Mother's Day is Sunday, so leading up to the big day we wanted to take a moment to celebrate a Michigan woman who is a phenomenal mother, a trailblazer in the automotive industry and a role model for other women and girls to follow.
Michigan's own world renowned neurosurgeon who you see daily on CNN took his mom back to her birthplace and the memories of humble beginnings.
The setting was Mumbai, the real home of Damyanti Hingorani Gupta. She was born in 1942. When India divided she and her family escaped in a cargo ship.
Damyanti Gupta says, "When we came out of the ship we were called refugees and we could not communicate with anybody."
Refugees just like we see on the news today. Back then the challenge to survive in a new place was daunting.
Damyanti Gupta says, "We had no jobs, no money my parents had to do odd jobs just to feed us."
Damyanti's mom only had a 4th grade education but, "She reminded me everyday that you are going to get a good education, she was a visionary."
At age 13 Damyanti remembers the Prime Minister of India coming to her village and leaving a message that was seared in her heart.
Damyanti Gupta says, "We want engineers and I'm not just talking to you little boys I'm talking to you little girls also."
Damyanti studied math and science. She would go on to become the first woman to enter engineering college in India graduating first in her class. At 19 she read a book about Henry Ford and a dream to work at Ford Motor Company was born.
Damyanti Gupta says, "This would be a great place to work one day and I shared that story with my mom."
Her mom and dad saved every penny to help Damyanti come to America. After graduating from Oklahoma State she came to Dearborn the home of Ford Motor Company.
Damyanti Gupta says, "I had no boots, no car but I had my dream."
After initially being turned away, she started at Ford in August of 1967, and became Ford's first ever female engineer.
On day one they demanded she change her name because it was difficult to pronounce. She went from Damyanti to Rani.
Damyanti Gupta says, "They did not know they were calling me Queen."
Challenges came from men trying to treat her like a secretary and those who questioned her work. She was having none of it.
Damyanti Gupta says, "Every number wrong, I give you a dollar every number right you give me a penny you want to take a challenge he walked away."
Here in Michigan she would marry her husband of 50 years Subhash Gupta and raise two amazing sons in Novi. Sanjay and Suneel who is now running for Congress.
Damyanti Gupta says, "Sometimes they don't listen to you but they follow you."
Damyanti would remain at Ford for 34 years. She was just recognized by Time Magazine and Ford Motor Company for being a trailblazer.
She joins the ranks of Oprah and Hillary Clinton by being recognized by Time as one of the first females in her field, and she gets emails from women all over the globe.
Damyanti Gupta says, "How did you survive 30 years back, we are struggling even today."
So as we approach Mother's Day and celebrate so many amazing women Damyanti has a message she wants seared in your heart.
Damyanti Gupta says, "If one little refugee girl can make her dream come true, just don't take no for anything in your life just work hard and believe in yourself."