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One Woman, One Call: Rebuilding from the Bottom Up—Gretchen Wallace

Gretchen Wallace

Gretchen Wallace

“I’ve always believed in inner-driven change — that decisions made with the greatest level of awareness will ensure the wisest response and most potent, effective results. I’ve now spent seven years training in the fields of personal transformation, meditation and alternative healing. Bringing my passions together, I founded Global Grassroots in 2004 to advance what I call ‘conscious social change’ among grassroots, marginalized women.” — Gretchen Wallace

Rwanda. People used to call it “a tropical Switzerland in the heart of Africa.” A stunning, landlocked country in the Central Eastern part of Africa, Rwanda was praised for its lush land and beauty. Fast forward to April 6th 1994, and the world sees Rwanda spiral downwards to a state of total destruction. Due to ethnic tensions between two groups, the Hutus and the Tutsis, about 800,000 innocent Rwandan civilians, mostly Tutsis and a few Hutus, were massacred by Hutu soldiers in one of the most concentrated genocides of all time.

During the genocide, thousands of women and girls were sexually abused due to gender-based violence within the country. Moreover, after this horrific event, it was estimated that about 70 percent of the Rwandan population was made up of women who now had to assume the male roles within their households and, slowly but surely, rebuild their whole lives from the ground up. Even today, 16 years after the Rwandan Genocide, about one third of the population in Rwanda is still lead by women who have absolutely no income or support.

Nevertheless, certain remarkable people have taken notice of the devastating conditions that are in Rwanda and have decided to help. Just talk to the people in Global Grassroots, a non-profit organization that is entirely focused on helping women from Rwanda recover from that horrific occurrence and essentially start anew. However, Global Grassroots wouldn’t have been the incredible organization that it is today without one person, CEO and founder of Global Grassroots, Gretchen Wallace.

The daughter of a Navy Admiral, Gretchen Wallace spent much of her childhood living abroad, particularly in the Philippines. It’s here that she understood the privileges that she originally had and where her future interest in social change was founded.

After a trip to South Africa back in 2004, Wallace was surprised by more than just the high HIV/AIDS rate. It was the small unionization of women (and men) uniting against rape and violence that took her by surprise. These women, no matter how small their impact, were taking strides in order to better their community. With that idea in mind, Wallace established Global Grassroots, an organization aimed at helping women rebuild, reorganize and revamp.

Since then, Global Grassroots has made enormous progress. They’ve designed local projects to combat abuse and rape and have trained change leaders in Rwanda who will work towards advancing women’s rights and well being. The organization had also funded local projects that worked to help vulnerable women and girls by providing information on domestic violence, water access and illiteracy along with rape and sexual violence.

Based on the idea that Global Grassroots “helps women help themselves,” this amazing establishment is working towards bettering the world one woman at a time.

The INSPIRE@BTHS Team then went on to ask Gretchen Wallace a few questions out of the Marcel Proust Questionnaire. We believe that this is a great way to get to know our interviewee. Here is a bit of what Wallace had to tell us.

Favorite fictional hero: I don’t read a lot of fiction, but the last book I read “Little Bee” had a character that resonated with me – the British woman who made several major sacrifices to save a stranger – I was quite inspired.

Most treasured possession:  My journals from all of my travels and personal transformation courses, which have all the wisdom and teachings from the people I have met.

When and where were you happiest: One of my happiest memories was a my husband and I took to India several years ago – it was a magical journey filled with heartache at the poverty we witnessed, but also joy, fascination and adventure as we delved deeply into another culture together.

Greatest extravagance: International travel. I just adore travel to foreign countries where I can explore and connect with another world.

Favorite journey: I think my favorite journey besides India would have to be to Thailand. I was able to go on an amazing retreat to study Buddhism, Feminism and Social Change with an organization called Allies for Peace in a rural village north of Chiang Mai, Thailand on the border with Burma. It was quite transformative.

