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Watch Nancy Armstrong’s full remarks at the annual Women Who Empower Event

On Thursday, November 4, Armstrong joined Diane MacGillivray, senior vice president for university advancement, in a conversation about her film “The Disruptors,” and her own journey of discovery about ADHD.

By decoding ADHD for her family, a filmmaker helps many others

By decoding ADHD for her family, a filmmaker helps many others

Nancy Armstrong’s experience raising children with ADHD inspired her to create “The Disruptors,” a film about the neurodevelopmental disorder and the people who have it. She shared her story on Thursday at Northeastern’s annual Women Who Empower event. Photo by Alyssa Stone/Northeastern University

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Olympic gold medalist Madison Mailey: “I’m living the athlete’s dream”

Olympic gold medalist Madison Mailey: “I’m living the athlete’s dream”

Written by Madison Neuner

Madison Mailey, DMSB‘18, didn’t try rowing until her junior year of high school. “I was a dancer for 10 years,” she said. “It gave me a pretty good background of working hard.”

What she didn’t know at the time was that not really “fitting in” with the dance world - “I was so tall,” she said - gave her the opportunity to fall in love with rowing, and eventually become an Olympic gold medalist.

Mailey was a member of the nine-person Canadian boat - eight rowers and one coxswain - that won gold in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. But it wasn’t an easy feat for the team, or for Mailey.

Mailey qualified for the Canadian Olympic team in 2020. When the Games were postponed to 2021, Mailey had to train on her own to qualify a second time. “I felt a lot of pressure to make the Olympic boat again because I’d already done it once.”

She treated her seat races like the Olympic final, and pulled away with a coveted spot on the eight. Looking back, Mailey sees the extra year of training as a blessing in disguise.

“It reminded me of the love of the sport I had,” Mailey said. “It was a pretty cool time. And at the same moment, yes, the Olympics were canceled, but it gave me another opportunity to get a year stronger and fitter, and I think that really allowed us to win gold with the Olympics.”

Mailey had been motivated to row professionally since her first year of rowing. After narrowly missing the Junior National Team in 2013, she made the CanAmMex team. “I think it was kind of a shock that I made the CanAmMex team.” She competed in Mexico, America and Canada, her first time racing internationally. “It made me realize that I really wanted to compete with the maple leaf on my blades.”

Contrary to popular belief, Canadian rowers only have the opportunity to race with a maple leaf on their blades at World Championships at the Olympics. “They have a maple leaf ceremony the night before your heat, and you get your maple leaf from a coach or a previous rower who's had the privilege to race with a maple leaf on their blade. And I just looked at that and I said, ‘One day, I really want to race with that maple leaf on my blade.’”

Because of COVID-19, the team focused more on mental health than ever before. “We travel with a sports psychologist; that's really important now in all sports. And it's really good, it’s really changing. On all my team trips, like travel with the national team, we haven't brought a sports psych and we do now, and it’s really, really great to have her there.”

Mailey herself was an instrumental part of helping her teammates to be mentally prepared for the Olympic finals. Her pre-race talk was short, but powerful. The women repeated after her: “I am strong. I am so fit. I am so mentally tough. I am the fiercest competitor on the water.”

She certainly sees herself as a motivator. “I think my teammates all know me as a very, very positive, happy person.”

Her positive and motivated outlook has allowed Mailey to let her Olympic moment sink in, and look toward the future. What’s next for the gold medalist? “I've taken all my securities courses in finance, and I want to start working as a financial advisor.” And then, “see if rowing continues to be something I miss or something that I want to continue doing, because obviously Paris 2024 would be a wonderful experience.”

Mailey is not the only Northeastern student turned Olympian. Kendall Coyne Schofield ‘16  won silver (2014) and gold (2018) medals with Team USA Hockey. Schofield went to Northeastern for its hockey prowess, and it certainly didn’t let her down.

“While I was at Northeastern, I was able to accomplish my goal of becoming an Olympian,” she said. “I competed in multiple World Championships, but quickly realized how much more pressure there is to perform at the Olympic Games.”

Schofield recognizes the difficulty that women face in professional sport, and alleviating that difficulty is one of her major goals. “I am working hard every day so young girls can discover that dream of making a living playing professional hockey.”

