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Submitted by anna on Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:10
Sub Title
One woman's journey over 5 years, 2 continents, 1 boyfriend, and many friends

Aerin Coleman was given an opportunity and took the chance. She always wanted to travel but could never predict the rewarding experiences that came about, nor the hardships she would encounter along the way. This is just one woman's story about courage, love, and fulfillment.

New Beginnings 

At 21 I interned with a firm that prided itself in its global opportunities. I was offered a fulltime position and spent the next 3 years working days, nights and weekends. One day my manager approached me with an opportunity in Oslo, Norway. The firm there had just won a major contract and needed U.S. resources with a background in US regulations to help with the transition in the project.

None of this was by chance. When I joined the firm, I knew that the opportunity to work abroad was an attainable one. At goal setting discussions, I always made sure to include an international rotation goal and specifically chose a mentor that would champion my desire to work abroad. So when the opportunity presented itself, it took 24 hrs to sign the papers and 3 months later my bags were packed and I was on my way to Norway.

Adopting a new lifestyle

Norway is beautiful. The people are beautiful. The streets are spotless and the public transportation is to die for. I quickly found a beautiful furnished apartment and began my foray into the Norwegian workplace. I quickly learned the in Norway the people “Work to Live”.

When children are sick you get sick leave specified for the children, in addition to your normal sick leave. 5 weeks paid leave is normal. Women also get one year paid maternity leave! 

I quickly got used to being the only one in the office past 5pm. All of the Norwegians were out the door with their cross-country skis at 4pm on the dot! The T-bane (pronounced Tay-bahn-ah) left right outside the front door and took you straight to the ski trails in less than 20min. 

Although I loved the working-to-live life, this often conflicted with another term Americans are familiar with, deadlines. I realized early on that I had to meet in the middle with the Norwegians. This was not a quick or easy journey. At the end of 2 years I had developed my teams and they had taught me how to work within their world. 

Exploring the corners of the world

Now for the good stuff!

For the first two years I spent every other weekend travelling. Flights are very inexpensive when you live and travel within the E.U. and Shenghen. Thanks to my amazing expat coworkers I always had someone to travel with. 

The most interesting place I visited was Amman, Jordan and the lost city of Petra. What I didn’t realize before I got there is that the city was an actual small city. We walked for miles and miles. The carvings were beautiful and you were able to walk straight up to the stone buildings. You do not realize the scale of the stone buildings until you walk up to the entrance and realize the entrance is two feet above you. Word to the wise if you ever get to go, beware of the “scenic view” signs. They will take you on long hikes up rough passages that end in gift shops with zero views!  

My favorite place? Porto, Portugal. The wine, the food and the people surpassed all of my travel expectations. A river flows through the city and cools it on the warm summer nights. We were able to rent an apartment with a beautiful view of the river and walking distance to some fantastic restaurants. Most restaurants are owned and operated by locals that make you feel like family. If you get a chance to visit Porto, make sure you arrange a wine tour of the Douro Valley. Many of the vineyards are small and family owned. If you schedule a tour group they will make sure that the vineyard is open. Make sure you also pick a tour with a river boat ride. You won’t regret it!

My least favorite place? Dublin, Ireland. It did not help that I visited in the middle of March. It was cold and foggy the entire time. My friend and I were smart enough to sign up for day trips to get outside of the city. By the end of the trip I was ready to leave. It may be worth a second chance, however you should definitely plan to go in the summer. 

Following my heart

Why would I leave Norway? Let’s back-up for a second. My time in Norway was originally supposed to be 2 years that quickly turned into 4 and then 5 years. I spent the time exploring the fjords of Norway, Christmas markets in Germany, and shopping in Italy. I also made friends with a vast variety of extraordinary expats from all over the world. 1.5 years in, I fell in love with a Norwegian man.

At the end of 4.5 years I had it all. A loving boyfriend, amazing friends, and travelling almost every weekend. I was living the dream life and I realized it was exactly that. A dream. 

You start thinking about what your future has in store. I quickly ran down the list:

Boyfriend: Never moving to the states. Wants to marry me? – Not a priority.

