When a determined woman puts her mind to something, she will work very hard until she gets it, despite whatever roadblocks are put in her way. “Pearls” is the perfect metaphor for the women whose stories are told in this book, i.e., women of great value and rarity who were shaped, not crushed, by the myriad vagaries of life. The title of this book, "Pearls: Women Who Radiate Success," captures the radiant spirits of the 21 women profiled. Pearls are formed when an intruding substance, such as a grain of sand, slips into an oyster’s shell. The oyster’s reaction is to cover the irritant with many layers of a smooth substance (called nacre) to protect itself. The result is a beautiful, lustrous gem that the ancients called the tear of a god, or a dewdrop filled with moonlight that fell into the ocean. These gems are rare and don’t stay hidden for long. They come in all shapes and sizes, from waters around the world, and they sport a variety of colors: white, black, grey, blue, green, copper, and yes—aubergine. The women whose stories come alive in these pages have experienced challenges of all types during the courses of their lives and careers: the loss of loved ones, serious illnesses, career upheavals and gender discrimination. What makes them different is that each of them understands her worth, refused to give up when life got tough and has achieved great professional and spiritual success. “Pearls: Women Who Radiate Success” is a candid, deep dive into the lives of women we tend to admire—the ones who have climbed to the top of the ladder. Fred Dawson gives us an up-close-and-personal look at the lives of 21 extraordinary females from all walks of professional life: higher education, politics, entrepreneurship, law, big business and non-profit. These women have leapt over barriers, recovered from grief, made profound sacrifices, broken rules, discovered untapped courage within themselves and given selflessly to others. They are mothers, wives, daughters and friends.