Have you ever wondered what it was like to travel the world before commercial airlines existed?
Today we honour female explorer, writer and photographer, Harriet Chalmers Adams (1875-1937), who logged over 100,000 travel miles (the equivalent of four times around the world) all before you could purchase a trans-Atlantic commercial airline ticket!
Harriet traveled for 3 years throughout South America from 1904 to 1907 when the vast majority of the lands and indigenous cultures were vastly unknown. When she returned to America, she pitched travel story ideas, along with her colour photos (Whoa!) and video journals (double whoa!) to National Geographic Magazine. She became National Geo’s most prolific female contributor while readers were astonished that some of the most adventurous stories were experienced and written by a woman.
Harriet complete other significant adventures including retracing Christopher Columbus’s trail of discovery through the Americas, crossing Haiti on horseback and following Ferdinand Magellan’s sailing route from Spain to the Philipines. During World War I she served as a correspondent for Harper’s Magazine and was the only female journalist allowed to visit the trenches!
In 1913 she was admitted to Britain’s Royal Geographical Society and helped found the Society of Woman Geographers in 1925 (some suspect it was because she was denied entry to the American Explorers Club for being a woman).
Thank you Harriet Chalmers Adams for blazing a trail for female explorers! Thank you for being a ViVaCious Leader. What an incredible life filled with stories, experience and colour!
On an ordinary day in 1955, the actions and courage of a woman on a city bus in Montgomery, Alabama became an extraordinary moment that disrupted a nation and sparked a civil rights movement that helped change the future of the United States of America.
Traveling home from work that day on a city bus, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat for a white man. She was arrested. On the day she was convicted of violating the US segregation laws, a community organized bus boycott began. It lasted more than a year and ended only when the US Supreme Court ruled that bus segregation was unconstitutional! Hear, Hear!
After facing continued harassment and threats, Parks and her family moved to Detroit where she worked as an administrative aid to Congressman Conyers Jr until she retired in 1988. Between 1977 and 1979, her husband, brother and mother all died of cancer. Fuck Cancer! But let's not digress...
During her retirement she co-founded the Rosa & Raymond Parks Institute for Self-Development to serve Detroit’s youth. She traveled to lend her support to civil-rights events and wrote an autobiography, “Rosa Parks: My Story”.
In 1999, Rosa Parks was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest honour the United States bestows on a civilian. By refusing giving up her seat, Rosa Parks became a nationally recognized symbol of dignity and strength in the struggle to end racial segregation.
Happy birthday Rosa Parks. Thank you for showing up and giving the world the most courageous and ViVaCious version of yourself!
In 1953, the skepticism surrounding Barbara McClintock’s scientific results was so strong that she stopped publishing her work, but she did not stop working.
Barbara was an American geneticist who dedicated her life to researching the hereditary characteristics in corn and how these characteristics are passed down through generations and linked to chromosomes. During the 40s and 50s, she discovered that genes can move around and they are responsible for turning physical characteristics off and on.
Her results became better understood in the 60s and 70s as other scientists confirmed her findings. Finally, in 1983, Barbara McClintock’s work was accepted and recognized when she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. She was the first woman to receive an unshared Noble Prize in that category.
Barbara McClintock, thank you for your tenacity despite the skeptics. You are a truly ViVaCious Leader!
I first fell in love with Tina Fey’s work when I listened to her audio book “Bossypants”. That book is laden with golden nuggets of wisdom from a woman who’s clearly gone up against all that holds women back in male dominated industries and succeeded in achieving global recognition for her work. Tina Fey presents to the world her unique sense of humour, she opens a window into herself and let’s the world look in and she does it with a confidence that says … hey, I’m just doing my thing.
But Tina’s book may not be why you know her, she’s starred in the tv shows "30 Rock" and the "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” and spent many years on "Saturday Night Live" where she most recently became known for her impersonation of the Republican Vice Presidential Candidate Sarah Pallin. She wrote and co-starred in the movie "Mean Girls" and she’s received 9 Primetime Emmy Awards, 2 Golden Globes, 5 Actors Guild Awards, 4 Writers Guild of America Awards and she is the youngest-ever recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humour!
Thank you Tina Fey, for giving the world the most ViVaCious version of you!