Great Women In History

Leadership Power

Leadership Vision –
Women have been blazing trails throughout history, but perhaps none have embodied the American pioneering spirit more than the women leaders of NASA.

Beginning with Sally Ride as the first US women in space, through Eileen Colleens who served first as Shuttle Pilot and then as Shuttle Commander, women have blazed the trail across the night sky. They have also blazed the trail for all women who aspire to go where no woman has gone before – both professionally and metaphorically.

But the road into outer space was paved by women most of us have never heard of. “The Mercury 13” as they were known, were lead by female pilot Jerrie Cobb. She was one of a select group of women who were preparing alongside the original Mercury 7 male astronauts. Pilot Cobb arrived for astronaut training having logged 10,000 hours of flight time, while her male counterparts, including John Glenn, had only 5000. For reasons that were as unclear then as they are now, these women were denied the ride into history as NASA unexpectedly decided to focus solely on male astronauts and disband the womens program.

Thwarted in her attempt to explore outer space, but unwavering in her love for flying, Pilot Cobb dedicated herself to exploring “inner” space and flew missions into and above the Amazon jungle bringing hope, help, love and medical supplies to the indigenous jungle people. For her humanitarian efforts spanning more than 30 years, Jerrie Cobb was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

Leadership Persistence –
Jerrie Cobb began flying as a 12-year old after spending a summer night camped out in the backyard gazing at the Oklahoma sky. Following her heart, she pursued flying and aviation mechanics (out of necessity) for the rest of her life. Recognizing her true happiness before she was old enough to appreciate its authenticity, allowed Jerrie Cobb to realize her full potential and achieve personal greatness.

These three women leaders, Cobb, along with Sally Ride and Eileen Collins all share a common denominator. They would not be denied! Even though Cobb was denied the opportunity to become an astronaut, she continued to pursue flying and in fact her greatest contributions ended up being humanitarian rather than scientific. Sally Ride dropped out of Swarthmore College to pursue a career as a professional tennis player but had to go to Plan B (PhD in astrophysics) when it became evident that she was not good enough to play tennis professionally. Eileen Collins family did not have enough money to send her off to college so she stayed home and studied hard enough at a local community college to earn a full academic scholarship to Syracuse University.

The initial path to greatness for each of these accomplished women was chock full of potholes and detours. Undaunted, each one found an alternative means to fulfill their destiny. Greatness may not always be easy to achieve, but it will always be worth every step. It takes a lot of brainpower to be a successful aviator, but all three of our flyers first had to flex their cranial muscles identifying their dreams and then figuring out how to pursue them. Ultimately their greatness was delayed, but not denied, because these three woman leaders had “the right stuff”.

You may not be entertaining thoughts of being an astronaut, but you must have big dreams. Imagine the dream created by this NASA recruitment information:

“The open positions require extensive travel on Earth and in space. Possible destinations may include, but are not limited to, Texas, Florida, California, Russia, Kazakhstan, the International Space Station and the moon.”

How might you identify your dream, begin to pursue it and achieve greatness?
I am dedicated to having you achieve your leadership potential. I invite you to begin your leadership journey right now and learn how you can create your own leadership plan. Visit and build your own path to becoming a great woman in history.

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