Sara Hurwitz, Lisa Stone, Kay Bailey Hutchison and Lilly Ledbetter join MAKERS

Last week, we welcomed two new MAKERS whose passion and determination led them down their nontraditional career paths, despite societal backlash and negative feedback from peers—the first female orthodox “Rabba” Sara Hurwitz and blogger and entrepreneur Lisa Stone.


As a child with a strong religious faith, Sara Hurwitz’s parents always taught her the importance of tolerance and treating others equally. Her first career foreshadowing came in high school when she took an aptitude test that recommended she enter the clergy. Knowing there was no option for a woman to hold this position within Orthodox Judaism, it did not hinder the growth of her relationship with her religion. After studying under Rabbi Avi Weiss for many years, Hurwitz eventually became the first officially ordained “Rabba” in Orthodox Judaism. Her ordainment resulted in backlash from her community. Despite the negativity she faced, Hurwitz found strength and shares in her interview the motivator that keeps her moving forward and how she raises her children to be blind to gender discrimination.


Like Hurwitz, Lisa Stone chose a career path that was considered unthinkable to modern society. In 1997, she chose to leave her traditional journalism career at CNN for the Internet, an idea that was foreign at the time. Despite the lack of confidence from many, Stone went on to become the first internet journalist awarded a Nieman Fellowship from Harvard University and co-founded BlogHer, a publishing and social network conference that reaches 37 million women each month. In her interview, she shares one of the most important lessons she learned about appearance as a child and what it was like transitioning from a writer to an entrepreneur.


Two groundbreakers, Kay Bailey Hutchison and Lilly Ledbetter, whose courage helped them defy gender inequalities and make history in the political sphere, joined our community this week.


Kay Bailey Hutchison, the first female United States Senator from the state of Texas, was one of five women to graduate from UT-Austin Law School out of a class of 500. Upon graduation, when she realized that law firms were not hiring women, Hutchison instead became the first female reporter in the Houston market. Eventually she burst onto the political scene where she became the first Texan woman to win statewide office as State Treasurer and was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1993. In her interview, Hutchison shares her early experiences in the less partisan U.S. Senate and how during the women’s movement many viewed her as a fraud due to her conservative outlook.


As an Alabama native, Lilly Ledbetter worked as an overnight shift and area manager at the local Goodyear plant where she was under contract to remain silent about her pay. Towards the end of her employment, she received an anonymous note that alerted her to the fact that she was earning far less than her male colleagues. Overcome with outrage and humiliation, Ledbetter complained to the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission and filed a discrimination suit that made it to the Supreme Court. Though ultimately the court ruled against Ledbetter, it did not stop her. She fought tirelessly to ensure future generations of women would not suffer the same inequalities and in 2009 her hard work paid off with the passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. In her interview, she discusses her husband’s endless support and how she found the courage to fight for her beliefs.