Women of Impact Issue

Because "You Can't Be What You Can't See." - Marian Wright Edelman

After interviewing 300+ impact makers in 30 countries, impactmania will feature 125 Women of Impact in 2017. From Atlanta, USA to Uganda, Africa.

Here are the first 60 Women of Impact.

Women of Impact Issue

Because "You Can't Be What You Can't See." - Marian Wright Edelman

After interviewing 300+ impact makers across 5 continents, impactmania will feature 125 Women of Impact in 2017. From Atlanta, USA to Uganda, Africa, here are the first 112 Women of Impact.

Lynna Chandra

Founder Rachel House


"We managed to raise funds from two big corporations and from 500 individuals. I couldn’t go back to each one of them and just return the funds. I couldn’t back out. I needed to pull through because I couldn’t disappoint the people. As we entered deeper into that process, I saw more and more children, dying in horrific ways." Read More // Lynna Chandra Redefines Healthcare

Aurelie Tu

Award-Winning Designer


"I worked with p:ear homeless youth teaching skills and providing opportunity to make money through incentive. Payment was based by the piece; more money was made the more pieces you created. This turned kids from being reluctant to knocking on the door asking for more work." Read More // Aurelie Tu: Crafting a Positive Outlook

"Race, sexualities, and genders are some of the most important issues of our day because they engage what it means to understand power."

- Celine Shimizu, award-winning filmmaker and professor

Read More // On Reclaiming Life After Loss

Suzanne Lacy

Social Practice Artist

Los Angeles, California

"In the ‘70s a friend with the national organization for women put together a program to re-educate judges. Women would get raped, show up in court, and the judge would say things like, “Well, you shouldn’t have been wearing that short skirt.” At that point in time there was no platform to even understand why that was a problem." Read More // Four Decades of Exploring Gender, Class, and Race

Demet Sabancı Çetindoğan

First Turkish woman inducted in the International Women’s Forum Hall of Fame


"...peace education is rarely addressed, it is maintained at an abstract level... we concentrated on the addition of a new course called “Multicultural Democracy” to the curriculum. We strongly believe that this course should be taught in high schools and universities both in Turkey and the world." Read More // Turkish Business Leader Doubles as the Guardian of Arts & Culture

Kum-Kum Bhavnani

Distinguished Professor and Former Chair of UCSB's Academic Senate

Santa Barbara, California

"Talking about feminism and race is asking, “Do we have some racism incorporated into feminism?” Perhaps not consciously, but if it is present, let’s see how we can eliminate it." Read More // Lift As You Climb

Jean Kilbourne

Media Expert, Women Hall of Fame 2017

Brookline, MA

"I ask men what they do on a daily basis to protect themselves from sexual assault. And of course, they look totally confused, responding, “What do you mean?” Then I ask the women, and there’s a list of 50 things. The men are dazed; they had no idea." Read More // The tyranny of the ideal beauty image

Intisar Abioto

Artist, Photographer

Portland, Oregon

"People of African descent are not shown as many visions of how we can exist in the world. Honestly, the world is not shown it as a standard practice. A lot of my work is not only tapping into what is already here, present and possible, but also what is hidden and obscured." Read More // Visual Voice

Yanling Duan

Presenter, Curator, and Founder

Beijing, China

"I belong to a generation growing up exposed mainly to the Western schooling: seeing I Ching as hocus-pocus, Confucius backwards, classic esthetics irrelevant to modern living…After years of un-learning and re-learning, I decided to explore a more neutral perspective." Read More // Soulful Solutions

Carol Coletta

Senior Fellow at The Kresge Foundation

Troy, Michigan

"If we can get cities right, a lot of our problems [we face domestically] disappear. This is my personal passion from a standpoint of how do we right ourselves? The questions confronting our society have never — in my lifetime — been more urgent than the ones we face today." Read More // Reimagine a City

