Our Business Development Manager, Bami Ojomo, has shared his inspiration of Mary Jackson in light of Black History Month.
Who is my inspiration?
How did they inspire me?
Mary was born an intelligent child, but her challenges in life showed her that intelligence alone was not enough to make a great person and have a lasting impact on other’s lives.
Mary excelled academically in a time of racial segregation and rose above the overwhelming discrimination to become NASA’s first African American female top ranking engineer in 1958, which at the time was a male dominated role. By 1979, Mary had achieved the most senior title within the engineering department.
She later decided to take a demotion in order to serve as an administrator in the Equal Opportunities Specialist field. She worked to make changes and highlight women and other minorities who were accomplished in the field to influence the career paths of women in science, engineering and mathematic positions within NASA. She continued to work with NASA until her retirement in 1985.
On 24th June 2020, NASA announced that the agency’s headquarters building in Washington D.C would be named after Mary Jackson.
“Mary Jackson was part of a group of very important women who helped NASA succeed in getting American astronauts into space. Mary never accepted the status quo, she helped break barriers and open opportunities for African Americans and women in a field of engineering and technology” – Jim Bridenstine
What did they inspire me to achieve?
Mary’s story inspires me to know that even in the face of discrimination and suppression, excellence, diligence and compassion for others will always prevail. She has showed everyone that you must treat the discrimination of gender and colour as a distraction to others and only focus on demonstrating excellence at all times.
I draw inspiration from her story to conclude that there is no reward for discrimination whereas, in the long run, there is always going to be a reward for excellence, diligence and compassion for others. She deserves to be celebrated.