As keynote speaker, Carey Lohrenz, the first female F-14 Tomcat Fighter Pilot in the U.S. Navy, described her journey of fearless leadership as a pioneer in military aviation. Her story serves as a contemporary parallel to Lucy Hobbs, who, in 1866, became the first American female to earn a degree in dentistry. Dr. Hobbs was denied access to education based on her gender, but persevered to learn dentistry through apprenticeship, and eventually graduated from the Ohio College of Dental Surgery.
“Often times you are told no… we’ve never done it that way, it’s not going to change. Well, you know what? Sometimes you’ve got to just keep pushing on the system. Because the system told me for years ‘There is no place for you here,’ and you have to keep pushing and saying ‘I’m going to find a way,’” said Lohrenz. “Sometimes you just need to step out and do it. You need to get your gear on and get in the cockpit. No matter how many people tell you no or that it can’t be done or we’re not doing this… go out and do it.”