This weekend I am headed to my home state, to speak to the Girl Scouts of Michigan Shore to Shore for their Girl Scout leadership conference. I will be going on the behalf of ASTRA FEMINA – a collective of prominent women leaders including woman astronauts, aviators, academic professionals, and industry innovators. At ASTRA FEMINA we share our stories with young women to inspire them to enter into STEM careers where women remain in the minority and incredible opportunity awaits. Our organization’s mission is simple but powerful – “to open more girls minds to joining our ranks and soaring to new heights.”

I am delighted to be their keynote speaker. I intend to speak about what happens when a young girl scout from Michigan (like myself) learns to fly – both metaphorically and literally. Just as I watched Sally Ride become the first woman in space, I knew that if she could become an astronaut, I had a chance, too. The world opens up when you can see yourself in the outer limits of space.

What I will do is to encourage the young women in my audience to not only seek out women role models but to also see themselves as future role models and mentors. They need to see it to believe it.

In a recent conversation with a female colleague, we spoke about the fact that during our mostly male-dominated careers (she in engineering, I in naval aviation), we had mentors, but we had few, if any, female role models. “We are the role models now,” she said to me, and she was right.

Now, as an educator, I know that girls and young women must be exposed to role models. They must be able to see themselves in the future majors they select in college and in the careers that may follow.

You can’t be what you can’t see – thank you Sally Ride.

What are you doing as a role model to inspire the next generation? If you could tell one girl or boy scout how the sky is the limit, what would you say? Think about it and let me know.

Fly high,


Need some coaching or help navigating through some current issues? Drop me a line at CaptainBarbaraBell.com. Want to know more about being a role model? Check out my book: Flight Lessons: Navigating Through Life’s Turbulence and Learning to Fly High – in it I have some great questions to stimulate more conversation. I promise.

#GirlScouts, #Astrafemina, #coaching, #mentor, #mentorship, #leadership