Anupama Vaid

Founder & President

Santa Barbara, California

"Today’s kindergarten kid will be ready by 2036 in the workforce, 85 percent of those jobs are yet to be invented and 47 percent of today’s job will be exposed to automation. We don’t even know what new jobs will be created." Read More // Parentsquare Helps Schools Prepare for the Future

Diane Flynn

Co-Founder & CEO

Palo Alto, California

"Impostor syndrome is a major factor. Women will not apply for jobs unless they think they can meet all of the job specifications, whereas a man will apply if he thinks he can do 60 percent of it." Read More // Your Career Rebooted

Ruma Bose

Entrepreneur and co-author of "Mother Teresa, CEO"

New York, NY

"If you’re in a position where you can guide, mentor, hire, you should just take it upon yourself to do that — choose one woman in your organization and help them be better, because all of us have gotten to where we are because somebody decided to help us." Read More // United Nations Foundation’s Global Entrepreneurs Council

Sarah duPont

Filmmaker River of Gold and Founder Amazon Aid

Charlottesville, Virginia

"After 9/11, the prices of gold soared; thousands and thousands of miners have come to this once pristine area to mine for gold. Because it is illegal and unregulated, it breeds major corruption, child slavery, human trafficking, narcotics trafficking, organized crime, and money laundering." Read More // The Voice of the Amazon

Sabeena Ahmed

Founder, The Little Fair Trade Shop

Dubai, UAE

"I was so bored. I thought, what could I do now? I decided to study banking and insurance. That’s what you do when you’re bored, you start some finance course, right? [Laughs.] It changed my life. The last assignment read, “Islam promotes equal distribution of wealth.” I was blown away. I kept asking, “Islam really promotes equal distribution of wealth?”." Read More // The Little Fair Trade Shop in Dubai

Maleeha Lodhi

Pakistan's Ambassador to the UN

New York, NY

"Pakistan is also a country, which has made extraordinary progress in terms of having the first female prime minister of any Muslim nation, the first female speaker of Parliament, and the first female governor of a central bank, and much before the United States." Read More //You Get What You Negotiate

Saba Ismail

Co-Founder Aware Girls


"I wanted to do something about what I saw in my own environment. One day, I must have been the age of 12, my cousin who is almost my age, was told that she was not useful anymore. She had to leave school and was to get married." Read More // Aware Girls: Building Peace in Pakistan

Louise Doorn

Founder & CEO, MaaS

New York, NY

"Most know Bali [Indonesia] as a holiday destination, but it's one of the biggest areas where digital nomads live. These digital nomads are not defined by nine to five. They work 20 - 50 hours a week, but are very flexible, either during the night or day. They have their portfolio of clients that they work with: U.S. or European companies and build a life for themselves around passion and purpose." Read More // Goodbye Corporate World, Hello MaaS!

Servane Mouazan

Founder and CEO, Ogunte

London, United Kingdom

"When there's uncertainty, people tend to embrace racism, sexism, and xenophobia even more. In the global north, we thought we were cozy and secure. Now we realize we're not immune from the craziness of the world. We are part of it and we certainly caused most of it." Read More // Ogunte: The Loud Female Warrior

Zoë Silverberg

High-School Student

Santa Barbara, CA

"I wrote an abstract with my dad, we would write and rewrite. We finally applied to the World Summit on Pediatrics. Then, I got an email back saying that I was accepted. I was expecting to get a poster presentation, but I actually got a speaking presentation!”." Read More // Virtual Reality (VR) to Alleviate Anxiety

Elizabeth "Buffy" Easton

Co-Founder & Director of the Center of Curatorial Leadership (CCL)

New York, New York

“A quarter of the people who have come through CCL are now running institutions, which is pretty amazing. But, that ceased to be a primary goal. At first it was, but these ideas soon evolved. I've felt that it's less about bringing privilege to people who are already in a position to succeed and more about how these privileged people can be responsible to their profession and their field.” Read More // Elizabeth “Buffy” Easton Impacting Curators Globally

