may 15, 2015

On Tuesday, Kiran brought together 2,000 community leaders for the first-ever White House Summit on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders ~ the US's fastest-growing + most diverse racial group. The former civil rights lawyer is also taking a lead in celebrating national diversity through AAPI Heritage Month this May.

You can join in the conversation online with #APAEverywhere. It's the perfect hashtag for sharing the stories of these remarkable women + their far-reaching contributions to government, business and education.


"You must remember never

to cease to act because

you fear you may fail."

Queen Lili'uokalani
the last monarch of Hawaii


{unforgettable | She leads...}

The daughter of a Polynesian high chief. The first and only female royal to rule Hawaii. A popular symbol of Hawaiian independence + traditional island culture.

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Liliuokalani came to power in 1891 after the death of her brother King Kalakaua. Eager to restore rights to the monarchy and to native Hawaiians that had been lost during her brother's reign, the Queen immediately put forth a new constitution. It didn't go over well with US businessmen on the island, who called for a military intervention to protect their interests.

Just two years into her reign, Liliuokalani's government was forcibly overthrown by the US. She spent the rest of her life petitioning to regain her annexed estate and advocating on behalf of her people.

The last letter she wrote to her daughter put her perseverance on display ~ "I could not turn back the time for political change, but there is still time to save our heritage. You must remember never to cease to act because you may fail." Today, these famous lines are often memorized by Hawaiian school children.

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Liliuokalani was a gifted composer with 165 songs to her name. Among them, Hawaii's second national anthem, a song of praise for England's Queen Victoria performed for her Golden Jubilee and the still-popular tune, "Aloha Oe." She wrote the bittersweet ballad during her year in prison after she was deposed. You may recognize its chorus ~ "Aloha 'oe, farewell to thee... One fond embrace before I now depart. Until we meet again."

hear more...of Liliuokalani's lush lyrics

"You cannot deliver value unless

you anchor the company's values.

Values make an unsinkable ship."

Indra Nooyi
the caring CEO


{remarkable | She leads...}

An Indian-born business student who earned her first masters degree at age 21. A Yale MBA whose mom was reluctant to let her do grad school before marriage. A renowned strategist + the first female leader of PepsiCo.

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Since becoming Pepsi's top exec in 2006, Indra has kept its shares rising in spite of a global downturn in soda consumption. How? By investing in R&D that has helped Pepsi command the market for new food products. And, by aligning company performance with social purpose.

In a 2013 speech about "managing uncertainty," Indra shared the lessons she'd learned from seeing a major corporation through the financial crisis. The calm leader advised thinking long-term about recovery, accepting turbulence + meeting it with adaptability ~ and, above all, creating value through values. Indra has done just that by pledging to shift Pepsi's revenue streams to healthful products, using renewable energy sources and creating childhood health initiatives.

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Indra was lead guitarist in an all-women rock band as a teenager. She still sings karaoke at company functions.

The PepsiCo CEO is famous for "thinking outside the can." Her secret to bold decision-making? "Dig deep. Be curious. Have an insatiable appetite to find out the back-story behind the story."

discover more...of Indra's strategic insights on traditions + megatrends

"Grit is living life

like a marathon

not a sprint."

Angela Duckworth
the psychologist of success


{notable | She discovers...}

A New Jersey girl born to a chemist + an artist who emigrated from China. A Harvard alum who started a summer program for underprivileged kids before heading to Oxford as a Marshall Scholar in neuroscience. A psych prof at Penn + bonafide MacArthur Genius.

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Angela had been working as a math teacher in poor urban neighborhoods for 5 years when she wondered: why don't intelligent students do well? The question took her out of the classroom and into the research lab to figure out the science behind academic attainment.

Her findings confirmed her hunch that "character is at least as important as intellect." Turns out, self-discipline trumps IQ + talent as a predictor of achievement.

Angela coined the term "grit" ~ the passion + perseverance for long-term goals ~ to describe the quality that best accounts for success. Grit is good news for educators since it's a trait that can be taught.

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With recent grants from the Gates + MacArthur Foundations, Angela is working out how to measure character, motivation and achievement through longitudinal studies {rather than 60-minute psych labs}.

It may seem like a truism that hard work pays off, but Angela's one of the first researchers to give us hard data about how + why. As she puts it ~ "We have focused our attention on identifying and understanding the hares among us. It is time to think seriously about the tortoises and what keeps them going."

see more...about how to get gritty!

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"I tell my daughters that when I go, they'll know the good recipes from the dirty pages."

~ Kim McKinney
the Nasville homecook who inspired the Dirty Pages   |   a project + art-installation organized by 3 Southern food writers that meditates on well-loved recipes

"Our currency is a reflection of, literally, what we hold dear."

~ Jeanne Shaheen
the New Hampshire Senator who introduced the official Women on the Twenty Act to Congress   |   following a national survey that gave the nod to Harriet Tubman as the top candidate to replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill

"To choose to write is to reject silence."

~ Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
the Nigerian novelist + co-curator of New York's PEN World Voices Festival   |   encouraging fellow authors to reject cultural "codes of silence" during her closing lecture for the event

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