Michigan’s Eastpointe Welcomes its First Black Mayor
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Mayor Monique Owens sitting on a bench and smiling and the camera

By Sara Salam

In November, Monique Owens became the first Black mayor of Michigan’s Eastpointe.

Prior to her election as mayor, Owens served as a councilwoman for two years. Owens is the first African American elected to either position.

Her journey to this post has been nothing short of eventful.

Back in 2017, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a suit in which it argued that Eastpointe violated the Voting Rights Act. The suit claims Eastpointe systematically denied its African-American residents the opportunity to elect people who look like them by holding citywide votes for its city council seats. In contrast, cities like neighboring Detroit divide the city into districts, which then elect their own representatives.

One outcome of the lawsuit was Owens’s election to the Eastpointe City Council. Subsequently this past November, she was elected mayor. She narrowly beat fellow City Council member Michael Klinefelt, earning 1,648 votes to his 1,629 votes—a 19-vote victory.

Currently, about 30 percent of Eastpointe’s 32,000 residents are African American. According to the U.S. census, African Americans made up 4.7 percent of the population in 2000.

Owens is the first African American elected to either position.

Owens moved from Clinton Township in Macomb County to Eastpointe about ten years ago. She started her career as a clerical employee in the Detroit Police Department and later as a Wayne County Sheriff deputy.

She first got into politics when she applied to finish an Eastpointe council member’s term following their death. She applied again when a council member resigned a month after they were elected.

After her election to the Eastpointe City Council in 2017, she developed a greater desire to serve as mayor.

“I want people to own their own homes, be proud of where they live at and invest more into the city,” Owens said in a statement.

She also wants to work with police to lower crimes and bring more recreation parks to the city.

A community once named East Detroit, Eastpointe changed its name in 1991 per voter choice as a means of distancing itself from the negative connotations associated with its Motor City neighbor.

Owens wants to help educate Black people about politics and public policy that she was not taught as a child.

“I want to write a children’s book to teach kids about public policy at a young age,” she said. “When they get to a certain age, they will know what a councilperson is, what a mayor is—and become that.”

Sources: michiganadvance.com; clickondetroit.com; metrotimes.com

We Asked, She Answered: Ashley Mehta, President & CEO, Nolij Consulting
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Businesswoman at desk checking phone with tech graphs in background

Professional Woman’s Magazine  recently spoke with Ashley Mehta, chairwoman, CEO and president of Nolij Consulting, a woman-owned, solutions-focused healthcare IT company that specializes in digital healthcare modernization for the military, public and commercial sectors.

Mehta founded the Northern Virginia-based Nolij Consulting in 2013, and since then, has scaled the company to be the leader in healthcare IT.

We asked the Ohio native more about Nolij, her challenges as a female business owner and her goals for the future: 

Professional Woman’s Magazine  (PWM): Tell us a little bit more about your background. Were you always interested in IT? 

Mehta: I am a graduate of the Ohio State University’s Max. M. Fisher College of Business. I have two children and am privileged to be in a position where I can create a positive, impactful work environment for my employees while giving back to the community and championing causes that I am passionate about, including veterans’ and women’s issues. I love working in IT because, whether it’s making systems more efficient, reducing client expenditure or producing better outcomes, technology is able to create a significant and real change in organizations and people’s lives. Yes, I’ve always been interested in technology as it increases business efficiencies and brings people together to solve the most pressing business problems.

PWM: What led you to create Nolij Consulting? 

Mehta: I was a former stay-at-home mom with two young children who found herself in a position where I needed to go back to work. I joined a large consulting firm and had the opportunity to learn the entire spectrum of the business – from compliance to proposals, business development, technology and everything in between. As the industry started shifting from large business opportunities to more small business opportunities, I recognized my chance to start my own company and make a real difference in the industry while having the work/life balance I wanted so I could juggle all of my responsibilities. From there, Nolij was born. Over the past 9 years, we have made great strides against considerable odds in establishing ourselves amid a crowded GovCon marketplace! Ironically enough, I have trained several previously stay at home moms in this business and they now work for Nolij.

PWM: What challenges, if any, have you experienced as a female founder and CEO in this space? 

Mehta: The biggest obstacle I’ve faced to date is the lack of prime IT opportunities specifically set aside for women-owned businesses. As Nolij has grown its footprint across the GovCon space, and is now expanding into the commercial sector, I’ve continued to focus on key areas, such as cybersecurity, RPA and AI, where we can expand our partnerships to create new opportunities for women-owned businesses. 

PWM: What would you say is your greatest accomplishment to-date?  

Mehta: Building a successful, thriving business and creating an outstanding consulting company with a great work environment for my employees while being a great mother is my greatest accomplishment so far. Our employees gave us a 4 on Glassdoor, which is no easy feat to achieve for an organization. Glassdoor is a website where current and former employees anonymously review companies. I am proud of employing leading talent across the industry and having the expertise to serve our clients and add to their success.

Nolij is proud to give back to various charities and support the less fortunate in our community. As a little girl, I’ve always dreamed of having extra money to give to those in need.

I’ve been able to do this while raising two beautiful children who have worked hard as well and have bright futures ahead of them. These successes inspire me every day to keep moving forward.

PWM: What advice would you give to another female entrepreneur?  

Mehta: I would say that leading by example, putting yourself in front of clients and marketing your company on social media is very important. It’s also critical to set yourself apart and create a differentiator for your company. Distinguish your company and invest heavily in training resources and certifications for your organization and your employees. To build a successful team, be sure you are offering the right benefits that will keep employees with you and give them the chance to grow professionally. It’s no longer expensive to provide the benefits and resources that larger companies do. It is important to create a strong foundation to make people feel valued and enjoy coming to work each day. And remember, once you have a strong service/product offering, no one will care if you are a man or a woman.

PWM: What are your goals for Nolij Consulting? What do you hope to achieve in the future?  