Job: Will they make an American a partner in the firm? – Nope.

Expat friends: When will they start moving home? – Inevitably going to happen.

It was time to grow up. My circumstances were not changing but could make a decision to move my life forward. I missed my family and realized that I wanted to be closer to them. 

Was the choice easy? HECK NO. Did I cry my eyes out in public spaces? On multiple occasions. I took an amazing new opportunity at a new company in a new role. Life will move on if you want it to or not, it is up to you to determine the direction.

P.S. I am loving the new direction.  

herdacity women travel blog
herdacity women travel blog
Aerin Coleman

Women Traveling Solo

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Submitted by anna on Thu, 02/15/2018 - 12:29
Sub Title
5 books by & for women

Traveling alone could be one of the most fulfilling and exciting experiences of your life--but, when you tell friends and family that you're embarking on a solo trip, you're often met with mixed responses. Suddenly everyone suggests that you bring a friend, gives you a can of pink pepper spray, or has some cautionary tale of a woman they heard of who was kidnapped and never heard from again. While their fears are usually warranted, there are some inspiring stories  of women who have had rewarding experiences. Here are five books, provided by BookPeople in Austin, TX, detailing the experiences of women who took a leap of faith and came out better on the other side. 

 

Becoming Odyssa by Jennifer Pharr Davis (2011)

Becoming Odyssa

 

Davis is an avid hiker who grew up in North Carolina and fell in love with long-distance backpacking. At age 21, she found herself at a crossroads, unsure of what she wanted to do with her life. To find her purpose, she decided to hike the Appalachian Trail, a 2175-mile footpath that stretches from Georgia to Maine. As a solo female hiker, she wrote this memoir to detail the hardest and most challenging four months of her life. With every mile she hikes, she gets closer to understanding herself and what she wants to do with her life.  

 

Tracks by Robyn Davidson (1995)

Tracks

 

Queensland-born Davidson wrote this personable (and hilarious) memoir about her 1,700-mile trek through the Australian desert with four camels and a dog for company. She tackles life in Australia in the 70's, recounting the rampant sexism, racism, and harshness of the outback. Tracks is the compelling journey of one women who made a courageous decision. 

 

The Good Girl's Guide to Getting Lost by Rachel Friedman (2011)

Good Girl's Guide

 

Self-described "good-girl" Friedman did well in school and always played by the rules before doing something she had never done before: went out on a whim. She spontaneously bought a plane ticket to Ireland, forming a friendship with a free-spirited adventurer along the way. They depart on a year-long adventure galivanting through three continents. This memoir is exceedingly charming, and you'll be hard-pressed to put it down.  

 

Taschen's New York: Hotels, Restaurants, and Shops by Angelika Taschen (2009)

Taschen's New York

 

Beautifully illustrated and design-forward, Taschen takes you through New York City hotels, restaurants, and shops through the lens of a well-connected local. It includes off the beaten path recommendations that are sure to keep you on your feet and impress your friends. (Bonus-- it would be a stunning coffee table book). 

 

Swimming Holes of Texas by Julie Wernersbach and Carolyn Tracy (2018) 

Swimming Holes of Texas

 

Written by two Austin-based ladies, Wernersbach and Tracy, guide you through the best swimming holes in Texas. They spotlight one hundred natural spots across the state, some hidden finds as well as more popular ones. Every swimming hole includes stunning pictures of the scenery, making you want to jump in a car with your girlfriends immediately.  

 

 

HERdacity thanks BookPeople for providing all 5 women-centric travel books. You can find all of these books online or at their N. Lamar Austin store.

books for womens travel
books for womens travel

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The Female Farmer Looks Like This

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Submitted by Jen at HERdacity on Thu, 01/04/2018 - 10:07
Sub Title
An Interview with Audra Mulkern, Filmmaker

Think of a farmer. Did you picture an older white man in overalls and a piece of straw sticking between his teeth? Audra Mulkern wants to change that.

Realistically, women now make up 30% of farm operators in the U.S. (almost triple from just 3 decades ago) yet their work is often unappreciated or unrecognized. Audra founded “The Female Farmer Project” to shine a spotlight on hardworking female farmers around world through a multi-platform documentary. Combing stories, personal essays, photography and a podcast she is determined to give a voice to these women.