Her other goal? “The 2022 Olympic team.”

Both Mailey and Schofield were able to learn from their experiences on the biggest stage in sports. But it’s not only about the medals; it’s also about believing in yourself.

“Follow your dreams, believe in yourself, be willing to put in the work it takes to accomplish your goals and dreams and always fight for your worth,” Schofield said.

Mailey echoed this. “Don't limit yourself often. You're the only one that is saying you can't do it. And then those other people that think you can't do it, use that as motivation to fuel yourself.”

Being an Olympian is a unique experience in so many ways, but one of those ways is that if you’re an Olympian one time, you’re an Olympian forever. So what is it like to wake up every day knowing you’re an Olympic champion?

“I feel very blessed,” Mailey said. “I feel like I'm living the athlete's dream. Being able to perform in the right moment, the right day, at the right time is very special. And the fact that I was standing on the podium with my eight best friends was something no one can ever take away from me. And singing the anthem while watching our flag getting raised was a moment I'll never forget.”


Recent Stories

45+ minutes?


Ningen means human in Japanese. No matter how different we may be, each and every one of us is human, and deserves to be treated with kindness, compassion, grace, decency, and empathy—and must treat others the same.
A person of Japanese ancestry, senior vice president for University Advancement Diane MacGillivray holds Asian culture close to her heart. “It pains me to see Asians and other marginalized groups receiving perpetual backlash and facing racially motivated attacks against their communities and their worlds,” she says.   
This photo of Chinese lanterns, straight from Diane’s phone, symbolizes hope for a bright future. Let’s celebrate the beauty and positivity in this. Let’s raise awareness about the reality of what’s happening around us. Let’s stop the hatred toward Asian people. And let’s do our part in making the world a more equitable place for all underrepresented groups. That’s the Northeastern way—and the Women Who Empower way, too.

#NUwomenwhoempower #empoweredwomenempowerwomen #womenwhoempower #empoweredwomenempowermen #Northeastern #NortheasternUniversity #ningen #humankind #empoweredwomensupportall #Asianculture  #Asianbeauty #Asiancommunity #stophate #showlove #raiseawareness #equity #equality #kindess #compassion #grace #decency #empathy

In 2018, Mia Shah-Dand, the CEO of the Oakland, California-based research firm Lighthouse3, created a “100 Brilliant Women in AI Ethics” annual list as a rebuttal to technology leaders who complained that they couldn’t find accomplished, diverse women to hire.

This year, Northeastern computer science professor Tina Eliassi-Rad was named to the list! Professor Eliassi-Rad is proud to be identified as one of the top thinkers in the male-dominated field, but she’s even prouder of what the list represents—a community to foster networking and support while providing role models for future generations of qualified computer science professionals who also happen to be women.

We love the sentiment of this list—and that someone in our community is part of making workplaces, companies, and industries more inclusive!

#NUwomenwhoempower #empoweredwomenempowerwomen #empoweredwomenareinclusive #empoweredwomenempowerminorities #inclusiveworkplaces #diverseworkplaces #diversity #inclusion #diversityandinclusion #Northeastern #NortheasternUniversity #Northeasternprofessors #Northeasternuniversityprofessors #Khoury #KhouryCollege #KCCS #NortheasternKCCS #Lighthouse3 #100brilliantwomen #100brilliantwomeninAIethics #womeninAI #womeninethics

We’re delighted to announce the Women Who Empower Innovation Awards! We are committed to supporting the next generation of talented innovators, inventors, and entrepreneurs, and are collaborating with individuals and ecosystem partners, like Cartier, to offer this exciting grant opportunity. 
These awards will elevate the work of Northeastern students, alumni, faculty, and staff who are exploring promising ideas, tackling societal issues through an existing business, and everything in between. Click the link in our bio for more information. There are only 100 application spots, so get yours in now!