Mehta: We are focused on strategic growth in a number of areas going forward to make the company future-ready. We are also focused on strong partnerships and relationships to further strengthen our capabilities to meet our clients’ goals. We’ve created three new joint ventures (JV) focused on cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, emerging technologies and health IT services. These joint ventures are a combination of 8A, WOSB, Hubzone, and SDVOSB managed JVs. We also have a mentor protégé JV relationship with a large health IT company where we plan to win opportunities under relevant IT contract vehicles. We are currently working to win several contract vehicles that give us the ability to win task orders under those vehicles. We just recently won GSA 8A STARS III and Navy Seaport NxG. We are also strengthening our AI /ML solutions to establish a strong capability in software testing and Electronic Health Records (EHR). We just won an artificial intelligence sole source opportunity with Health and Human Services (HHS). We’ve established several emerging, next-generation technology product partnerships and are currently establishing a workforce that is well trained on delivering these products. Our goal is to achieve an even stronger health IT company focused on our employee’s wellbeing while providing excellent health IT services to our clients.

PWM: What is something colleagues would be surprised to know/learn about you? 

Ashley Metha
Ashley Mehta, chairwoman, CEO and president of Nolij Consulting

Mehta: I have a twin brother who is also in IT. He is more in the sales and software product side of the business. My son looks quite a bit like him. I also have an older brother who is in healthcare mergers and acquisitions. I grew up with my father owning his own consulting business around continuing education for CPAs. He did not have the luxury of the business conveniences that we have today. Due to the lack of technology, he had to educate CPAs in person, ship heavy training materials for his classes and had to conduct business over a phone hooked up to a wall. Today we can offer e-learning opportunities, send large documents over the internet, use our mobile phones to have Zoom or WebEx meetings with clients across the world. As a business owner and mother, I have a tremendous amount of respect for what my dad accomplished while raising kids without the technological advances we have today.

PWM: Anything else you would like to add that we missed? 

Mehta: If your company has predominately male leadership, if it’s not leaning more towards a healthy even split, then the next generation of women will consider your company yesterday’s product. A product not worth their investment and time; a place where innovation and creativity will be stifled by outdated norms.

I want to take a moment to recognize the bright daughters of my outstanding employees and all that they are accomplishing. It’s exciting to think about a future where their contributions will not only be recognized but will be sought-after. Ultimately, empowering women in the workplace ensures your company will be ready for whatever challenges lie ahead.

We Need More Women in Technology. Period.
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Emma Yang outdoors wearing a black and gold long sleeved sweater that says full schedule

Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg – there are so many male leaders in tech. But what about Ada Lovelace, Grace Hopper, Susan Wojcicki, Sheryl Sandberg and the decades of further women technologists?

Women are making an impact in technology, but the statistics are still shocking. According to the Women and Technology Study conducted for PwC in 2017, only 3 percent of women say a career in technology is their first choice, 78 percent of students can’t name a famous woman working in technology, and only 5 percent of jobs in the technology industry are held by women.

Luckily, times are changing, and more women are being encouraged to join the ranks of innovators and creators driving remarkable technological innovations for our world.

Tech is a very cool industry for women to work

So why should women choose to work in technology?

Technology is a modern industry with a modern workplace culture. Think of all the perks at tech giant Google—free food, on-site massage therapists, dedicated volunteering time, and dog-friendly offices. But it’s not just about the physical benefits.

Emma Yang, CEO and founder of the mobile app Timeless

A career in technology means working with diverse people who are some of the brightest and most innovative minds in the world.

Working in the technology sector can mean working on some totally out-of-this-world, near-on futuristic projects that can help millions of people globally. Being part of something bigger and making a long-lasting and tangible difference to society is very appealing.

Of course, one of the biggest reasons why the technology sector can be so luring is its rapid rate of growth. With every new and exciting development comes many opportunities for women to get involved.

The technology sector is always hiring, and here are some of the key types of projects you could work on:

Robotic intelligence

Ever dreamed of a robot cooking you dinner? Time to wake up into this reality: robots are becoming more intelligent, more dexterous, and more adaptable to their environment.

Dactyl is a robot created by OpenAI – non-profit brainchild of tech leader Elon Musk – who can hold things with its fingers and learn to do tasks beyond its programming.

Brain-computer interface

Watching a series on the computer can even see the effort of reaching for the mouse to click the next episode an aspect of the past.

Development of a brain-computer interface is underway – a very futuristic but very possible technological development where thoughts can control the computer.

Another Elon Musk startup, Neuralink, has already developed a system where a monkey has successfully controlled a computer with its brain. The company has been considering rolling out the system for humans to help with brain and spinal cord injuries.

High-speed internet

Internet has become a staple part of many people’s lives, which means we’re expecting more and more from it. One frustration is slow internet, but innovators are solving that problem too with 5G. High-speed internet is great for individuals, and for the economy also via boosting businesses, increasing working efficiency, and making communication easier and more reliable – particularly for remote workers.

Driverless cars

So, it’s not quite the sci-fi utopia of flying cars, but technology companies are developing driverless cars powered by artificial intelligence.

It’s a mammoth task to take on – mimicking complex human actions and reactions, scaling the product to make it affordable to the mass-market – but many technology companies are determined to bring this to streets of the future.

Plant-based, meat-free food

Technology is often mainly associated with computers, devices and further hardware but technological progress can also be seen in other types of products – and can even impact of people’s lives, such as their diets. Thankfully, many people have become far more environmentally conscious and the technology industry is responding to this via a wide range of plant-based, meat-free options that are lab-grown or even 3D printed.

What’s more, plant-based meat-free alternatives can be very nutritionally optimized and personalized through technology so as to suit the health needs of individuals, and products can be mass-produced without a huge environmental impact – a big step towards alleviating the food crisis worldwide. Better for health, and better for the planet.

Personalized cancer vaccines

As well as food, technology can also revolutionize health. One incredible leap forward for human progress is custom cancer vaccines where treatment triggers someone’s immune system to find and destroy the cancer itself.

