Happy International Women’s Day!

In case you missed it, March 8 is International Women’s Day. As an office full of ladies, we thought it would be appropriate to celebrate by giving nods to women who inspire us. From singers to saints, the women on this list give us a lot to be proud of. Who are some women that inspire you? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Courtney Ellett – Dolly Parton

Seriously, who doesn’t love Dolly Parton!? Aside from her distinguished singing career and her hilarious roles in some of my favorites – 9 to 5 and Steel Magnolias – this woman seems to have a heart of gold. I’m reminded monthly of her kindness, humility and generosity of heart. We signed up our little ones for the Books from Birth program, which features many books from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. This is a book-gifting program that mails free books to children from birth until they begin school. What a gift it is to my sons every time a new book arrives! She is spreading the joy of reading (and all the power that reading gives) to millions of children across our nation.

Gracie Lee – Emma Watson

Growing up as an avid Harry Potter fan, I’ve loved loved loved Emma Watson for a while. It started out as middle school me thinking she was just super pretty and had a neat accent. But, I’ve slowly come to admire her more and more as we’ve both grown. She cares about education – shown by her graduation from Brown University after filming the Harry Potter series. She cares about the environment – shown by her own, environmentally sustainable fashion line with a company called People Tree. And, she cares about women – shown by her dedication to becoming a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, where she launched the inspiring campaign HeForShe. She’s the best!

Taylor Jolley – Sheryl Sandberg

I love Sheryl Sandberg’s passion and zest for encouraging and empowering women. The impact she made on millions of women through “Lean In” is unfathomable, and I know we can partly thank her for the upcoming generation of women business leaders. She has made an undeniable impact on our world today through her work with Google and Facebook, platforms we interface with every day as PR professionals. On a personal level, I admire how she’s proven, through her life, that women can be successful business leaders while still being mothers and wives (as if we needed more examples!).

Carlee Smith – Sophia Amoruso

Sophia Amoruso is, in my opinion, the epitome of the “American dream.” She started an eBay store selling vintage clothing that exploded into a multi-million dollar business, authored the best-selling book #GIRLBOSS, which was turned into a show for Netflix, and founded Girlboss Media, inspired by her book and dedicated to helping women reach their own dreams and business goals. Sophia goes to show that anything is possible with hard-work, determination, a little humor and a never-give-up attitude.

Jenna Mehmed – Emma Stone

I can’t think of any better representation of beauty than someone who is unafraid to be herself.” — Emma Stone

I have always been a huge fan of Emma Stone. She’s quirky, intelligent, down-to-earth, and SO talented. Emma was the highest paid actress in 2017 thanks to her Oscar-winning performance in “La La Land.” Talk about girl power!

Recently, Emma has banded together with other celebrities to #RejectTheNRA in the wake of the Las Vegas shooting. She has played a huge part in the Time’s Up movement against sexual harassment in the workplace. And, she has also been a strong mental health advocate.  

Murray Lace – Stacy McCall

As the Obsidianite who specializes in all things food, restaurant and hospitality, having ServiceMaster by Stratos, a professional janitorial company, on my client roster is an anomaly, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Stratos’ CEO Stacy McCall is unlike any other business leader I’ve encountered. She is always reaching for innovative ways to position the company as the expert in the field and never settles for anything less than the absolute best in all areas–even something as small as a sentence in a blog post. No stone goes unturned for Stacy. Aside from her duties in a company that recently doubled in size, she goes above and beyond to help others but never seeks recognition for it. That’s just who Stacy is. She doesn’t want the glory, and that’s why I admire her so much. She spreads the good because it’s the right thing to do, not because she wants to boost her own ego. From opening up Stratos’ laundry room for the homeless to wash their clothes to providing life coaches for service partners looking to improve outside the workplace, Stacy does it all and she does it all very well.

Whitney Albert – Michelle Obama

It’s hard for me to know where to start when I think about Mrs. Obama and how she’s inspired me since I first learned of her almost ten years ago. She’s a strong, educated, beautiful, well-dressed, well-spoken, black woman whose name is synonymous with class. As the first lady of the United States of America, she wore that title so well, and the way she stood by her husband (who held the highest position in this country) and raised her two daughters is admirable, to say the least. I’ve listened to her speak and impart her infinite wisdom on other women, and I only hope that one day I’m afforded similar opportunities to inspire future generations. All I can say is, You Go Girl!

Kelli Brignac – Saint Mother Teresa

I’m a cradle Catholic, and I can remember when she was just Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Mother Teresa was one of my first exposures to a living saint – we all knew back then she would be worthy of being called that! Her selfless dedication to people who may otherwise be forgotten is inspiring. Even when she received global recognition for her work in the form of the Nobel Prize, she used the platform to advocate for those without a voice. In a time overtaken by “selfies,” Saint Mother Teresa is an inspiration to look outside ourselves!

Lauren Hannaford- Malala Yousafzai

How do you react in the face of adversity? In Malala’s case, you overcome a near-fatal assassination attempt to champion an international movement for human rights and education. If a young girl born and raised in one of the most oppressed areas of the world, especially for women, can find the courage and determination to be heard and accomplish many “firsts” at such a young age, why shouldn’t I be able to overcome even my most mediocre struggles? Malala continues to make an impact across the world and will undoubtedly serve as an inspiring figure to girls and women for years to come.

Christina Babu – Emma Gonzalez

Despite what your stance is on gun control, there’s no doubt that Emma Gonzalez is a force of nature. After surviving the horrific shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in South Florida, she’s one of the many teenagers to stand up and say, “Enough is enough.” The Cuban-American, bisexual 18-year-old is not afraid to call you out on your BS. Her passion for activism is quickly shaping her into an inspiration to not only her peers but also adults.