Meet The 17 Women Who Inspire Me on Women’s Day 2017

On International Women’s Day, I just want to give a shout out to the women that I work with on a regular basis and those who have inspired me countless times through the years. There is a sisterhood in this work, and I couldn’t have done this without any of you.

Robyn O'Brien

Sara Blakely: The founder of Spanx gave support, quite literally, to women around the world, making strong sexy and sexy strong. Her fearless and passionate leadership will be the story of case studies, books and coursework in business schools for years to come.

Brene Brown: Because vulnerability is the real deal. If for some reason, you missed her TED talk, watch it. Because authenticity is the name of the game, and if you are wearing someone else’s look, drop it.

Jane Goodall: Her kind, steady and beautiful presence in the world of environmental research is so profound that she still sells out stadiums to college kids. She blazed the trail, and her silver ponytail is a vision that I hold onto as I continue into this work Her lifetime of dedication is an inspiration to millions.

Denise Morrison: The CEO of Campbell’s moved the food industry forward when she broke with the Grocery Manufacturers Association and moved to support mandatory labeling of GMOs in all of Campbell’s products in response to consumer demand. She absolutely knew to listen to her consumers, and we can’t thank her enough for that!

Annie Withey: As the founder of Annie’s, this mom of two simply wanted a simple bowl of mac and cheese for her kids that didn’t contain any junk. Little did she know that these little bunnies would turn around and become a bridge to a better food system. The Annie’s IPO in March 2012 had the biggest opening day gain of any IPO in any industry in almost a year that year, proving that big things can come in little packages!

Maria Rodale: the granddaughter of the founder of the Rodale Institute has been a strong and steady voice in food and farming reform for decades. She has carried on the spirit of her dad’s work, forever reminding us that we are only as healthy as the soil.

Molly Ashby: the founder of Solera Capital led early investments in the organic food industry. Her team is primarily women, and they changed the game with an early stake in Annie’s.

Erika Karp: the founder of Cornerstone Capital Group is a brilliant voice in investment research and a systems-thinker like no other. The Cornerstone Capital Group is among the world’s leading voices in the field of sustainable investing and finance. She has been in finance for decade and recognizes the incredible role that women on boards play in success.

Ashley Koff: She’s my partner is crime on our podcast, Take Out with Ashley and Robyn. Our game-changing conversations with thought-leaders make us better leaders, and I’m so grateful for her friendship.

Megan Reamer: This mom of four beats any mom of four I know. She founded Jackson’s Honest in honor of her oldest son whose health rapidly declined at the age of two, leaving them with no answers. That wasn’t good enough for her, so she built her own solutions using food. Want inspiration? Take a look at her story.

Kristy Lewis: This mom of three brought healthy snacking to the masses, as the founder of Quinn Snacks, so named for her firstborn. She’s a tireless, true and a gorgeous crusader.

Nicole Dawes: This mom founded Late July for her son who has life threatening food allergies. Want the gold standard in how food companies should label? Late July is it.

Katie Couric: the only time that I ever lost my words was standing in front of Katie. I went blank, speechless, given the enormous impact she’s had in journalism. But beyond that, her work to bring cancer awareness to the front line, after she lost her husband, is some of the bravest work out there. And her film, Fed Up, with Stephanie Soechtig, brought the massive impact that sugar is having on the health of our country to light.

Liz Claman: this FOX News anchor was a driving, steady and strong force for good on #epigate. She continues to shine a very bright light on the skyrocketing price of drugs, particularly Mylan’s EpiPen, and the impact that it is having on American famililes and our health care system.

Serena Williams: What a gorgeous example of strength. Enough said, but if you need more, here she is.

Rachel Carson: the woman was way ahead of her time, calling out this pollution of our food supply in her groundbreaking book, Silent Spring. Her tenacity and strength inspire me every day.

Erin Brockovich: Because she gave voice to countless women and environmental advocates and never quit. She has always stood for what this day is all about – embracing our strengths, intellect and gifts to make the world a better place.

There are so many others: Reese Witherspoon for giving full permission to Type A’s through her Type A Films , Laura Turner Seydel of the Captain Planet Foundation and so much more, Gregg Renfrew of BeautyCounter, Leah Segedie for Mamavation, Aviva Romm, my brilliant Yale MD friend, Nicole Smith of Allergic Child, and my 105 year old grandmother in Louisiana, mom, mother-in-law, sisters, nieces and especially my daughters.

Thank you for the lessons, love and the inspiration that you provide every day.

Robyn O’Brien

Robyn is a former financial analyst covering the food industry. She triggered an allergic reaction in the food industry when she asked: “Are we allergic to food or what’s been done to it?”

Source: Robyn O’Brien