This is truly what working in technology is all about – developing new innovations that can save lives and change the world for the better.

Two women who are leading the way in creating these sorts of pioneering technological innovations are:

Stephanie Lampkin, founder and CEO of Blendoor, pictured in a red dress and black blazer
Stephanie Lampkin, founder
and CEO of Blendoor

Stephanie Lampkin, founder and CEO of Blendoor – a mobile job matching app that uses a blind recruiting strategy to overcome unconscious bias and diversify recruiting in tech companies. A 13-year career with technology companies like Lockheed, Microsoft, and TripAdvisor has familiarized Lampkin with the difficulties of ‘looking different.’ With the help of technology and data, her aim is to prove that diversifying the tech talent pipeline will add, rather than remove, value to the industry.

And Emma Yang, CEO and founder of Timeless, a mobile app that helps Alzheimer’s patients stay engaged and connected to loved ones. She is a keen coder and an advocate for women in STEM. Through her work, she wants to encourage further young women like her to pursue careers in the technology industry and use their talents to make the world a better place.

Making space for women in STEM

With such rising demand for new technology, there is a significant need for women to be better supported in pursuing a career in STEM. Educators, businesses and individual mindsets must be broadened if barriers are going to be broken, stereotypes challenged and obstacles overcome to regarding women’s participation in and contribution to innovation.

We need more coding clubs in schools. We need more female role models and mentors. We need to overcome gender bias in the workplace. Companies also need to provide a more flexible work environment for women, such as programs to support women returners or better maternity leave policies.

We need more women in technology. Period.

Source: internationalwomensday.com

Foundation For Women Honors Amanda Gorman, Amanda Nguyen, Dr. Kizzmekiah Corbett, Laura Jiménez, And Marissa Nuncio At 2021 Gloria Awards
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Marlo Thomas, Gloria Steinem, Patricia Carbine and Letty Cottin-Pogrebin speak during the 33rd Gloria Awards: A Salute to Women of Vision virtual event

Recently, the Ms. Foundation for Women, the nation’s first and oldest women’s foundation, hosted The 33rd Gloria Awards: A Salute to Women of Vision, which paid tribute to the remarkable achievements of those whose courage and leadership move our society toward a more just and inclusive world, and raised funds that will help support women-led nonprofits and community organizations in the nation’s most impacted communities.

The evening honored Rise CEO and founder Amanda Nguyen, Immunologist at the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Moderna Vaccine co-developer Dr. Kizzmekiah Corbett, 2021 Inaugural Poet Amanda Gorman, along with two leaders from grantee partner organizations–Laura Jiménez,  Director of The Garment Worker Center, and Marissa Nuncio, Executive Director for California Latinas for Reproductive Justice. Photo: Marlo Thomas, Gloria Steinem, Patricia Carbine and Letty Cottin-Pogrebin speak during the 33rd Gloria Awards: A Salute to Women of Vision – VIRTUAL EVENT on May 19, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images Ms. Foundation for Women)

The Gloria Awards, named for Gloria Steinem, one of the organization’s founding mothers, is a yearly celebration to benefit Ms. Foundation grantee partners around the country and to recognize leaders who have made an indelible impact on the movement for gender equity at the local, state, and national level. Ms. Nguyen, Ms. Jiménez, and Ms. Nuncio, received the Women of Vision Award, honoring feminist leaders who create positive change. Dr. Corbett received the Marie C. Wilson Emerging Leader Award, named after the former CEO and President of the Foundation to recognize young, trailblazing feminists. Ms. Gorman received the Free to Be You and Me Award.

Championing the theme “JOY UNMUTED,”more than 1,000 registrants celebrated a much-needed release after this very intense year, demonstrating that no matter what, they will rise in collective joy as they speak truth to power.

HIGHLIGHT: Gloria Steinem opened the The 33rd Gloria Awards: A Salute to Women of Vision ceremony with a reflection of the past year.

TOP QUOTE: Gloria Steinem, Founding Mother of Ms. Foundation stated, ”The past year has had a life-altering effect on everyone, and especially on especially women, particularly women of color. But even in the face of the most daunting challenges and great pain, women found the passion and determination to continue to fight for equality and justice. Tonight, we’re here to honor that collective power and draw inspiration from each other, knowing that we can all take action.”

HIGHLIGHT: Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett received the Marie C. Wilson Emerging Leader Award Recipient:

This award honors trailblazing feminist leaders who amplify their voice and enact positive change by paving the way for generations to come. Dr Corbett is an immunologist who developed the Moderna Vaccine and spends her weekends educating marginalized communities about vaccine safety and efficacy in an effort to ease health disparities.

TOP QUOTE: Dr. Corbett said, “What I want women and girls of color, in particular, to know is that you have a purpose. You have meaning. And you belong. Oftentimes we are made to feel like we are outside of all the great things that are happening, when actually the opposite is true. We are at the heart of it. Women of color have been and continue to be the backbone of this country. We create, we lead, and with that comes amazing movements like for example the COVID-19 vaccine. Part of the reason why we are able to do that is because of our strength. Because we understand what the strength is in our purpose. Finding that strength, understanding that purpose is how you as a woman or girl can fuel what you are destined to be.”

HIGHLIGHT: Amanda Gorman, Free to Be You and Me Award Honoree: 

This award honors young activists enacting change and leading the way for future generations.  Her unbridled passion for poetry and the written word has cemented much-needed messages of power, agency, and hope across generations. Ms. Foundation’s Founding Mother, Marlo Thomas presented her with this award.

TOP QUOTE: Poet and Changemaker Amanda Gorman said, “To ‘unmute joy,’ you also have to unmute your hope, your faith, your belief, your fire. And one of the ways in which continue to unmute my joy is by unmuting my voice. Growing up with a speech impediment, being a spoken word poet wasn’t always easy. And every single time I get onstage, whether it be at the Inauguration or in a third grade classroom, I am still terrified. But unmuting joy doesn’t mean that you are unafraid, it just means that there’s something more important than your fear. So I hope that you continue to unmute your joy, and furthermore to put it on full volume.”

