What do 3D printing, landscape architecture, and trendspotting have in common? Answer: they are fields of innovation and design where women are leading the way. This past week, I attended the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame ceremony as a returning table captain supporter. The evening was very eventful and included the induction of three leading women into the hall of fame, the naming of eleven enterprising women as honorees, and the celebration of a remarkable young girl as the Junior Designer and Innovation Honoree. Grace Academy Hartford was also honored with the 2014 President’s Award. It was an evening filled with inspiration and examples of excellence in action!
2014 Hall of Fame Inductees…Shown Right to Left: Katherine Wiltshire (CWHF Executive Director), Jenny Lawton (2014 Inductee), Marian Salzman (2014 Inductee), Tracie Gildea (Honorary Event Chair from Platinum Sponsor Stanley Black & Decker), Susan Ballek (Executive Director of Hill-Stead Museum who accepted on behalf of Historic Inductee Beatrix Farrand), Susan Rottner (CWHF Board Chair). Photo credit: Allegra Anderson Photography
The three women inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2014 include:
- Jennifer Lawton – CEO of MakerBot, a global leader in the desktop 3D printing industry. Jennifer is a respected company builder, technologist, and advocate for entrepreneurship
- Marian Salzman – named one of the world’s top five trendspotters She is a leader in the public relations industry, and is a two-time brain cancer survivor
- Beatrix Farrand (1872-1959) – among the first five women in the US to practice landscape architecture, and the only woman in the group of eleven founding members of the American Society of Landscape Architects.
Check out these impressive credentials
There are so many women leading the way in innovation in many important fields. Here are eleven hot shots from the state of Connecticut who are taking their talent to the next level so that we can all benefit.Anabella Villalobos, Ph.D.
Head of Neuroscience Medicinal Chemistry, Pfizer
Innovative drug discovery researcher and author of multiple patents and publications, developing leading-edge therapies for Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and schizophrenia Rondelynn Bell & Naimah Spann
Innovative fashion designers and founders of an after-school program and experiential learning curriculum for young people Mariko Masuoka
Principal, Pelli Clarke Pelli
Leader in environmentally-friendly building design and award-winning LEED designer of academic and commercial building projects in Connecticut and beyond Biree Andemariam, M.D. Assistant Professor, UConn Health Center
Award-winning hematologist leading research and treatment of blood disorders including sickle cell disease and hemophilia, with particular attention to their impact on women’s health Sandra Diana Inga, Ph.D.
PK-12 STEM Director, Hartford Public Schools
Recognized STEM educator, leader and mentor in Hartford Public Schools, developing multiple STEM initiatives including co-chairing the design and implementation of a Blue Ribbon K-8 STEM magnet school Erin Duffy, Ph.D.
Chief Scientific Officer, Melinta Therapeutics
Computational chemist developing next-generation antibiotics and leading expert on the structure and function of bacterial ribosomes and the effect of antibiotics on their ribosomal targets Katherine (Kate) Emery
CEO & Founder, The Walker Group and Founder, reSET
Cutting-edge information technology leader and founder of New England’s largest woman-owned technology services firm, tireless advocate for Connecticut as a hub for social enterprise Theresa Muenkel Christy
Fellow, Otis Elevator Company
Multiple patent holder and award-winning designer of vertical transportation configurations for some of the world’s most recognizable structures Marian Chertow, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Industrial Environmental Management, Yale University
Business and environment expert specializing in industrial symbiosis, industrial ecology and waste management strategies
Joan M. Sienkiewicz
Program Supervisor, General Dynamics Electric Boat
Experienced naval architect and marine engineer, designing combat weapons systems and overseeing forward-end electronics integration in Virginia-class submarines
Eleven year old Kylie Simonds was this year’s Junior Design & Innovation Honoree. Kylie is a survivor of a rare childhood cancer, having endured 46 weeks of chemotherapy, radiation, and surgeries. Now cancer-free, she has turned her difficult experiences into a passion to help other children. Kylie has designed a chemo backpack that will allow kids receiving cancer treatment to have better mobility which will make their treatment experience less intimidating. Her invention won top honors at this year’s Connecticut Invention Convention, and she’s already received a provisional patent for her design! Kylie is currently working to raise awareness of her project and laying the groundwork to produce a working prototype of her design.
- Watch this TV interview of Kylie and her mother talking about how she invented this unique “solution to an everyday problem” of dealing with chemotherapy as a kid.
Kylie raised more than $50,000 for her invention on GoFundMe.org. Watch her video and help her to get this innovation into the hands with kids with cancer.
What advice would you give to young innovators?
One of my favorite parts of the CT Women’s Hall of Fame induction evening is when the honorees are invited to give a piece of advice to other women and girls who seek to lead. I hurriedly tried to preserve their words of wisdom in my little notebook, but inevitably I didn’t capture it all. Please forgive me to not being able to accurately source these quotes to the correct woman. They are also paraphrased, but none the less, they are inspiring!
“Believe in yourself and your ideas, while remaining open to improvements and other people’s points of view.”
“Be passionate. Be disciplined. And remember your first team.”
“Keep your heart connected to your head. They work better together.”
“Most innovation comes from lateral thinking, not a linear thought process.’
“Keep a list of your accomplishments. Learn to tell your own story. No one else will. And remember to ask for what you want.”
“Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. “
“‘No” doesn’t hurt. Just go and find someone who will say ‘Yes.'”
“If you don’t fall on your butt a few times, you won’t win.”
“You get ahead when you are just crazy enough.”
“If they can do it, we can do it!”
What will be your leadership legacy?
I love watching this inspiring video. It reminds of the bravery, courage, and contributions of many women across important fields and disciplines. It motivates me to step up my game and push myself out of my own safe and secure comfort zone.
Bread and Roses is a video compilation showcasing all of the Hall’s Inductees and set to the work song “Bread and Roses,” in which women describe their fight for bread (everyday necessities) and roses (love and beauty). It reminds us that women have long sought to participate in and enjoy all that life has to offer, refusing to be confined to a separate sphere.
You might recognize some of these leading ladies in this video. Enjoy!
To learn more about the FREE educational programs offered by The CT Women’s Hall of Fame, please visit http://www.cwhf.org/