Diana Glassman

CEO Integration Strategy

New York, New York

"Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) terminology is its own worst enemy. It’s also called “socially responsible investing” (SRI), “sustainable investing”, “impact investing”, and more. Whatever you call it — investors often equate it with lower financial returns and nice, well-meaning people outside the business. I’d like to scrap all that and replace ESG with another word that connotes it’s an exciting way to increase financial performance." Read More // The Future of Investing is Responsible

Sophie Ali

Founder & President of International Children’s Television

Karachi, Pakistan

“I had all the contacts in the world. I had investment funding and a lot of star power. But none of that was enough to make it happen…The way this project actually happened was much simpler. It was just getting it on an open platform and reaching out to the people.” Read More // Sophie Ali Launched Educational Content for the Largest Population of Children in the World

"You have to navigate and negotiate through life. You can’t just sit back and say good fortune will smile on me. It won’t go out and make it happen. [Laughs.]"

- Maleeha Lodhi, Pakistan's Ambassador to the UN

Read More // You Get What You Negotiate

Paola Ferrari

Co-Founder L’Accademia di Gagliato delle NanoScienze

Calabria, Italy

“It was a trigger for cooperation and coordination among especially the young people. They started building associations with cultural purposes and started new businesses. It was a transformation of despair and lack of hope to one of optimism and energy and collaborative spirit. ” Read More // An Annual Science Conference Transforms an Italian Town

Lesley Tellez

Founder & Director of Eat Mexico

Mexico City, Mexico

“The original idea for the company was to find a way to let people into the world of Mexican food. So much of Mexican food in Mexico City is prepared and eaten on the street. The guidebooks tell you not to eat on the street, but it's a deep part of the city's culture. It seemed like such a shame that people really had no way to know it or to figure it out.” Read More // Cultural Exchange Through Food

Nancy Van Sciver

Co-Founder, Education For All Children


“We developed a short questionnaire, our “mini-McKinsey,” it was a tool that would help us research and identify what people living in Kenya wanted and needed most. We talked with people in orphanages, schools, in their homes, at the market, and we found total consensus. The people we talked to said the only way out of poverty is to “educate our kids.” Read More // Nancy Van Sciver: Education-to-Employment Program in Kenya

Camille Zamora

Co-Founder & Co-Director, Sing for Hope

New York, NY

“When it comes down to dedicating my life to the study of classical voice — which is a complete joy and a luxury — ultimately, I do that most comfortably when I know that I'm also working to include people who never would have been included …It comes down to what sort of world you want to live in.” Read More // Art as a Delivery System for Hope

Sara Calvo

Co-Founder of Living in Minca


“Indigenous communities in Latin America are applying the philosophy of Buen Vivir: the state of well-being, an approach to understand the way we live in harmony with nature, community, and ourselves.” Read More // Academic Sara Calvo Helps Build a Social Enterprise Ecosystem in Colombia

Teresa Chahine

social entrepreneur

Beirut, Lebanon

“We live in a patriarchal society — women all over the world face disadvantages. That’s also the case in the Arab countries. In many families, women aren’t expected to work. If they want to work, they might not have as much training or as many chances of getting a job. The double standards that are happening at a global level have been more pronounced in the Arab region.” Read More // Harvard University’s Teresa Chahine Talks Social Entrepreneurship

Miho Walsh

Executive Director, Asian Cultural Council

New York, NY

“The root of so much conflict in the world is a fear of difference. Disrespect happens when you don’t understand something.” Read More // Asian Cultural Council’s Miho Walsh on the Business of Cultural Exchange

Sheryl O'Loughlin

CEO REBBL; Co-Founder Plum Organics; Former CEO Clif Bar

Berkeley, CA

“We've got to separate our self-worth from the worth of the company. For entrepreneurs, it's really hard, because this is our art. It's our art on a page. A lot of times our entire net worth is wrapped up in it; investors are counting on us, and if we see our P&L [profit and loss] go down, we feel it says something about us — that we're failures. We are not the sum of our balance sheet. We are not equal to the title on our business card. We are so much more than that.” Read More // Changing the Investor – Entrepreneur Relationship