Greatest achievement:  I think the most meaningful moment in my work was when one of three men attending our Academy for Conscious Change (which is mostly geared towards women) stood up and gave me a gift – a tiny wood carving of a warrior holding a shield and spear and called me a “hero woman” who is fighting for women and girls. I was stunned. It meant so much to have a man – one of the constituencies usually least likely to value my organization’s work – acknowledge me in that way – that was probably my greatest achievement.

Greatest influence: My spiritual teacher and Integrative Breathwork teacher, Jessica Dibb with the Inspiration Community in Owings Mills, MD. She has taught me how to access my deepest self and to live life fully from a place of authenticity, love and non-violence.

Motto: I appreciate the words spoken by one of my teachers, a Vietnam Vet who is now a practicing Buddhist and alternative healer: “It is not the magnitude of the task that matters, but the intentions with which it is attempted.”

Gretchen Wallace is an incredible woman to say the very least. She is truly one of those few precious gems in the world who has dedicated her whole life to helping others, and we were so honored to have interviewed this inspiring woman. The INSPIRE@BTHS Team cannot wait to see what new and exciting projects Gretchen , as well as Global Grassroots, will be up to next.

So everyone, it is not the magnitude of the task that matters, but the intentions with which it is attempted. Be assertive. Be curious and most importantly, be inspired.

Adieu and Arrivaderci everyone! Until next time on INSPIRE@BTHS.

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“Don’t Ever Let Anyone Tell You That You Can’t Do Something”- Reshma Saujani

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Reshma Saujani

“I am a dedicated Democrat, a community activist, a Yale University legal scholar, and an attorney in New York City. But first and foremost, I am the daughter of political refugees whose story embodies the promise of life in America.”– Reshma Saujani

A fresh face in politics, Reshma Saujani is running in the Democratic primary for the U.S. House of Representatives against incumbent Carolyn Maloney in New York’s 14th Congressional district. Saujani, born to political refugees who escaped the devastating regime of Idi Amin in Uganda, has kept the idea of the American Dream close to her heart. Holding a master degree in Public Policy from Harvard and a law degree from Yale, Saujani is a strong believer in “dreaming big and finding your own way.” Saujani has followed a path to success as a hedge fund lawyer on Wall Street and now, a politician.

Ever since she was a child, Reshma Saujani was extremely passionate about law and public service. Saujani says her father, a prominent figure in her life, provided her with the tools for a successful career in both law and politics. “Law and politics were always in my interest. I always wanted to be an attorney. My father would read to me about Gandhi and Eleanor Roosevelt. They were inspiring because they were always working on social justice issues. That was very empowering to me.”

Following her childhood, Saujani used her teen years to build experience in social work. A first generation Indian-American, Saujani understood the importance of introducing diversity to her school and community. In high school, Saujani was president of PRISM – Prejudice Reduction Interested Students Movement – a group focused on celebrating the importance of diversity and combating prejudice.  Saujani was also part of the Debate team and Model UN. “I did a lot in high school to prepare for attorney skills. In college, I was part of student government. I led marches and I was an activist. I was always committed to working on the community, changing my community, and helping my community. It was my drive from the beginning.” That drive and perseverance lead Saujani to an internship at the White House where she not only gathered a wealth of information about public policy but also allowed her passion for politics and public service to flourish. “I love my job. I absolutely love it. I love public service. I learn something new every day. I want to make this country a better place.”

Furthermore, when the INSPIRE@BTHS Team asked if being a first-generation Indian-American woman has ever held her back from doing anything, Saujani was very firm in her answer. “No,” she says. “It has never held me back.” On the contrary, it seems that being a first generation Indian-American woman has pushed her forward. Furthermore, her parents’ background and her experiences growing up function as a basis in not only her campaign for Congress, but also in her personal life. These factors help make up the strong, confident and incredible woman that is Reshma Saujani.

Saujani is also a strong believer in hard work and courage. She constantly stresses one idea: dreaming big. “Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. Follow your heart. Do what you love and what you’re passionate about. Don’t worry about making money. Money will come. If you feel passionate about something, don’t wait. Get started on it immediately.”

The INSPIRE@BTHS Team then went on to ask Reshma Saujani a few questions out of the Marcel Proust Questionnaire. We believe that this is a great way to get to know our interviewee. Here is a bit of what Saujani had to tell us.

