Editor’s Note: This is the first post in a series showing genKP’s trip to the White House with a group of Rosie the Riveters! Stay tuned for future posts!

Day 1: The Next Generation meets the Pioneers of the Women’s Movement

By: Jessica Johnson and Jaimie Reyes

It all started on a busy Tuesday morning in March. I got a phone call from Ije Udeze, chief of staff, asking me to participate in meeting that I was not a part of, but I didn’t hesitate to say, “I’ll be right in.” At the end of the meeting, Jennifer Scanlon, community relations director, was nonchalantly talking to the group about an amazing project she had been assigned to. She was in charge of putting together a White House trip to Washington, D.C. for six Rosie the Riveters. I was familiar with the Rosie the Riveter picture. I mean, who doesn’t know the cute girl with the red bandana, flexing her right bicep?! But I didn’t know the “story” behind that historical picture. I vaguely heard Jennifer say they wanted two genKP members to go on this trip to represent the past, present and future of Kaiser Permanente. Ije quickly looked over at me and said, “Do you want to go?” I of course did not hesitate to say, “Heck yea I do!”Rosie-the-Riveter

I wanted to learn as much about the Rosies as I possibly could. I read and skimmed all of the articles and bios that I could find.

A couple days before the trip, Jennifer invited Jaimie and myself to the Rosie Memorial Center in Richmond, for a meet and greet with the Rosies. All of the reading, skimming, browsing I did about these ladies did not capture the energy, excitement, strength, wittiness, and determination I learned just from a 15 minute in-person meeting with them. The short amount of time I got to spend with these ladies before our D.C. trip made me 10 times more excited and honored to travel with an amazing and heroic group of women.

As we started our journey to SFO at 4:30 AM on Sunday, March 30th, I started to realize the importance of this trip. Jaimie, Jennifer, and I have the opportunity to accompany the pioneers of the Women’s Rights movement, before Lean In, before Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

This trip is everything to me; I have the honor of being in the presence of fearless women.

As an early professional I know the joys and pains of innovation, and pushing the envelope when you’re passionate about something. These heroines will teach us perseverance, patience, and strength without flexing through their stories alone.

These women answered the nation’s call for help, and supported Kaiser Permanente’s vision for lean and agile methods way before Six Sigma was written into the DNA of corporate operations. So as we descend into Washington D.C., I’m thinking about everything, how to enjoy these phenomenal women, how to stay rosy, and how to contribute to something that is bigger than yourself.

KP Share article: Kaiser Permanente Shipyard Rosies Headed to White House