcher, serving as president of the Royal Astronomical Society and the first woman president of both the Institute of Physics and the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Currently, Bell Burnell is a visiting professor of astrophysics at the University of Oxford and chancellor of the University of Dundee. She was named a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in 2007.

Bell Burnell will officially receive the award in November at the Breakthrough Prize’s 2019 ceremony in California’s Silicon Valley. However, she has already announced her plans to donate the $3 million associated with the Prize to Britain’s Institute of Physics to fund scholarships for women, underrepresented groups and refugees interested in studying physics. Drawing from her own experiences as a woman in science, Bell Burnell says she wants the money to help counter the “unconscious bias” that still pervades the field, reports Pallab Ghosh at BBC News.

Continue onto the Smithsonian to read the complete article.

CareerBuilder Promotes President and Chief Operating Officer Irina Novoselsky to Chief Executive Officer

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CareerBuilder, one of the largest independent technology companies providing “hello to hire™” HR solutions to global customers, today announced the implementation of its leadership succession plan. Irina Novoselsky, who joined CareerBuilder in October 2017 as President and Chief Operating Officer, is being named the Company’s Chief Executive Officer. Matt Ferguson, following 14 years as Chief Executive Officer, will assume the role of Executive Chairman effective today, helping to oversee the Company’s continued evolution as it invests in mobile, artificial intelligence and machine learning to provide innovative end-to-end employment and HR solutions.

Under Ferguson, the company grew its marketing from 16 million unique visitors and 400,000 jobs per year to 200 million unique visitors and nearly 8 million jobs globally last year. CareerBuilder now serves 90 percent of the Fortune 1000 and has expanded into 185 markets globally.

“I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished as a team,” Ferguson said. “For nearly 25 years, CareerBuilder has been instrumental in transforming the HR industry. We led the way in online recruiting, and now we offer our customers a single destination to help them find, manage, screen and onboard talent,” said Ferguson. “CareerBuilder has served millions of job seekers, employees and businesses worldwide – and we’ve built a strong and enduring culture that is poised to disrupt this industry again. With Irina assuming the CEO role, we have a determined, passionate leader to take CareerBuilder’s strategy and innovative technology solutions to the next level, and continue helping people and businesses succeed in the new world of work. All the pieces are in place, and the time is right for me to transition the CEO role and continue to serve as Executive Chairman.”

“Irina is a talented tech executive with the perfect complement of skills to further establish CareerBuilder as the innovative partner of choice in the competitive HR tech space,” said David Sambur, Senior Partner of majority shareholder Apollo Global Management and current Chairman of the CareerBuilder board.  “I also want to thank Matt for his 14 years of service and I look forward to his continued leadership as our new Executive Chairman.”

“I’m honored to be at the helm of a company with such a long heritage of innovation, service excellence and talented people,” said Novoselsky. “Our strength in online recruitment – combined with new, AI-powered solutions that span the end-to-end candidate and recruiter experience – puts CareerBuilder in a unique position to help our global customers improve their workflows, integrate their processes to drive profitability, increase productivity and maximize business results. Today’s HR teams are being asked to do more with less, and CareerBuilder’s industry-leading technology and services can help them.”

Continue onto Career Builder’s Press Room to read the complete article.

Gifts for the Woman Who Has Everything

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Cedrick-Shoes

TAMPA, Florida  – As the holidays approach, many people will begin making a list of what to buy the loved ones in their lives. For some people, it can be a daunting task, especially if they will be buying for someone they feel already has everything. Research out of the University of Toronto suggests that people may want to give the gift of experiences, because that can help foster stronger relationships.

The good news is that there are some gifts that are both a tangible item the person can hold in their hand, as well as providing them with an awesome experience. The unique line of high heels by Exotics by Cedrick is one of those options, being deemed as a gift for the woman who has everything.

“Shoes can make or break an entire experience. They can elevate your game, make you feel incredible, and take you places you have dreamed of,” explains Cedrick McDonald, owner of Exotics by Cedrick. “People find that my shoes not only make for a great gift for the fashion forward person on their list, but they will have an awesome experience while wearing them.”

