Today would have been Sally Ride’s 64th birthday. She’s widely known as the first American woman in space, no doubt inspiring millions to dream big and shoot for the stars (literally).
Not as widely known is her work on Earth, educating millions of kids in science, especially girls and minorities. As someone who broke barriers, Ride, a physicist, wanted non-traditional STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) students to know that they could succeed in these fields too.
Most of us have someone who inspired us to do what we do. It could be a family friend or well-known individual in your field. We asked CCC Facebook fans what book transported them to a defining moment or event in their life, and Missy Radecki, an RN and Associate Professor of Nursing, gave a tremendous response.
“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly….published in 1997, memoir by journalist Jean-Dominique Bauby editor of French Elle. He had a stroke at the age of 43, woke 20 days later and had locked in syndrome, he wrote the book by blinking. It gave me insight into being a patient and how he saw his nurses….I was moved by it and was the cornerstone of how I treated my patients.”
That question was inspired by a book I read while in college, A Big Life (in advertising). The author, Mary Wells Lawrence, rose through the ranks in the advertising world and ended up owning her own agency when few women made it past the secretary pool. The Mad Men finale triggered memories of reading this book, which is set during the same era, and encouraged me to pull it from my office book shelves.
When I read this book, I was pursuing a degree in advertising, so Lawrence’s message of success hit home. Despite ad agencies still being male-dominated, I knew I could survive and even thrive on Madison Ave, just like she (and Peggy Olson and Joan Holloway) did. It was a bonus when I discovered that Lawrence hails from Ohio, just like yours truly.
So thank you, Mary Wells Lawrence, for living your big life (in advertising) and inspiring a fellow Ohioan to follow in your footsteps. Maybe one day I’ll get there.
Who fueled your dreams?
p.s. Another great book by a woman who excelled during the ‘Mad Men’ era of advertising is Mad Women: The Other Side of Life on Madison Avenue in the ’60s and Beyond by Jane Maas.
Living a big life,