Women are having a bigger impact in the world than ever before. In honor of International Women’s Day, March 8, 2015, I started thinking about all the incredible women who are changing the way we see the world, not just in business, but in charitable, social and political endeavors.
There are phenomenal females spearheading change and driving meaning across the globe. Here are a few women that I admire and respect for all that they are doing, and have done, to pave the way for girls and women past, present and future.
- Ashley Fiolek, retired Professional Motocross racer. Fiolek is one of the fiercest competitors in motocross, winning the Women’s Motocross (WMX) Championship in 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012. She is easily one of the best-known names in the sport, male or female, with brands like Honda and Red Bull as proud sponsors. She has never let her deafness hold her back.
- Sunita “Suni” Williams, former US Navy Officer and Indian American astronaut. Williams holds the record for the longest single space flight for a woman (195 days!), most spacewalk time for a woman (50 hours, 40 minutes!) and most total spacewalks by a woman.
- Rachel Sklar, writer and social entrepreneur, co-founder of Change The Ratio. Sklar’s mission is to increase visibility and opportunity for women in technology and new media. She is the cofounder of TheLi.st, a visibility platform and hub for women in technology around the world.
- Catherine Muther, Founder and President, Three Guineas Fund. Muther is a former Cisco Systems employee, who invested her own money to create equity fund that promotes social justice to women and girls by expanding access to opportunity in education and the economy.
- Tory Burch, fashion designer and philanthropist. Besides being famous for her signature ballet flats and coveted handbags, Burch is a notable philanthropist. She launched the Tory Burch Foundation in 2008, which provides economic opportunities to women and their families.
- Zaha Hadid, architect. Known for her gorgeous, futuristic buildings, Hadid is one of the most prominent female architects in the world. She was the first woman to win the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize and the 2013 Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award. A few of her famous buildings include the National Center for Contemporary Art in Rome and the London Aquatics Centre in Olympic Park.
- Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Managing Director of The World Bank. The former finance minister of Indonesia, Indrawati is the highest-ranking woman in The World Bank since 2010. She oversees operations in Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.
- Reshma Saujani, founder of Girls Who Code. Saujani founded the nonprofit organization, Girls Who Code, and organization focused on closing the gender gap in the technology and engineering sectors by educating and inspiring women to develop their technology skills. She is a former New York City Deputy Public Advocate and believes in a new model of female leadership, where women encourage each other to take risks, embrace failure and lift each other up both personally and professionally.
Women have come far in the workplace, but there is still much more they can do. It is inspiring to hear the passion and tenacity fueling these women to create change.
It’s also incredibly inspiring being part of a women-owned organization. Meridian’s CEO, Jonna Ward, started our parent company, Visionary Integration Professionals over 17 years ago. In 2006, Ward founded the Women in Technology Scholarship (WITS), offering a scholarship to women pursuing a career in computer science, information technology, management information systems, computer engineering or any other related field. The deadline to apply is quickly approaching! Submissions are due March 9, 2015. I encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity!