By Jane Plitt, NCWI founder and Board chair
Alexandria, VA – Purposely located in Alexandria, Virginia, the National Center of Women’s Innovation (NCWI) is roaring forward in 2024 to assure forgotten women innovators are recognized. Together we will make it happen. Our ambitious goals for the year include producing mobile exhibits of forgotten women innovators that will inspire the public. Plus we will launch the most comprehensive and searchable data file of women innovators.
Simultaneously with our targeted STEM educational modules, young girls will be encouraged to pursue innovative fields by providing women role models and strengthening their confidence to work in similar fields. Teaming up with the Rosie Riveters’ group, we will develop the “Empowering Innovation: Dr. Gladys West GPS Challenge,” a project aligning STEM-themed activities with the inspiring story of Dr. West, recently showcased at NCWI’s Inaugural Gala. There will be a similar project linked to each woman innovator we feature.
To pull this off, we need dynamic, skilled, and creative leadership (and donors!). In December the Board elevated BK Fulton, Mr. Renaissance Man as our Vice Chair. BK is tireless in his commitment to improve the world through creative, innovative and business efforts. As the retired Verizon President for Virginia and West Virginia, BK is now chairman of seven companies and an award-winning filmmaker and author. In 2017 BK founded Soulidifly Productions – a film, stage and TV investment company designed to promote a more inclusive narrative in media. The company has produced 15 feature films, 15 books and two #1 shows on Broadway since its inception including the highest grossing August Wilson show and revival of all time. Many of you were charmed by BK as our Inaugural Gala’s Master of Ceremonies. We are grateful to BK for assuming this leadership role. Together we WILL mainstream the public’s perceptions of women as innovators. To succeed, we need both national and local help.
Extraordinary Local Support
Local support comes in all sizes. McGuireWoods LLP has become our pro bono law firm. George Mason Universiy with its Innovation Campus is an eager partner for our efforts, along with other leading business, community educational and governmental groups and individuals. Local entrepreneur Liana Sansom, owner of 9Round Fitness Studio recently ran a fundraiser for us offering “free” kickboxing lessons with all donations going to NCWI. How creative. A lunch group at the Trinity Methodist Church’s Amazing Grays recently heard me. Lunch chair Melanie Modlin remarked, “We learned so much…about NCWI and about “some of the (wrongly) unsung heroines of American Innovation.”
I will be the guest speaker at the Alexandria Rotary February 13, 2024 meeting. My topic will be “Putting Women Innovators on the Map of Recognition.” On March 10th, in cooperation with the City Alexandria’s Women’s History month celebration, I will also be speaking at the Lyceum from 1-2 PM on “How Women Changed the World of Health Care But Took Years to Be Recognized”. … Discover the women behind Cataract Surgery, Covid (RNA) vaccine, Ozempic , Leprosy, Sickle Cell Anemia . Be there!
Plus, I will be speaking at the Fairfax Public Access March meeting. Help get the word out about NCWI. Email [email protected] with other possibilities.
Among the quiet, steadfast cadre of NCWI volunteers is Ann Kaupp. She has been an ardent supporter of cultural diversity and women’s rights. Ann outreaches to groups of contemporary women innovators and schools furthering our alliance building. She spent 34 years with the Smithsonian Institution’s Department of Anthropology in the National Museum of Natural History promoting the understanding and teaching of anthropology. She produced videos, organized workshops, co-edited a bi-annual award-winning international publication for educators and museum and anthropology professionals that culminated in a book, and founded a department newsletter that informed Smithsonian administration and other museum units about staff research and activities. Ann is currently on the boards of Rainforest Trust, and Encore Learning, as co-chair of the Publications Committee. Yet, she still finds time to support NCWI because, “reading about these female innovators gives rise to great pride in the female gender for their relentless pursuit of knowledge, truth, and excellence. The NCWI [is giving] a face to these astonishing women who are role models for forthcoming generations.”
Sign up on our website womensinnovations.org and join our exciting efforts to correct herstory! Be our Valentine!