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Identiverse 2023 • Speaker
MJ Hegar
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Major MJ HEGAR is a force to be reckoned with. While piloting her third tour of Afghanistan, she was shot down. Injured, and under heavy fire, Hegar and her crew still flew their hobbled aircraft to safety, conducting a near-impossible landing. She received a Purple Heart and a Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor, an honor awarded to only a handful of women. When her injuries barred her from flying, she fought a policy that excluded women from serving in ground combat—a historic victory for female military members. An incredible story—set to be a major motion picture—Hegar’s bravery inspires audiences to persevere through change, hardship, and any obstacles in their way. In 2018, Hegar ran for Congress in Texas, and struck a meaningful chord across the nation. Beautifully depicted in her moving and wildly-viral campaign video, “Doors”—which Lin-Manuel Miranda called “the best political ad anyone’s ever seen”—Hegar told her story “about opening, pushing, and sometimes kicking through every door in my way.” In electrifying keynotes, she discusses the importance of teamwork as well as individual advocacy, highlighting the doors that each of us have in our paths—and how to open, push, or kick your way through. Hegar’s bestselling memoir, Shoot Like A Girl, is currently being adapted to a major motion picture. Hegar is currently a Defense consultant with experience in Communications, Public Affairs, Media Relations, Healthcare, and Tech. She is on the Board of Directors at the Texas Advocacy Project, an organization that provides legal representation and advocacy for survivors of domestic abuse. Hegar has taught Communications at the University of Texas at Austin’s McCombs School of Business, as well as at UT in the ROTC and Women’s Studies Departments. In 2015, she was inducted into the Army Women’s Foundation Hall of Fame, and in 2013, was named a Leading Global Thinker by Foreign Policy. Newsweek magazine listed MJ as one of 2012’s 125 Women of Impact.
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