With all of the messages of empowerment across the globe in honor of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, the team here at V2 got to thinking about the women who inspire us – whether they’re public figures with larger-than-life accomplishments and accolades, or the incredible women in our personal lives who encourage and motivate us every day. In their honor, we’ve created a video featuring these amazing women and the qualities that make them so inspirational, as well as some personal anecdotes of why they deserve to be recognized. So here’s to women past, present and future – may we continue to empower and support each other today and always.
Elissa: I’m inspired by Chelsea Clinton. I heard her speak this fall at a small benefit for her mother, and was blown away. She came across as poised, articulate and extremely intelligent – yet so down to earth and approachable. I love seeing young women who are also parents “kill it” in the public arena, whether they are in business or politics, yet also come across as human and approachable. I think it’s a rare thing to see, and it reminds me you don’t need to be super-human to succeed in business and be a good parent, simultaneously.
Alli: Beyonce radiates empowerment, both in her creative endeavors and in her personal life. Whether she’s strutting it on stage, taking care of her growing family or being a savvy businesswoman, Beyonce is synonymous with strength, power and feminism. Beyonce has turned herself into a worldwide brand, promoting good values, embracing your true self and supporting all communities.
Cara: Emma Watson uses her platform for good. Not only is she a UN Women Global Goodwill Ambassador and passionate about gender equality, she makes a point to wear sustainable, eco-friendly fashion; she places books around the subways in New York and London to get people to read more (part of an initiative started by Books on the Underground); and she started an online feminist book club called Our Shared Shelf.
Katelyn: Cheryl Amantea was one of my favorite professors in college and one of the first strong, female business women I encountered. She was aggressive, demanding and a perfectionist – all in the best ways possible – and balanced that with thoughtful feedback, mentorship and a sense of humor.
Emily: I am constantly in awe of the women in this picture, as they each – in very unique ways – inspire me to get up every morning and kick butt. My Auntie Marlene, who is fighting for her life with a smile on her face and always a joke to share, her daughters – my cousins – who stand by her side every day and have approached the worst situation in the most graceful and poised way, and my mom, the rock for us all and a 10-year breast cancer survivor who is a guiding light for each of us as we search for the beauty in life and what it means to be a strong, powerful woman, despite the odds.
Victoria: Elizabeth Warren is a fierce, fearless woman who is not afraid to voice her opinion, no matter what obstacles stand in her way or how unpopular that opinion may be. She shows all of us that fighting for what’s right is important, and is the inspiration behind the newest feminist rally cry, “nevertheless, she persisted,” after refusing to be silenced on the Senate floor.
Sarah: Julia Child has always been a strong female inspiration for me. Yes, she was the first woman to be inducted into the Culinary Institute of America’s Hall of Fame and paved the way for women in the TV cooking industry, but it was her demeanor and personality that I’ve always admired. She wasn’t afraid to get her hands dirty, make mistakes and laugh her way through them. One of my favorite quotes from her is, “The only real stumbling block is fear of failure… you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.”
Jenna: Beryl Markham was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic from east to west – and if that wasn’t enough, was also the first licensed female racehorse trainer in Kenya, in addition to being an author skilled enough to win praise from Ernest Hemingway. Her stubbornness and apparent fearlessness reminds me that half of success is just refusing to give up.
Jen K.: Angela Ruggiero, a four-time Olympian and gold medalist on the United States women’s national ice hockey team, was one of my first childhood idols due in part to her passion for pioneering women’s hockey, and creating equal opportunities for girls in the sport. While I sadly never made it to the Olympics myself, witnessing Angela’s relentless work ethic, team-first mentality and leadership – demonstrated most notably through her actions rather than her words – taught me valuable life lessons, applicable both on and off the ice, that I still carry with me today.
Libby: This was a tough one, as I admire many women in my life from my two grandmothers, five aunts, my sister, numerous friends and various professional mentors, but the one that truly stands out is my mom. She made raising three rambunctious kids while working a full-time job look easy, and has always encouraged and inspired me to do the best I could do, regardless of my gender. From an early age, I’ve been empowered by her strength, and her lessons have stuck with me through my entire life.
Megan: A couple of the women who have inspired me most (aside from my lovely mother) are Princess Diana and Mother Teresa. This amazing picture of them together is one of my favorites. They both made it their life’s purpose to help those in need – never failing to put others first and treating all with unconditional kindness, love and respect. The compassionate, gracious, humble and fearless qualities they possessed are what continue to make a difference in today’s world, and ones that I aspire to uphold each day.
Simone: My aunt, Tracy Ross, is the youngest of three boys and has managed to remain the glue that holds our (crazy) family together. She’s currently fighting breast cancer, and her strength and resiliency has inspired me to push forward through any challenges I may face, professionally or personally. Not to mention, her shoe collection could rival Maura’s!
Lindsay: Jane Goodall – talk about an absolute legend who has dedicated her life to a cause. If you strip away all that her name is synonymous with, you’re left with the qualities we can all hope to embody: brilliance, passion, fearlessness and compassion. Through a former client, I was put in the unlikely position of working with her and her team, and it was truly one of the most exciting moments of my career.
Brie: Beyond being an advocate of education for all women, Malala Yousafzai is someone who inspires me because of her bravery in the face of danger. Wise beyond her years, I admire her courage and concerted effort to stand up for others and for what she believes in.
Courtney: Gloria Steinem – the fearless journalist and and tireless feminist who inspires me everyday to take no nonsense from anyone and strive towards what I want, not what others may want from me.
Kristen: Michelle Obama is extremely inspirational. She is smart, strong and the embodiment of class. Plus she has great style.
Nicole: When I was in elementary school, I dressed up as Amelia Earhart for a project and instantly became enamored with her story – so much, in fact, that I insisted my parents take me to the Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. while on a family trip to see one of her former planes. More than a symbol of breaking gender stereotypes, Amelia was determined, perseverant and adventurous. She was a dreamer and would often imagine herself flying before she even knew how, a trait that reminds me to strive to exceed even my own expectations. One of my favorite quotes of hers is, “Please know I am quite aware of the hazards. I want to do it because I want to do it. Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be but a challenge to others.”
Chelsea Clinton: By Ali Shaker/VOA
Beyonce: By Kristopher Harris from Charlotte, NC via Commons Wikipedia
Emma Watson: attribution included on photo
Cheryl Amantea: personal photo
Oprah: ℅ Oprah Instagram
Emily L. family: personal photo
Elizabeth Warren: photo public domain ℅ US Senate
Julia Child: Lynn Gilbert via Commons Wikipedia
Beryl Markham: no credit needed
Maya Angelou: By Andria Richards via Commons Wikipedia
Angela Ruggiero: personal photo
Tyra Banks: By Toglenn – Own work, GFDL
Libby family: personal photo
Princess Diana: no credit needed
Tracy Ross: personal photo
Shonda Rhimes: By Ms. Magazine, via Commons Wikipedia
Jane Goodall: Floatjon via Commons Wikipedia
Malala Yousafzai: By Russell Watkins/Department for International Development
Gloria Steinem: By Ms. Foundation for Women (GloriaAwards_DN-250)
Michelle Obama: Annie Leibovitz for VOGUE
Amelia Earhart: no credit needed
Carolina Herrera: By Christopher Peterson via Commons Wikipedia
Music by: www.bensound.com