Favorite fictional character: Atticus Finch, the lawyer from To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. He was a strong person who chose to fight for justice

Your most treasured object: A bracelet my father gave me when I was thirteen. I wear it whenever there is a big event that I feel anxious about.

The happiest moment of your life: When my baby niece was born. That was a great day.

Greatest extravagance: Black and white pictures.

Favorite journey: When I went to South Africa for the first time in 1998. I worked there after Nelson Mandela came to power.

Greatest achievement: Running for office.

Greatest influence: My father.

Motto for life: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.” Theodore Roosevelt

A  passionate, determined and strong-minded woman, Saujani is working towards winning the Congressional seat. Brilliant, courageous, and caring, this woman is undoubtedly reaching for the stars. She’s working ardently to help rebuild Main Street and work with Wall Street. The INSPIRE@BTHS Team cannot wait to see what this phenomenal woman will do once in office. Best of luck with the campaign and stay strong!

So everyone, dream big. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t accomplish something. Be assertive. Be curious and most importantly, be inspired.

Adieu and Arrivaderci everyone! Until next time on INSPIRE@BTHS.

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Making Digital Asset Management Sexy -Nadine Kano

Nadine Kano

Nadine Kano with INSPIRE@BTHS

Today is a day in an age where technology has conquered the world. People cannot walk outside of their homes without their iPods or their cell phones.  Computers have become a main source of communication, books have been replaced by nifty electronic-book readers such as the Amazon Kindle and the Barnes and Noble Nook, and many blockbuster films have transcended from the 2-D stage to the new and improved 3-D/ IMAX stage. We all know about these new incredible innovations that are pouring into our daily lives, but what about the people behind these revolutionary technologies?  What are their stories? Today the INSPIRE@BTHS Team looks into the powerful world of technology powerhouse Microsoft through the eyes of the Senior Director of the Microsoft-Information Technology Group, Nadine Kano.

When asked what she does for a living, Nadine Kano, who graduated from Princeton University with a BSE in Computer Science and received her MBA from Stanford University, stated “I have a very unusual job. One of the fun things about working at Microsoft is that I have always been able to design my own job. So when I interviewed for this position, they hired me because I had a different kind of experience from the other people on the team. I work in a team called Microsoft’s I.T. department. We are a very small team, and our job is to drive new technology adoption inside the company.”

Recently, Nadine Kano has been working on promoting Microsoft Azure, a cloud platform offering a wide range of Internet services that can be obtained from both on-premises environments as well as the Internet. Kano states “Microsoft Azure is the next big wave in business computing.” While promoting Microsoft Azure, Nadine Kano began working with top-tier movie director, James Cameron,   to help his technology for his film, “AVATAR.”  With the use of Microsoft Azure, Nadine Kano was an extremely important asset to James Cameron’s production process of “AVATAR”

Because of her involvement in various groundbreaking projects, Nadine Kano is one of the very few people in the world who genuinely love their job. She states “I love my job because it lets me be very creative and it lets me be entrepreneurial. I can decide ‘I think that is a really cool, strategic thing we could be doing’ and just go for it.” When the INSPIRE@BTHS Team asked Kano if she had ever considered any other career path, she instantly said “No! I actually don’t know how that happened. When I was a senior in college, I interviewed with a bunch of companies for a job.  I interviewed with Microsoft, and they hired me. I said to myself ‘when I stop having fun or when I get something more interesting to do, I’ll go and do that.’ I’ve never stopped having fun and have never stopped enjoying it, so I just stuck with it. Maybe after I retire from Microsoft, I can go and do non-profit, but I love technology so much. For some people, “digital asset management” isn’t the sexy part of making a film. Many people say ‘I want be an actor’ or do the computer graphics, but to me the structure the keeps it all working is what is exciting.”

The INSPIRE@BTHS Team then went on to ask Nadine Kano a few questions out of the Marcel Proust Questionnaire. We believe that this is a great way to get to know our interviewee. Kano had some incredible answers to tell us.