When people buy for someone they feel has everything, it tends to make them feel a bit deflated Cedrick-Shoesabout the gift-giving process, because it makes them feel like the gift won’t be special or unique. Those opting for high heels by Exotics by Cedrick will find that they feel anything but deflated, and they know their gift will be special, unique, and is going to create a buzz anywhere they are worn.

Here are 5 reasons to give Exotics by Cedrick this holiday season to the fashion aficionado on your list who has everything:

  1. She doesn’t have shoes like this. While you may think she has everything, there’s a good chance she doesn’t have anything like the shoes from Exotics by Cedrick. The line of shoes is so unique that they are patented. The shoes have been artistically designed to have a snakeskin outsole and are encrusted with Swarovski crystals.
  2. You are giving the gift of experience. The shoes you wear can make a big difference in how you carry yourself and in your confidence level. When people put on a pair of Exotics by Cedrick, they feel beautiful, glamorous, and powerful. They have been designed to make the shoe wearer feel as beautiful as can be.
  3. She can express herself. Being able to express oneself without even opening up their mouth is a great experience. The shoes by Exotics by Cedrick are so unique and chic that, like a picture, one look says a thousand words.
  4. She will stand out. In a world filled with cookie cutter houses and people doing their best to keep up with the Joneses, she will stand out with her new shoes. It’s unlikely that anyone else at her office or dinner party will be donning such a high fashion pair of footwork that most would consider a piece of art.
  5. The shoes have meaning. Being able to choose shoes that come from a company that gives back to special causes makes wearing the gift that much better. People today appreciate shoe brands that give back to charities. Exotics by Cedrick has a passion for helping the cause of fighting AIDS in the world, and donates proceeds from the sale of every pair of shoes to the AIDS Foundation.

“People have enough sweaters, so this holiday season be a bit more daring and bold,” added McDonald. “Getting someone a feisty pair of high-fashion high heels is going to really surprise them, and they are going to love you for them and the experience they give them!”

Cedrick-ShoesMcDonald is a bit of a pioneer in the shoe industry, having created a style that is unique enough to earn a U.S. patent. His line of designer footwear features high-fashion pumps with 4-6” heels that have an eye-catching snakeskin outsole that is encrusted with Swarovski crystals on the bottom of every shoe.  They are shoes that help make a statement not only about the designer, but about the person wearing them. His shoes are all made in limited quantity, making them even more unique and desirable.

Started in 2016, Exotics by Cedrick is high-fashion shoe line that has been turning heads from the Golden Globes to the MTV Movie and TV Awards. The company motto is Live Life Through Your Soles, and he’s created unique-looking soles that stand out and make a statement. McDonald is a serial entrepreneur who owns several businesses in addition to Exotics by Cedrick. From the Tampa area, he aims to help set the trends in the high fashion world. To create his shoes, he starts with a hand sketch, usually in the middle of the night, and then creates the rendered design on CAD.

About Exotics by Cedrick

Owned by Cedrick McDonald, Exotics by Cedrick, a celebrity fashion and footwear designer, is a Tampa-based high-fashion high heel shoe company. The company has a patent for its unique design, which features a snakeskin outsole that is encrusted with Swarovski crystals. Since the company was started in 2016, the trend-setting shoes have made their way into many celebrity hands. To learn more about Exotics by Cedrick, visit the site at: exoticsbycedrick.com.

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Source:

Science Daily. There’s a science to gift giving. sciencedaily.com

Netflix creates new executive position focused on inclusion and diversity

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Netflix is creating a new executive position that will focus on inclusion and diversity among employees of the streaming entertainment giant.


Vernā Myers has been appointed to the newly created role of vice president for inclusion strategy, Netflix announced Wednesday. The company said Myers will help devise and implement strategies that integrate cultural diversity, inclusion and equity into all aspects of Netflix’s operations worldwide.

