"My Brain Is Flat"
By Daney Daniel Kepple
Mickey Babcock’s causes run the gamut—from girls to golden retrievers, from poverty to politics, from education to the environment. Queried about the source of her energy and passion, she replies, “I think my brain is flat.”
She’s referring to Tom Friedman’s book, The World is Flat, which deals, among other things, with the interdependence of countries around the globe.
“I see myself as a connector,” she says. “I’m fond of the metaphor of the front porch.”
In fact, her senior project at Rhodes was a proposed community center based on that metaphor.
“I saw it as a hub, a place for people to gather and work on intergenerational projects. There would be a community garden and people would work on crafts and market them online.”
Some of the connections Babcock senses are easy to comprehend. Education and political activism can be antidotes to pollution and discrimination. But golden retrievers?
“I have had nine of them since 1972,” she explains. “They have been great souls in my life.” Her current pair, Lucy and Zeke, are her constant companions. “I’m outside with them every day. In the summer we hike. In the winter it’s snowshoes or cross country skis.”
Her environmental activism has blossomed since she moved to Wyoming, which many visitors describe as a paradise. It is also fragile, Babcock knows, and she wants to do her part to maintain its balance. That’s why she supports the Jackson Hole Land Trust and Wildlife Foundation, the Grand Teton National Park Foundation and the Wyoming Outdoor Council.
Her educational philanthropies are her alma mater and the Teton Science Schools (TSS) programs, which connect people to place through education. The Journeys School is the TSS pre-k-12 independent school, based upon a place-based curriculum.
Her abiding passion revolves around the effort to provide opportunities for women and girls to become self-sufficient. Clearly rooted in her own struggle to gain an education and make her way in a business environment resistant to women, Babcock has been carrying this standard for a long time.
She was a moving force behind the creation of the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis and served as board chair of the Wyoming Women’s Foundation. She was also instrumental in the founding of RISE, a Memphis nonprofit that helps Memphis Housing Authority residents—most often women and their children—achieve financial independence and home ownership. She mentored a girl through the Big Brothers & Big Sisters program. She currently serves on the board of GAP! (Girls Actively Participating). And her own foundation, Equipoise, is all about supporting opportunities for women and girls.
“I dream of a world of inclusiveness and gender equity where poverty has been overcome,” she says. “I dream of more mergers between entities that in the past were polarized—business and the environment, for example. I dream of a world that puts equal value on doing—the paternalistic ideal—and being, the female way.”
In other words, a world where gender is flat.