In our inspiration spotlight this week is a woman who needs no introduction — a woman who has done important work on behalf of children, youth and military families.
Michelle Obama is not just married to a powerful man. Her own impressive record of accomplishment began with studies of both sociology and African-American history and culture at Princeton University. She then attended Harvard Law School, graduating in 1988. After that, she joined the Chicago law firm where she would later would meet her husband, President Barack Obama.
She discovered her calling — helping others — while serving as assistant commissioner of planning and development in Chicago’s City Hall, a role she occupied before becoming the founding executive director for Public Allies in Chicago, an AmeriCorps program for youth in public service.
After becoming first lady, Obama used her position to craft programs with broad impact. First, she launched “Let’s Move!” in 2010, in an effort to address childhood obesity. Then she started Joining Forces, which calls for Americans to support service members and their families. Finally, she launched the Reach Higher initiative in an effort to inspire young people to complete professional education programs after high school.
Despite her accomplishments, Obama has faced criticism, doubt and outright racism during her time in the spotlight. “As … the first African-American first lady, I was the focus of … questions and speculations — conversations sometimes rooted in the fears and misperceptions of others,” she said during her recent commencement address at Tuskegee University in Alabama.
Nevertheless, Obama has worked hard to help our country reach new levels of greatness. Her quote reminds us that risk-taking is an unavoidable component in every decision we make — entrepreneurial or otherwise — and that we can’t let doubt or fear hold us back.