Chapter 5


A Venture with No Glass Ceiling

Valerie Bates

At age 18, full of dreams and lofty aspirations and feeling rich in potential, I was shaken to my core when I realized that a significant person in my life believed that there was a limit to the value that I might bring to the world. Until that sunny day in 1967 when my flight landed and I arrived home from completing my first year in college, I had assumed that my father believed in me; but on that day he announced that he would no longer fund my education—because I was a girl. I couldn’t believe my ears. “Because I am a girl?!” I asked. Had my father told me that he couldn’t support me for financial reasons, I would have understood; but this rationale was incomprehensible to me. I was shocked, dismayed, and momentarily crushed.

After I picked myself up off the ground emotionally, I resumed my education, thanks to determination, a couple of scholarships, student loans, and 12-hour days working summer jobs. I shared a tiny motel room that was en route to the university, where I cooked meals on a little hotplate and viewed everything as a brand-new adventure.

My father had inadvertently triggered many insights that shaped my character and impacted what I would ultimately accomplish as a mother, teacher, facilitator, and businesswoman. From that day forward, I took full responsibility for myself, rather than relying on others.

I hold no animosity toward Dad. I understand that his perspective on ...

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