2018 is the year of the woman. Today, bold and innovative women are shaking up industries and markets across the globe — and in the process, they’re reshaping our communities and our country. Here are the 15 influential (and flat-out incredible) women to watch this year, as they inspire, impress, and impact communities around the world.
1. Ashley Sumner
Full disclosure: we love Quilt, a new start-up that connects women who meet and collaborate in women-only coworking spaces that are operated out of hosts’ homes — much like Airbnb. Ashley co-founded Quilt with Gianna Wurzl after becoming frustrated with hostile office workspace and with the ethos of many coworking spaces. They wanted a space, supportive space for women, and – after years of hard work – Quilt was born.
2. Alli Webb
Alli founded DryBar in 2010, after a lifelong quest for great blowouts. Alli is a visionary who was determined to go beyond launching a top-notch hair salon – she wanted to foster a community of women who are empowered to take pride in their appearance. With 70 locations and over 3,000 stylists, DryBar has taken off, and Alli’s first book, “The Drybar Guide to Good Hair for All” will launch in October. Alli’s accolades include the 2014 CEW Achiever Award, Fortune’s “40 Under 40,” and Marie Claire’s “16 Most Fascinating Women”.
3. Rachel Nuwer
Remember the kid in your classroom who was passionate about stopping poaching and saving the elephants? Rachel Nuwer is that kid, now grown up and writing devastating, deeply impactful pieces for The New York Times, National Geographic, Scientific American and more. If being an award-winning freelance journalist weren’t enough, she is also publishing her first book, Poached: Inside the Dark World of Wildlife Trafficking, this year.
4. Lana Elie
Born in France and raised in countries as far-flung as Bali, Australia, the UK, and America, Lana Elie found sending friends and family flowers – what should have been a simple task – unbelievably frustrating and prohibitively expensive. So the former personal assistant and digital project manager decided to launch Floom to simplify the process of ordering and sending beautiful bouquets. Floom is an online marketplace centered around Instagram that connects customers who want unique and seasonal arrangements with local, independent florists who can provide both a passionately, personally crafted work of art and same-day delivery.
5. Kristina Scala
Kristina is a rockstar in the social impact field. She is the founder and president of Aspen Academy, the Aspen Youth Leadership Institute, the Aspen Entrepreneurial Institute, Aspen Academy Investment Fund, Bear’s Student Enterprises and MODI – Move and Discover, an innovative furniture line. She’s a pioneer of innovative, social good-oriented education, who’s dedicated her life to empowering others to live a purposeful and authentic life, inspiring countless young people along the way.
6. Marisa Miller
Even in today’s journalistic heydey, Marissa stands out. She’s a full-time freelance journalist who has reports for The New York Times, Washington Post, CNN Style, Vogue, and other leading outlets. Her work is reshaping the conversation on mental health, gender equality, and reproductive rights. She’s funny as hell, too – Cosmopolitan and BuzzFeed listed one of her tweets among the 100 most “hilarious” of 2016
7. Mae Karwowski
Mae is the founder and CEO of Obvious.ly, a leading technology-driven influencer marketing platform that launched in 2014. Mae is helping entrepreneurs, innovators, and personalities make their mark, while also changing the conversation around personal branding. Her goal is to help create a world in which social influencers are “people not ad units,” moving social media toward a more collaborative, authentic platform. Prior to starting Obviously, Mae directed social media for Gilt City, and oversaw social execution for clients such as Bravo, UGG, and Coca-Cola.
8. Lisa Sugar
Lisa is the founder and president of POPSUGAR Inc., a global media giant that provides women with access to the biggest moments, hottest trends, and best tips in entertainment, fashion, beauty, fitness, and food. But what’s coolest of all is that Lisa grew this media behemoth from a humble blog she created back in 2005. Unlike other blogs at the time, hers was written in the first person and focused on empowering other women and creating a positive place, not tearing them down. POPSUGAR went viral, and today its brands attract more than 100 million visitors worldwide every month.
9. Bianca de la Garza
Bianca de la Garza is an Emmy® Award-nominated producer, host, and journalist who has rocked the television world for more than twenty years. She is a leader in the Latina business community, and has reshaped the TV landscape as creator, host and executive producer of BIANCA, which aired across 20 million homes in the U.S. on ABC and CBS television stations. De la Garza is also the Founder and CEO of Garza Digital, which she launched in 2016, and BDG Beauty, set to launch this summer.
10. Priya Burkett
Priya is the Director of Business Development for American Express Global Commercial Services in her beloved Denver. She’s a successful, savvy businesswoman that social impact work isn’t a distraction from work – it can be a huge animating passion that brings meaning and value to everything one does. Her focus is on K-12 education, women and diversity, financial literacy, health and outdoor recreation, and she currently serves as a Board of Director for the Colorado Diversity Council, chair-elect of the Denver Public Schools Foundation Board, Trustee of the Denver Public Library Friends FOundation, and is a tutor with Reading Partners.
11. Diana Goodwin
Diana is Founder and CEO of AquaMobile, an on-demand at-home swim lesson provider that is the largest of its kind in North America. A former swim coach herself, Diana launched AquaMobile after years of being frustrated with the large class sizes that prevented her from giving each of her students the attention she knew they deserved. AquaMobile now provides life-saving swimming skills to thousands of families across Canada and the United States, in environments that are comfortable for students and convenient for parents. Diana has won numerous business awards including Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year, and the $100,000 Small Business Challenge.
12. Claudine M. Cazian
Claudine may have one of the coolest jobs in the tech scene. She’s the Head of Entertainment Partnerships of Instagram, where she works closely with public figures, celebrities, television, film and media companies. Instagram is used by 1B people worldwide, giving her the incredible opportunity to shape the social media landscape. We’re inspired by Claudine because, in between helping run this social media giant, she is sharing her success by working on a book for young women entering the modern-day workforce. And she’s a full-time mom, as well.
13. Tracy Scheer
Tracy fell in love with fashion as a teenager, and quickly leveraged her passion first into a career and then into an entire global movement, with her global lifestyle media company She Just Knows. SJK combines incisive fashion critiques and trend forecasting, and has amassed a loyal following of over 50k people who tune into her daily lifestyle posts on social media, as well as monthly forecast delivered directly into their inboxes and her limited edition accessories and apparel.
14. Tammy Fender
Tammy is a holistic esthetician based in Palm Beach and founder of Tammy Fender Holistic Skin Care & Spa. She is a pioneer in the farm-to-face movement, who has turned her passion for wellness and natural living into a global company that’s changed the lives of thousands. Driven by her experience working at a cosmetics counter when she was in college, Tammy set out on a mission to guide clients towards lifestyle choices that enhance vitality on every level: body, mind and spirit. Beauty editors and celebrities from Gwyneth Paltrow to Julianne Moore love her – and so do we!
15. Kelly Krause
Kelly is Conference Programming Manager at SXSW, where she oversees the Style, Food, Health, and News & Journalism tracks and the Podcast Stage for one of the largest music and tech festivals in the world. She writes a monthly column for CamilleStyles.com called Living Kindly, and has pieces published on Time.com, ToryBurchFoundation.org, and other leading outlets. She’s committed to empowering women to live healthier, more fulfilling lifestyles, and is an avid cyclist and an Ambassador for Rapha, where she encourages women to get out and ride.