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The Self-Made Shall Inherit the Earth

by A. Montalbano on 01/25/17

1. Fashion and Liquid Gold:  In the late 1800s, a young orphan girl is raised by nuns and taught to sew.  In her early 20's, she opens a hat shop in France. She ventures into clothing and designs her first dress successfully adding more fashion stores and a customer reach to include royalty. In the 1920s, she launches a perfume as the first with a designer name.  She pioneered the Chanel suit and the "little black dress".  For decades after WW2, she lived under the shadow of scandal and escaped from public eye. Not until her 70s, did she return to the world of fashion producing comfortable and fitted designs.  Her life continues to captivate the masses.  The legacy of Coco Chanel reigns through active fashion houses and forever a liquid gold we know as Chanel No.5.

2.  A Plow and a Pitch:  At the age of 17, he began a career in blacksmith. He found plows to be problematic and repairs reoccurring.  Experimenting, he was able to pitch his design to local farmers.   John Deere, the inventor, was enabled to design and construct better tools, better steel plows and better solutions for the agriculture industry.  But today, John Deere is a leader in quality of out door heavy equipment made especially for farm, construction, forestry, but also includes compact equipment for residential usage as well.

3.  International Beauty/Activist/Inspiration:  A laundress, widowed at age 20, must provide for her two year old.  An orphan at age 7 and married at 14, Madam CJ Walker faced many life perils unknown to many.  An oncoming scalp disease brought on by stress and lack of indoor plumbing created hair loss and forced her to search for a home remedy.  With brothers in the barber industry, and with the aid of a pharmacist, she developed a special shampoo and ointment. Manufacturing the products was a success. 

She lent herself to special causes and donated thousands of dollars to charitable organizations and educational institutions.  Before MaryKay Ash, CJ Walker motivated her sales teams to be charitable but honored their efforts with prizes.  She inspired thousands of African American women to access opportunity even while obstacles presented themselves.

4. Queen of Latin POP and The Presidential Medal of Freedom:  As a toddler, her family fled Cuba upon the up rise of the Castro regime.  In her youth, the majority of her time was spent caring for her ailing father, a Vietnam vet and her young sister while her mother, a school teacher attended night school.  Her escape was writing poetry and guitar lessons. While in college, Gloria met Emilio Esteban.  She was asked to be lead in his band and accepted.  A year later the Miami Sound Machine was formed. In 1978 Gloria and Emilio were married and two years later their son was born.
Success began with Spanish language albums but slow to gain in the U.S.
Not until 1984, did the band see a shift in the American market with the English album, "The Eyes of Innocence".  Since then, album after album demonstrated the bands success.  But in 1990 a near death bus accident caused a sudden halt in her musical career.  Gloria recovered and went on to explore other talents in writing, publishing two childrens books.  As a trailblazer of Latin culture and music, in 2015, she and her husband were honored the Presidential Metal of Freedom.

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