Successful Women Learn to Empower Themselves – Part 1


1. to give or delegate power or authority to; authorize

 2. to give ability to; enable or permit

Recently, I had lunch with Bonita Miller, quintessential woman of the world. With an MSc in Neuropsychology from the University of Wales, U.K., she has successfully balanced many roles over time as wife, mother of twins, and Research Scientist of Neuropsychology at the University of Washington.  She is also actively involved with two organizations devoted to educating, developing and recognizing women achievers, Women of Color Empowered  and Women’s University Club of Seattle, of which she is a past president. Bonnie, as she is known to her friends, has traveled widely, lived in many places, had many adventures, and met many people.

As I am not familiar with neuropsychology, I looked it up on Wikipedia:

Clinical neuropsychology is a sub-field of psychology concerned with the applied science of brain-behavior relationships. Clinical neuropsychologists use this knowledge in the assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and or rehabilitation of patients across the lifespan with neurological, medical, neurodevelopmental and psychiatric conditions, as well as other cognitive and learning disorders.[1] Assessment is primarily by way of neuropsychological tests, but also includes patient history, qualitative observation and may draw on findings from neuroimaging and other diagnostic medical procedures.

Bonnie’s work as a research scientist is a challenging combination of brain science and psychology – investigating the impact that various neurological disorders, primarily brain trauma, have on skills and abilities and the recovery of these skills and abilities. She has co-authored several published scholarly articles and led workshops related to neuropsychological assessment in both the United States and in Europe over the course of her career.

When one of her twin boys fell ill, she chose make the well-being of her family her top priority as she helped him get well and supported her husband in achieving his career ambitions. She has made her life an integrative learning process with the counsel of her father, pastor, friends and most importantly, her own indefatigable efforts spurring her forward.

Bonnie shared three thought-provoking insights and tips for women on how to lead happy, successful, fulfilling lives.

A Quest for Lifelong Learning
Learning comes in many forms, from many situations and in many places.  It can come from reading books (even novels), conversations or classrooms. The key is to stay active, be curious and exercise the mind to think differently about the world around us.

When her sons chose to enroll in a private college, Bonnie realized that she would need to limit her travel, and she would miss having the opportunity to meet people of different backgrounds.  While discussing this with a friend, she quickly realized that Seattle is a microcosm of the world with its many neighborhoods of distinct ethnic and cultural diversity. There is Scandinavian culture in Ballard, Japanese and Chinese culture in the International District and many more cultures to experience and enjoy.    She joined the Women of Color Empowered Committee sponsored by the Northwest Asian Weekly.  This committee recognizes women of color who have achieved excellence through various professions and pursuits, such as preserving our environment, heritage, medicine, business and leadership.  Through this organization she learned to better understand people from various ethnic backgrounds.  “If we don’t understand the reasons why something is the way it is we cannot break down prejudices and get along with each other,” says Bonnie.

The Women’s University Club of Seattle has been another way to continue her quest for knowledge.  She has received mentoring, unquestioned support and encouragement to develop latent skills such as public speaking.  The goal of this organization is life-long learning and personal development, and is a supportive atmosphere where you are encouraged to ask questions. “I learned to not be afraid of appearing ignorant.  Through my association with this organization, I became more concerned with actually being ignorant.  My favorite tag phrase became, ‘Educate me.’” As past president and an active member of the Club, Bonnie takes every opportunity to support and encourage other women.

This post continues… be sure to check back in soon!

Our guest writer is Mala Sarat Chandra, a faculty member of the University of Washington’s iSchool and CEO of MyMobilife, a consultancy focusing on the convergence of mobile, location and social media technologies. Prior to that she has held executive positions at several F100 high tech companies. 

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