In honor of International Women’s Day, we wanted to share a few of the ladies who inspire us with their creative mind and indomitable will. This list could easily be in the hundreds, but we decided to highlight six whose recent work sits at the front of our minds.
With a career that catapulted from authentic blogging and poignant tweeting, Kelly Oxford is known for her way with words. The Canadian-born writer/director, is most often celebrated for her best selling autobiography, Everything is Perfect When You’re a Liar, an endearingly honest account of her highs and lows from childhood to motherhood. While her journey from stay at home mother in Calgary to a successful Hollywood screenwriter is inspiring in itself, what makes Oxford particularly inspirational is her commitment to speaking unabashedly on mental health issues. Her directorial debut, Pink Skies Ahead, is based on her own personal experience with debilitating panic attacks. With a profoundly impactful point of view, we’re Kelly Oxford fans for life.
Maya French saw a space in the market. As a vegan, she wanted better options for plant-based protein drinks. This resulted in her powerhouse of a beverage company, Koia. When she’s not running her business, French takes to social media to inspire more diversity in the business world at large. As she shared, “Companies should be reflective of the world we live in. Diversity is what makes our country so great. Think of all the people of different backgrounds, genders, ages, etc who have come up with life changing ideas. Now, imagine an organization with the same qualities. The possibilities are endless.”
Having appeared in Mission: Impossible — Fallout and The Spy Who Dumped Me and on Miracle Workers with Daniel Radcliffe and Steve Buscemi, Lolly Adefope is no stranger to the big screen. But what’s even cooler is the way in which Adefope speaks about body positivity and representation in Hollywood. As she shared with The Cut, there’s a lot of work to be done, “A fat black woman has less privilege than a fat white woman… Instagram body positivity, does kind of lean towards a slightly chubby white woman with long hair, which is very different to a fat black woman with natural hair. I don’t know if people are ready to have that conversation.” Lolly can be seen as the funny best friend on the hit Hulu show, Shrill.
Kia Damon is the culinary director of Cherry Bombe, a blog and publication focused on women in the food business, their stories and their triumphs. Formerly the head chef of a popular New York City eatery, Lalito, Damon is a trusted voice in the food world and a champion for the representation of black and queer women in an industry that is most often made up of straight cis-male leadership. With a career that is just taking off, we can’t wait to see what she’ll do next.
The entrepreneurial pursuit of beer was an interesting move for Jacquie Berglund. Having studied political science at Augsburg, followed by a master’s in International Relations at the American Graduate School in Paris, Berglund spent over five years working on G-7 and Baltic Rim issues before an unexpected turn of events landed her in Minnesota where she found a passion for brewing while working with Kieran Folliardson at The Local. Fast forward to today; Jacquie Berglund is the CEO and Co-Founder of Finnegans, a beer company that donates 100% of profits to charitable causes. With a focus on getting fresh produce to those in need, Berglund created both Finnegans Inc. and its nonprofit counterpart, the Finnegans Community Fund. Committed to running a beer company that “does well and does good,” Berglund has showed tremendous innovation and heart in the way she’s structured her for-profit company to benefit Finnegans’ non-profit arm. In addition to hert tremendous impact on marginalized communities, Berglunds work has provoked conversations about what’s possible for companies everywhere and inspired so many people with her drive and her heart.
This 18-year-old climate change activist has been a global news highlight for the better part of the last few years. Thunberg first gained attention after skipping school to campaign outside the Swedish Parliament with signs that read “School Strike for Climate.” She’s since been subject of global news and caught the attention of many world leaders and heads of state. Her message is poignant and clear. As she shared at the UN Summit, “This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you. You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. Yet I am one of the lucky ones. People are suffering.”