Jan Roper, composer; Julie Weiner, lyricist; and Gabrielle Wagner Mann, book writer

City of Light

New York, NY

"Looking at women in business, that is why women working together and having that network is so hard and so important. Because we don’t have that old boys’ club; there’s not that inherent trust. You’ve got to build those yourself." Read More // City of Light

Geeta Mehta

Architect, Urban Planner, Author, Founder

New York, NY

“If you regularly interact in a community, you exchange ideas and affirmations and build trust and purpose in your life — that is how social capital is built. So, as an architect and an urban designer, I’m saying that cities are not only about new and tall buildings; cities are about the kind of spaces that will enable social interaction." Read More // Geeta Mehta: Building Social Capital by Design

"We are not the sum of our balance sheet. We are not equal to the title on our business card. We are so much more than that."

- Sheryl O'Loughlin, CEO REBBL and Author of Killing It!

Read More // Sheryl O’Loughlin, Serial CEO: Changing the Investor – Entrepreneur Relationship

Jodie Grenier

Executive Director, Foundation for Women Warriors

Los Angeles, CA

“Three Iraqi security guards and I went into this bunker. I looked around and realized at that moment that everyone is just trying to survive, whether it is war or everyday life in the states. And our implicit bias needs to be checked and we really need to just help one another.” Read More // Women Warriors

Cooper Harris

Klickly’s Founder & CEO

Los Angeles, CA

“…using your imagination (or your power of belief) to manifest something is incredibly powerful. I was classically trained as an actress — from Method acting to Italian Commedia. These very cool techniques are all intended to solidify a state of being, a character, a set of circumstances, and drivers. As a new founder, manifesting yourself into that reality of having a company — making it happen — is a huge part of the battle.” Read More // Actress Turned Founder Klickly Named “Favorite Thought Leader” at Cannes Lions

Satoko Watanabe


Kawaga Prefecture, Japan

"Japan is ranked 142nd out of 191 countries — women make up 13 percent of the National Assembly. Increasing representation certainly will make a difference. When women are far away from powers, we can’t bring change in motion." Read More // Satoko Watanabe: Activist Politician

Amber Jackson & Emily Callahan

Co-Founders, Blue Latitudes

San Diego, CA

"Previously in the oil industry the environment was kind of an extra. If you had money for taking care of it that was lucky for you. But now the shift is changed, they’re recognizing that the environment is very closely tied to what they do and being able to maintain their activities. That’s been the biggest shift that we’ve seen." Read More // Blue Latitudes: Transforming Oil Rigs to Reefs

"...solidarity is not necessarily about similarity — it can also be about differences that cannot be resolved."

- Aliza Shvarts, Artist

Read More // Aliza Shvarts on being Banned and what we have in Common

Mara Landis

Founder, Nutmeg Aspirin

New York, NY

"My Dad taught me to question everything. Sometimes it pissed me off because he was somewhat of a Debbie Downer and would always give the contrarian view. Even when he questioned what I was doing with Nutmeg Aspirin, it didn’t deter me. I’m very grateful to him because that also ignited a fire in me." Read More // Mara Landis: Feeling, Getting, and Being Better

Aliza Shvarts


New York, NY

"There’s this illusion that if you want to be part of something, your belonging has to be based on similarity. But solidarity is not necessarily about similarity — it can also be about differences that cannot be resolved." Read More // Aliza Shvarts on being Banned and what we have in Common

Sanna Grannas

Founder, Runa


"In Sweden, being from a small town, we have something called Jantelagen, the idea of not standing out too much. The big city is filled with those from the smaller cities and towns who have moved there to find opportunity. I believe you can do it where you live without having to move. My work is about this. My brand believes that even being from a small town will not hold you back, you can rise above with your passions and your hard work." Read More // Sanna Grannas: Making a Mark with a New Brand, Runa

Georgina Miranda

Founder, Altitude Seven

San Francisco, CA

"As an entrepreneur, you climb a lot of mountains everyday. I tell everyone, “Everest has nothing on entrepreneurship.” The hardest mountain to climb is being a solo, female founder. My God, that’s an epic journey." Read More // Georgina Miranda: Mount Everest has nothing on Entrepreneurship!