What initially got you interested in photographing farms and farmers? What sparked this blog?

One summer day, I was standing in the middle of my local farmer's market. I was just admiring the color and artful bounty that the farmers bring every week trying to decide what to buy next. I was watching the farmers interact with the shoppers, and each other and all of the sudden it struck me. Behind every single table was a woman. I wondered what was going on – was my community special to have so many women farmers? Or had I bought into a gender stereotype?  So I went to the library. Yes, strangely enough – that moment struck me enough to the point that I would go to the library to research. What I discovered amongst so many things is that women were missing from the narrative -- from the data, from the stories, from the pictures. So I decided to do something about it. Only problem, I wasn’t a photographer, didn’t even own a camera much less know how to use one. I had never written anything besides emails and Facebook posts, I didn’t know how to start a project mapping a group of people. Nothing. I had no experience, education, authority or permission. So I had to write my own permission slip.  

What are some of the best things these farmers have taught you? If not directly, has sharing their stories taught you something?

I have learned to redefine what success looks like. Many of the women that I have met are first generation farmers, and like myself are on their encore career. They’ve had the corporate job and gave it up along with the security of stock options, health insurance, annual bonuses, and paid vacations for something entirely new with no guarantees. I have also learned to observe nature more carefully. I’ve noticed that women farmers and ranchers know almost immediately if something is wrong in their herd or flock. And I’m constantly impressed with the intellectual challenges that farming brings. I think at first glance people might brush off farming as easy. But wow – farming employs STEM all day every day. There is nothing easy about it.

Why do you think it is so important to share women's stories? Particularly female farmers stories?

I mentioned that women farmers were missing from the data and the narrative. What that means is that their contributions and their stories have not been told. Only for the last forty years has the USDA Census tracked gender statistics, and even then the questions have been gender-biased and resulted in incomplete data. By telling their stories, by providing a platform for them to tell their stories, we rewire ourselves for the empathy to make change. What change? To change policy that was written without women in mind. To help create paths for women to better access tools, training and financing. It’s critical to tell these stories.

Growing up, who were your most important influences? How did they inform who you were as a woman?

I grew up in the 70s and 80s – mid women’s movement. Many of the women around me were just beginning to work outside of the home, but perhaps not in their dream job or career. I truly feel that my mother would have made an amazing architect but she worked in social services. While important and fulfilling to her in many ways, I always had that lingering feeling that she and many of the women her age were held back by societal norms. I am grateful to them for paving that path. And now as a mother of an 18-year-old young woman – I am even more grateful because she feels powerful in her skin and her path has fewer obstacles than mine.

Describe a time when you realized women were treated differently than men… how old were you… what was the situation? What happened?

Early in my career at a large software company, I was in a conference room conducting contract negotiations with a Japanese company; it was a male negotiator on their side, plus his female secretary and a few other men. I too was the only woman on the other side with my male team. I had a male translator in the room and the Japanese businessman asked him if I had the authority to negotiate the contract. The translator made sure I knew what he had just asked. I was grateful to know that I now had the upper hand; his misogyny was his fatal flaw and I got everything I wanted in the contract. I hope his secretary was silently cheering for me!

When do you feel your most powerful?

When I have helped another woman tell her story. Too often women feel as if it’s bragging. It’s not bragging if it’s true.

Or the pressure to be perfect is so overwhelming that they apologize for their story. Your story is as perfect and valid as anyone’s. Find power in your uniqueness.

Or, and this is a big one. Women don’t feel like they have the authority. Remember, I didn’t have the authority to do what I do. But I wrote my own permission slip and I am asking women to do the same. Even if you have to sit down and type it up and sign it and tape it to your wall. Give yourself the permission and the authority - don’t wait for someone else to give it to you.

Were all about daring at HERdacity. What is the most daring thing you’ve ever done?

I have done a few crazy things in my life, like flying off to all parts of the world on my own at age 18. I worked for an airline and was determined to take full advantage of my free flight benefits. But honestly, sometimes the most daring and scary thing is to hit the send or submit button - but the feeling after you’ve done it is as amazing and adrenaline filled as if you had jumped out of an airplane!

