Last month, she became the US Navy’s first ever woman to be promoted to four-star admiral, not to mention Vice Chief of Naval Operations, the second highest position in the Navy.
But Michelle was already making waves and setting records before this latest promotion. In 1999, she became the first African American woman to command a Naval ship, the amphibious dock landing ship USS Rushmore. She was also the first African American woman in any branch of the military to reach three stars.
And remember that little film with Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips? Yeah, that was based on a true story. And Michelle Howard here was the commander of that very Counter-Piracy Taskforce and spearheaded the rescue of Captain Phillips from Somali pirates… three days into taking the job!
So it goes without saying that Michelle is a huge advocate for diversity and progress. And she’s become a living expert on how to engender creativity and innovation from within a large, two-century old organization. As she told Forbes in an interview,
“It’s the willingness to commit to look hard at yourself and commit to a new way of doing business. There’s great ideas out there–it’s having the courage to go ask people about what they’re doing that’s different, and saying, ‘I wonder how I could apply that to my organization.’”
So how about you? Do you have the courage to step up and make a difference, and help give a voice to others who are doing something different and innovative?
Because that’s what makes you a truly Tough Cookie, just like Michelle Howard.