Margaret Crane Mad Menned the first Home Pregnancy Test

Does it ever seem like a lot of your female friends are pregnant at the same time? Or a lot of celebrities are expecting? Well, with another royal baby on the way and what seems like a lot of Kardashian babies about to enter the world – I began thinking about the home pregnancy test. Who made that thing and was it made by a woman?

You guys, the answers did not disappoint. Buckle up, because this a good story.

Imagine it is the mid-1960s in America and you think you might be pregnant but you aren’t really sure. Your only option for finding out is setting up an appointment with a doctor and taking a pregnancy test. It’s not one of this stick pregnancy tests that shows a blue line either. You wait for up to two weeks before getting an answer. Ridiculous! Now imagine you are a single woman and this was an unplanned pregnancy and this was before Roe v Wade which legalized abortion. Going to a doctor is much harder and you may be chastised or given a lecture by your doctor. Wouldn’t you rather find out the results by yourself and get quicker results?

Enter Margaret Crane, a 26-year old graphic designer who was freelancing in a lab called Organon when she noticed hundreds of pregnancy tests the lab received. Margaret had been hired to design packages for lipstick, face creams, and other similar items. When she saw the hundreds of pregnancy tests, she thought there wasn’t much to the test really and any woman could do it herself. Although the first pregnancy test kits weren’t as sophisticated or simple as they are today, the process is quite simple. The pregnancy tests were looking for the presence or absence of human chorionic gonadotropin, a hormone that is present during pregnancy. A red circle appears at the bottom of the tube if pregnancy is detected.

Predictor prototype_

Margaret Crane immediately began working on a design. Her at-home pregnancy test kit was fully designed in 1967 and inspired by a paperclip container which sat on her desk. It was called the Predictor and had a vial, dropper, and mirror. But in case you were wondering if this was an instant hit and the Predictor was available everywhere – it was met with a lot of pushback. Like a lot. Organon was worried that they would lose business if women were no longer visiting their doctors for pregnancy tests. But Margaret Crane persisted, because “women shouldn’t have to wait two weeks,” and she felt strongly that women needed to know their situation in order to begin taking care of it. The Predictor took only 2 hours to provide results.

One manager’s response was “What if a senator’s daughter, unmarried, found she was pregnant and jumped off a bridge? The company would have to go under for that.”

“People in the company told me in effect that I was evil, this was really bad, this was terrible, and I had no right to be bringing this up—and women had no right to be doing this themselves; this was in doctors’ hands,” Crane says. “And apparently some doctors were very upset about it when it finally got to the market, but not for terribly long.”

Predictor advertisement

Organon’s founders in the Netherlands were interested in the idea but I assume did not feel ready to bring it to America yet due to the rigorous FDA approval process. They also weren’t sure on the design. So the managers at Organon (all men) held a meeting without inviting Margaret but she heard whispers about it. The men had dressed up the Predictor with tassels, flowers, and fake diamonds on them. Side note: can you imagine some Lisa Frank style pregnancy test telling you if your bun was in the oven? Margaret crashed the meeting and slid her prototype onto the table with all the ugly designs. An ad man, Ira Sturtevant, arrived at the meeting to lead the marketing efforts, and this is where things get surreal. He immediately selected Margaret’s design but Margaret’s boss claimed that was only on the table for talking purposes and it was too expensive to mass produce. Not only did Margaret’s simple, sleek design OBVIOUSLY win out because she knows what clients — women — want, but by fate, she would also find a lifetime partnership both professionally and personally with Ira Sturtevant.

Ira and Meg

Margaret championed the at-home pregnancy hard. Despite her boss and managers still claiming it would be too expensive, she took days off of work to talk and meet with plastic manufacturers across New York. She found a manufacturer to produce her design for 30 percent less than the men’s frilly tassel/flower/fake diamond kits.

In 1971, Margaret and Ira conducted a trial run of Predictor in Canada. Predictor finally came to the US market in 1977, a full decade after it had been invented. Unfortunately, Margaret had to sign off all patent rights to it, which is not an uncommon practice as I understand. But she signed off her rights for a dollar which she never actually received. Even though technically her name was on the patent, Margaret Crane received virtually no recognition for design or efforts.