HIGHLIGHT: Amanda Nguyen, Woman of Vision Award Recipient:

Amanda was honored not only for  her work not only as CEO and founder of Rise, a civil rights accelerator that empowers everyday citizens to pen their own rights into existence, but also for her outspoken candor regarding Anti-Asian Racism and attacks against the AAPI communities. Actor Kelly Marie Tran presented her with this award.

TOP QUOTE: When introducing Amanda, Kelly Marie Tran said, “Amanda is not only my friend, my sister, and my role model, she is also a civil rights activist…I am so proud of you. I am truly, constantly inspired by your persistence, tenacity, and your grace. You’ve taught me so much.”

TOP QUOTE: Amanda Nguyen, CEO and Founder of Rise,  upon receiving the award, said, “We can absolutely speak our issues into the consciousness of the nation, of the world. There’s a long history of people taking their painful living truths and channeling that into justice, and I have joined that tradition by penning my own rights into existence…We are certainly stronger when we come together.”

HIGHLIGHT: President and CEO of the Ms. Foundation, Teresa C. Younger,  shared remarks about the theme of the event.

TOP QUOTE: “We decided we would embrace joy as a stance towards resistance. And so tonight, we are joy unmuted,” and continued on with the importance of the Ms. Foundation’s work, “By letting our grantees lead, we’re able to amplify the voices of the next generation. And with your help, we are going to continue the fight for true equity and justice for all.”

HIGHLIGHT: Annually, the Ms. Foundation honors grassroots leaders, influencers and philanthropists who have made an indelible impact on the gender justice movement at the local, state, and national levels, and this year, Marissa Nuncio, Director of The Garment Worker Center and Laura Jiménez, Executive Director for California Latinas for Reproductive Justice were the recipients of this Women of Vision Award.

TOP QUOTE: Marissa Nuncio said, “Organizing for worker rights is also about organizing for women’s rights because it is women who bear the brunt of labor abuses at their impacts.  At GWC [The Garment Worker Center], when women are organizing, they’re organizing for the agency that fair compensation gives them in their personal lives and household, for the right to have their bodies respected and free from danger and violence in the workplace, for freedom from mental abuse by their bosses, and for the empowered voice that they enjoy when they take collective action side-by-side their sisters and brothers in struggle. We’re grateful the Ms. Foundation champions this collective power within our membership.”

TOP QUOTE: Laura Jiménez said, “We have seen how over the last four years especially the situation for reproductive rights, health, and justice has become more and more dire – but I also want to remind you that even so, we have made significant wins: passing legislation to support young parents, defeating restrictive abortion laws at the Supreme Court, and turning out voters. This is the power of women, girls and femmes who will not be silenced into submission.  So, make sure you use your voice to speak about issues that matter to you because your voice matters for you and so many others.”

HIGHLIGHT:  Founding Mothers Gloria Steinem, Marlo Thomas, Patricia Carbine and Letty Cottin-Pogrebin made special appearances for the event, discussing the history of the founding of the Ms. Foundation for Women in 1973. Key quotes include:

TOP QUOTE: Gloria Steinem, Founding Mother of Ms. Foundation stated, ”There was no other foundation devoted to the female half of the population in all of its diversity.”

TOP QUOTE:  Patricia Carbine, Founding Mother of Ms. Foundation stated, ”We had the luxury of deciding how we were going to arrange ourselves as a group at the Magazine. We really started from scratch.”

TOP QUOTE: Letty Cottin-Pogrebin, Founding Mother of Ms. Foundation stated, ”We had that, what is now called intersectionality, in our minds. There was a consciousness that maybe didn’t have a name.”

TOP QUOTE: Marlo Thomas, Founding Mother of Ms. Foundation stated, ”That’s why this Foundation started, we were four women who reached out to these other women Dolores Huerta, Maxine Waters, and all the ones that we’ve been discussing today. We knew that we wanted their voices, and we knew what we wanted to do with the money. We were very purposeful. We were ambitious, audacious, and purposeful. You have to be that way to change the world.”

The 33rd Gloria Awards: A Salute to Women of  Vision is still available for viewing at: wov2021.forwomen.org and paid ticket purchasers can gain access to the full exclusive Founding Mothers conversation.

For over 45 years, the Ms. Foundation for Women has worked to build women’s collective power in the U.S. to advance equity and justice for all. The Ms. Foundation invests in and strengthens the capacity of women-led movements to advance meaningful social, cultural, and economic change in the lives of women. With equity and inclusion as the cornerstones of true democracy, the Ms. Foundation works to create a world in which the worth and dignity of every person are valued, and power and possibility are not limited by gender, race, class, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability or age.

WBENC’s weekly virtual event in June
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four women sitting on stage with microphones at a WBENC event

Have you heard about WBENC’s weekly virtual event in June that’s focused on the future? Every Tuesday starting on the 8th, this series is bringing together America’s Top Corporations for Women’s Business Enterprises and WBE Stars to help women business owners like me achieve a successful and sustainable future. Come network with me!

See the full event schedule, session details, and pricing information at wbenc.org/june2021

Just In Time For Mother’s Day, OpenTable Reveals its 2021 List of the 100 Best Brunch Restaurants in America
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A group of people is dining in a elegance restaurant or hotel

OpenTable, the world’s leading provider of online restaurant reservations and part of Booking Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: BKNG), recently released its annual list of the 100 Best Brunch Restaurants in America for 2021.

As restaurant restrictions ease in the U.S, a recent OpenTable survey* shows 33% of Americans haven’t had an extended family gathering in more than a year, and OpenTable data shows Mother’s Day reservations are up 64% compared to 2019 (pre-pandemic levels) – a clear sign families are eager to reunite and celebrate with their loved ones this Mother’s Day.

