While there are still trials that women are facing in being promoted or growing their businesses, young women are making bold, audacious moves to change the world daily! They exist in every arena from government, STEM, natural hair care, and more, ready to own their voice, their gifts, and Own Their Seat at the Table™.
Just a few of the women to watch in the year ahead are:
Dr. Jedidah C. Isler - Astrophysicist - 34
Dr. Isler first wowed the internet with her breaking news of becoming the first African-American woman to graduate with a doctoral degree from Yale in astronomy and physics. Her description of her love for the night sky in her first TED Talk captured audiences around the world. With ease, she turned a complex subject around science into an engaging conversation and learning opportunity for others. Just a few months later, in her second TED talk, she shared her personal journey, challenges, and victories as a women of color in STEM. Dr. Isler has made a cognizant decision to own her voice when it comes to the advancement of women of color and injustices such as the most recent debate in the Fisher v University of Texas case questioning race-conscious admissions. Her New York Times response to the Chief Justice's disheartening comments proudly stated, "I was worthy the first day I walked into the classroom."
Marilyn Mosby - State Attorney for Baltimore, MD - 35
Baltimore State's Attorney, Marilyn Mosby, made national headlines in 2015 when she charged 6 police officers in the death of Freddie Gray. It was a decision no lead prosecutor had done before, leaving many surprisingly shocked. The moment most will remember is how she owned the podium and her presence the day she shared her decision. A new face, she stepped to the podium and commanded attention. Visibly young in age, she owned what mattered most by showcasing her leadership ability in critical times. She confidently shared her long family history of law enforcement, education, experience, as well as her heart for the city of Baltimore to quickly gain credibility. That day everyone not only knew who Marilyn Mosby was, but what her impact and commitment would to the city.
Jasmine Twitty - Judge, South Carolina - 25
The news headline of Jasmine Twitty rapidly flashed through social media as she was sworn in as the youngest judge in South Carolina, at the age of 25. I remember being goal-oriented and a go-getter at that age, but no where close to having that level of drive and discipline to become a judge. Jasmine Twitty owned her career goals post college by being on the focused, fast-track to achieve her dream job.
Tasha Branham - Founder & CEO, Naturally Smitten - 31
I met Tasha Branham, Founder of the natural hair care brand, Naturally Smitten, at a women's conference a couple of years ago. Her quiet disposition and knack for style captured the room. She launched her natural hair care brand with the hopes to expand her existing Etsy shop into retail stores. The evolution of her story and brand development was amazing to watch as she hit major milestones in seemingly record time. With hard work and rebranding, Tasha grew her natural hair care kitchen inspirations into a national brand with one of the world's largest retailers, Wal-mart.
Olivia Allen - Founder of the Confidence Conference for Girls - 10
Olivia Allen is a 10-year old powerhouse who recently created a conference for girls her age. She recognized that "some girls confidence goes down when they enter puberty". As a result, she set out a goal to create experiences to build their confidence and prepare them for the future. Known for being driven and a giver through her philanthropic efforts, fans took notice and created a hashtag for the young leader at #OliviaAllen.
Bold. Impactful. Brilliant. Each have their fair share of stories, trials, and disappointments. But they also share the same trait that many of us can learn from: Being unapologetic! An attribute that extends beyond the box of what people can automatically place us in.
Being unapologetic in their age, intellect, and beliefs.
Will there be times in the year ahead where you feel like someone doesn't recognize the value you bring? Yes. But choose to make a conscious decision to be unapologetic for the impact that you know you are supposed to make. Challenge yourself to be who you are and Own Your Seat at the Table™.
Melissa J. Nixon is a captivating keynote speaker, trainer, executive leadership coach, and courageous life strategist. She specializes in growing, developing and inspiring leaders and influencers to maximize their career, business and life potential.