Do you have a mantra?

“There is no path, the path is made by walking.”  

I love this saying by Antonio Machado, it’s part of a longer poem. But that one line gets me through the times when I feel like I am in the weeds. For me, it means to keep my head down and work to create my own path.

 

What do you carry in your purse or bag with you every day?

In my camera bag, in addition to my camera, I carry two lenses, an extra battery and charger, and a lens cloth. But I also carry a rain bonnet that I found in my husband’s great aunt’s camera bag. It’s from the 1950s, its unused and in a sweet little plastic container. It’s my talisman. I also have red lipstick, sharpies, a granola bar, and thank you notes. Because with red lips I feel pulled together, sharpies are never a bad idea, I get super hungry after a shoot and manners never go out of style – people love to feel appreciated. l love sending and receiving thank you notes. The things I don’t carry - insecurity, other people’s expectations or past mistakes.

What are 3 things left on your bucket list?

Great question! Hike Machu Pichu, take a pottery class and be published in the New York Times.

What are your go-to indulgences or guilty pleasures?

I didn’t have T.V. for almost a decade so I have been out of the pop culture loop. I recently got satellite and streaming services - and my guilty pleasure is watching the Real Housewives of New York. I’m still pretty far back in the seasons, but I’m hooked. What should I watch next when I’m done?

You can pick one superpower… what would you choose?

Inbox Zero!

female farmers
Audra Mulkern, filmmaker
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Breakthroughs In Women's Sports

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Submitted by Kelly Smith on Thu, 08/24/2017 - 09:53

Though the participation and growth of women’s sports even in the last decade is substantial, It is not uncommon for female athletes to get shorted on praise for their success. Whether that means not receiving as much media coverage or ‘not being capable’ of reaching the same level as male athletes, women are often stunted. Fortunately, there are many examples of this changing.

Take Katie Sowers for example. It was recently announced that Katie is set to become the second full-time female assistant coach in the NFL. She will be joining the San Francisco 49ers’ for this upcoming fall season after having interned as a part of the teams Bill Walsh NFL Diversity Coaching Fellowship. The only person prior to Katie to be full-time female assistant coach is Kathryn Smith, who coaches for the Buffalo Bills’.

Katie commented that, “It’s groundbreaking and all that stuff, but the more normalized it is, the better it is. As a female, the more someone can ask me what I do and I say ‘I coach football,’ the less shock on their faces will mean the better direction we’re moving.”

We see another step in the right direction in Australia where a female football league has traded in overtly sexualized uniforms for typical football attire. The new league called Gridiron West Women’s League was set up as an alternative to the Ladies Gridiron (Football) League where they wear particularly skimpy outfits. This new league will instead be focused, “on sport and the other on entertainment.”

Lastly, you may have seen tennis star Andy Murray call out a sexist reporter earlier this summer, and he has continued to empower women in this interview with Elle. He talks about how the powerful women he’s worked with throughout his career and how other men, including athletes, can help lift up women in sports.

Murray notes how, “There's a perception that women don't handle pressure as well as men do, but it's not true. A lot of the top men are very, very emotional on the courts. Not all of them. But some of them. And I would be one. I don't handle my emotions particularly well in comparison to a lot of the women. If you talked about the worst- behaved tennis players, most of them would be men."

Whether it’s forming a new league, coaching, or advocating for female athletes, all of these people are daring to make positive change for women in sports.

Kelly at HERdacity

The State of Women: A Visual Breakdown of Women's Progress

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Submitted by Kelly Smith on Mon, 08/21/2017 - 09:19

Women's Equality Day is held on August 26 every year to honor the suffragettes who fought for women's right to vote and helped secure the Nineteenth Amendment of the Constitution. In order to contextualize their work and celebrate the day, we have compiled some of the most thought provoking statistics on the equality of women. Whether about the progress women have made, their status in the workplace or a breakdown of the Women's Suffrage Movement, all of these visuals are meant to remind you of the strides women have made in the past 100 years and the work that needs to be done for the future. 

