The Well-Spoken Women of 2017

Looking for inspiration? These women will bring you to your feet. 

From the U.S. Capitol to statehouses nationwide. From Alabama to Virginia. From jammed phone lines to packed town halls. From Hollywood to television studios. Silence breakers, candidates, organizers, and activists are giving voice to the resistance. 

Let’s celebrate the stirring words of strong women driving change.

womens marchThe Women’s March
The largest inaugural protest in history was the kick-off message of resistance to an administration that threatens the rights of women, people of color, and LGBTQ. It was a glorious day of marching and speeches. Three to hear again:

Keynoter Gloria Steinem
 
National Co-Chair Linda Sarsour

6-year old Sophia Cruz – With her family facing deportation, this activist declared, “We are here today creating a chain of love to protect our families.”

12-18AGSally Yates – American Hero

Acting Attorney General Sally Yates refused to defend an executive order banning travelers from majority Muslim countries.  

For taking a stand, she was unceremoniously fired.  

At the Fortune Most Powerful Women summit, Sally discusses her 10 days as the acting AG and shows what it means to be a true patriot.

12-18DanicaRoemDanica Roem – Herstory Maker

In another time, Danica Roem would not have been elected to the Virginia state legislature.  

But this is a different time and the 33-year old transgender journalist defeated a man self-described as the state’s “chief homophobe.”  

In a post-victory interview Danica was asked about her opponent and said, “Look, next year, Delegate Marshal is going to be my constituent.  I’m not trying to make him feel bad.”

12-18JayapalPramila Jayapal – Flipping the Script

A “young lady” who “doesn’t know a damn thing what she’s talking about.” That is how a white, 84-year old Congressman referred to the first Indian-American member. Rep. Pramila Jayapal immediately objected to the offensive comment and had it stricken from the official record. Seizing the moment, she then tweeted encouragement to others who have been similarly disrespected:

“Here’s a message to women of color out there: stand strong. Refuse to be patronized or minimized. Let the small guys out there be intimidated by you.”

Watch Rep. Jayapal handle the moment.

12-18RoseMcGowanRose McGowan – Silence Breaker  

Rose McGowan wasn’t alone when she took the stage at the 2017 Women’s Convention to share the story of sexual abuse that had haunted her adult life. 

On stage, she joined hands with Tarana Burke the women who initiated the #metoo movement 10 years ago to help people who’ve been sexually harassed or abused. 

The stories of Rose and Tarana reverberated enabling thousands more to speak up and be heard.

12-18CarmenCarmen Cruz – Won’t Be Bullied

The mayor of Puerto Rico’s largest city was undeterred by repeated attempts to discredit her leadership in the wake of the worst storm to hit the island in 80 years.  

When the winds subsided, Mayor Cruz personally led rescue efforts wading through chest high water bullhorn in hand. With little aid reaching the island and thousands without basic necessities of water and electricity, the mayor generated urgency about the tragedy and demanded the federal government fix the logistical delays. The White House’s initial response was to call her a “nasty woman.” 

On The Late Show with Steven Colbert, the Mayor speaks out for her constituents.

Screen Shot 2018-01-30 at 1.28.09 PMAuntie Maxine – Reclaiming Our Time

No one runs out the clock on Congresswoman Maxine Waters.

When Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin attempted to evade questions during a House Financial Services Committee hearing he hit a wall.  

The Congresswoman displayed a command of procedural rules to shut down his insolence.  “Reclaiming my time” is an apt metaphor for all who feel there isn’t time to waste.
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The Well-Spoken Women of 2016

Looking for inspiration? These women will bring you to your feet.


 

HillaryHillary Clinton – The First

Post-Election Day, thousands of women say they have been inspired to run for office. Watch the first but not last woman candidate accept a major party presidential nomination.

 


 

MichelleOMichelle Obama – Not Your Typical Political Speech
In New Hampshire, the First Lady’s strong emotional appeal to treat women and girls with dignity and respect resonated far beyond the campaign trail.

 

 


 

BeeSamantha Bee – Calling Out the Coddlers  
While many in the media industry promoted the Trump candidacy as entertainment, the late night host was a rare voice calling a demagogue a demagogue.

 

warrenElizabeth Warren – Be Willing to Consider the Unexpected

Senator Warren avoids clichéd advice in her commencement addressat Suffolk University in Boston. When life gives you lemons you don’t have to make lemonade: “You can always listen to Beyonce!”

 

 


 

AdichieChimamanda Ngozi Adichie – We are Better Off When We Are All Better Off
On World Humanitarian Day, the author who is a daughter of Nigerian refugees said it’s time to act on our humanity. To see injustice even when it doesn’t impact us directly and speak out.

 

 


 

saujani

Reshma Saujani – Closing the Bravery Deficit

At TED, the Girls Who Code founder asserts boys are being raised to be brave and girls to be perfect.  Reshma shares how her story of risk taking and failure led to an innovative movement.
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The Well-Spoken Women of 2015

 

Here are standout media and public speaking performances from the Well-Spoken Women of 2015.  These role models will make you LOL, misty-eyed, and shout:  “Amen, sister!”


 

ballerinaMisty Copeland – Principal Ballerina

At 13 years, Misty was told she was too old, her feet were wrong, body too heavy and she was living in a motel with mom and five siblings.

Today she is the first African-American promoted to the top job at the American Ballet Theatre. On The Diane Rehm Show, Misty pulls back the curtain on her ballet journey.


melindaMelinda Gates – A Big Bettor

A  Forbes cover story declared that investing in women and girls is “the best idea in the world” to end global poverty.