Favorite fictional character: Scarlett O’Hara from the novel Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. Scarlett is fierce, independent, beautiful, and she survived a lot of trauma in her life.

Your most treasured object: My cats.

The happiest moment of your life: I feel happiest right now. When I was your age, I used to look at women older than me and try to see what they were all about. I was always attracted to the women who were the most beautiful, and what made them the most beautiful was this bright light from within. I converted to Buddhism when I was 15, and it has taken me my entire life to feel that kind of, what we call, “life condition.”

Greatest extravagance: I have a really great house that I love, and I also love a good meal.

Favorite journey: I lived in Paris for three months on my sabbatical and went to culinary school there.

Greatest achievement: I didn’t have the best childhood. I had a tough childhood, and everybody will tell you sob stories about their childhood. But I now have the most amazing family. Everybody in my family has worked on themselves and on their issues. That is what I love about my parents. They always wanted life to be better for themselves and for my sister and me. It’s kind of a touchy-feely achievement. Happiness is the most important thing there is; it is the whole reason we are alive. Happiness is everything. The purpose of living is to find happiness, and I am not talking about “eh” happiness. I am talking about unshakable happiness no matter what. If your house burns down, you still have a center that nothing horrible that happens to you will destroy you. You can be your true self. So few people achieve that, and I guess maybe that is my greatest achievement, finding and being my true self.

Greatest influence(s): My parents and, going back to Buddhism again, Daisaku Ikeda. He is the leader of our international organization. We call him our “Sensei.”

Motto for life: It is better to live one day in honor than to live until 120 and die in disgrace. — Nichiren Daishonin

Despite the obstacles that were thrown her way, Nadine Kano was able to pick herself of the ground and be the one of the most genuine, intellectual and caring people on face of this earth. Nadine, you are a beautiful, confident and extraordinary woman. It was an absolute honor interviewing you. We are so excited to follow Nadine’s future endeavors. Congratulations, Nadine Kano on all of your brilliant successes and may you have many more in the future.

So everyone, it is better to live one day in honor than to live until 120 and die in disgrace. Be assertive. Be curious and most importantly, be inspired.

Adieu and Arrivaderci everyone! Until next time on INSPIRE@BTHS.

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Mothers

Mothers Of The World by Eric Drooker

“A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.”  ~Washington Irving

A mother’s love is absolute, honest and true.  From caring for us when we are toddlers to still caring for us when we are old and gray, mothers are most sacred treasures of the world. So in light of Mother’s Day, the INSPIRE@BTHS Team decided to break out of the monthly grind of things and take the time to thank the most inspirational women in our lives: our mothers.

Our mothers are always there to catch us when we fall. They comfort us when times are tough and celebrate with us when times are grand. They give us the world ,so we can be happy, fulfilled and successful. Their hearts beat in sync with ours, their every move is selfless and noble.

Our mothers are strong, confident, beautiful women. With their heads held high, they stride with cool, calm collectiveness, persevering through whatever adversity is thrown her way.

Our mothers break barriers and are pioneers in their own right. Our mothers are providers.

And yet, our mothers are so much more than people who answer to the phrases “give me this” or “give me that.” A bond between a mother and her child is more profound than any wonder of the world, than the meaning of life itself. It is a bond that is incredible, unbreakable and undeniable. Although we sometimes do not show it, we are grateful for their warmness, their strength and their vivacity. They are the true inspirations; they are the real goddesses that make the world turn. We love you mothers of the world and please don’t ever forget that.

We conclude this blog entry with a poem by e.e. cummings that sums up everything the INSPIRE@BTHS Team wants to say to our mothers.

I carry your heart with me by e.e. cummings.

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

So everyone, buona festa della mamma, joyeuse fête des mères, счастливый День Mатери, and Happy Mother’s Day! Treasure the mothers of the world because they are the best thing we’ve got.

Adieu and Arrivaderci everyone! Until next time on INSPIRE@BTHS.