 

According to the National Partnership for Women & Families, as of 2017, "women in the United States are paid 80 cents for every dollar paid to men, amounting to an annual gender wage gap of $10,470."  

 According to 2015 Pew Research Center Study of 38 nations, "majorities in all but one country (Burkina Faso) said it is somewhat or very important that women have the same rights as men in their society. And a median of 6o percent worldwide said these equal rights are very important."

Kelly at HERdacity

Shout Out To Today's Google Doodle: Dolores Del Río

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Submitted by Larissa at HERdacity on Thu, 08/03/2017 - 04:28

Today's 'Google Doodle' pays homage to a trailblazer in cinema and the arts, Dolores Del Río.  

According to google: "When Dolores Del Río met American filmmaker Edwin Carewe, her talent was so captivating that he convinced her to move to California. Once there, Del Río's acting career would establish her as an iconic figure during the Golden Age of Mexican cinema. Considered the first major Latin American crossover Hollywood star, she would pave the way for generations of actors to follow.

Just a year after her first film, Del Río's first major success came in the 1926 comedy-drama war film What Price Glory? When she moved from silent films to “talkies” in the 1930s, she earned starring roles and appeared in films opposite stars like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, eventually returning to Mexico where she quickly became one of the top actresses in the Mexican film industry.

Del Río is also remembered as a philanthropist and advocate for the arts. She was the first woman to sit on the jury of the Cannes Film Festival. She co-founded the Society for the Protection of the Artistic Treasures of Mexico, a group dedicated to preserving historical buildings and artwork in her home country. In 1970, she helped open a center to provide childcare for members of the Mexican Actor’s Guild, which bears her name and still operates to this day."

Check out some video clips highlighting her talent below!

In Caliente 

The clip comes from the musical comedy 'Muchacha' from the 1935 film 'In Caliente'

The Fugitive 

The 1947 Movie is based on the novel The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene

A trailblazer for women in Hollywood and beyond, Dolores Del Río’s legacy endures in American and Mexican cinema.

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Thank you for highlighting a Latina! And I had no idea she was the first woman to sit on the jury of Cannes Film Festival--and that her commitment and love of the arts was woven throughout the years of her life. So great and so inspiring. Loved learning about her!

HERdacity Shout Out To The Girl Scouts!

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Submitted by Larissa at HERdacity on Wed, 08/02/2017 - 09:59

This HERdacity shout out goes to the Girl Scouts of the USA for their efforts to cultivate the next generation of women daring to break into STEM related fields. The organization recently announced they would begin awarding 23 new badges focused on science, technology, engineering and math.

Some badges will introduce kindergarten and first graders to the world of robots and engineering. Others will encourage young girls to conquer programming. Older scouts will have the chance to learn about artificial intelligence and algorithms. No matter what direction in STEM these young women take—the badges will help them remember what they can dare to create and accomplish. 

The rollout of new badges comes just a couple of months after the Girl Scouts announced their new CEO, Sylvia Acevedo. Ms. Acevedo is a longtime advocate of STEM education for young women. She has background as an engineer, including experience working for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratories, IBM, and Dell. We're excited to see how she dares to shape the conversation around girls and STEM! 

According to the Girl Scout Research Institute, participating in Girl Scouts helps girls develop key leadership skills they need to be successful in life. And the proof of their statistics can be seen across many different industries.

Below are four daring women who have at least one thing in common—they were all once Girl Scouts.

Jane Pauley, Television Journalist 

Lynda Carter, Actress 

Elaine Jones, First Female Head of NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund

Carol Bellamy,  Former Executive Director of UNICEF

 

Read about other well-known Girl Scouts here

Should we teach Girls to be BRAVE and not perfect? Join our Campfire Discussion HERE. 

INTERVIEW: Kerry Gross, the Cross-Country Biker Sharing Daring Women's Stories

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Submitted by Kelly Smith on Wed, 07/26/2017 - 08:24
Photo by Barbara Larrain (courtesy of Kerry Gross)

Adventure is out there, and Kerry Gross is there to find it.

