This year’s International Women’s Day theme is #BeBoldForChange.
Entrepreneurs embody the concept of taking bold chances and making change for the better. Women entrepreneurs continue to have a significant impact in their industries and on the U.S. economy as a whole – per the American Express OPEN State of Women-owned Small Business Report, as of 2016 there are 11.3 million women-owned businesses in the U.S. that employ nearly nine million people and generate more than $1.6 trillion in revenues.
So today, we honor International Women’s day by highlighting female innovators and the disruptive ideas on which they’ve built their businesses.
Here are five #ladyboss entrepreneurs we admire and the stories behind their success.
Jewel Burks (@jewelmelanie) – CEO and Co-Founder, PartPic
Her Industry: Manufacturing
Why we admire her: Jewel is bringing modern technology to a traditional industry.
Jewel started working at McMaster-Carr, a parts distributor in Atlanta, after spending two years with Google. At her new job, she realized that the search technology she worked with every day could be harnessed to make finding parts in a giant database easy – so she co-founded PartPic, a visual-search app that lets anyone find replacement parts for machinery with just a cell phone photo of the piece in need of repair.
Beyond her founding role at PartPic, Jewel is still an Entrepreneur in Residence at Google, where she works with minority small business owners.
Reshma Saujani (@reshmasaujani)- Founder and CEO, Girls Who Code
Her Industry: Nonprofit
Why we admire her: Reshma is inspiring and educating the next generation of female American engineers.
After identifying the startlingly low percentage of women computer science graduates in the marketplace, Reshma founded Girls Who Code, a nonprofit that aims to tackle the gender gap in technology.
Girls Who Code provides free after-school clubs and summer immersion programs for girls ages 6-17 that teaches programming, public speaking, and builds a support and mentorship network for the next generation of female engineers.
Reshma started Girls Who Code as a local experiment in New York, and the organization now works with 10,000 girls in over 42 states. In addition to founding Girls Who Code, Reshma is also lawyer, a politician, and an author.
Lynda Weinman (@lyndaweinman)- Co-Founder, Lynda.com
Her Industry: EdTech
Why we admire her: Lynda is helping you remain a lifelong learner.
Lynda Weinman and her husband Bruce founded Lynda.com with the goal of making skill-based education accessible to everyone.
Lynda wrote one of the first educational textbooks on graphic design in the 1980s. As an educator, Lynda eventually migrated lessons from her in-person class to an online platform where she could post lessons and talk to her students outside of class; today, Lynda.com has over 5,000 educational and professional development courses in business, design, and development to help people remain competitive in today’s job markets.
Lynda started her first business at age 23 – a retail store in Los Angeles that closed down after four years. After selling Lynda.com to LinkedIn for $1.5 billion, Lynda’s now taking some well deserved time off.
Tyler Haney (@outdoorvoices)- Founder, Outdoor Voices
Her Industry: Retail
Why we admire her: Tyler is encouraging everyone to get up and move (stylishly).
A high school track and basketball star, Tyler skipped a sports scholarship in place of design school, where her interest in technical fabrics blossomed. Inspired by the mantra #DoingThings (because “doing things is better than not doing things”), Tyler launched apparel brand Outdoor Voices in 2013 using her savings and some investments from family.
While she could easily get lost in an activewear space filled with corporations and niche labels, Tyler is differentiating Outdoor Voices by creating a brand voice that gently encourages everyone – not just athletes – to pursue an active lifestyle, without pushing or intimidating them.
Tyler creates minimalist, multi-functional clothing for both men and women. She opened her first store in Austin in 2014, has expanded across the country, and is gathering a large following along the way.
Emily Weiss (@emilywweiss)- CEO and Founder, Glossier
Her Industry: Beauty
Why we admire her: Emily is making luxury affordable for every woman.
While she was working at Vogue, Emily started the beauty blog ‘Into the Gloss’ as a side project. Her work with Into the Gloss left her realizing that women need celeb-worthy products at affordable price tags, so Emily founded Glossier, a skincare and makeup line she positions as “a beauty company inspired by what girls need in real life.”
Emily markets her high-quality, affordable, and Instagram-worthy products almost exclusively on social media and through word-of-mouth. Unlike most brands in the beauty and skincare space, Emily only sells online, and prides herself on keeping an open dialogue with her clients, allowing their feedback to influence her product lines.
While Glossier’s products are wonderful, our favorite part of Emily’s story is that her seed round of funding was led by Kirsten Green and the ladies at Forerunner Ventures.