Prior to joining Netflix, Myers worked as a consultant at the Vernā Myers Co., where she advised corporations and organizations on issues including race, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation.

Her appointment comes two months after Netflix fired its chief communications officer after he used a racial slur on at least two occasions in the workplace. Jonathan Friedland, who had served as Netflix’s top spokesperson for the past seven years, acknowledged that he had spoken in an “insensitive” way.

“Leaders have to be beyond reproach in the example we set and unfortunately I fell short of that standard when I was insensitive in speaking to my team about words that offend in comedy,” he wrote on Twitter in June.

Earlier this week, Los Gatos, Calif.-based Netflix named Rachel Whetstone — a veteran of Facebook, Uber and Google — to succeed Friedland as chief communications officer.

Diversity executives have become increasingly common at major corporations. Silicon Valley in particular has become the focus of media scrutiny for what some workers have described as a lack of gender and racial diversity at technology and internet companies.

Myers has previously consulted for Netflix, the company said. “Having worked closely with Vernā as a consultant on a range of organizational issues, we are thrilled that she has agreed to bring her talents to this new and important role,” said Jessica Neal, Netflix’s chief talent officer.

Continue onto the Los Angles Times to read the complete article.

From Intern To NYSE Head: Stacey Cunningham’s Barrier-Breaking Rise To The Top Of Wall Street

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By: Moira Forbes

When news broke that Stacey Cunningham had been named President of the New York Exchange, it was hard to find a headline that didn’t make mention of her gender. Cunningham’s rise to the top of one of Wall Street’s most high-profile, male-dominated arenas shattered a 226-year-old ceiling, but the depth of coverage around her history-making appointment caught the industry veteran off guard. “I knew that the fact that I was a woman taking this job would be part of the story. I didn’t realize how much of a story it was going to be,” recalled Cunningham.

Having launched her career as an intern on the trading floor as in 1994, Cunningham never viewed gender as something that either defined or limited her career, a perspective which fueled an initial hesitance to embrace the “first female” label her story now so often carries. “I took it for granted. It wasn’t something I saw as a barrier. There wasn’t a ceiling I was seeing that I was punching through,” she says.

The same determination in not making gender a factor in the opportunities she pursued ultimately contributed the barriers Cunningham was able to break in reaching Wall Street’s top ranks, and she now realizes why spotlight on her trajectory matters.“I do hope that one day gender won’t be as much a part of the conversation. But it’s so important to so many people, and knowing that I’m helping somebody else recognize more opportunities is really rewarding.

I recently sat down with Cunningham to discuss growing up on the floor of the world’s largest stock exchange, the double-edged sword of working in a male-dominated industry and how she’s harnessed the power of her differences, then and now. Edited highlights below.

On Succeeding In a Male-Dominated Arena

Since her internship days, Cunningham has learned a thing or two about how to “play her own game” in the unique work environment of the trading floor. While Cunningham is quick to admit that learning to thrive in an arena customized for men was not without its challenges, she ultimately turned the reality of being outnumbered into a career advantage. “Being a woman in a male-dominated industry cuts both ways. There are pros and cons. I certainly saw the benefit of having a higher profile on the trading floor. I would walk around people knew who I was, because there weren’t that many women down there. That helped my career in many ways.”

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

Tech Has a Huge Diversity Problem. This Woman Is Determined to Fix It.

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Valeisha Butterfield-Jones is a political advisor-turned-tech exec, with a goal to change Google.

“I want to create something that will outlive me,” says Google’s Valeisha Butterfield-Jones. “I want to leave behind a legacy. I’m not sure what it is yet, but I want to build something that can empower a community, and I know it’s going to be centered around women.”

If Butterfield-Jones makes fulfilling sky-high ambitions sound deceptively easy, perhaps it’s because of the heights she has already achieved. A former senior-level Obama campaign consultant, she was hired by Google in 2016 for a newly created position: Global Head of Women and Black Community Engagement.

