Mae Jemison was born on October 17, 1956, in Decatur, Alabama, although she was raised in Chicago, IL. She studied Chemical Engineering at Stanford University and Medicine at Cornell University. Jemison has made a name for herself as a capable engineer, doctor, and astronaut with NASA with limitless abilities. She is also, the author of multiple books, as well as a television celebrity, she has appeared on several programs such as Star Trek: The Next Generation (Eschner, 2017). Mae Jemison is world-renowned for being the first black woman to go to space in 1992 when she went aboard as a mission specialist in the NASA Space Shuttle Endeavour.
In 1987, she became one of the Astronaut Corps in NASA, where she served in the STS-47 mission, orbiting the Earth between 12 September and 20 September 1992 (Leary, 1992). She has been awarded several honorary degrees severally, and she is recognized in the International Space Hall of Fame, as well as the National Women’s Hall of Fame.
Mae Jemison’s Impact on Society
Jemison has worked to make the world a better place through the technology research company she founded in 1993, as well as her foundation, The Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence (Cavallaro, 2017). Jemison is passionate about science and technology. As a speaker, she continues to empower the public and create awareness through speeches in both public and private forums. Jemison makes it clear that science literacy is a significant tool that should be embraced in schools by promoting hands-on experimentation. Some of her greatest impact on society includes addressing issues regarding access to quality healthcare.
She took part in the Red Dress Heart Truth fashion show meant to raise funds to fight heart conditions. Besides inspiring upcoming generations, she empowers women and young girls in the community. She has also participated in forums that empower black women to rise above their plight to become great members of society. Her success and contributions make her a great role model to inspire younger generations.
Lessons to Early Sales Folks and Sales Leaders
One of Jemison’s greatest quotes is that one should “Never be limited by other people’s limited imaginations.” This is a valuable lesson that sales professionals and leaders should take to heart as they advance in their careers. The sky is not the limit, and every individual has the right to reach for the stars in any field. Jemison was not intimidated by the fact that no African-American woman had ever been to space before her. She bravely went through uncharted paths to gain new experiences, and this became a significant milestone for her. And her trailblazing contributions in the world of STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) mean that her legacy will outlive her.
Early career sales professionals and leaders should not be afraid to embrace new opportunities, even when they are presented as obstacles. Leaders can learn the value of taking initiative and taking greater risks to ensure their long-term success as they build their legacies. Her active participation in public forums, as well as her boldness to resign from NASA after her first shuttle flight, is commendable. Her boldness demonstrates that one should be courageous enough to take charge of the pace and direction of their career.
Cavallaro, U. (2017). Women Spacefarers: Sixty Different Paths to Space. Springer.
Eschner, K. (2017). “This Ground-breaking Astronaut and Star Trek Fan Is Now Working on Interstellar Travel”. SmithsonianLeary, W. (1992). “Woman in the News; A Determined Breaker of Boundaries – Mae Carol Jemison”. The New York Times.