Kerry is currently on a cross-country bike ride across the U.S., collecting interviews from daring women along the way. The project, Women Who Dare, will eventually publish the interviews to a podcast that, “aspires to offer more, accessible examples of amazing women.”

Kerry’s adventurous life took her from a career in market research, to a Ph.D. program and now a cross-country bike ride. Even though her project aims to share the stories of daring women, we wanted to hear from her on her own experiences as a daring woman:

Q: What have you learned from some of the inspiring women you have interviewed? Do you think you have inspired any of them?

Kerry: I have learned so many important things from these women. First, from spending time listening to such an assortment of wonderful, strong women, I have learned how to speak my own truths with greater fluency and conviction of self. These women are unapologetic about their experiences, passionate about what they do, and unafraid to correct misconceptions. These skills have been infectious, and I hope that listeners to the podcast will also catch the bug.

Beyond their ways of being in the world, I've also picked up some important pieces of advice. In just a few paragraphs, I can't do these ideas justice, but here are some highlights:

1) Do what you know is right.

2) Learn how to say no.

3) Build a team of cheerleaders (and don't be afraid to lose people who bring you down).

4) Ask for help.

I'm not sure if I've inspired any of the women. At a minimum, I hope I've reminded them that their stories are important and people want to listen.

Q: Have you had a single place so far on your journey that was a standout? Somewhere you're looking forward to?

Kerry: Recently, I really enjoyed riding through Iowa. The people I met (mostly) had no concept of cross-country touring, but they wanted to help me in any way they could. The spirit of generosity has been amazing all across the country, but Iowa was especially great.

In terms of landscape, the California coast was so much more distinct and remote than I expected. Riding on Route 1 North, the cliffs drop away to your left and all you can see to the western horizon is a great blue expanse. To your right is a beautiful, wooded ridge line. And the road is fun to ride because it just twists and turns.

Looking forward, I'm excited to see New England through the lens of a bike tourer. So far, I've only been traveling in places which are unfamiliar. I'm curious to see what places I'm familiar with are like when they're seen at bike touring pace.

Q: Once your journey is complete and the podcast is released what can listeners expect to take away from the interviews?

Kerry: The goal with the podcast, first and foremost, is to share a range of women's stories. From every interview, listeners should expect to hear one woman's take on making her own path in the world. Some of these women are entrepreneurs, some are athletes, some are activists, some don't fit in convenient boxes, but all have advice and a story to share.

Q: Describe the time when you realized women were treated differently than men… how old were you… what was the situation? What happened?

Kerry: Having grown up in a generation of women who were told they could be anything they wanted to be, in a household that talked of firefighters and police officers rather than firemen and policemen, I'm a little late to the 'women get treated differently from men' party. To be honest, this is a party to which I wish I'd never been invited, let alone attended. But now I have, and these are two events from 2016 which taught me how to put a name to the feeling of sexism:

Two years ago, I moved to Indiana for graduate school. As a way to keep involved with the ski racing community, I found a little hill that was looking for ski instructors. When they found out I was a certified race coach, they set me up to help out with their existing program coach. Despite my being a fully grown adult and having extensive knowledge in the sport, he insisted on calling me 'kiddo' and tapped me on the ass to thank me for 'helping out.' After that happened, I talked to some other instructors about my experience. They explained I had to, "understand that the mountain is run by an old boys network, and they aren't used to capable young women."

A month or two after this exchange, I went to an adventure race orienteering clinic* in western Illinois. Before heading to the clinic, I knew my land navigation was quite strong; but I also knew I needed more compass skills. After the clinic, I approached the husband (of the husband-and-wife duo who led the training) for some tips. He was jazzed to learn that I wanted to be a navigator. Even though his wife is the navigator in their duo, he told me the traditional make up for an adventure race team was still, "a guy who can navigate, a strong guy, and a girl. Any girl."

Having realized that my actions are also evaluated along the standards for a 'good woman,' I look back at my corporate career with a different lens. While there are many subtle instances of being treated differently, the words which were used in my performance reviews stand out most vividly. Even though my work was praised, I was recommended to be 'less intimidating' and less like a 'know-it-all' if I wanted to keep progressing in my career. My (female) bosses left me these nuggets as 'helpful advice.' Present me wishes past me had asked if I would be getting the same feedback if I was a guy.