“This Mother’s Day will be more meaningful than as it may be one of the first occasions that families are reuniting around the table since the beginning of the pandemic,” said Debby Soo, CEO at OpenTable. “We wanted to make sure diners had the best brunch restaurants at their fingertips as they make plans to celebrate this special holiday with their loved ones.”

Featuring restaurants coast-to-coast, across 24 states and Washington, D.C., the list is a comprehensive look at the best brunch spots in the country. The Best Brunch Restaurants in America list was culled from more than 12 million verified diner reviews of over 30,000 restaurants in 50 states and Washington, D.C. California is the most recognized state on the list with 17 restaurants honored, followed by Florida and Pennsylvania with eight winning restaurants. Illinois and Texas each boast seven winning restaurants and Georgia, Minnesota and Nevada claim six honorees.

From restaurants with just the right ambiance for both indoor and outdoor dining, like Foreign Cinema in San Francisco, to sweet and savory favorites at Yardbird Southern Table and Bar in Las Vegas and Miami to local big-city favorites like Perch in Los Angeles, the Best Brunch list features a wide variety of options for any type of menu and environment diners are looking for.

The annual list comes on the heels of OpenTable’s national “Frame the Feeling” promotion, an initiative to help families capture the moment as they reconnect this Mother’s Day. The campaign offers professional family photos for all reservations made on Mother’s Day at 14 select restaurants nationwide.

The 100 Best Brunch Restaurants in America for 2021 according to OpenTable diners, are as follows (listed alphabetically):

  1. a’Bouzy – Houston, TX
  2. Ambar Capitol Hill – Washington D.C.
  3. Anis Cafe and Bistro – Atlanta, GA
  4. Atchafalaya Restaurant – New Orleans, LA
  5. The Aviary Restaurant & Bar – Swansea, MA
  6. Baldamar – Roseville, MN
  7. The Barn at Rocky Fork Creek – Gahanna, OH
  8. Beachcomber Cafe – Crystal Cove – Newport Coast, CA
  9. Beetlecat – Atlanta, GA
  10. Bistro at Edgewood Tahoe – Stateline, NV
  11. The Bistro at LaBelle Winery Amherst – Amherst, NH
  12. Bistro L’Hermitage – Woodbridge, VA
  13. Bistro Niko – Atlanta, GA
  14. Black Bass Hotel – Lumberville, PA
  15. Blue Bell Inn – Blue Bell, PA
  16. The Boathouse – Lake Buena Vista, FL
  17. Brennan’s – Multiple Locations
  18. Bristol Seafood Grill – Leawood, KS
  19. Brix – Napa, CA
  20. Buttermilk & Bourbon – Boston, MA
  21. Cabra – Chicago, IL
  22. Café Ba-Ba-Reeba – Chicago, IL
  23. Cafe Monte – Charlotte, NC
  24. Canoe – Atlanta, GA
  25. Cap City Fine Diner & Bar – Grandview – Columbus, OH
  26. Cappy’s Restaurant – San Antonio, TX
  27. Carson’s Food & Drink – Lexington, KY
  28. Cheever’s Cafe – Oklahoma City, OK
  29. Chianti Grill – Burnsville, MN
  30. The Dandelion – Philadelphia, PA
  31. Del Vino Vineyards – Northport, NY
  32. Duke’s La Jolla – San Diego, CA
  33. Eiffel Tower – Las Vegas, NV
  34. Eight4Nine – Palm Springs, CA
  35. Fabian’s Italian Bistro – Fair Oaks, CA
  36. Farmhouse at Rogers Gardens – Corona Del Mar, CA
  37. Flight Restaurant & Wine Bar – Memphis, TN
  38. The Food Market – Baltimore, MD
  39. Foreign Cinema – San Francisco, CA
  40. The Front Yard – North Hollywood, CA
  41. Good Day Cafe – Golden Valley, MN
  42. Grace’s – Houston, TX
  43. Great Maple – San Diego, CA
  44. Green Valley Grill – Greensboro, NC
  45. The Hampton Social – Multiple Locations
  46. Happy Camper – Denver, CO
  47. Haywire – Plano, TX
  48. Hazelwood – Bloomington, MN
  49. Hell’s Kitchen – Caesars Palace – Las Vegas, NV
  50. The Henry – Phoenix, AZ
  51. Honey Salt – Las Vegas, NV
  52. JOLO Winery & Vineyards – Pilot Mountain, NC
  53. La Merise – Denver, CO
  54. Lake Elmo Inn – Lake Elmo, MN
  55. Latitudes on Sunset Key – Key West, FL
  56. Le Diplomate – Washington D.C.
  57. Le Yaca – Williamsburg, VA
  58. Ledger Restaurant & Bar – Salem, MA
  59. Lindey’s – Columbus, OH
  60. Little Goat – Chicago, IL
  61. Lon’s at The Hermosa – Paradise Valley, AZ
  62. The Love – Philadelphia, PA
  63. Madison – San Diego, CA
  64. Meson Sabika – Naperville, IL
  65. Mon Ami Gabi – Las Vegas, NV
  66. Murphy’s – Atlanta, GA
  67. OBC Kitchen – Lexington, KY
  68. Old Ebbitt Grill – Washington D.C.
  69. Ouisie’s Table – Houston, TX
  70. Pacific Coast Grill – Cardiff By the Sea, CA
  71. Parc – Philadelphia, PA
  72. Perch – Los Angeles, CA
  73. Pier W – Cleveland, OH
  74. Poor Calvin’s – Atlanta, GA
  75. Preserved Restaurant – St. Augustine, FL
  76. Prime: An American Kitchen & Bar – Huntington, NY
  77. Print Works Bistro – Greensboro, NC
  78. RH – Multiple Locations
  79. The Rooftop by JG – Beverly Hills, CA
  80. Rooney’s Oceanfront Restaurant – Long Branch, NJ
  81. Root Down – Denver, CO
  82. Seed Kitchen + Bar – Marietta, GA
  83. Sheldon Inn Restaurant & Bar – Elk Grove, CA
  84. Simon Pearce Restaurant – Quechee, VT
  85. Soby’s – Greenville, SC
  86. Summer House Santa Monica – Chicago, IL
  87. Sunset Terrace – Omni Grove Park Inn – Asheville, NC
  88. Talula’s Garden – Philadelphia, PA
  89. The Tap Room at Dubsdread – Orlando, FL
  90. Tavern 4 & 5 – Eden Prairie, MN
  91. Terrain Cafe – Glen Mills, PA
  92. The Tropicale – Palm Springs, CA
  93. Ulele – Tampa, FL
  94. Union and Finch – Allentown, PA
  95. Vintage – Vail, CO
  96. WeHo Bistro – West Hollywood, CA
  97. Whiskey Cake – Plano, TX
  98. Wine Bar George – A Restaurant & Bar – Orlando, FL
  99. Yardbird Southern Table & Bar – Multiple Locations
  100. Zaytinya – Washington D.C.