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“Look Forward, Look Forward.”- Sigourney Weaver

Sigourney Weaver

Actress. Environmentalist. Philanthropist. These are just a few of the things that make up Sigourney Weaver. From her incredible portrayal of character and strength as Ellen Ripley in “Aliens” to her extremely vulnerable and powerful performance as Linda, an autistic woman, in “Snow Cake” to her recent role as botanist Dr. Grace Augustine in the box-office smash hit “AVATAR,” one can safely say that Sigourney Weaver is one of the most versatile and respected actors of our time. However, her eclectic array of movie roles is not the sole factor that makes this woman an absolute inspiration. Weaver has also been a pioneer on the environmental front, bringing awareness to many environmental problems that our world experiences today. With an incredible story to tell the INSPIRE@BTHS team, Sigourney Weaver is the epitome of all that makes an incredible individual.

Although Sigourney Weaver is considered one of the greatest actresses of today, the theater was not the first career path that she had chosen for herself. “I wanted to be a writer or a teacher. … I wasn’t one of those people who wanted to be an actor at seven or something. I think one of the reasons I became an actor was because I couldn’t decide what to do. So if I was to become an actor, I could try out all of these different parts… When I was at Stanford, my last year English classes were getting pretty boring, so I applied to all these drama schools and got in, at which point I thought that that meant something.” After Stanford, Sigourney Weaver was accepted to and attended the Yale School of Drama.

At Yale, Weaver began to grasp how difficult show business really was. “When I was accepted to the Yale School of Drama, which I was terribly excited about, in the second year, out of the blue, they told me I had no talent and would never get anywhere. They told me essentially to leave the school and my father said ‘I’ve already paid all this money, at least stay and get a degree.’ I think I hung in there out of spite.” However, Weaver persevered and slowly, but surely, found herself in New York City and made her dreams go from impossible to possible. She says “… going to New York was the smartest thing I had ever done because you get to audition every week and to be in one thing after another; none of it paid very much, but I felt that off-off Broadway was, and still is, a really cool place to work.”

Through the hardships and the constant rejection, Sigourney Weaver not only made it to the other side in one piece, but has also reached Hollywood superstardom. From her experiences at Yale School of Drama to her constant auditioning in New York City, Weaver developed tough enough skin and proved all of the non-believers wrong. “I think you have to have a lot of personal character strength [to be in the movie business]…It’s a tough business, and I think I was very lucky to work with people who were very generous and very professional; most of them were from the theater. I arrived on the set of “Aliens” not having had much film experience, but I had done four years of off-Broadway and I always approached every film sort of as an English major, which I was. Was it about more than just the people in it? Instead of going for the role, you know, that was never interesting to me.”

In addition to being an incredible actor, Sigourney Weaver is also an environmentalist and philanthropist. Recently, accompanied by James Cameron and Suzy Amis- Cameron, Weaver traveled to the Amazon Forest, in order to bring awareness to the construction of the newly install hydro-electric dam that is damaging the lives of the indigenous people of the region. Furthermore, Sigourney Weaver has traveled to different schools, such as Brooklyn Technical High School in New York City, to bring awareness to the young people of today that our world truly needs our help. “I think a lot of people aren’t aware that a lot of CO2 has gone into the atmosphere and about a third of it goes into the ocean. And when CO2 mixes with sea water, it creates carbonic acid. So we’ve noticed, the scientists have absolute irrefutable data that in the last three years, the shells of all our precious creatures like mollusks, oysters, shrimp and even plankton is down and that in another 30 years the shell creatures will not be able to make shells if it continues the way it is. A lot of people think the oceans are these vast forgiving places and they are not. “This is one of the many daunting ways in which our world suffering and also one of the many reasons why everyone should get up and go green!

The INSPIRE@BTHS Team then went on to ask Sigourney Weaver a few questions out of the Marcel Proust Questionnaire. We believe that this is a great way to get to know our interviewee. Weaver had some incredible answers to tell us.

Favorite fictional character: Hawkeye from the novel The Last of the Mohicans by James Fennimore Cooper.

Your most treasured object: My family.

The happiest moment of your life: I am happy every day. I am very happy being a mother.