Meg Crane 2As recent as 2012, the NY Times ran an article “Who Made the At Home Pregnancy Test?” and failed to mention Margaret Crane. Whether that was intentional or out of ignorance, I have no idea, but Margaret’s niece caught wind of the article and pushed her aunt to take credit for her groundbreaking design. Then the prototype for Predictor was auctioned off at Bonham’s in 2015 to The Smithsonian for nearly $12,000 and now has a rightful home in The Smithsonian’s American History Museum. In fact, much of the information for this blog came directly from The Smithsonian (shout out to museums for giving credit where credit is due!). And the NY Times finally featured our girl Margaret Crane as the inventor of the first at-home pregnancy test in an article which ran in 2016.

So there you have it, Peggy Olson’s really do exist, and Margaret Crane is my new favorite inventor.  The Predictor now sits in a humidity-controlled space next to other prestigious artifacts in the Smithsonian History of Medicine and Science Collection in Washington, D.C. and the design is rightfully credited to Margaret Crane.




Emma & Kathryn — Living their best Leslie Knope lives

Here at HerStory, we are BIG BIG fans of podcasts. So much so, one of us is getting her doctorate in them (that’s a gross oversimplification on my part but you should expect that from me). One of our favorites is the “Waffles Friends Work: A Parks & Recreation Podcast“, hosted by Kathryn Baxter and Emma McAuley. Following the episodes of a HerStory favorite show Parks & Recreation, each podcast also features at least one real life badass lady public servant, cut straight from the Leslie Knope mold. Kathryn and Emma do a spectacular job of finding women in all forms of public service and provides the opportunity for them to speak about their experiences and positions. Of course, it made perfect sense for us to highlight these two women, their work with the podcast, and their own careers.


Q: Why are you interested in public service?
A: Kathryn – We both have a Masters in Public Service degree — in fact, our graduate program is how we met. Emma’s background is in informal education. Mine is in advocacy and policy. But we both believe strongly in the idea that service is the rent we pay for room on this earth. As Leslie Knope demonstrates, public service positions are sometimes underpaid, underestimated, and undervalued, but I know neither of us would trade believing in the work we do and feeling that our work has purpose for anything.

Q: Why did you start your podcast? How do you find the amazing ladies you interview?
Emma – Kathryn had the idea to start the podcast and asked me to join because we are both huge fans of Parks & Recreation. We have been so lucky with the amazing women that we have been able to interview. Logistically, it can sometimes be difficult to find people at the local level because so many women (and gender nonconforming people) do work that doesn’t get headlines or awards — they just (to quote Tina Fey and Amy Poehler) “get stuff done”. So we began looking for potential guests by asking the women we knew in public service to recommend any “real-life Leslie Knopes” in their circles. We also research the staff of organizations we admire to find potential guests. We are so fortunate that many of the women we reach out to not only have Leslie Knope’s dedication to their jobs but also have her enthusiasm for their work and agree to speak with us! And, of course, we are always open to guest recommendations from listeners
A: Kathryn – I also have to add that ever since I was young, I was raised with that “anything boys can do, I can do too” attitude. So I admit that some of my motivation to actually create our own podcast was to take up some space in a field that can can feel very male-dominated and to use that space to talk with and about amazing women/gender nonconforming people. All that said, I love podcasting because it’s a fairly democratic medium in that the barriers to entry are low. While a lot of the big-name podcasts (is that an oxymoron?) are still very male-dominated, there are so many diverse voices out there if you’re willing to look for them. I also have to add that ever since I was young, I was raised with that “anything boys can do, I can do too” attitude. So I admit that some of my motivation to actually create our own podcast was to take up some space in a field that can can feel very male-dominated and to use that space to talk with and about amazing women/gender nonconforming people. All that said, I love podcasting because it’s a fairly democratic medium in that the barriers to entry are low. While a lot of the big-name podcasts (is that an oxymoron?) are still very male-dominated, there are so many diverse voices out there if you’re willing to look for them.BoysGirls-01.pngCredit to Ryan Tran

Q: What’s your favorite P&R episode?
A: Emma – Flu Season (season 3, episode 2). “Stop pooping” is an iconicParks & Recline and I just love how we get to see Leslie excel at her job while also seeing Amy Poehler have a chance to be incredibly funny in the process.
A: Kathryn – I’m not sure I actually can say! Most of the episodes that stand out to me are memorable because of iconic moments for Pawnee or our favorite characters (which I won’t detail so as not to spoil anything for our first-time viewers!). But as I think our experience with the podcast is proving, there is just SO MUCH quality in even the everyday, non-Very Special Episode episodes. Check in with me in 20 months once we’ve wrapped up the podcast and maybe I’ll be able to say for sure then.