It’s well-known that tech has a gender and a racial diversity problem. As of 2016, the most recent year for which figures are available, Google’s workforce was only 2% black and 31% female. Butterfield-Jones has been tasked with helping the company better reflect the diverse world it works in. “It’s trying to disrupt the status quo,” she says, with a smile that belies her determination.

Butterfield-Jones grew up in small-town North Carolina. Her parents are both prominent politicians: her father, G.K. Butterfield, is a member of congress, and up until recently was the head of the Congressional Black Caucus. Her mother, Jean Farmer-Butterfield, is a North Carolina state legislator. When Butterfield-Jones was in high school, her father was a judge. “I remember going to public school and seeing some of my friends actually have to go in front of my dad in court,” she says. “It was just this serious, I would say, awakening for me. I realized that if you don’t have the right people in leadership positions, then sometimes the right thing doesn’t always happen.”

When it comes to increasing diversity in tech, Butterfield-Jones thinks the greatest challenge is “decoding what the real barriers to entry are, for people of color and for women.” To that end, as one of her first projects at Google, she organized an event called Decoding Race, which took place at nine of the company’s offices around the world. Van Jones spoke with Google’s chief legal officer David Drummond, and over 15,000 employees took part in facilitated discussions about race, gender, access, and equality. She has also founded a program that connects talented students at historically black colleges and universities with Google internships.

“I’m proud to work for a company that really wants to get it right and figure it out,” Butterfield-Jones says. She thinks tech’s diversity problem is a legacy of the conditions under which the industry’s leading companies were founded. “I really don’t believe that as an industry, it’s coming from a place of hate at all,” she says. “I really don’t. I think these companies were just set up by friends of friends of friends, who hired their friends. They scaled and grew so fast that now we’re trying to fix a problem that started at the core of the foundation.”

Continue onto Harper’s Bazaar to read the complete article.

Young Professionals are Shaking Things Up in STEM

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Sabrina Gonzalez Pasterski

STEM—science, technology, engineering, and math—skills have become increasingly valuable, and careers in STEM are among the fastest-growing and highest-paying. Yet Latinas only account for 3 percent of the industry. Meet two young professionals who are making their mark in their STEM careers, leading the way for other Latinas to enter into these much-needed, highly paid fields.

Meet Sabrina Gonzalez Pasterski. At just 23 years old, Pasterski had a job offer from NASA. Stephen Hawking cited her research. And she built her own single-engine airplane from a kit in her garage when she was 14. Once it was certified as airworthy, she took it for a spin, becoming the youngest person in history, at age 16, to build and fly her own plane. That same year, she was admitted to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Photo caption: Honoree and physicist Sabrina Gonzalez Pasterski speaks onstage during the Marie Claire Young Women’s Honors presented by Clinique at Marina del Rey Marriott. RICH POLK/GETTY IMAGES FOR YOUNG WOMEN’S HONORS

Now, at 24 years old, she has a standing job offer from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Pasterski, a Harvard PhD student, researches black holes, spacetime, and quantum gravity. Her Harvard peers have characterized her as the “Next Einstein.”

“Be optimistic about what you believe you can do,” Pasterski said in an interview with Marie Claire. In 2013, she was the first woman in two decades to graduate from MIT at the top of her physics class. “When you’re little, you say a lot of things about what you’ll do or be when you’re older—I think it’s important not to lose sight of those dreams.”

Learn more about Pasterski and STEM at physicsgirl.com.

Sources: hertzfoundation.org; and curiosity.com

Meet Nicole Hernandez Hammer. Hernadez Hammer is a sea-level researcher and environmental justice activist who is educating and mobilizing the Latino communityNicole Hernandez Hammer attends the Build series ‘Smart Girls’ panel to understand and address the ways in which climate change negatively impacts them. This Guatemalan-Cuban advocate speaks from personal experience as well as academic knowledge. When Hernandez Hammer was four years old, she and her family moved from Guatemala to South Florida. There, she learned firsthand about the effect of rising sea levels. Photo caption: Nicole Hernandez Hammer attends the Build series ‘Smart Girls’ panel at Build Studio. JIM SPELLMAN/WIREIMAGE/GETTY

During Hurricane Andrew, when Hernandez Hammer was 15 years old, her house—much like the homes of other Latino families near coastal shore lines—was destroyed. She felt “obligated” to learn more about the issue, and went on to study biology and the natural sciences.