#WomenWhoEmpowerInnovationAward #NUwomenwhoempower #empoweredwomenempowerwomen #empoweredwomenempowermen #empoweredwomenempowercommunities #empoweredwomenempowerworld #Northeastern #NortheasternUniversity #Cartier #Cartierwomensinititive #NortheasternxCartier #NortheasternUniversitycollab #Cartiercollab #nextgen #nextgeneration #ecosystempartners #innovate #invent #grantaward

After one door closed, Yewande Masi, SSH’09, began her search for happiness and quickly learned that “sometimes finding happiness is process of elimination.” With the support of friends and family, Yewande launched Ornami, an all-natural skincare line that offers products sans toxic ingredients. Knowing what a crucial role Yewande’s community played in helping her pick up the pieces, she’s paying it forward through her brand. With Ornami, Yewande says she’s here to “encourage you along the way.” Check out her products through the link in our bio—and start a personal and self-care journey with Yewande’s positive touch! Now, more than ever, it’s crucial we are kind to ourselves, our loved ones, our community, and world.

#NUwomenwhoempower #empoweredwomenempowerwomen #empoweredwomenempowermen #empoweredwomen #selfcare #care #kindness #followyourdreams #resilience #findhappiness #encouragement #encourageyoualongtheway #YewandeMasi #Ornami #natural #naturalskincare #Northeastern #NortheasternUniversity #Northeasternalum #Northeasternalumni #NortheasternSSH #NortheasternSocialSciencesandHumanities #NUBlackalum #NUBlackumni #Blackownedbusiness #BLM

Throughout her youth, Mya Brown, DMSB‘21, had a fashion sense that stood out from the crowd—she even tried customizing her private school uniform! This passion and fire for expressing herself and her identity through apparel continued to grow. And today, Mya’s line, JET NOIRE, is empowering women to show off their identities authentically through fashion. JET NOIRE provides its customers with opportunities to “show the world you’re coming.” We want to emulate this notion in 2021. Let’s show up positively, kindly…and maybe even more fashionably this year!

📸: @vlkaiser.photography

#NUwomenwhoempower #empoweredwomenempowerwomen #womenhelpingwomen #womenempoweringwomen #womensupportingwomen #womensfashion #Northeastern #NortheasternUniversity #NortheasternDMSB #DMSB #DamoreMcKim #NortheasternUniversitystudent #NUstudent #womanrunbusiness #fashionindustry #fashion #2021fashion #MyaBrown #JETNOIRE #JetxNoire #showtheworld #showtheworldyourecoming #smallbusiness #supportsmallbusiness #supportsmall

When Wendy Zinn was a student at Northeastern, she worked at the YMCA of Greater Boston for all three of her co-ops. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in 1990, Wendy was offered a job at the Y…and the rest is history. Thirty years later, now senior vice president for partnerships and responsibility, Wendy remains a pillar for the Y community. She has helped immensely during the pandemic—building partnerships, creating operations plans, and supplying more than 5,000 meals per week to those in need. Wendy says “I’ve spent my whole career figuring out how to do things, then doing them.” Her passion to solve problems and serve will never stop. Knowing there is still a huge need, Wendy is always thinking about “what else we can do.”

It’s people like Wendy who show us the light during dark times, and serve as an inspiration to us daily. We are so grateful to say she’s part of the Women Who Empower community.

📸: @rubywallau

#NUwomenwhoempower #empoweredwomenempowerwomen #empoweredwomenempowermen #womenbuildingcommunities #femalecommunityleaders #communityleader #changemaker #helpingthehungry #Northeasternalumgiveback #Northeasternalumgivingback #Northeasternalumpayitforward #giveback #payitforward #womengivingback #womenpayingitforward #altruism #Northeastern #NortheasternUniversity #YMCA #YMCAofGreaterBoston

Ambassador Swanee Hunt: Philanthropist. Advocate. Leader. Lecturer. Peacemaker. Mover and shaker. Changemaker. We could go on and on! Swanee’s impact on society is truly immeasurable. Join us this Monday, December 7, 12:00pm-1:00pm ET for a program, A Pursuit of Peace, featuring Swanee herself. You won’t want to miss this! #linkinbio

#NUwomenwhoempower #empoweredwomenempowerwomen #empoweredwomenempowermen #Northeastern #NortheasternUniversity #Northeasternevents #PursuitofPeace #ExperientialPhilanthropySeries #philanthropist #advocate #leader #lecturer #peacemaker #moverandshaker #changemaker #SwaneeHunt #AmbassadorSwaneeHunt #Ambassador

Through her company, Noank Nibbles, Elisa Coppelman, has created a system that gives back to the charming community it’s named after. Proceeds from artisan herbs, spices, dips, teas, and more go directly to a special education program in Noank’s local school district.