The complete list may also be viewed at: https://pages.email.opentable.com/Top100BrunchUS. To learn more about the “Frame the Feeling” promotion, visit the OpenTable blog at http://blog.opentable.com/2021/mothers-day-2021-frame-the-feeling.

OT Best Brunch Methodology:
The 100 Best Brunch Restaurants list is generated solely from diner reviews collected between from April 1, 2020 – March 31, 2021. All restaurants with a minimum rating and number of qualifying reviews were included for consideration. Qualifying restaurants were then scored and sorted according to the sum of tags for which “brunch” was selected as a special feature.

*OT Survey Methodology:
OpenTable partnered with YouGov on April 19 – 20, 2021 to survey 1,326 adults (aged 18+) online within the U.S. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all U.S. adults (aged 18+).

About OpenTable
OpenTable, part of Booking Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: BKNG), powers reservations for the hospitality industry. OpenTable’s software seats more than 1 billion people per year and helps more than 60,000 restaurants, bars, wineries and other venues attract guests, manage capacity, improve operations and maximize revenue.

Stacey Abrams is Re-Releasing Three of Her Romance Novels
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Stacey Abrams standing in front of a microphone stand while smiling away from the camera.

By , Vulture

Get ready to swoon. Berkley, a Penguin Random House imprint, is rereleasing three Stacey Abrams romantic suspense novels that have been out of print for many years. Originally published under the pen name Selena Montgomery, Rules of Engagement, The Art of Desire, and Power of Persuasion will be out in hardcover and audio in 2022. According to a release, each of these novels, which were her first published books, features “international espionage, page-turning action, a core love story, Black heroines, and a diverse cast of characters.”

While the Democratic political leader and Team Spike fan has since written bestsellers on topics from voter suppression to leadership, she has never shied away from her romance-novelist roots. “As my first novels, they remain incredibly special to me,” Abrams said in a statement. “The characters and their adventures are what I’d wished to read as a young Black woman — stories that showcase women of color as nuanced, determined, and exciting. As Selena and as Stacey, I am proud to be a part of the romance-writing community and excited that Berkley is reintroducing these stories for new readers and faithful fans.”

Click here to read the full article on Vulture.

Joye Hummel, first woman hired to write Wonder Woman comics, dies at 97
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Joye Hummel at a comic-con convention speaking on a pannel.

By Harrison Smith

In March 1944, shortly before Joye Hummel graduated from the Katharine Gibbs secretarial school in Manhattan, she was invited to meet with one of her instructors, a charismatic psychologist who had been impressed by her essays on a take-home test.

Over tea at the Harvard Club, professor William Moulton Marston offered her a job — not in the classroom or psych lab, but in the office of his 43rd Street art studio. He wanted Ms. Hummel to help him write scripts for Wonder Woman, the Amazonian superhero he had created three years earlier and endowed with a magic lasso, indestructible bracelets, an eye-catching red bustier and a feminist sensibility.

PHOTO: Wikipedia

Ms. Hummel, then 19, had never read Wonder Woman; she had never even read a comic book. But Marston needed an assistant. His character, brought to life on the page by artist H.G. Peter, was appearing in four comic books and was about to star in a syndicated newspaper strip. He was looking for someone young who could write slang and who, perhaps most importantly, shared his philosophy and vision for the character.

“You understand that I want women to feel they have the right to go out, to study, to find something they love to do and get out in the world and do it,” Ms. Hummel recalled his saying. She was “astonished and delighted” by the job offer, according to historian Jill Lepore’s book, “The Secret History of Wonder Woman,” and soon began writing for the comic. “I always did have a big imagination,” she said.

Ms. Hummel worked as a Wonder Woman ghostwriter for the next three years, long before any woman was publicly credited as a writer for the series. As invisible to readers as Wonder Woman’s transparent jet plane, she was increasingly recognized after Lepore interviewed her in 2014. Four years later, she received the Bill Finger Award, given to overlooked or underappreciated comic book writers at the Eisner Awards.

Ms. Hummel, who was known in recent years by her married name, Joye Murchison Kelly, died April 5 at her home in Winter Haven, Fla., a day after turning 97. Her son Robb Murchison confirmed the death but did not know the precise cause.

“Joye was absolutely a pioneer in bringing her own voice into these stories,” Lepore said in a phone interview. “She was then pretty much entirely forgotten. … I sort of think that people hadn’t bothered to find her. I called her up and said, ‘Are you the Joye Hummel who wrote Wonder Woman in the 1940s?’ She nearly dropped the receiver — she was delighted but surprised. It was a story she had told her grandchildren, but they didn’t believe her.”

By the time Ms. Hummel started writing for Wonder Woman, the comics had an audience of 10 million readers. The character debuted in a 1941 issue of All-Star Comics, three years after Superman first lifted a car on the cover of Action Comics and two years after Batman leaped across the pages of Detective Comics.

