When I was at a music festival last summer, I noticed a little building packed full of men and women, complete strangers, huddled side by side, charging their phones. It was a charging station the festival organizers had put together, and it was totally nuts to witness, people eagerly watching as the battery lights on their smartphones turned the much-desired green. But then again, I understand. I have, on a number of occasions, been guilty of madly uttering, “I can only talk for a minute. I’m at 2 percent!”
Today, let’s give a little gratitude to the folks who fuel our digital addictions. These smarty-pants are the reason we can share with you some amazing stories about cool On The Dot women. So, thank you!
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 2
I recently happened upon the airing of President Obama’s final Medal of Freedom ceremony, at which two women really stood out for their unbelievable contributions.
First, computer scientist and U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Grace Hopper was given the award posthumously for being one of the first programmers of a computer—in 1944!—and inventing the first compiler for a computer-programming language. Margaret Hamilton, now 80 years old, also received the award for writing the code that would successfully launch the spaceship Apollo’s trip to the moon.
These women are beyond worthy recipients of the Medal of Freedom, and the very definition of the word “pioneers.”
WOMAN TO WATCH: Hahna Alexander, Founder and CEO of SolePower
There is no lack of pioneering women all around us, including today’s Woman to Watch, Hahna Alexander. That memory I told you of everyone missing out on a festival’s live music in order to charge their smartphones? Well, Hahna’s invention solves that.
She’s the developer of SolePower, a heck of a clever company that sells EnSoles and Smart Boots that store energy as the wearer walks or runs. That energy can then be used to charge a smartphone or tablet. Pretty futuristic, right? Every time you step, SolePower converts human power into externally usable energy. Just one hour of walking in SolePower EnSoles provides 30 minutes of chatting time on an iPhone 6, or 20 minutes of searching the web.
This technology isn’t just for teenagers at a concert; it’s for hikers, adventurers, forest rangers, people navigating a natural disaster and even the U.S. Army. A soldier carries about 20 pounds of batteries on a single day mission, so, according to SolePower, Hahna’s innovation could provide soldiers with an easy-to-use and, by comparison, incredibly lightweight alternative. And SolePower’s Smart Boots might be even more useful for soldiers, as they have built-in location trackers, alerts for unsafe conditions, sensors for temperature and more.
Yep, it’s pretty clear Hahna is turning futuristic, sci-fi ideas into modern-day reality. And her powerful innovations are getting noticed by all the right people. The SolePower team was praised on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in Energy list, and received the 2014 Invention of the Year Award from Popular Science. For those who know her, it comes as no surprise Hahna has created something so unique and groundbreaking, especially considering her background as a mechanical engineer, and an intern and student ambassador for NASA.
So, you say you want to launch your own wickedly cool startup biz? Hahna suggests two key areas of focus for entrepreneurs: Your team matters, so be sure to surround yourself with people who will support you, even through the toughest of business times. Also, mentors are essential, as they can answer all those mind-boggling, quirky startup questions without expressing too much judgment.
QUITE THE QUOTE
Women like Hahna Alexander are the beacons of power we need when we feel like we don’t have the energy to achieve our goals. As speechwriter Chirlane McCray said:
“People, especially women, should not talk themselves out of their power.”
This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.