It’s a school assignment many young students get at some point: writing a letter to a public figure. It gives kids an exciting practice in crafting letters, and sometimes the person even writes back—although if writing a popular celebrity, chances are they won’t be responding anytime soon.
But one fourth grader’s unexpected choice for her letter recipient led to a heartwarming surprise—and potentially gave her a lifetime of inspiration.
Brianna White, a 10-year-old student at E.M. Holt Elementary in Alamance County, North Carolina, got the assignment to write to a famous person. She had a rather unexpected choice in mind, but someone who was nonetheless a role model for the young girl:
Mary Barra, the first female CEO of General Motors.
How did such a young girl come to look up to an auto executive? It started with her father, Chris White, who works for a local Chevrolet dealership and thought the high-ranking woman would be a good role model for his daughter.
“Being a woman, and being a CEO and being the first female CEO of the big automakers in Detroit, Michigan, I knew she could relate to her,” Chris told WFMY.
“And that one day, if she kept on heading in the right path and doing well in school like she’s doing, that she could do something like it as well.”
With the support of her father and teacher, Brianna penned a heartfelt fan letter to the CEO, but didn’t have much of an expectation about hearing back.
“I showed it to my teacher and we started writing a rough draft,” Brianna said. “Then we put it in the official letter, and then we sent it.”
“I wasn’t expecting to hear at all because my dad said if you got a letter back it would be big.”
So imagine her surprise when a package arrived in the mail—from General Motors.
Barra sent a personalized reply, along with a model Corvette!
The surprise response made the 10-year-old’s day.
“I was like ‘Oh, my gosh!’” Brianna said. “I was happy.”
“As she was reading it, you could tell,” her father said. “She smiles a certain way and when she creates those dimples in her cheeks, it’s important!”
Female CEOs are still a rarity, so it’s encouraging to see the ones blazing the trail take the time be role models to young girls—who may just be the leaders of tomorrow.
“I wanna become like a business owner of something,” Brianna told WFMY.
“I wanna be something like her one day.”