*Adventure races are multi-sport orienteering races which last anywhere from 6 hours to 10 days. Usually, races include paddling, biking and on-foot sections and are raced in teams comprised of 1 to 4 people.

Q: When do you feel you are most powerful?

Kerry: When I'm at the gym, lifting heavy things. That's a very literal take on power, but getting a workout in every morning reminds me that I am, this day, still strong and powerful.

Q: Were all about daring at HERdacity. What is the most daring thing you’ve ever done?

Kerry: Deciding to leave a PhD program after a very successful masters in order to pursue a project like Women Who Dare is definitely the most daring thing I've done. It wasn't easy to say no to traditional forms of success in order to pursue a project based on my belief that it's what I can best contribute to the world. Plus, in addition to being the most daring decision I've made, jumping into Women Who Dare with complete focus and passion has also been the most life-changing. I am so honored to talk, face-to-face, with women who live truthful, engaged, and inspiring lives; whose experiences help me to be a stronger and more compassionate person in my own right.

Q: Do you have a mantra?

Kerry: 

Two current mantras:

1) Learn how to stand still in your own discomfort, so you don't pass it on to others. (Paraphrased from Lindsay Hill's Sea of Hooks; a mantra that has come to embody the personal growth of this bike trip.)

2) I am strong, stronger than yesterday, and tomorrow I will be even stronger. (A mantra we yelled at the start of a training class I took while growing up in Camden, ME. Now it's my tough uphill refrain.) 

Q: What do you carry in your purse or bag with you every day?

Kerry: Food. I get hangry, so rather than stress about when or where or what my next meal will be, I always pack something to eat.

Q: What are 3 things left on your bucket list?

Kerry: I'm not really a bucket list kind of person, I usually just make plans to do the things I want to do.

But some things still on the still-to-complete adventure list are:

Q: What are your go-to indulgences or guilty pleasures?

Kerry: Spending all day lying on the floor, reading a book from cover to cover.

Q: You can pick one superpower… what would you choose?

Kerry: Flying.

To follow Kerry’s journey track her progress at http://kerrygross.com/ or on Instagram/Facebook @kerry.m.gross

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Thank you so much for this interview....I am blessed to be the mom of Kerry, and I would love to connect with other mothers of adventurers.....how do we nurture each other, and ourselves, to get outside our comfort zones so we can grow? 

What a great pursuit! I just commented on the 'What is it like to switch careers in your 40's and 50's campfire' and found this incredible interview. I don't believe Kerry is in her 40's or 50's, but I love that she is pursuing what she wants with purpose--and she did so because it gave her a purpose that felt authentic. I love that--way to inspire my day! 

Kelly at HERdacity

HERstory: WW2 Veteran Simone Segouin Fought for Freedom & Women Everywhere

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Submitted by Kelly Smith on Mon, 07/24/2017 - 09:12

Think about the women in WW2. Does Rosie the Riveter come to mind? With her red handkerchief and 'You Can Do It' slogan, Rosie is arguably one of the most iconic images of female empowerment and serves as a reminder of the important role women played during the war. But what about the thousands of other women who served their countries? Their roles were vital but often individuals were forgotten. Take Simone Segouin for example.

At just 18 years old, Simone Segouin was inspired by her veteran father to join the Francs-Tireurs et Partisans–a combat group made up of militant communists and French nationalists.

Going undercover as Nicole Minet, she stole a bike from German military administrators, repainted it, then used it to carry secret messages and stake out potential targets. Eventually, she was formally trained for battle and helped with dangerous missions such as capturing German soldiers, attacks against enemy detachments and other acts of sabotage against the Germans.

One of her most iconic missions involved assisting in the liberation of Chartres, helping kill 2 Germans and capturing 25 as prisoners of war. She was also involved in the liberation of Paris, which was still a battle zone when she joined in the fight.

 simon segouin taking cover from sniper fire

Simone notes how, “One of the best days was when we arrested 25 German soldiers towards the end of the war. It felt good as we knew we would soon have our country back from occupation.” She added, “I was not the only woman who joined the Resistance. I was proud of what we all did as a team.”

