Shirley Ann Jackson,

Born on August 5, 1946, she was the first African-American woman to have earned a doctorate from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) in Theoretical Elementary Particle Physics. She was also the second African American Woman to earn a doctorate in Physics.

Dr. Jackson joined the Theoretical Elementary Particle Physics department at ATT & T Bell Laboratories in 1976, examining the fundamental properties of materials. She worked in the scattering and Low Energy Physical Research Department from 1979, later moving into the Salid State and Quantum Physics Research Department in 1988.

Dr. Jackson joined the faculty at Rutgers University in Piscataway & New Brunswick, NJ, from 1991 to 1995. She also continued to consult with Bell Labs on semiconductor theory.

Next time you check your phone before answering, you can thank Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson. Dr. Jackson was responsible for inventing the caller ID, call waiting, fiber optic cables, the portable fax machine, and the touch-tone phone.

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Gladys Mae West

She was born October 27, 1930, in Southerland, Virginia, a rural county south of Richmond. Her family was sharecroppers. At an early age, she realized she did not want to work in the tobacco fields or the factories. Gladys Mae realized education would be her way out. West graduated high school as a valedictorian in 1948 and thus received scholarships to Virginia State College. Always excelling in both science & mathematics, she was encouraged to study in one of these fields. She ultimately chose mathematics. West received her Master of Mathematics degree from VSU and graduated in 1955.

In 1956 Gladys Mae West worked for what is now known as Naval Surface Warfare Center. She was, at the time, the second black woman ever hired and one of four black employees. She was a programmer for large-scale computers and a project manager for data-processing systems that analyze satellite data. At the same time, she earned her second master’s degree in public administration from the University of Oklahoma. She participated in award-winning astrological studies and began to analyze data from satellites, especially satellite altimeters such as GEOS 3, putting together models of the Earth’s shape. From the mid-1970 through 1980, West programmed an IBM 7030 Stretch computer to deliver precise calculations to model the shape of the Earth. West solving these complex problems relating to the models of the Earth ultimately led to the theory of her basis for the Global Positioning System (GPS).

So every time you turn on WAZE or Google Maps, you can thank Gladys Mae West.

Kati “Jazz” Gray-Sadler

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Kati “Jazz” Gray-Sadler, Rightfully called a modern-day “Renaissance Woman” and Founder/Board President of Fifty Shades of Purple Against Bullying, aka FSP Against Bullying, a national non-profit organization whose mission is to work with victims (both children and adults) of bullying and administering programs accessed by more than 20,000 individuals annually. 

“Jazz” serves on numerous Boards and Commissions, including the Mayor’s Commission for LGBT Affairs in the City of Philadelphia, PA,

Advisory Board for PHLDiversity.

“Jazz” is no stranger to Activism. In 1999 she succeeded at a brief but historical political career by winning a landmark election, making her the first Mayoral candidate in New Jersey to win by ‘personal choice’ ballot. Her historical election in Chesilhurst became the framework that changed voter laws and influenced what’s now the ‘Help America Vote Act of 2002‘.

“Jazz’s” honesty, quick wit, and magnetic personality are trademarks of her success. When asked about her most significant accomplishments, she’ll state, “consistently showing up as an authentic person is the greatest measure of any success.”


To meet Kati “Jazz” Gray-Sadler, join us to discuss Break The Bias.

Break The Bias: International Women’s Day

Wednesday, March 08 @ 7 PM ET

Domonique Townsend

Nashvillian (Nashville, TN),

Domonique Townsend has numerous accomplishments.

  • TEDx Speaker
  • Corporate Consultant
  • Award nominations:
    • 2021 American Express Founder of Change
    • 2021 ATHENA Award YP Nominee
    • Small Business Innovation Award First Prize – Mastercard x Bank of America

Domonique is a working mom of four, a TEDx and International Speaker, an Industrial Engineer, and the founder and CEO of

We Optimize Work.

We Optimize Work is an operations and performance management consulting firm that assists leaders with innovative work approaches to increase employee engagement, productivity, and satisfaction.

Domonique’s mission is to help women optimize a work-life balance.

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