Sandra Magnus is an engineer and NASA astronaut who worked on the International Space Station. Michelle Howard is a four-star U.S. Navy admiral and the first woman and African-American woman to achieve the rank of admiral in the Navy. Ami Radunskaya is a mathematician with a great sense of humor who’s addicted to teaching.
Sandra, Michelle and Ami are a few of the extraordinary women who generously share their paths to success in The Empowerment Project, an inspiring documentary film that made its San Diego debut at Qualcomm last week. The film focuses on five young female filmmakers who spend a month driving across America, interviewing successful women along the way with the goal of making a film that will encourage, empower and inspire the next generation of women to believe in themselves and pursue their dreams. Check out the movie trailer here.
I think every woman and girl should see this film with their loved ones. It sends a powerful message about following our passions and being unafraid to fail. The ladies in this film show us what strong, successful women look like. They are trailblazers, most of them pushing through in fields where there were no female role models to show the way. One of my favorite comments was when Admiral Howard said, “Be ready to be a pioneer, and understand what this means when people don’t look like you.” That is still so true today in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.
The film’s creators, Sarah Moshman and Dana Michelle Cook, are so committed to sending a positive message to women and girls that you can only see this film by hosting a screening and discussion afterward… and that’s just what we did.
Participating in the panel discussion following the screening were Stephanie Armstrong, founder and executive director of Heart of Leadership; Sarah Moshman and Dana Michelle Cook; Kyra Phillips, correspondent for CNN’s investigative and documentary units; and Michelle Sterling, executive vice president of Human Resources for Qualcomm.
The panelists shared how their backgrounds drove their success and discussed the importance of having mentors and strong female role models. They echoed what we saw and heard in the film—that women and girls can do anything, be anything. If we believe in our ability and follow our passion, we can make our dreams come true.
I had the pleasure of collaborating with our Qualcomm Global Inclusion & Diversity team and the Heart of Leadership to screen this film for the San Diego community. Hosting this event aligns with Qualcomm diversity goals to connect, educate and empower underrepresented groups globally and promote gender equality. It also aligns with our efforts to inspire young people to pursue STEM education, foster a culture that attracts and develops top talent and ensures employee engagement and retention, which helps maintain a competitive business climate.
As one of the event’s organizers, I had the honor of delivering introductory remarks. Afterward, a young girl who just graduated middle school came up to me and asked, “How did you learn to speak so well in front of people?” I recognized this as a mentoring moment, and I wanted to empower her with what I’ve learned. I told her to take every opportunity to share her ideas and practice in front of groups. I said I was nervous up there, but it was important to me to do a good job and be a role model for you!