In honor of International Women’s Day, we each took some time to reflect on the women who inspire us. Although there are countless women to celebrate, we narrowed it down to a handful of extraordinary, tenacious and fearless women who have each changed the game in their own way.


Ann: Dolly Parton

A trailblazer, feminist, business woman, actress, music legend, activist, fashion icon, wife and philanthropist all wrapped up in a tiny blonde package of spunk, sass and savvy. Dolly embodies a special spirit that never seems to fade regardless of how many years she’s been in the public eye, the challenges she’s faced or the opportunities she’s conquered. She lives a life unafraid of speaking up, pushing limits and being her true self, often in the face of social norms and expectations. Her looks have always been a talking point but if you were to ask me what I think she looks like, I’d simply say: “One incredible woman.”


Gretchen: Kara Goucher

Kara is a wife, a mom and a well-known long-distance runner who stands up for what she believes in. An advocate for clean sport, she reported Alberto Salazar to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency – despite the fact that Salazar, a veritable running icon and her coach between 2004 and 2011, was a like a father figure to her. Through her writing and interviews, she is refreshingly open and honest about her career, self-doubts and expectations.


Lisa: Mom and Joannie

There are two women that come to mind, that are a constant source of inspiration and awe:

  1. Being a mom with two children under the age 4, I am inspired daily by my mother and how she managed raising two sets of twins. I will always be appreciative of how awesome she is.
  2. My mentor and dear friend Joannie is like a second mother to me. I met Joannie while I was an entry-level publicist at LVMH in NYC and she was running her own PR agency with her husband, Nick. Joannie took me under her wing and has been a role model to me ever since. I am continually inspired by Joannie’s strong work ethic and approach, while also being a devoted mother and wife. She also has been incredibly supportive of young women within the industry and previously served as President for New York Women in Communications. I will always be grateful for Joannie’s friendship and support.


Natalie: Carrie Fisher

I have always admired Carrie Fisher! I am a movie lover, a geek through and through and definitely a fan of Star Wars and Princess Leia. Carrie was a very open about her personal struggles and the need to take care of ourselves. Even at her lowest points, she fought through with grace, strength and a little bit of sass. “If my life wasn’t funny, it would just be true, and that’s unacceptable.” – Carrie Fisher


Hailey: Charissa Lucille

I really admire my longtime friend Charissa Lucille, who has helped build a groundswell in Phoenix of self-publishing artists and creators. She was looking for a way to express her creativity after college, and began producing zines, which are independently self-published booklets. That eventually grew into her retail business and community event space, Wasted Ink Zine Distro, where she now houses more than 500 self-published titles from around the world.


Savanna: Lauren Fleshman

A woman I look up to is Lauren Fleshman. She’s a former professional runner who is now a coach, business owner of Picky Bars and writer who offers running/writing workshops. I’ve followed Lauren for a while and she’s someone who’s real, open and gusty; so you feel like you know her, even when you don’t. She pursues her passions and also balances being a mom and wife to her pro-triathlete husband. Even if running isn’t my personal passion, I’m inspired by people who build their lives around the things that drive them.


Kris: Malala Yousafzai

This is a hard one, since there are SO MANY women I admire for their strength, courage, intelligence, creativity, and leadership (including many of the women in my own family!). But one of the women in more recent history I greatly admire and am so inspired by is Malala Yousafzai. I can only dream of having a fraction of her courage, grace, poise and determination in such incredibly challenging (and dangerous) circumstances. I am inspired by her sense of self at such a young age, her strength to demand justice in the face of deadly consequences, and her eloquence, intelligence and conviction in her continuous fight for equality. She’s amazing.


Addy: Mia Hamm

Mia Hamm has been my idol since I was very young. I hung her posters and uniforms all over my childhood bedroom as a constant reminder of what perseverance, bravery and attitude could achieve. During her professional career, she held the world record for the most international goals scored by a soccer player – male or female. She led a generation of girls to pursue sports and empowered them to be stronger, faster and smarter than the boys. Now as a mother, wife, philanthropist, author and Hall of Famer, Mia Hamm still inspires women everywhere to break through those glass ceilings and challenge the status quo.