Together, the three superheroes became linchpins of DC Comics, with Wonder Woman emerging as arguably the world’s most famous female superhero. She appeared on the cover of Ms. Magazine’s first issue (“Wonder Woman for President”), inspired a hit 1970s TV show starring Lynda Carter and was revitalized for the big screen beginning in 2016, played by Gal Gadot

The character was “created by a whole series of women” who were never publicly credited, Lepore said. Marston — whose psychological research contributed to the development of the lie-detector test — received help from his wife, Elizabeth Holloway Marston, as well as their partner, Olive Byrne, the daughter of radical feminist Ethel Byrne and niece of birth-control activist Margaret Sanger. Both women worked behind the scenes, forming a fruitful creative triad and secret domestic arrangement: one husband, two wives.

After Ms. Hummel became the first woman hired to write for Wonder Woman, Byrne gave her a copy of Sanger’s book “Woman and the New Race,” which advocated for legalized birth control, and told her it contained everything she needed to know about the character.

Ms. Hummel at first typed Marston’s scripts before writing more than 70 scripts of her own, with detailed instructions for the artists. She developed stories that were often more innocent than her boss’s, which showed Wonder Woman fighting fascism while also being bound, tied, lassoed or gagged. Years later, she recalled that when she brought her scripts to editor Sheldon Mayer, “He always OK’d mine faster because I didn’t make mine as sexy.”

All of the early comics were published under a pseudonym, Charles Moulton, invented by Marston. Individual writers were credited in later anthologies by DC, which revealed that Ms. Hummel was behind some of the series’ more fantastical stories, involving beautiful mermaids and winged maidens. “They’re like fairy tales,” said cartoonist and historian Trina Robbins, who later worked on Wonder Woman.

Ms. Hummel stopped writing the comics in late 1947, shortly after she married, deciding to stay home and raise her stepdaughter. Marston had died earlier that year, and the series passed to writers who did away with much of the comic’s feminist messaging, including a regular centerfold feature chronicling the lives of influential women.

The changes infuriated Ms. Hummel, who remained loyal to Marston’s original vision of Wonder Woman as an emblem of free and courageous womanhood. Decades later, she wrote in an email to Lepore: “Even if I had not left because of my new daughter, I would have resigned if I was told I had to make [Wonder Woman] a masculine thinking and acting superwoman.”

Joye Evelyn Hummel was born April 4, 1924, and grew up on Long Island. Her son said that she rarely spoke of her upbringing; at various times, both of her parents apparently managed a grocery store chain.

Read the full article at  The Washington Post.

A software developer built a simpler vaccine sign-up website in her state while on maternity leave
LinkedIn
woman sitting at dining table sewing on a sewing machine wearing a mask

Originally posted on CNN

After her mother-in-law had difficulty signing up for a Covid-19 vaccine, a Massachusetts woman created a website to make it easier for her — and she made it easier for everyone.

Olivia Adams built a website that pulls in vaccination appointments from across the state, including government sites as well as ones operated by private businesses. She called it macovidvaccines.com.

Photo Credit: CNN

The 28-year-old software developer from Arlington, Massachusetts, says she spent three weeks and about 40 hours building the website — and she did it while on maternity leave caring for her 2-month-old son, she told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota on Monday.

“I thought I’d take a look and I was surprised at how decentralized everything was and how there are a thousand different websites to go to,” Adams said. “I thought, ‘How can I put my software skills to use to make this better in my free time?'”

Free time usually happened when her newborn is sleeping, Adams said. She said her 2-year-old son is at day care, so she’s lucky not to be caring for both during the day.

The inspiration came after listening to her mother-in-law, who had a tough time signing up for an appointment. Her mother-in-law is a dental hygienist who qualified for the first phase of vaccinations, she said.

“She had a little trouble figuring out where to go and how to get signed up,” Adams said. “She was able to do it, but it took a little while and then she had the same problem when she was able to sign her father up when he became eligible at the beginning of our phase two.”

Her family isn’t alone in their vaccine sign-up struggles. People across the country, from senior citizens to others in the early vaccine phases, have faced with hours waiting on the phone and logging online to see no spots available.

Adams examined Massachusetts’ online vaccine portal and realized she could make it better for everyone.

She said she is used to making complicated software related to health care needs in her job as a lead member of the technical staff at Athenahealth, a health care technology company.

But, she’s never created a website quite like this.

“This was my first time making a complicated website myself,” she said. “The hardest part about it is that every website that has availability information I have to kind of tell my computer how to read that website like a human. That’s where all the man hours went in.”

The vaccine appointments are available at a number of sites, from those run by the state to those administered at grocery stores and pharmacies. Parsing all that information for each provider is where it got a bit time consuming, she said.

Adams has a script that runs every five minutes across about 20 different vaccine sites, she wrote in an email.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker was asked about Adams’ vaccine website at a press conference on Friday. “Send us her name, we’ll talk to her,” Baker said Friday.

Read the complete article here.

Cultural Brokers Build Bridges for African American Women in STEM
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by Danielle Ferguson, Ed.D., Researcher, American Institute for Research (AIR)

Dr. Danielle Ferguson, now a researcher at the American Institutes for Research (AIR), focused her dissertation on African American Women in STEM: Uncovering stories of persistence and resilience through an examination of social and cultural capital.

In this article, Dr. Ferguson shares some of what she learned from her research.  

There have been many calls from researchers to increase the diversity of the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) field (Archer et al., 2015; McGee & Bentley, 2017), especially including the participation of more African American women. The lack of representation of African American women and other people from diverse backgrounds could be viewed through multiple lenses but diversity could only improve the global competitiveness of the United States. Furthermore, STEM careers provide economic benefits for individuals because they are amongst the fastest growing career path and provide higher salaries than other careers (Pew Research Center, 2018). 