Q: What do you do now in IRL?
A: Kathryn – I work for the national Center for School Mental Health at the University of Maryland Baltimore. We support research, policy, training, and practice that advances school-based mental health care. I strongly believe in investing in young people’s health, education, and success, and this position is a great opportunity to support all three of those things.
A: Emma – I am a research assistant with Education Development Center, a nonprofit that creates, delivers, and evaluates health and education programs. I work on a project that provides technical assistance to the federal home visiting program, which provides families with skills and resources necessary for healthy children.

18768368_10158724970695058_5470441648948259410_oThis photo is from a trip we and another Clinton School alumna took together to Brainerd, Minnesota to visit one of our guests at her soon-to-be-open reproductive health clinic.

Q: What advice have you gotten about being a woman in public service that most rings true for you?
A: Kathryn – “Take serious criticism from serious people seriously. And… take unserious criticism from unserious people unseriously.” This quote is from Chelsea Clinton, but I found it when researching one of our guests, Minnesota State Representative Erin Maye Quade, because shecited it in an interview as advice that resonated with her. And it clearly is great advice because it strikes a chord with me as well.
A. Emma –  The advice that most rings true with me actually came from Erin Maye Quade as well! She was definitely a fabulous guest. As a woman who currently holds an elected office, she spoke with us about the importance of utilizing your skill set to contribute in your own most effective way. As someone who fervently believes in equity in our representation but also does not feel that campaigning and holding elected office is for me, that advice really stuck with me and helps me better value the contributions that people can make without feeling compelled to run for office. (P.S. Erin Maye Quade joined us for episode 3.05if you want to hear more of her insights!)

Q: If you had to choose 2 Leslie Knope memes or gifs to demonstrate your daily work life, which one would you choose?

Q: Are there books or articles that have influenced you that you’d like to share?

Screen Shot 2017-10-16 at 9.01.57 AMA: Check out Kathryn & Emma’s 4 choices on GoodReads and why they chose these books over all the other thousands she’s read.

Q: What instagram account do you like to check when you need a distraction?
A: Emma @bymariandrew – she’s a fantastic artist who has great insight and I find her drawings really relatable (This is the second time this Instagram has been chosen so if you don’t follow her yet, you really should)

Screen Shot 2017-09-25 at 8.58.31 PM

A. Kathryn – I’m a bad Millennial who doesn’t have an Instagram, but I am part of the Silent Book Club group on Facebook. When my newsfeed is otherwise filled with (very real and understandable) anger, fear, and sadness, it’s nice to take a break with people just sharing book recommendations and their love of reading.

P.S. We love what these two are doing and love listening in to their conversations. If you haven’t signed up for notifications, you are missing out.

Also, they gave us a third gif and we love it for ourselves! This is essentially how BrownEyedJude and I also exist as well. a31d0ad3939f64e9f2dcaf60467d14d1

Happy Indigenous Peoples Day!!

Here at HerStory, we celebrate Indigenous Peoples‘ Day on the second Monday of October. It celebrates the indigenous people of the US – promoting Native American culture and history. Hopefully soon, it will be the dedicated federal adopted holiday for this day.

While brainstorming awesome ladies to highlight on this day, it seemed an obvious choice to talk about Ada Deer. The first woman to head the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Ada is a lifelong advocate for Native American peoples and history.


Her advocacy included fighting to ensure that her tribe, the Menominees, was not declassified as a tribe in the 1960s and 1970s. She helped organized a massive march in Wisconsin from the Menominee County to the capital in Madison and regularly spent time in DC, lobbying Congress to protest the declassification. Due to her efforts, the original federal law terminating their status was reversed. She also served as the Chairperson of the Restoration Committee after the tribe was re-instated.