Greatest extravagance: I really love flowers. I think if I had no money at all and I could spend a dollar towards something I would probably buy that. My favorite flower is a Peony. They come out actually around now [April]. They have a very short season and they are beautiful flowers that open in beautiful pinks and reds.

Favorite journey: I went to Morocco a couple of years ago. I went to the film festival there ,and I said I would love to spend two nights in the desert. So we got to drive out to part of the Sahara desert and spent two nights in these beautiful tents just  living in the desert. It was awesome. The desert is so beautiful, so many stars… a magical place.

Greatest achievement: I think the Flea Theater. I am very proud of having founded the Flea Theater; it does excellent work. It provides a lot of entertainment and illumination to our audiences. We are very daring and we do a good job. We don’t charge anyone for their training; it’s the one program in NYC that doesn’t charge kids to learn the theater.

Greatest influence: Probably the actor Hume Cronin. He’s been an old friend of mine and a when I was first starting out, he and Jessica Tandy were most helpful to me, very encouraging and really good friends because it’s great to have friends who are your parents age. I learned a great deal about discipline, commitment, and organization…I really learned a lot from them, they are very inspiring.

Motto for life: My mother’s motto which was “Look forward, Look Forward.”

So there you have it, Hollywood at its finest. Sigourney Weaver is one of the most generous, beautiful and caring people the INSPIRE@BTHS team has ever had the pleasure to meet. She breaks new ground in her acting career as well as in the environment every day. We are so excited to follow Sigourney’s future endeavors. Congratulations, Sigourney Weaver on all of your successes and may you have brilliant successes in the future.

So everyone, look forward, look forward. Be assertive. Be curious and most importantly, be inspired.

Adieu and Arrivaderci everyone! Until next time on INSPIRE@BTHS.

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“Live Life And Experience It”-Selena Rezvani

Selena Rezvani

Selena Rezvani

A new era is among us. It is the era of possibilities; a time to be whatever you want, to do whatever you want, to invent your heart’s every desire. But with all this possibility and freedom what stops us from achieving what we want? What is holding us back from going for the gold? What is preventing us from moving actively forward to reach our dreams? It is fear. Fear of uncertainty and fear of change will always be obstacles that people, especially young women, are forced to overcome when trying to achieve their goals. However, some people have gone against the grain and have become the voices of encouragement; voices that will guide the young, the hesitant and the afraid into a world where one’s every desire can be achieved. One such person is Selena Rezvani, author of The Next Generation of Women Leaders and speaker and consultant for career coaching and development.

Graduating from New York University with a BS and MSW Degree and getting her MBA from John Hopkins University, Selena Rezvani is certainly no stranger to the world of success. However, Selena did not know from the get-go that she was going to end up where she is today. As a high school student and young adult, Rezvani was interested in French and French culture. She says, “I was a Francophile. So, I went and studied abroad in Montreal and then in France. I loved it and I thought that was going to be my career. …That’s what I applied at NYU to do. I decided to major in French. However, the first week they had you take a test to see how you do in the language and I placed out of the college needs. I could skip language all together. I decided I would try to skip it and do other things which then lead me to psychology and then business and then a whole other world…I still love French culture but it’s more of a hobby now.” Clearly, different circumstances change a person’s perspective. Rezvani’s love for French culture lead her to trying new things, like business. Suddenly, she entered a world that was totally different from what she had planned on exploring. Nevertheless, she learned that change was not only good, but necessary.

While earning her MBA at John Hopkins University, Selena began to write her book The Next Generation of Women Leaders, a bible of sorts for women who want to get to the top of the working ladder. This incredible book provides the instruments and secrets to progress into the top leadership roles of today as well as interviews with high powered women and their success stories. Rezvani had a multitude of inspirations for her book. “What inspired me [to write this book] was such a small number of women at the top of corporations. Being an MBA student, I looked up and thought this is dismal. This paints a really unsettling picture for a young woman who’s looking to go out there and do great things in her career…why isn’t it quicker to change? Why is it so slow to progress? That is what inspired me to write the book. I thought, even if I’m not one of these women at the top, surely there’s a way for me to create a conversation between young women and those that got there in order to learn their secrets.”