At The Hollywood Reporter’s 100 Power Women event, Melinda said from what she’s witnessed in Africa “progress is so possible.”


boersma

Dr. Dee Boersma – Penguin Expert

2016 Indianapolis Prize for conservation nominee, Dee has devoted her life to studying Magellanic Penguins: “Once you fall in love with them it’s hard to leave them.”

These sentinels of the ocean help us understand the impacts of climate change and overfishing. Travel with Dee to the Galapagos Islands.


mendoza

Jessica Mendoza – Baseball Analyst

Hell didn’t freeze over when two-time softball Olympian Jessica Mendoza entered the record books as the first woman to call a Major League Baseball playoff game.  In fact, Jessica’s performance “drew rave reviews.”

Catch her baseball acumen from the ESPN booth.


bates

Laura Bates – Everyday Sexism Project

The Women’s Media Center honored Laura for her digital media project that shares everyday instances of sexism from women and girls ages 7 to 74.

In her Tedx Talk, Laura shares how she is making a fuss to stop the abuse.

 


 

singhLilly Singh – YouTube Superwoman

“I know what it feels like not to laugh, I want to make people laugh.”  With over six million followers and a billion views, this millennial comedienne is succeeding.

In a MAKERS interview, Lilly says channeling her creativity into videos helps her cope with depression.

 


reeseReese Witherspoon – Producer & Actress

When Hollywood studio heads ignored her question about the paucity of complex women roles, Reese decided to follow her mom’s advice:  “If you want something done, honey, do it yourself.”

The result was Gone Girl and Wild the first films from her own production company. At the Glamour Women of the Year gala Reese exhorted the audience to be “a bit more ambitious.”


katemcKate McKinnon – AKA Angela Merkel

SNL star Kate hilariously channeled Angela Merkel’s reaction to being named TIME’s Person of the Year.

The impersonation of the German chancellor has been described as ” unhinged mania .” Kate’s Hillary is pretty good, too.


 

hillary

Hillary Clinton – Debate Crusher

At the last GOP debate there were nine candidates. That’s more than twice the total number of women who have ever participated in a presidential debate.

Hillary’s performances provide a master class on commanding the stage while handling bro-viators. Here’s how to ace a debate.

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The Case for Diverse Leadership

The Case for Diverse Leadership

One of the most powerful women on Wall Street makes a compelling case for gender diversity.  In this Knowledge at Wharton conversation, Sallie Krawcheck offers frank and humorous advice on how to negotiate and network your way to the top.  The former head of Smith Barney and Merrill Lynch is the owner and chair of Elevate Network a network dedicated to the economic engagement of women worldwide.

Watch the Video:

The Business Case for Diverse Leadership

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The Best Career Advice You Never Got

The Best Career Advice You Never Got

The CEO of Leading Women answers the question:  “Why am I getting passed over?” Susan Colantuono discusses a leadership trait that you and many women may be missing.  To close the gender gap at the top, Susan’s research shows women need to beef up their business, strategic, and financial acumen.  It’s key for women to be able to articulate that they understand where their organization is headed and that they fit into the strategy to get there.  Your ability to speak clearly about strategy will help you rise in the ranks.

Watch the video

Susan Colantuono: The career advice you probably didn’t get

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Impassioned Plea for Women’s Rights

Impassioned Plea for Women’s Rights

“We must change attitudes around the world.”

Watch Angelina Jolie Pitt at the Women in the World Summit deliver an impassioned plea for women in war torn regions.  Angelina pledges her personal support to the women and girls in Iraq and Syria facing horrifying violence.   And, calls on the world powers to step up saying crimes against women can no longer be secondary issues.

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Lesson from the Oscars

Make Your 15 Seconds Count

Academy Award acceptance speeches have long been used by Hollywood stars to raise awareness of favored causes.  The much-deserving top actress honorees both seized the opportunity before a worldwide audience.   A comparison of the performances of Julianne Moore and Patricia Arquette reveals a sharp contrast in technique.


patricia_arquetteBest supporting actress Patricia Arquette’s passion was palpable but her prose was problematic.  The shout out for women’s equal rights garnered a fist pump from Meryl Streep and wild applause from the glittering crowd.  But, her call to action would have been more effective if she hadn’t been so rushed and jumbled.  See the video clip.

The 60 seconds before the cut off music played should have been enough time to say something but it wasn’t enough to say everything.  Arquette hurriedly thanked colleagues and loved ones.  The list of names on crumpled paper was followed by a plug for an organization that provides ecological sanitation in the developing world. Only then with the clock running out did she call for wage equality and equal rights for women.

The gender empowerment refrain may have appeared to be an afterthought if you hadn’t seen “Boyhood” the film Arquette was nominated for.  She played a divorced mom who was raising two children while trying to pay the bills and put herself through college.  A struggle faced by many real-life parents.


julienne_mooreJulianne Moore’s turn in the spotlight was the performance of someone who has arrived.  While slightly out of breath and with her eyes shining, Moore’s remarks were heartfelt and focused.  With poise she acknowledged her sister nominees and remembered the names of the people she thanked.

The greater part of her brief stage time was used to praise the filmmakers of “Still Alice” for their depiction of a middle-aged wife and mother who realizes she has Alzheimer’s.   Moore said the movie shines a light on the isolation and marginalization of people suffering from the disease. See the video clip.

Moore was able to articulate why so many of us love the movies.  The best films address the everyday struggles, hopes, and fears of ticket buyers.  In 2014, Hollywood brought the themes of crippling disease, racism, and sexuality identity to the big screen.  Moore spoke to the power of the movies to help us feel seen and connected.

 

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