While she led the Bureau of Indian Affairs under President Clinton, she met with dozens of tribes and tried to empower tribe businesses to succeed, whether or not if they were on reservations.


Ada recently retired as a social work and taught at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  She also co-founded an Indian community school and started a program to provide social work training on Native American reservations.

Just a few of her honored posts: She was honored by the National Women’s History Month as a featured honoree, was a fellow at the JFK School of Government, and helped on the United Nations Human Rights Commission, Native American Rights Fund, and National Indian Gaming Commissions.

To be fair, I’ve only given you broad strokes on her awesomeness. Everything I found shows that Ada has spent her entire life, every minute, helping her community and making positive change. Even retired, she’s involved in providing support for her tribe and community.

The Accidental Activist

It’s been a ROUGH week guys. Like sob loudly in a shower rough week. Fifty-nine people were shot during a country concert in Las Vegas. The gunman was a 64-year old white retired man and was described by media as “unassuming”, “lonewolf”, “normal”. Pretty much all the stereotypical white-privileged shooter descriptions.

A lot of people have mentioned the mass shooting that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School when 20 children between the ages of 6 and 7 were fatally shot. It’s fitting to talk about Sandy Hook because that’s when many of us assumed that the mass shooting was so violent, so heartbreakingly sad that it would finally change the conversation in America around gun control.


Connecticut Community Copes With Aftermath Of Elementary School Mass Shooting
Sandy Hook Memorial


One mother, Shannon Watts, was one of those people who was deeply moved by the tragedy and loss of young lives at Sandy Hook. Shannon, a stay at home mother of 5, had only 75 friends on facebook at the time. But Shannon also had a background in corporate communications and she believed that she was not the only mom disturbed by the tragedies that had resulted from gun violence. The very next day Shannon started a page on facebook which would later grow into Moms Demand Action. Shannon reached out Mothers Against Drunk Driving for advice on how to steer Moms Demand Action, and news spread quickly about the organization leading to both support from fellow moms and ire from the opposition.


Here is an excerpt that Watts penned recently for The Guardian.

Our country is at a defining moment: do we want to keep experiencing these horrific shooting tragedies because the gun lobby has convinced Congress that we should allow guns for anyone, anywhere, any time – no questions asked? Or will we demand safety in our daily lives – at church, school, concerts and movie theaters? Because we do have a choice, and I urge every person who is as disgusted and horrified by this routine violence to make their voice heard.

As we grieve the horrific tragedy in Las Vegas, we must start talking openly and honestly about how to solve our nation’s gun violence crisis. For Congress, that means demanding they reject National Rifle Association leaders’ radical and deadly agenda. In Nevada, that means elected officials enforcing the law their constituents enacted last November.

Doing what we’ve been doing for decades – essentially letting the gun lobby write our country’s gun laws – has led to America having the highest rate of gun homicides of any developed nation. Clearly it’s time to do exactly the opposite of what gun lobbyists have instructed us to do: use our voices and votes to save lives. We can’t be silent anymore.

As of 2016, Moms Demand Action has stopped nearly 200 bills that allowed guns on campus or expanding Stand Your Ground laws. They also helped pass bills closing the background check loophole and partnered with Michael Bloomberg to form a like-minded organization — Everytown for Gun Safety.


They also convinced Starbucks, Target, Panera, Sonic, Chili’s, Chipotle, and Jack in the Box to ban open carry in their establishments.


Shannon Watts considers herself an accidental activist. Some of us could not be more grateful.



Mara D’Amico – “Justice, Women, Empathy”

We ventured out of Memphis and made our way to DC, via Michigan. We asked our next featured ladyboss, Mara D’Amico, a few questions and like the overachiever she is….she gave us even more!

SteinemMara with Gloria Steinem

Q: Why are you interested in public service?
A: I want to use the privileges, skills, knowledge, time, drive, and connections I have to serve others. I have been afforded many things in my life, and feel a strong sense of responsibility to serve my community and others with everything I have. Though service for me started as a way to help individuals in need, I’ve grown to focus on changing unjust systems, while also supporting the people impacted by those systems.

