My “Hero of Optimism” 

by Cynthia Germanotta, President & Co-Founder Born This Way Foundation


The most optimistic person in my life is my Mother; and even if she hadn’t given birth to me I would feel the same way.  She would still be my hero…my North Star.

My Mother endured life experiences that would cause many people to feel defeated, sorry for themselves, and angry at the world. She was denied opportunities that most of us are privileged to have and even take for granted, simply because she was forced to make sacrifices at an early age. I’ve always admired the fact that she somehow mustered the courage to decide she wanted a better life.

She is my Hero of Optimism because she created that life for herself, in the absence of a support system but with sheer bravery, inner strength and faith. She accepted her situation – although I’m sure not with ease – took some risks, and began to find her way and eventually her purpose; surprisingly without losing her confidence in humanity.

Her optimism is infectious and ever present, whether she is with family, friends, neighbors, or strangers. She always has a positive attitude and kind words of encouragement.  She keeps the focus on others and not herself. She accepts all people for who they are and believes that people are fundamentally good.

My Mother has hope for a better world, a fundamental optimism that she’s imparted to me and, in turn, to my own children. It’s that unshakeable belief that we can make the world a better place – a kinder and braver place – that inspired me and my daughter to found Born This Way Foundation.

When you overcome your struggles, you gain the ability to see and approach life differently. You understand that most situations can be overcome with determination and perseverance, and you develop a sense of confidence and perspective that you may not even realize. It’s called optimism.

I know I speak for my Brother and Sister in saying we are so proud of our Mom and honored to be part of her life journey.

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”  – Winston Churchill

See More Heroes or Honor Yours

Born This Way Foundation was launched in 2012 by Lady Gaga and her mother, Cynthia Germanotta. The Foundation has dedicated the past two years to researching, learning and developing programs to support our original mission; connecting young people in safe ways and empowering them with the skills and opportunities that will inspire them to create a kinder and braver world. Our work over the past two years has been based on the three pillars of safety, skills and opportunity and we are proud of the impact that we’ve had, including: 2,500 global resource submissions to our Bravest Map Ever, more than 300,000 online subscribers, partnerships with over 50 non-profit organizations across the country, cutting edge research on kindness and bravery through the Born Brave Experiences study, directly interacting with over 100,000 young people, and over 325 million media impressions for our Born Brave Bus Tour. Learn more at: