Girl Crush Role Models

Aspen Institute forum

Aspen Institute Symposium on Race, April 2017, panelists Michele Norris, Tanzina Vega, Khizr Khan, Juan Williams, Adam Foss, Pages Matam, Richard Lui, Thomas Shapiro, Omar Wasow, Amy Hinojosa, James Clyburn, Rakesh Kochar

As some of you may know, I wrote about my thoughts going into The Aspen Institute’s Symposium on Race this past Tuesday here and then wrote about the event here.  

However, I want to tell you about two remarkable individuals I met – Michele Norris and Tanzina Vega.  To say girl crush would minimize their credibility as esteemed professionals, but man, I wouldn’t hesitate saying to their faces, I’m gushin’ with girl crush!

All it takes is a Google search to read about their extensive and reputable professional backgrounds.  Michele Norris is well known as the former host of NPR’s All Things Considered through the end of 2015, author of The Grace of Silence, Founding Director of The Race Card Project and Executive Director of The Bridge.  Tanzina Vega is a National Reporter for Race and Inequality with CNN and a former NY Times reporter where she created and covered a beat on race and ethnicity.


Newseum, Washington DC

Michele served as a moderator on ‘The Future Dialogue of Race’ panel and Tanzina was a panelist on the ‘Wealth Gap’ discussion.  Although their styles and approach on stage are different, both possess a commanding presence and demeanor that captivates audiences. Their wit and smart responses to questions and disagreements on race got me sitting on the edge of my chair.  Tanzina had hard numbers and facts to back up her claims and rebuttals on how the wealth gap impacts racial and ethnic populations.  Michele is a gifted listener and facilitator, where her ability to guide the conversation and draw people in on a personal level makes you want to speak with her for days on end.

If you were following that day, I took to Twitter blasting out my 140 characters of praise and virtual snaps in awe of these women.

I had the opportunity to speak with each of them individually, take selfies and gush.

Tanzina Vega

With Tanzina Vega, CNN National Reporter, Race and Inequality

I encourage you to read this recent article by Tanzina.  It speaks of increasing diversity in the newsroom but it can be applied to organizations, communities and to your own perspective on diversity.

I also highly encourage you to participate in Michele’s, The Race Card Project.  It’s a thoughtful but challenging question of identity – asking each of us to describe ourselves in just 6 words.  I just participated myself and enjoyed reading other responses and views on race.

Michele Norris

With Michele Norris, Founding Director, The Race Card Project, Executive Director, The Bridge

In today’s tumultuous and cynical climate, it’s motivating and inspiring to meet two real life women who are making things happen, changing the norms and challenging the status quo. And when I think about role models for my daughter, I am relieved and grateful that there are Black, Brown, White and Yellow women who are paving the way for a better system and world. I hope she discovers more of her own colorful girl crushes in life.

To see more photos of the day, check out my Instagram feed @departures_and_arrivals.  Ping me on Twitter @jghymn to start up a conversation.  Or drop me a comment below!

Follow @tanzinavega and @michele_norris on Twitter.

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