06/06/2018 by Carney Sandoe Staff |

“You Can” Faculty Feature: Danette and Kristi

Danette and Kristi Stay connected with CS&A

The time we have been waiting for is finally here! We are beyond excited to host our second-annual Women's Institute this Friday, June 8 in Boston. Women in education and their allies will be gathering from across the country for a day of empowering professional development, networking, and solidarity.

We are pleased to share the final two members of our outstanding faculty group who will be leading discussions and panels throughout the day, and we hope you have enjoyed learning about the rest of the women leaders who will be joining us.

Danette MortonDanette Morton

-Head of Middle School, The Westminster Schools (GA)
-Former Head of Upper School at Summit School (NC)
-Has served in independent education for over 20 years, 15 of them in administrative leadership roles

What do you think is the biggest challenge faced by women working in education?

A big challenge faced by women educators in the workplace is balancing attention to serving others with attention to one's own career goals. Often, women feel guilty about thinking aspirationally or seeking advancement opportunities.

What advice would you give a woman who is trying to advance her career in education?

Be great at what you are currently doing. Demonstrate an ability to grow both personally and professionally.

Who is your female role model?

I am in awe of Maya Angelou's wisdom and self love — qualities critical to leadership. She is famously quoted as saying, “You only are free when you realize you belong no place — you belong every place — no place at all. The price is high. The reward is great.”

What is your favorite book?

My favorite book so far this year is “Braving the Wilderness” by Brené Brown. It has been influential in my thinking about how to lead a community of people with diverse perspectives within our deeply fractured society.

Kristi HemmerKristi Hemmer

-Founder/President of aWe (Academy for Women's Empowerment)
-Former Lower School Head at Hutchinson School (TN)
-Former Middle School Counselor at multiple schools, including The American School in Japan (Tokyo), Jakarta International School (Jakarta), and The Ross School (NY)

What are your thoughts on the state of women's rights in the U.S. and around the world?

When I started aWe in September 2013, I was told that empowerment was too strong of a word. International Women's Day and International Day of the Girl were invisible, so I had to create my own events for these days in Minneapolis. This year, I was hired by five different conferences to speak and there were even more conferences and events to choose from. I am seeing change; now, I expect impact.

Describe a key moment that was critical in getting you to where you are now.

Ironically, it was a high school friend who told me, as a VP of a company, that he called four women and asked them to apply for a job and they DIDN'T, and yet below average men applied. He asked, “What is this about?” I replied, “I can help you.” And we created a POWERcourse to work with women of high potential in corporate America who do not own their potential. It's so impactful, other corporations are also interested in the POWERcourse.

Who is your female role model?

Malala. She is so dedicated to girls' education that when she won the Nobel Peace Prize, she went back to chemistry class because as she said, “I'm fighting for girls' education, so I must go back to class.” Then she added, “And chemistry is my worse subject.”

Why would you recommend our Women's Institute to a colleague or friend?

This is an opportunity to connect with other powerful, like-minded women; a place to not be or feel alone. And that is invaluable.

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