I was seven years old when my mother showed me her most treasured jewels. Taking my hand in hers, she walked me through the giant oak doors of our town library where she showed me the Orange Books, biographies of historical men and women of achievement. Certainly, there were far fewer books of women than men, but there they were—women of achievement on the library shelves, books of the same size, same covers, different stories. My mother's most treasured gift for me was the library card that allowed these stories to be mine—stories which I continue to hold in my memory to this day—Amelia Earhart, Clara Barton, Marie Curie and Jane Addams, to name just a few.

I've been fortunate to have learned from a host of women leaders: teachers, ...

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