Q: How did you get started in public service?
A: A lot of my interest in public service stems from my family – both my parents worked in public schools and had a passion for serving their students, particularly those most in need. They helped develop a strong sense of empathy in me, as well as a passion for using my time to serve others. Additionally, I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when I was 7 years old, and, faced with a life-disrupting and life-threatening disease, I wanted to do something about it. I raised money for my local Walk to Cure Diabetes, I gave presentations to my elementary school classmates about the disease, and I learned how it felt to take action in the face of something that seems impossible to overcome. My interest in and dedication to working on seemingly intractable problems has only grown from there.

Q: What do you do now?
A: I work at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in the Long-Acting Reversible Contraception Program. Basically, I work with doctors and hospital staff to ensure that all women can access the full range of contraceptive methods. In my free time, I’m a volunteer crisis counselor with Crisis Text Line, a volunteer with Girls on the Run of Northern Virginia, a board member for a criminal justice organization, and a drummer with Batala Washington.

Drums                                             Mara playing the drums with Batala Washington

Q: What advice have you gotten about being a woman in public service that most rings true for you?
A: @maraedamico Treat others with kindness – you never know what they’re going through & you may have the power to lift their spirits or break them.

Q: If you had to choose a gif to demonstrate your daily work life, which one would you choose? **


Q: Are there books or articles that have influenced you that you’d like to share?
A: Check out Mara’s 7 choices on GoodReads and why she chose these books over all the other thousands she’s read. Screen Shot 2017-10-02 at 11.08.40 PM

Q: What Instagram account do you like to check when you need a distraction?
A: I love cooking and these ladies have some incredible recipes.

                                        @smittenkitchen                                           @minimalistbaker


P.S. It just was Mara’s Birthday Week!! So not only does she deserve credit on a daily basis for all the passion she puts into the world but she gets all the balloons this week! BALLOONS!!

Photo Caption: Mara’s featured photo is from her registering voters on the Hillary Clinton campaign in Grosse Pointe, MI.

Title Caption:  “Justice, Women, Empathy” are the three words that describe the types of service and advocacy she is drawn to.

**Subnote: Yes, we give extra credit points to Leslie Knope references.

Veena Rangaswami – Act like a lady, Think like a BOSS

By coincidence, our next amazing woman we are featuring that we know personally is ALSO in Memphis, TN. We asked Veena Rangawami, another great friend of HerStory, to answer a few questions about her passion for public service and what motivates her.


Q: Why are you interested in public service?
A: I’ve never known a life without public service. I grew up in a small town in the Delta as the daughter of two physicians who encouraged my older brother and me to give back for as long as I can remember. My career in public service has evolved a lot over the years, but it has its roots in my Delta childhood.

Q: How did you get started in public service?
A: I grew up in one of the ten poorest counties in the country, and every day my parents would come home with stories of patients whose families could not afford medical treatment. My father is a pediatrician who never turned away a child because of a family’s inability to pay, and that was a lesson I took to heart from a young age. I had the opportunity to go to boarding school for my last two years of high school where I became involved in daily service and learned more about how to serve my community. That involvement continued through various programs in undergrad, after which I moved to India and worked as a program manager for an NGO in Bangalore. Each opportunity has led to the next, and I feel like I have now come full circle.

Q: What do you do now?
A: I am the COLLABORATE Specialist for the Bridge Builders program at BRIDGES in Memphis, TN. That’s a fancy way of saying I coordinate our summer leadership conferences for rising 11th and 12th graders and help to run our year-round program. We bring together 7th-12th graders from around the greater Memphis area to participate in experiential-learning workshops and then discuss ways they can use their newfound skills to create change in their communities. I have the honor of watching our students grow as leaders in their neighborhoods and their schools, and I know how cliched it sounds but I really do feel like I have found my dream job.

Q: What advice would you give a woman coming up in public service?
A: I saw a woman wearing a shirt at a recent festival in Memphis, and the image of it has stayed with me; it said, “Act like a lady, Think like a BOSS.”

Q: Tell me about a powerful moment you’ve had while in public service?
A: During the first week of Senior Conference this summer, I was speaking with one of our Bridge Builders. He is a very sincere, thoughtful young man, and when I said in passing that it seems like he has been a Bridge Builder his entire life, he responded with “Maybe it’s because BRIDGES is the only place where I feel I can always be myself.” He said it so casually, but it really drove home the impact of the work we are doing.

