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Strong Female Friday: J.K. Rowling

Posted by Samantha Johnson Aug 8, 2013 , , , , , , , , , ,

This week in our Boston office we celebrated J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter thanks to our HR and Finance Intern, A.B. Everyone in the office was placed into their respective “houses” of Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw, or Hufflepuff. The office was decorated and we even had a trivia game, which, of course, was won by the house of Gryffindor.

With all the Harry Potter chatter in the office this week, I thought what better way to finish off our celebration then to share with you my top 10 reasons why J.K. Rowling is a perfect candidate for our Strong Female Friday.

1. Academic Excellence – Despite her mother’s illness and a distant father, Rowling became Head Girl at Wyedean School and College. From then, she went on to the University of Exeter where she studied French and Classics.

2. Self-care – With her mother’s death, Rowling was able to put much personal experience into the character of Harry Potter, channeling her pain into her characters – a healthy way for a writer to release emotion.

3. Perseverance – 12 publishing companies rejected Rowling before publishing company, Bloomsbury, took a chance on her. Going through 13 companies proves that she didn’t give up and truly believed in her story. If Rowling gave up, we wouldn’t have the wonderful world of Harry Potter to visit whenever we wished! 

4. Time Management – Divorced and with child, Rowling continued to make time for her studies and her writing.

5. Philanthropy – Rowling started her own charity, Lumos, for disadvantaged children and gives to many other charities, using her fame and wealth to bring attention to different causes including children’s welfare, poverty, and multiple sclerosis.

6. Professionalism – She worked for Amnesty International as a researcher and taught English as a foreign language in Portugal. Since her writing debut, she has worked on many projects including two novels, Pottermore, and various philanthropy work. 

7. Wisdom – Rowling once said, “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.” Rowling has been through a lot, both positive and negative, like all strong women. It’s important for us to see that even the most successful people experience challenges in life.

8. Dedication – It is not easy to make time for writing, reading, and many other things most of us enjoy as hobbies. Rowling began Harry Potter when she was going through many different obstacles, and still dedicated time to creating a wonderful world that has touched many lives since its inception. Her dedication has helped her become one of the most successful female writers in the world, being worth $1 billion.

9. Flexibility – When working with her publisher, it was suggested that she steer from her real name as it might push away young male readers, the target audience of Harry Potter at the time. She abbreviated Joanne (her first name) to “J” and adopted the “K,” which stands for Kathleen, her paternal grandmother’s name. 

10. Stealth and Fierceness – Rowling recently published a novel under a pseudonym that was exposed by a law firm, destroying her ability to anonymously write under this pen name. When she sued about the leak, the defendant agreed to cover Rowling’s legal costs AND make a donation to The Soldier’s Charity, which helps soldiers and their families. She stood up for her career, her rights, and used the benefits to give back to the world. What a QUEEN!

Samantha  is SWSG’s Communications and Social Media intern for Summer 2013. She is originally from the Bay Area and is a University of California, Riverside graduate who recently completed a year of service with City Year Boston. She is an avid reader and writer who is passionate about literature and powerful women all over the world and throughout history. 

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