Many teachers, professors, researchers, and others have answered this call to action by creating programs at the institutional level to increase the interest, participation, and retention of African American women in the STEM field, such as the Defense STEM Education Consortium program at Morgan State University. But what happens to African American women after they enter STEM careers? According to the eight successful African American women with a terminal degree in the STEM field, who were interviewed as part of Dr. Ferguson’s research, their experiences in their STEM careers are not what they expected. They feel undervalued, face both sexism and racism, and lack the guidance and support that they need to advance in the field. 

In order for African American women to be successful once they enter the STEM field, they need guidance and support. Glen Aikenhead (2001) argued that learning science is a cross-cultural event for non-white students, therefore success in the field requires a cultural broker. A cultural broker is someone who relates to an individual’s culture and the culture of science and can help individuals build a bridge between the two cultures. Cultural brokers offer individuals, including African American women, strategies for success in their field by providing them with specific feedback for how to advance in their field, introducing them to key people, and helping them navigate cultural borders by showing them how to leverage their cultural capital in the STEM fields. They encourage African Americans to bring their full selves to their careers while also assisting them in being successful in STEM. 

Cultural brokers spend time building relationships with African American women. They offer them authentic opportunities for professional growth. For example, instead of only suggesting that these women attend professional conferences, cultural brokers provide them opportunities to participate in projects that they can present at conferences. Additionally, cultural brokers help African American women understand the importance of attending professional conferences is networking with prominent researchers in the STEM fields and assist them in making important connections with these individuals. Cultural brokers assist African American women in getting articles published in peer-reviewed journals by modeling the process and connecting them with others with whom they can collaborate, since publications help individuals build prominence in STEM fields. Cultural brokers listen to African American women. They do not downplay the hardships that they face but work with them to find solutions to overcome the barriers. Furthermore, they advocate with and for African American women. In summary, the role of a cultural broker is to go beyond providing African American women with information but to assist these women in building bridges between their experiences and perspectives and the experiences that are valuable in STEM fields.

If we truly believe that increasing the diversity of STEM fields is beneficial to individuals and our nation, we cannot continue to encourage African American women to pursue STEM careers then leave them scrambling for opportunities once they arrive. We cannot continue to provide mentorship that requires these women to detach from their identities and culture. We have to become cultural brokers for these women to help them bridge the gap between their culture and the culture of science by providing genuine opportunities, support, and listening to these women. Trial by fire can no longer be a rite of passage in STEM, especially for African American women. 

References: 

Aikenhead, G. S. (2001). Integrating western and aboriginal sciences. Cross-cultural Science Teaching, 31, 337-355. 

Archer, L., DeWitt, J., Osborne, J., Dillion, J., Willis, B., & Wong, B. (2013). ‘Not girly, not sexy, not glamorous’: Primary school girls’ and parents’ constructions of science aspirations. Pedagogy, Culture & Society 21(1), 171-194. https://doi.org/10.1080/14681366.2012.748676

Ferguson, D.S. (2016). African American women in STEM: Uncovering stories of persistence and resilience through an examination of social and cultural capital (Accession No. 10158857). [Doctoral dissertation, Morgan State University, Baltimore]. ProQuest Dissertations Publishing.  

McGee, E. O., & Bentley, L. (2017). The troubled success of Black women in STEM, Cognition and Instruction, 35(4), 265-289.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/07370008.2017.1355211

Pew Research Center. (2018). “Women and Men in STEM Often at Odds Over Workplace Equity.” Retrieved from https://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2018/01/09/women-and-men-in-stem-often-at-odds-over-workplace-equity/

Mississippi’s Asya Branch Wins Miss USA 2020
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Miss USA pageant winner Asya Branch smilign with sash on and clasping hands

Better late than never! Months after the competition was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, Miss Mississippi USA Asya Branch has been crowned Miss USA 2020.

Branch, 22, was awarded the coveted title on Monday in a competition that aired live from Elvis Presley’s Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee. She was crowned by her predecessor, Miss USA 2019 Chelsie Kryst.

Placing second runner-up was Miss Oklahoma USA Mariah Jane Davis, and just ahead of her was first runner-up, Miss Idaho USA Kim Layne.

Branch was the first African American to be named Miss Mississippi USA and comes from Booneville.

Prior to her win on Monday night, Branch shared her take on gun laws in her final statement.

“We should require people to pass training and safety classes” before attaining guns, she said.

This year’s winner was chosen by a selection committee that included Fox Nation host Abby Hornacek, entrepreneur Gloria Mayfield Banks, sports reporter and Miss USA 1999 Kimberly Pressler, businesswoman Susan Yara, Miss USA 2000 Lynnette Cole and Carolyn Aronson, CEO of It’s a 10 Haircare and Be A 10 Cosmetics.

The night’s festivities — which were originally slated for spring, but got postponed due to COVID-19 — were hosted by sports reporter and Miss Teen USA 2005 Allie LaForce and American Ninja Warrior co-host Akbar Gbaja-Biamila, a former professional football player.

The competition also included a virtual performance by American Idol alum Haley Reinhart.

With the crown now sitting pretty atop her head, Branch will move to New York City to represent the Miss USA brand and various philanthropic organizations, just as Kryst did before her.

“Being Miss USA has afforded me the opportunity to be an advocate for issues that deserve attention, including criminal justice reform and racial inequality,” Kryst said in a statement. “I am proud to continue the legacy of national titleholders who speak up and encourage change, and I look forward to supporting the next Miss USA and Miss Teen USA in doing the same.”

Continue on to People to read the complete article.

Photo Credit: People

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Upcoming Events

  1. Wonder Women Tech
    October 26, 2021 - October 29, 2021
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    March 13, 2022 - March 18, 2022

Upcoming Events

  1. Wonder Women Tech
    October 26, 2021 - October 29, 2021
  2. CSUN Conference
    March 13, 2022 - March 18, 2022