Q: If you had to choose a meme or gif to demonstrate your daily work life, which one would you choose?


Q: Who is your role model?
I have so many, but I keep coming back to Joli Anderson. Joli was the director of the service program at Baylor School, my high school alma mater, for over 20 years and has been one of the greatest teachers I’ve ever known. She is the person who first introduced me to daily service, who gave me my first service leadership role, and who afforded me my first opportunity to combine travel and service. Over the years I have turned to Joli again and again, and she continues to be one of the greatest inspirations in my life.

Q: What Instagram account do you like to check when you need a distraction?

P.S. Veena is awesome. This is just the tip of the iceberg of her awesomeness. She also has one of the best grams herself – @veen_83. You should totally follow her.

An ode to Beverley Bass

With the anniversary of 9/11 coming up, let’s talk about Beverley Bass. A friend of mine was visiting NYC last spring and told me about the musical Come From Away which tells the true story of what happened when 38 planes were ordered to land unexpectedly in the small town of Gander, Newfoundland. As you can probably guess, Gander is a small community and they had not seen that many planes since World War II. Literally, the planes were lined up wing to wing and there wasn’t an inch of concrete left on the tarmac. The entire town of Gander came out to support the “plane people” and showed up with bags of sandwiches, medicine, blankets, and hospitality. It makes for a really good musical, but when the writers were scouting out Gander, one of the residents reportedly said, “Are you going to make a musical about people making sandwiches? Good luck with that.” Come From Away isn’t about the easiest lunch to make, but it does wonderfully capture a unique day in history and the events that unfolded in the wake of 9/11.

Cue Beverley Bass, one the main characters of the musical, who was piloting a plane from Dallas to Paris when she heard the news and was immediately rerouted to Newfoundland. This is not a story about 9/11. This is a story about the legendary Beverley Bass.

Beverley Bass.jpeg

Beverley Bass was one of many pilots flying on 9/11 who was ordered to divert her plane to Newfoundland. While the events and what happened in those critical moments are significant, Beverley Bass had already made history. She was the third woman hired by American Airlines and became the first female pilot promoted to captain in 1986. Weeks later, Beverley made news again by leading an all-female flight crew. The landing was covered by press from all over the world. All Beverley ever wanted to do was fly planes.

When she told her parents she wanted to take flying lessons, her father wasn’t on board with the idea at first, preferring her to stick to the family business of taking care of the horses. But after she started her freshman year at Texas Christian University (TCU), she finally began taking lessons and quickly became certified and ready to fly. Finding a job was not easy. Women were not pilots back then and she was often asked in interviews “But what would the wives of the executives think?” At 21, the flight school Beverley attended desperately needed a pilot to fly a body to Arkansas, but none of the male pilots would do it. Beverley jumped on the opportunity and it wasn’t too long before her passengers were a bit more lively (pun intended).

After 9/11 occurred, the thought of flying felt dangerous for passengers and flight crews alike. But not for Beverley being the professional that she is, “I will fly anything, anywhere. Whatever you need flown, I will fly it.”

Earlier this year Come From Away opened on Broadway after a record-breaking run at the La Jolla theatre. And Beverley may have broken another record! She has followed the play from La Jolla, to Seattle, Washington, Gander, Toronto, and now New York and seen it over 60 times often accompanied by fellow female pilots or her husband.

I love musicals and listening to Beverley Bass’s song on Come From Away brings so many emotions. Give it a listen! Jenn Colella plays Beverley Bass in the musical and is a phenomenal singer. I’m hoping Queenjules and I can go see it some day.

There are a lot of great articles and blogs posts about Beverley Bass, so if you want to read more, check out the following:

Flight to Success blog “911 and Beverley Bass”
Dallas News, “Tales of 9/11: Beverley Bass took a detour to Gander”
NY Times “A Pioneering Pilot, a Broadway Show, and a Life Changing Bond”

Kayla Brooks – Well behaved women seldom make history

We are trying something a little new here at HerStory and highlighting the women we know personally that we admire and who inspire us on a daily basis. We are starting with Kayla Brooks, a good friend of HerStory working in Memphis, TN. We asked Kayla a few questions about her passion for public service and what motivates her.