Hernandez Hammer was the assistant director of the Florida Center for Environmental Studies at Florida Atlantic University, authoring several papers on sea
level rise projections, before moving into advocacy. She served as the Florida field manager for Moms Clean Air Force and is now a climate science and community advocate at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

In 2015, she was former first lady Michelle Obama’s guest at the State of the Union Address.

Sources: remezcla.com; blog.ucsusa.org

Google Doodle Celebrates Mary G. Ross. Here’s What to Know About the First Native American Woman Engineer

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Today’s Google Doodle celebrates the 110th birthday of Mary G. Ross, the first Native American woman engineer. Over the course of her five-decade career, Ross achieved many firsts and made major contributions to the aerospace industry.

Here’s what to know about the trailblazer, born on Aug. 9, 1908, who opened the doors for future female engineers in the field.

Who Was Mary G. Ross?

Great-great granddaughter to Chief John Ross of the Cherokee Nation, Mary G. Ross was born in the small town of Park Hill in Oklahoma. Raised with the Cherokee value of learning, Ross pursued a path considered nontraditional for women. After receiving a degree in math from Northeastern State College, Ross taught math and science until she returned to school to earn her master’s in math from Colorado State College of Education.

What were her contributions to aerospace?

In 1942, Lockheed Missiles and Space Company hired Ross as mathematician. But after a manager recognized her talent, Ross was sent to UCLA to earn a classification in aeronautical engineering. Lockheed then rehired her as their first female engineer. Ross would go on to work on major projects such as the Agena rocket, which was a crucial step in the Apollo program to land on the moon. She also was a part of SkunkWorks, a top-secret 40-member think tank where she was the only women aside from the secretary. Ross’ work there involved developing initial design concepts for interplanetary space travel, including flyby missions to Venus and Mars.
“Often at night there were four of us working until 11 p.m.,” she once said according to Google. “I was the pencil pusher, doing a lot of research. My state of the art tools were a slide rule and a Frieden computer. We were taking the theoretical and making it real.”

How did she open the door for women?

Ross also devoted herself to encouraging women and Native Americans into careers in the field of STEM. She was a fellow of the Society of Women Engineers, where she established a scholarship in her name to support future female engineers and technologists. To support fellow Native Americans, Ross also worked closely with the American Indian Science and Engineering Society and the Council of Energy Resource Tribes to develop their educational programs.

Continue onto TIME to read the complete article.

New Land O’Lakes CEO Is First Openly Gay Woman To Head A Fortune 500 Company

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In a historic first, Land O’Lakes Inc. named an openly gay woman as its CEO last week.

Beth Ford, who previously served as the company’s chief operating officer, accepted the promotion on July 26. She will officially succeed longtime top executive Chris Policinski, who retired last month, at the Minnesota-based company on Aug. 1.

Ford, who has worked for Land O’Lakes since 2011, joins Apple’s Tim Cook and the Dow Chemical Company’s James “Jim” Fitterling as the third openly gay person to serve as the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. She is, however, the only woman in that group.

The 54-year-old Iowa native told CNN she was proud that her promotion had been deemed an important milestone by many LGBTQ rights advocates.

“I made a decision long ago to live an authentic life,” said Ford, whose resume includes stints at International Flavors and Fragrances, Mobil Corporation, PepsiCo and Pepsi Bottling Company and Scholastic. “If my being named CEO helps others do the same, that’s a wonderful moment.”

In a separate interview with Fortune, she added, “I think it must be really hard if you feel like you’re in a culture where you can’t be who you are. Work is hard enough, and then when you have to feel as though you can’t be who are, that’s got to be incredibly difficult.”

Continue onto the Huffington Post to read the complete article.