Marilyn Carlson Nelson was all too familiar with how discrimination can hurt. In order to land her first job, she had to agree that all of her research would be signed, “M.C. Nelson” to disguise her gender. Her supervisor told her no one would buy stock on the recommendation of a woman. Elation about getting her own office turned to dismay when she learned it was because she was pregnant, and women in her “condition” needed to be out of sight. These experiences motivated her to procure and retain the most diverse workforce possible.


Marilyn shares her life’s most poignant as well as its lowest and perhaps darkest. One of the deepest was just days after dropping her daughter Juliet off at College. Then…Juliet had been killed in an automobile accident.


Through agonizing grieving, Marilyn found solace in a speech that Juliet had given to her senior high school class just months before.


At the Arizona Womens Foundation Luncheon event, chaired by Rhoda, in 2014 Marilyn shared a passage from that speech in which Juliet reminded her classmates, “Life is always fragile…Each one of us is given only one journey. If we enjoy it to the fullest…every, every minute of it, one journey is enough.”


These words have inspired Marilyn to live each day to its fullest. Her keynote concluded with a question. At the end of each day ask yourself:


“Would you sign your name to today?”


“Whatever you do, do it with integrity; wherever you go, go as a leader; whomever you serve, serve with caring; whenever you dream, dream with your all; and never, ever give up.”