Q: Why are you interested in public service?
A: I am interested in public service because there are systems in place to disenfranchise certain people (poor, black, women, etc.) and I want to work toward dismantling those systems and supporting those affected by them.

Q: How did you get started in public service?
A: I started in public service as a result of my parents. They were extremely active with my childhood church and that is where I gained a lot of early exposure.

Q: What do you do now?
A: I currently serve as a Network Manager for an education focused nonprofit. In this role, I provide training for our partners geared toward capacity building and facilitation.

Q: If you used a wordle to list all the types of service and advocacy that you are passionate about, which words would be biggest?

Screen Shot 2017-09-07 at 2.02.32 PM

Q: In tweet-format (140 characters), what advice have you gotten about being a woman in public service that most rings true for you?
A: @herstory Well behaved women seldom make history

Q: What advice would you give a woman coming up in public service?
A: Don’t be afraid to speak your mind or be yourself.

Q: Is there a book that has influenced you that you’d like to share?
A. Pedagogy of the Oppressed – the book describes how change must occur and the voice of those most oppressed must be at the center of the conversation

Q: If you had to choose a meme or gif to demonstrate your daily work life, which one would you choose? 


P.S. We love Kayla. She also started a great networking event series for women, recently starred in a show in Memphis, and is generally one of the most delightful humans ever.

I, Activist.

Last month, I spent a few weeks in Belize, doing all sorts of things. Randomly on one of the last days, I was introduced to the concept of an Earth Ship. It’s nothing to do with aliens but rather a home that is completely created from recycled materials, self-sufficient, and totally off grid. And across one of the walls was this quote from Rigoberta Menchu:


BrownEyedJude and I have discussed Ms. Menchu a few times because she’s the classic definition of a woman who felt compelled to stand up against injustice. You might have seen her book, My Name is Rigoberta Menchú, on pretty much every lists of social justice books.  (Book Nerd Alert: The book is often mistakenly filed under memoir/autobiography but was actually created around a series of interviews done by a Venezuelan author. She had only been speaking Spanish for 3 years by the time she had the interview. I doubt she used Duolingo to learn it.)

Rigoberta grew up in a activist family, with her father being a member of one of the guerrilla groups in Guatemala, but she used her own voice to resist the oppression of the Guatemalan government and to bring to the international community the reality of the civil war in her country. She amplified the voices of the Maya Indian community in Latin America and she was run out of her own country. She still finds it difficult to return due to the frequent death threats.

She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992 and is a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador. I’m not sure what an UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador has to do but it seems pretty cool. She elevated her Nobel Prize experience and formed the Nobel Women’s Initiative with the other five female Peace Prize winners. The idea behind the Initiative is to support women’s groups around the world in promoting peace and justice.

My “favorite” [insert sarcasm font] part of her story is the mansplaining that a historian tried to do on her book. He went back and interviewed many of her friends and family and tried to prove that everything she said was false and tried to get the Nobel Prize people to take back the prize. Rude. Years later, he said in ONE interview that she was actually pretty accurate in the book but he refused to change his book or apologize. Dude. Not Cool.


BAMF Hillary Rodham Clinton

On November 12th I came home from work, sat on my couch watched Hillary Clinton’s concession speak while drinking a glass of wine and cried my eyes out. To punish myself further I watched her speech multiple times that week and repeated this ritual. Her words that day gave me a wormhole tunnel back to the United States version of love, hope, and acceptance that seemed so distant from the parallel universe of building walls, bullying, and gilded everything. Turns out Secretary Clinton and I have many things in common, we both like long walks in the woods, fugly fleece, and wine. Yo, you go girl! Whatsapp me and let’s hang.

Secretary Clinton’s commencement speech to Wellesley Class of 2017 was honest, articulate, and on point. Girl had many things to say about he who shall who not be named. Seriously she didn’t say his name but got her point across.


You are graduating at a time when there is a full-fledged assault on truth and reason.

And once again Secretary Clinton reminded young women that they are powerful, important, and worthy of achieving their dreams.

Watch the video above and you might want to have some tissues nearby.

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