5 Views on Facing Adversity

Whether it’s losing a competition, facing abuse, enduring a death of a loved one, surviving an assault—transforming difficult situations can be overwhelming. Many of our MAKERS have also faced extraordinary adversity. We decided to let them tell you in their own words how they faced and overcame the challenging moments in their lives.


Byllye Avery, founder of the Black Women’s Health Imperative, shares the tools she gives the women she works with, many of whom are recovering from domestic and sexual abuse and financial hardship.


“Opening those eyes and getting the awareness is the first step for women [to be] able to free themselves and go on to even think about living lives that they want to have.”


NYC Fire Captain Brenda Berkman shares how she found strength after being sexually assaulted on the job – through the communal efforts of other victims.


“It really does take a village. This was not something that certainly I or any other person could’ve done on their own.”


Katie Couric shares how she made it through the illness and loss of her beloved husband to colon cancer, finding strength in her love for her daughters and her conviction to provide for them.


“My children gave me such strength and that responsibility was so helpful to me.”


Activist Diane Nash shares a powerful story about how she overcame her fear of leading controversial civil rights campaigns after being faced with threats of violence—by accepting that she was scared and simply giving herself a time frame to work through it.


“I decided to give myself a time limit, and I said at the end of that time period, I would either have gotten myself together enough so that I can do my job well or I’m going to go back to the church, which was our headquarters, and resign.”


Lastly, Zainab Salbi, Founder of Women for Women International, an organization that helps women recover from rape and war, reminds us that there is another side to adversity and that is the amazing feeling of strength that you have once you come out of it.


“Each scar is beautiful right now.”