What were some of your influences?

My dad chose not to use the GI bill after WWII though he should have and I think he might have regretted it. He was so smart and he appreciated a good education. When I was very young, he purchased a set of World Book encyclopedias. Me, being always curious and loving reading, read those like crazy. I would hole up in the “living room” with them for hours. Thank you, daddy.
Secondly, I was able to get a job in a local independent drug store and thereby decided to study pharmacy. Thank you, Mr. F.
Also, I had some amazing teachers. Even in a small town in NC.
I was a lucky girl.

A professor I had in college. She encouraged me to take my major in a direction I might not have thought of - she led me dive in and experiment a little - and it made a difference with the direction I developed my career.

Influences I have not put into practice yet. I have worked with a few different women at my current employer (past 20 years) that have been my idols for being a grandma. I have no grandchildren in sight (that’s fine - not my decision to make!) yet but I have told them they are my inspiration for embracing, enjoying and making magic memories for the future ones I might have.

My relatives who live outside of the US in a couple other countries. They have taught me to embrace our family history, to treasure family time even though it is not often (with them) and to celebrate the culture in our family.

My aunt is the first in our branch of the family to get a college degree, and I was close to her and followed in her footsteps. She did hers part time while working, while I was lucky to be able to go and finish in 4 years.

My aunt and her husband both worked for the federal government, so even though I was employed in private industry soon after college graduation, when I got a call from the government related to a job, I took it. (I will never know if that was a great decision - probably would have made much more money in private industry, but for the most part I had strong work life balance, which was important as a working and at one point single mom).

My mom and one of her sisters were both waitresses and fairly poor, but both of them helped not only me but also several of their siblings who were more well off. They helped me understand the importance of hard work and saving, not spending . They also encouraged me to get my college degree, and my mom helped financially as she could.

@VaBluebird I thought I was the only one who holed up with the World Book encyclopedia as a child. Ours was stored on shelves in the kitchen. My spot was to sit under the kitchen table to read them.

I had Arthur Mee’s Children’s Encyclopedia in 10 volumes.

Amazing how different access to information is today.

A random woman who interviewed me at Good Housekeeping magazine. (Remember that?) She suggested I take a business course to see how I liked it. I went on to get an MBA and my career trajectory changed dramatically because of it.

Also, the man who was my boss for around 12 years at my first job after business school. He taught me how to behave professionally (through his example, the best way) and also demonstrated that no question is a stupid question. When he retired, I told him I had learned more from him than anyone except my parents.

Although a US citizen born in the US, when I was 5 years old my family moved half a world away when my father took a position with the US Agency for International Development. I lived in a different country through all my elementary school years before we returned back to the US.

We traveled extensively, and made friends with people of all sorts of nationalities, religions, and backgrounds. It has had a huge influence on me and how I see the world. This legacy also influenced my D to minor in middle eastern studies and learn Arabic; she now lives and works in a different country.

My mom - super adventurous, always up for traveling, exploring, and trying new things. Pretty sure she thought I took it too far when I went sky diving when I turned 40 but she planted those seeds.

I also had two amazing mentors early in my career. Both gave me responsibilities way beyond what I should have been doing at that age/experience, boosted my confidence, and are still in my life today.

I also have an amazing woman who taught me how to find joy in living after my son died. She’s been an incredible role model and friend.

I never really had a mentor that helped guide me. In college, my major was definitely a “man’s field” at the time. I think the professors mostly ignored me & didn’t know how to mentor a woman. Looking back, I recall how they typically told me I was doing a great job (virtual pat on the back), but then moved onto the guys, and truly critiqued their work. Upon graduation, I was given a prestigious medal. They were given graduate scholarships.

BUT, I did recently create a list of all my friends & wrote out how each of them has taught me something. Patience, creativity, endurance, etc. That was a gift.

I had a professor in college who strongly supported me as a female computer science/math major in a man’s world. He got me my first job (part-time in the computer department at my college). He also nominated me for a science award at graduation which I won (something that typically went to a student in a more traditional science field).

Thanks to my Dad who taught me to grab opportunities for adventure and travel. He was a foreign service officer and spending much of my childhood overseas has made such a difference to my life. He also encouraged me to take a gap year before starting college where I learned to speak French fluently and was able to use that to take opportunities in college and beyond thanks to that and learning how to learn a language.

Thanks to my Mom who spent a couple of years teaching us in a one room school house. She taught me to advocate for my own education. She taught me to get excited about math, as we both learned New Math together. She went back to college when I was in junior high and taught me that it’s never too late to learn new things. She was also a fabulous art teacher.

Thanks to my high school history teacher Mrs. Wechsler who I had twice. She let a small group of us study the Middle Ages instead of what the rest of the freshman class did. I still remember the Pirenne thesis about when the Roman Empire really fell and that there is a lot more to history than politics.

Thanks to my two Harvard professors Eduard Sekler and Albert Szabo co-founders of the Visual and Environmental Studies program at Harvard, mentors for my senior thesis who had a profound influence on my career.

Marlo Thomas from That Girl. I was a latchkey kid who watched a lot of TV, and I loved that Anne Marie was independent and living alone in the big city but still a daddy’s girl. She showed that it was OK to have ambition and still love your family. I was the first in my family to graduate college, and my own parents never even got to HS. I had no role model in my family and, in fact, was actively discouraged from doing things such as get an apartment after college.

Books, sports, and study abroad.

Speaking of World Book Encyclopedias, who else remember the Cyclo Teacher? My brother and I loved playing with it. My husband and I continued with World Books at home with our children, and would buy the yearbook each year also.

My dad. The hardest-working, most principled person I know. He started me off with engineering lettering workbooks when I was about seven, and let me go to some of his engineering classes with him from the time I was small (I loved being a little girl in a room full of cute college boys, ha). He is ALWAYS there for me. We disagree about politics and religion, but he’s still my main influence.

My mom. She took my sister and me to the library constantly from the time we could barely read. I can still see and smell the Austin Public Library in my mind. :slight_smile:

My fifth grade teacher taught us girls to be strong and stand up for ourselves.

My two math teachers in high school were both women with PhDs. I admired them a lot.

I was another kid who read the World Book Encylopedias for fun. Some of my schoolmates thought I was odd, ha.