It’s a time that many of us think about who and what we’re grateful for. We’re grateful for the people and companies that support others in their work, like Elisa and Noank Nibbles. And there’s more where that came from in our network! To show your gratitude for our female founders, stay tuned for our Women Who Empower Marketplace launch!

#NUwomenwhoempower #empoweredwomenempowerwomen #empoweredwomenempowermen #NoankNibbles #Noanklocalbusinness #supportlocal #localbusiness #femaleentrepreneur #businesswomen #ElisaCoppelman #specialeducation #Northeastern #NortheasternUniversity #WomenWhoEmpowerMarketplace #marketplace

This July, Lieutenant General Jody Daniels began her journey as the first female to be named Commanding General of the U.S. Army Reserve. With more than 30 years of service to the United States, in positions and roles that were predominantly male, Daniels is taking this new challenge in stride. Accompanied by her excellent leadership skills, resiliency, and adversity, she says, “I hope that I’m opening a door for other women to follow me.”

To hear more inspiring sentiments, join us tomorrow, Monday, November 23, for a conversation with Lieutenant General Jody Daniels herself. #linkinbio

#NUwomenwhoempower #empoweredwomenempowerwomen #womensupportwomen #womensupportingwomen #womensempowerment #leadershipseries #leader #femaleleader #Northeastern #NortheasternUniversity #KhouryCollege #Khoury #army #armyreserve #USarmy #USarmyreserve #lieutenantgeneral #armygeneral #leadership #adversity #resilience

Happy Women’s Entrepreneurship Day to all the hardworking, changemaking businesspeople in and out of our network! We hope you were able to join us yesterday as we celebrated alongside Mercedes Abramo, president and CEO of Cartier North America. This conversation reiterated why, now more than ever, it’s important to elevate womxn in the entrepreneurship space as Cartier is doing with the Cartier Women’s Initiative and as we are doing with our women’s entrepreneurship initiative.

P.S. Stay tuned for a fun announcement to celebrate our incredible female founders!

#NUwomenwhoempower #empoweredwomenempowerwomen #empoweredwomenempowermen #WomensEntrepreneurshipDay #womensentrepreneurshipinitiative #womensinitiative #Cartier #CartierWomensInitiative #csuitefemales #entrepreneurship #businesswomen #femaleCEOs #womenCEOs #femaleentrepreneur #femalepresident #women #womxn

This week, we feel inspired and connected to our to network like never before. Yesterday, we had the pleasure of hearing Kim Davis speak. Kim is a wonderful leader, advocate, and voice for all people.

As the Senior Executive Vice President of Social Impact, Growth Initiative & Legislative Affairs at the National Hockey League, her goal is for hockey to look like society one day. And, regardless of the challenges she faces, she has no plans to give up. As she says, it’s important to treat this like learning to skate: “Get up after you fall. Over and over again.”

This goes for everything. Life will always throw challenges our way, but it’s up to us to never give up and to always fight the good fight!

#NUwomenwhoempower #empoweredwomenempowerwomen #womensupportwomen #womensupportingwomen #leadershipseries #leader #femaleleader #empower #advocate #lead #Northeastern #NortheasternUniversity #equality #nevergiveup #fightthegoodfight #NationalHockeyLeague #NHL #braveleadership

You know we love all-things women’s leadership—and that’s why we can’t recommend enough connecting to R.I.S.E. Founded by Hilina Ajakaiye, MBA’17, R.I.S.E. is a platform that hosts conferences and provides mentorship opportunities that aim to inspire, connect, and support women across all age groups, professions, and backgrounds. Follow @risewlc_ to stay up to date about ways to get involved with this fabulous organization!

#NUwomenwhoempower #empoweredwomenempowerwomen #womensupportwomen #womensupportingwomen #empowered #RISE #womenRISE #RiseWLC #womensleadership #womanrunbusiness #womanrun #mentorships #conferences #inspire #connect #support #Northeastern #NortheasternUniversity #DamoreMcKim

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