“I am a woman / Phenomenally / Phenomenal woman / That’s me.” Maya Angelou
As we near the end of March and Women’s History Month, some of our Thinkers reflected on the incredible women who inspire them. From authors and activists, to politicians and parents, here are the phenomenal women we are celebrating today and every day.
Kim Ng. She is the first woman General Manager in Major League Baseball for the Miami Marlins, breaking the glass ceiling in a male-dominated sport by years of hard work and proving herself.
Sarah Vowell. Few people tell a story better than Sarah Vowell. Her authenticity in her essays is inspiring and her way of delivering reality is refreshing. When she shares truth, you can almost feel the burden lifted, even if it’s not resolved (which is generally the case in her stories).
My Daughters. I’m most inspired when I’m challenged. My teenage daughters inspire me. They help me see life through a slightly different lens. When I’m able to do that, it inspires me to be better. It’s a reminder that we’ve made great strides in society and that we have a long way to go. Their optimism and drive to make the world a better place is contagious.
Tabitha Brown, an inspirational vegan cook who encourages self-love and love & grace for each other. Her fantastic smile makes you smile. Her love for “Donna” makes you love your own hair. Her words of encouragement make you courageous. Her quotes make you laugh and are just so good…”like so like that.” And of course, her cooking is inspiring. She reminds us all to “Have a good day but if you can’t… don’t you dare go messing up nobody else’s!”
I’m a big Oprah fan and she certainly inspires me: mega successful entrepreneur, sparker of the modern-day global reading/book club movement, and all-around torchbearer for social justice.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I am in awe of the tenacity she showed in her life. She served her family and her country with whole-heartedness and dedication. Her combination of brilliance and kindness can’t be matched in my book.
Brené Brown. I’m so inspired by all of Brené’s research and writing. Her work on the power of vulnerability has deeply influenced the narrative around the subject and has shown that strength doesn’t mean keeping all of your feelings inside.
Mindy Kaling. She’s whip-smart, super creative, and a great writer. She’s worked hard her whole life for her success. And she’s funny to boot!
Currently Amanda Gorman is inspiring me. I’m impressed by her talent, grace, activism, and accomplishments already (she’s under 25). I recently heard James Corden asked her if she had any political ambitions (he said he could see her becoming president). Her response, “Plan on it.”
Glennon Doyle, author, activist, and Founder of Together Rising. I like to think we’d be best friends in real life if we ever had the chance to hang out. She is a voice for all humans and lives an apologetically authentic life. One of her books introduced me to my mantra – We can do hard things.
Cleo Wade, artist, poet, activist, and author. She has a fantastic TED Talk called “Want to Change the World? Start by Being Brave Enough to Care.”
Alicia Keys, singer, author. In recent years she has used her platform to share her journey of insecurity to her truest self. Her autobiography More Myself is a gem.
Audrey Hepburn, yes an actress but SO MUCH MORE. A tremendous humanitarian and philanthropist that many people fail to acknowledge or brush over. Audrey was inspired to be a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador based on her own experience with the organization as a child in Holland during WWII. “Let us never forget those children who do not know peace, who do not know joy and do not smile. It is for these children that I speak, children who cannot speak for themselves.” – Audrey Hepburn
Kamala Harris, first female Vice President of the United States…who also happens to be the first Black American and South Asian to hold the office; quite an inspiration to young girls everywhere.
Michelle Obama, former First Lady who is the picture of poise, grace, and confidence; what can you not love about her!
Stacey Abrams. After losing a controversial Georgia gubernatorial election in 2018, became a staunch advocate for voter rights and led the fight against voter suppression in the 2020 Presidential and Senate elections in Georgia; was able to accomplish what many deemed impossible
All the female athletes, referees, coaches, and owners that have been breaking through the gender barriers in traditionally male-dominated spaces.
There are so many women who inspire me. Some personal friends. Some historical figures. Some are actively inspiring thousands of other men and women. For the purposes of this ask, I’ll throw out the name Betty Ford as one who left an imprint on me when I learned about her. As a First Lady, she exposed herself to the nation by talking publicly about her struggles with addiction, and in owning her weakness she became a source of strength and a path to recovery for many who identified with her.
While I can certainly find admirable traits in many accomplished women who I don’t know, the ones who inspire me most are those closest to me—those who I see struggle with a new professional challenge and overcome; those who are figuring out a partnership, parenthood, or caring for a loved one; those who find ways to be kind and assume the best in the actions of those around them. These are the ones who inspire me to keep trying, do better, and be the best me I know how to be.
Kamala Harris, because she is our first woman Vice President.
Dolly Parton, because she is a very talented singer, song writer, musician, businessperson, philanthropist, and so much more.
My mother, Katrina Lybrand, because she is the strongest person I know! She’s had so many tragedies and hardships to overcome in her life and she has while being super generous.
Oprah, Michelle Obama – breaking barriers and pulling people up with them, and doing it with grace, style, class.