Emily Callahan, Hall of Femme 2020

Chief marketing and experience officer, ALSAC, The Fundraising and Awareness Organization for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

What word would you use to describe your childhood and why?
Grateful. I grew up in a small town in Oklahoma in a wonderful family where I was taught that everyone has the power to change the world, starting with those right around you.

We are far from perfect, and like all families have faced our share of heartaches and challenges, but I have learned a lot about love, faith, service to others, the impact of community, respect for all, resilience, the importance of laughter, the power of positivity and how to never stop dreaming of and creating a better tomorrow.

So you have a nickname? Explain.
Publicly, it’s Em. Pretty self-explanatory. At home, we use all kinds of nicknames as terms of creative endearment.

What fictional female character (in a book or movie) has always inspired you?
I love it when a book, movie, story, athletic event or daily moment reflects a strong woman shining authentically in a way that my 10-year-old daughter can see it and be inspired as we celebrate together. She notices, too, when it’s absent, so we talk about how we can change it.

Any real-life women or men you look up to?
Many. My family, my boss, Danny Thomas, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, Amelia Earhart, patients and families of St. Jude, nurses, first responders, single parents. I draw tremendous inspiration from people who boldly and vulnerably use all they have to change the world around them. Those who stand up, lean in, speak out, put others above self, persevere, love anyway and never stop trying for a better today and tomorrow.

Favorite song and why?
Too many to name. I love that music is a universal language that uses words powerfully to tap the full spectrum of human emotions.

Tell us about your hobby.
Daily movement and pushing myself with new physical challenges. I hesitate to call it a hobby as it's simply what I do each morning after waking early to pray, meditate and read. It’s my way of putting my own oxygen mask on, so to speak, so I am best able to serve others.

Finish the sentence: To ensure career advancement and pay parity for women, I will…
Use my resources — my voice, my influence, my position, my knowledge, my access, my decisions — to intentionally raise up ALL women. It’s my responsibility to listen, learn, advocate, lead and do all I can to be a stepping stone for others, particularly those who have wrongly had to fight harder to rise.

What is it about our industry that frustrates the hell out of you?
When we fail to value all people or use our tremendous talents as communicators and influencers to drive change.

When have you seen this industry and your organization really shine?
Daily. ALSAC and St. Jude were founded on the principles of inclusion and unity in an effort to ensure that no child dies in the dawn of life. The work of St. Jude is possible because millions of people have come together in a movement to help save the most vulnerable among us: our sick children.

What is your golden rule at work?
Serve the mission, serve others, never take for granted the responsibility entrusted to you and remember everyone around you matters deeply.

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