On May 25, I was fortunate enough to deliver a program called Inspiring (S)heroes ™ for a combined audience of employees of Argonne National Laboratory and Fermi National Laboratory. It was an extraordinary experience for me.

About 100 + attendees, mostly women, entered the conference center, not really knowing what to expect. Prior to the program, I interviewed by phone about 20 people who would be in attendance. My intent was to ask them what image was created in their mind when they imagined a (S)hero. I asked if they thought of themselves as Sheroes. I asked what they believed might be possible if they did think of themselves as Sheroes. And I’d ask the very same of you. What do you believe might be possible if you really saw yourself as a (S)hero?

Often, we as women hold onto the belief that being a (S)hero is somehow about bigness. Title. Position. Status. In reality, being a (S)hero is about being. Being exactly as you are, with the gifts that you have been given, utilizing those gifts for the greater good. And it’s always a choice!

I shared with the audience my new knowingness about (S)heroes based on my battle with Stage IV Lymphoma this past year. (S)heroes named Britta McKenna, Julie Brown, Katie LeMarie, Alison Lund, Nita Chaney. The list is endless. Too many for me to call out in one writing. The (S)heroes in my life went well beyond their job descriptions. Caring for me. Loving me. Extending themselves to me. And it was always a choice.

The final question I asked in each interview was for the interviewee to tell me about a person they believed was a (S)hero at Fermi or Argonne. Names like Lisa Durham, Environmental Scientist at Argonne (https://www.linkedin.com/in/lisa-durham-38180430/), Jen Raaf, Scientist at Fermi, (https://www.linkedin.com/in/jennifer-raaf-528b635/), Sandra Charles, Laboratory Talent Acquisition, Diversity and Inclusion Manager--Fermi, (https://www.linkedin.com/in/sandraecharles/), Eleanor Taylor, Chief of Staff- Argonne, (https://www.linkedin.com/in/eleanortaylor/), and Sam Zeller, MicroBooNE Co-Spokesperson and Deputy Division Head—Fermilab, were mentioned over and over again. These women were honored at the event; called out for utilizing their “superpowers” to make the world better place simply by being who they truly are. And it was always a choice!

I was honored and humbled to be in the midst of these brilliant leaders. Thanks to all who attended for committing to being a (S)hero in your everyday life! I am a better person for having been in your presence.

Let’s commit that each of us, on a daily basis, will continue to Inspire (S)heroes! Because it will always be a choice!