March is Women’s History Month and during this month, legendary names such as Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, and Amelia Earhart are often recalled and honored. But, what about the women of the 21st century doing their best to advance our world?
As an agency co-founded by a woman and comprised of 73% women, it should come as no surprise that we support equality and are all about women’s empowerment!
Today, in honor of International Women’s Day, a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, what better reason to give a shout out to empowering women who inspire us.
We’ve rounded up a list of strong, interesting women who kick-ass. Although we have a list at least a mile long of women who inspire us, these are the women who are out there doing it today.
Read on for why we love them and hear their inspiring words, because good advice never gets old.
Sheryl Sandberg: Technology executive, activist, and author. She is Chief Operating Officer at Facebook and founder of Leanin.org. Formerly the VP of Global Online Sales and Operations at Google.
Why we love her: Sheryl Sandberg is probably the most well-known woman in tech. She is the woman who made Facebook profitable and the only woman who sits on its board. Not only did Sheryl break the glass ceiling with her accomplishments, but she’s committed to taking other women with her. Her book Lean In made our list of 9 Badass Biz Books.
Bozoma St. John: Chief Brand Officer at Uber. Formerly marketing executive at Apple Music.
Why we love her: Lauded as the “coolest person to ever take the stage at an Apple event” by Buzzfeed, Bozoma Saint John is known just as much for her enigmatic presence as for her marketing brilliance. She has worked for some of the biggest brands out there – PepsiCo, Beats, Apple and now Uber to name a few – and she is not your average exec. Her style is unique, and we don’t just mean her enviable fashion sense. Bozoma is committed to being unapologetically herself, a bold, intelligent, badass woman who is challenging the male-dominated tech world head on and building killer brands people love.
Melinda Gates: Philanthropist and business executive. Co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Why we love her: Through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Melinda and her husband have donated over $28 billion to improving healthcare, education, and livelihood opportunities all over the world. Their organization is particularly focused on empowering women through access to information, technology, and financial opportunities to create sustainable paths out of poverty. Just announced this week, the Gates Foundation has pledged to spend $170 million over the next four years to help women exercise their economic power.
Danielle Lee: Global Vice President, Partner Solutions at Spotify. Formerly, an accomplished strategic marketing professional for brands such as AT&T, Showtime Networks, and Vevo.
Why we love her: In 2016, Danielle was named one of AdWeek’s Top 50 most indispensable executives in Marketing, Media and Technology. Since 2014, Danielle has been listed as one of the Most Powerful Women in Mobile Advertising by Business Insider. She views data as a “superpower” and is using it in “fun, interesting and quirky ways” to drive Spotify and their marketing initiatives. We love her approach to people-based marketing and using data to get a rich understanding of the Spotify customer. Shifting away from cookie based targeting and measurement to really leaning into identifying who they are, what they are doing and how they are feeling through music. “A lot of times, music is used to get us through the ups and downs of life, and it provides insight into who you are.”
Piera Gelardi and Christene Barberich: Co-founders, Executive Creative Director and Global Editor-In-Chief, respectively, Refinery29
Why we love them: Back in 2005, the women’s media landscape left a lot to be desired. Piera and Christene zeroed in on what they felt was missing- “voice, boldness and the peer-to-peer connection readers were dying for.” Together with a small group of founders (with zero business experience!), Refinery29 was born. What started out as a local guide to indy boutiques in NYC and LA is now a digital media and entertainment powerhouse geared toward “helping women see, feel, and claim their power.” With a global footprint of more than 550 million across its platforms, we love how they are shaping the face of media through “a modern female lens.”
Reshma Saujani: Lawyer, Politician, Founder and CEO of the tech organization, Girls Who Code. Previously, the Deputy Public Advocate at the Office of the NYC Public Advocate.
Why we love her: At the age of 33, Reshma had a moment of bravery: She left her job in finance and against all odds of winning, she ran for congress. People called her crazy (it was a longshot!) and in the end, she didn’t win. Although she was humiliated, she overcame it and from this experience, a passion for public service was born. She realized there was a difference between how boys and girls are programmed to approach a challenge; we are raising our girls to be perfect, and we’re raising our boys to be brave. Women and girls are overly cautious and therefore taking less risks. Reshma has taken up the charge to socialize young girls to take risks and learn to program–skills she believes are necessary to move society forward. Reshma founded Girls Who Code, a non-profit working to “close the gender gap in technology and change the image of what a programmer looks like and does.” Her goal: One million women in computer science by 2020.
Eva Chen: Director of Fashion Partnerships, Instagram. Formerly Editor-In-Chief of Lucky Magazine and Beauty & Health Director at Teen Vogue.
Why we love her: Social media has revolutionized the marketing model for brands across many industries- one of the most notable shifts is in fashion. Behind the scenes of photoshoots or front row at Fashion Week was at one time reserved for the elite, but social media (especially Instagram!) has dramatically changed that. Today, success is less about paying for ad placements in magazines and more about grabbing the attention of your followers and engaging with your audience in an authentic way. At the forefront of this revolution is Eva Chen. From fashion intern to editor-in-chief, Eva worked her way up and is easily one of the most well-connected people in the fashion industry. Take her fashion credentials, impeccable style and taste, and add in her 847k instagram followers, we can see why Instagram chose her to head up their Fashion Partnerships division. In her role she works closely with brands and retailers to strategize storytelling methods. We love how despite Eva’s impressive resume, she keeps it real. She says “authentic moments that feel real and offer privileged access to a more intimate and personal perspective resonate better on Instagram than slick, highly produced visuals.” She sees this in her own feed as well, admitting that photos of her kids angry get the most likes. If you are like us, you will appreciate how she gives followers a glimpse into her life- the good, the bad and the ugly.
Leanne Pittsford: Entrepreneur, CEO and Founder of Lesbians Who Tech.
Why we love her: Leanne Pittsford has been spearheading LGBTQ+ equality since 2006 as the head of Equality California. As the founder of Lesbians Who Tech she has created a connected community of LGBTQ+ tech professionals and entrepreneurs around the world. Starting out with just 30 people at a happy hour in 2012, the community has now grown to more than 35,000 with conferences spanning the east and west coast and across seas. In 2015 the San Francisco Times recognized her as a 40 under 40 business leader, and soon after she launched The Tech Jobs Tour, which aims to connect diverse and non-traditional talent to tech jobs all across America. Most recently, she’s been developing include.io, “a recruiting and retention platform that is particularly targeted towards the validation of diverse and non-traditional tech talent.” We can’t wait to see what she does next!
Elaine Welteroth: Journalist and Former Editor-In-Chief at Teen Vogue
Why we love her: Elaine Welteroth has made Conde Nast history twice in her career – and she’s only 32! In 2012 she became the first African American woman to serve as Beauty Director for Teen Vogue and just four short years later became the youngest person and second person of color to serve as Editor-In-Chief for Teen Vogue. Elaine is known for transforming the teeny bopper magazine focused on make-up and fashion into a more serious publication that took on challenging topics of social justice, politics, and activism. Though she resigned from Teen Vogue in 2017, we’re anxiously awaiting her next move – knowing her, we’re sure it will be pure fire.
This year more than ever women across the world are coming together to support and empower one another and it’s an exciting and powerful movement to be a part of. When women support each other, incredible things happen. We could go on and on about women who inspire us. Who did we miss? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.