So what do women actually have to do to get to the top? The INSPIRE@BTHS Team got a little glimpse into what secrets Selena Rezvani had to offer. What can women do as that first step, that first leap of faith into the unknown? “A number of [things]” says Rezvani. “I think a really important one is to get a personal board of directors who can manage your career. Really taking the time to seek out different people who are  smarter and more knowledgeable than you and maybe more experienced to say ‘let me help you with your image, let me help you with your technical skills, let me help you and guide you in this industry.’ You know, you really can’t look to one mentor to do everything for you. No mentor is going to have everything you need. I think something young women can do is don’t try to do it all yourself. The smartest people reach out and make relationships. You ask ‘how are you so good at what you do?’ or ‘You’re so good with clients can you tell me or will you teach me?’ That’s the hallmark of a leader or a leader in the making.”

So there you have it. The secrets are revealed by the magician, herself. We then went on to ask Selena a few questions out of the Marcel Proust Questionnaire. We believe that this is a great way to get to know our interviewee. Selena Rezvani had some humorous answers to tell us.

Favorite fictional character: Caris from the novel World Without End by Ken Follet. She’s a strong woman. I loved her character because she was often underestimated because she was a woman and people didn’t expect a lot of her.

Your most treasured object: Probably my favorite thing is a framed picture of my parents on their very first date. That’s something I would hate to be without.

The happiest moment of your life: Getting married. It was a very happy and incredible moment and day. Also, getting my book deal.

Greatest extravagance: Massages. I do a lot of walking and carrying heavy bags and such so…

Favorite journey: The coolest place I’ve been in my life is probably going to India and Pakistan as a kid. My father is Pakistani so seeing the Taj Mahal, was so beautiful, so interesting, especially through a kid’s eyes.

Greatest achievement:  Helping young women think big. It’s a joy and a pleasure and a privilege to make a living helping young women.

Greatest influence: My mother.

Motto for life: Fear regret more than failure.

Words of advice: Don’t let anybody pressure you. Your compass in life should be ‘does this excite me? Do I like this?’ do I enjoy this? That’s what you should be gravitating to. You naturally gravitate to the things that excite you. What I found is, find a career that has your passion in it and you will work so much harder. That’ll get you further in your career, that will get you more respect from the people in your life.

Believe it or not, getting to the top of the working chain should not be a lonely road. Rather, an individual should have people by their side that will influence them and, most importantly, inspire them. For the INSPIRE@BTHS TEAM, Selena Rezvani is one of those people. Selena Rezvani is a pioneer in her line of work. She breaks boundaries with everything that she does and is a true inspiration. We cannot wait to see what this brilliant woman will do in the future.

So everyone, fear regret more than failure. Be assertive. Be curious and most importantly, be inspired.

Adieu and Arrivaderci everyone! Until next time on INSPIRE@BTHS.

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History is Herstory Too

Someone very wise once said “History is Herstory too.”

Behind every powerful man, stands a powerful, cunning and brilliant woman. However most of the time (not all of the time, but most) her story goes unnoticed. Throughout history, women have done incredible things that should be noticed and should be praised for. This is where our job comes in. We are here to uncover their stories, to capture the world through their eyes and ultimately motivate people (be it men or women) to do the same.

So, without further ado, in the style of Julia Powell, we start our journey:

The Mission: Spread the word about incredible women of today through interviews, profiles, the works.

The “Journalists”: INSPIRE @ Brooklyn Technical High School. A  few  girls trying to inspire the world….one blog at a time.

We can understand why you would not want to read this. Why should you care about someone who is not in any way close to you? Why should you care about this blog if you have number of other important things to do? Why should you care about what we have to say? The truth is you don’t. But think about it this way… Will it hurt you that much if you listen? Wouldn’t you want someone to care about your achievements? Wouldn’t you want to enthuse people?

We know it’s a lot of questions to be asked in such a short period of time. We figure we should just let you mull them over.

We leave you, however, with one last thought: These women have achieved success, why not let them inspire you?

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