Sidewalk art "the harder I work the lukier I am"

She Talks Spotlight: Eden Hennessey

Tip: the following experiment in empowerment pairs perfectly with your morning coffee 🙂 Get your micro dose of Eden Hennessey here, and make sure to get your ticket to She Talks to soak in this inspirational woman’s story in person on May 1!  

1. What does the word grit mean to you?
In social psychology, we often operationalize words – for instance, what does grit really mean? According to literature on this subject (there’s even a scale to measure someone’s grittiness), grit is a combination of perseverance and passion. It’s interesting that studies show grit predicts achievement over and above talent – I think it’s therefore an important quality to encourage because it can fuel you to reach goals in very competitive situations where everyone is talented, but not necessarily gritty enough to complete the long haul.

2. Has learning from a mistake ever led you to success?
Over the last few years, I’ve come to realize that mistakes are synonymous with learning. Being comfortable with making mistakes is one skill I wish I’d developed sooner and would encourage younger students to adopt this view. It seems that many of us try to avoid mistakes, when really, mistakes are what leads us to change, and ultimately, a better method or understanding of something. Each time we make a mistake, there’s an opportunity to decide if we want to focus on feeling badly about it or learning from the experience. The latter is likely more constructive in almost all scenarios.

3. What’s your personal or professional motto?
I stumbled upon this stencil in Los Angeles last summer and it’s become my professional motto (despite the spelling error!). I’m not sure if I believe in luck, but I have found that when you work hard and get gritty, doors open and opportunities present themselves.

4. What does the world need more of? Less of?
I think that the world needs more evidence and fewer opinions. I think it’s extremely important to listen to evidence and change your beliefs accordingly. The world needs access to knowledge to make informed decisions.

5. What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
To ask myself each day, what am I doing to make this world a better place? We all have power and we all have a voice; I think we need to realize the importance of using our voices to mobilize and inspire change.

6. What do you have to say about the importance of women supporting other women?
The support and guidance of strong women has made an incredible impact in my life. I watch my female colleagues nurse children, support friends, give lectures, mentor students and make contributions to science and knowledge and think: “women are warriors.”

Eden Hennessey is a data-driven artist completing a PhD in Social Psychology at Wilfrid Laurier University. Eden researches diversity promotion and discrimination reduction and transforms findings into thought-provoking photo-research exhibits. Eden believes strongly in advocating for gender equity and combines art with research to reach a wide audience through visual mediums. She is inspired by her ongoing work with the Laurier Centre for Women in Science (WinS).

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