Simone showed daring in so many ways. Not only did she pursue a role in WW2 that was ‘typically male’, but she showed bravery on the battlefield and was willing to do whatever it took to help her country out of occupation.

At 91, Simone is currently retired as a pediatric nurse and lives in Chartres, France.

Our history is filled with stories of groundbreaking, inspirational and daring women. Women who were persistent or even audacious enough to define what success looked like—no matter the obstacles, no matter the time period. Popular culture and history books don’t always honor these women or tell their stories correctly or fully—and that’s where HERdacity comes in. Our aim is to highlight these women to illustrate how far a bit of daring can take you if you have the audacity to define success for yourself. Go ahead, read it, take it in and see how it fits with your own daring. What are you waiting for?

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You guys should totally do something on Agustina de Aragón - She became known as “the Spanish Joan of Arc” during the Spanish War of Independence, when, after showing up at a battle to bring apples to the gunners, she ended up running in the wrong direction in what was supposed to be a retreat of Spanish soldiers and attacking the French cannons at point blank range with a cannon of her own, annihilating an entire wave of attackers.

Go, Augustina! What a great story. Maybe we will see more about her. Heck, I'm still admiring Simone above, holding her automatic rifle and wearing shorts and fighting for what she believes in. Isn't that what most of us do as women? (Although we don't always carry a metal weapon or wear shorts while we do it.) But we are powerful and we make important changes happen in this world!

Kelly at HERdacity

YOUR CAMPFIRE: Introduce Yourself & Join Us!

Welcome To Your Campfire! Maybe this is your first time on HERdacity… or maybe you’ve logged in a few times before. Either way, this is your space to voice what matters to you and find support from like-minded women.

The HERdacity team would like you to comment in this space and let us know the issues YOU want to talk about. What sorts of topics are empowering to YOU? What do you want to share with other women? What everyday challenges or cultural biases do you face? How do you overcome them?

Simply get started here by telling us a little about yourself in the comment section below. Maybe you’re a teacher from Florida who wants to hear more about switching careers. Or possibly you’re stay at home grandma in Seattle who can’t wait to share some of your wisdom. 

No matter who you are or where you live, if you are ready to find your daring or if you are ready to empower other women to find theirs... you are welcome here!  

Exploration & Outdoors Breaking Down Barriers Parenting Sips & Bites How Do You Dare? Women's Wisdom (Seeking or Giving Advice)

My name is Imeh Esen and I am an entrepreneur and digital marketer. I'd like to contribute to the discussions, grow along and meet like minded women. I think women have so much to offer each other, so much inside of us, and can do so much - if we just believe.

Hi, I just happened across your site and I like it a lot. I'd like to see more conversations among the women on here. We have so much to share and learn from one another. I like the feel...it's different from other sites.

And I like what OctoberSky said below, too, about the cultural change. It's important. Thank you!

It would be great if these campfires were lead by topic by experts in their fields... Women we would be able to ask questions to regarding different issues. (I'm Katy from California!) 

Hello Everyone! I'm Larissa-- I'm the Community Engagement Manager at HERdacity. I would really love to hear how everyone wants to use this community. We have big plans and are daring to change the world but we need your help to do it. 

What is holding you back from daring? What topics do you want to talk about? What struggles do you face? 

Thanks! We hope to hear from you! 

Hello! I'm Jenn and I just joined a week or so ago. So far I have loved reading everyones comments and posting on my own. I joined mostly looking for advice on everyday problems and concerns of women and once I take in everyones knowledge maybe I can one day share some knowledge of my own :)

Can't wait to see this community grow! 

Hey everyone, i'm Kelly!

I'm a student at the University of Texas and I just joined the HERdacity team a few weeks ago as a Digital Marketing Intern.

I am super excited about not only becoming a member of the HERdacity community but helping facilitate it. Campfires are such a good way to form community so I would love to hear from y'all about what you want to see in campfires! Whether that means giving specific prompts or tips on how to improve them I would love to get to know y'all and hear your thoughts. 

HERdacity