"A woman doesn't want to look up to one star, she wants to look up into a constellation."

-Liz Callow, adidas Senior Director of Color, Trend & Materials

Read More // Liz Callow on How Diversity Brings Super Powers.

Liz Callow

adidas Senior Director of Color, Trend & Materials

Portland, OR

"A woman doesn't want to look up to one star, she wants to look up into a constellation. That constellation is multiple and has a wide breadth. A woman is inspired by her friends, siblings, heroes, and icons. She finds great inspiration among the many." Read More // Liz Callow on How Diversity Brings Super Powers

Yuliya Mamontova

Founder, AnestasiA

New York, NY

"This industry is for 99.99 percent a male dominated industry. I have gotten used to some of the questions I now take humorously, although in the beginning it was a bit offensive to me. Questions such as “Who signs the check? Who is really behind this?” Many people in the industry expect that there is a man running the business." Read More // Yuliya Mamontova on Founding AnestasiA Vodka

Asha Chaudhary

President, Jaipur Rugs

Norcross, GA

"I'm the only woman in the rug business in the U.S., it's a completely male-dominated industry. Sometimes I feel alone because some people look at me as not the right profile of the person they had in mind. And then a lot of times customers come to me and say they didn't know there could be a young woman CEO in the rug business, or a CEO who is 5'3" and tiny. [Laughs.]" Read More // Asha Chaudhary: Jaipur Living's President on Thriving in a Male-Dominated Industry

Harriet Riley

Strategic Planner

Portland, OR

"Social media for quite some time was an open platform in which people were driven by curiosity — for a new technology and a new way to communicate. Over the last seven years that curiosity has largely died down." Read More // Social Media’s Impact on Culture

Sara Stowe

President and Founder of Reel Culture

Portland, OR

"What I often see happen with companies is that they end up hiring people who they have affinity with. Then you get what’s been called a ‘just like me’ culture, which is a bias. It’s very risky because you can end up with unintended discrimination when you hire people who, say, like the same sports team that you do or somebody that you’d like to go have a beer with." Read More // Sara Stowe: A Company’s Cultural Purpose

Fumi James

Design Director at PepsiCo

New York, NY

"When I was working at Starbucks, I worked on the early stage of rebranding Starbucks Reserve. Initially, Starbucks Reserve was packaged as a luxury product. It was doing well, but the definitions of luxury and premium changed. For today's customers, it is not so much the scarcity or limited edition that's meaningful; it's the deeper story. People want to know where things come from, and there is a beautiful story to tell." Read More // PepsiCo’s Design Director about Co-Creation

Puk Damsgård

Author, Journalist, Correspondent, Middle East, Danish Broadcasting Corporation (DR)

Cairo, Egypt

"I have always been very conflict shy. [Laughs.] I would never mention something that bothers me. Now, in the Middle East, I keep standing in offices dealing with bureaucracy. I also learned to manage my patience. Being restless doesn't always work here. Sometimes you need to drink many cups of tea and coffee, and are offered many cookies and lunches before something happens. [Laughs.] I have learned to appreciate that. Even war has its busy times and times where you just need to relax." Read More // Puk Damsgård: Connecting Cultures Through Media

Kathy Eldon

Author, Filmmaker, Co-Founder Creative Vision Foundation

Los Angeles, CA

"It's challenging to be able to keep up with providing the resources, the organizational skills, and paying the rent. The challenge on a daily basis of funding is totally overwhelming at times. Most people who are trying to do something that they perceive as good in the world, whether social, environmental, or humanitarian are grappling with similar challenges. My heart goes out to every one of them!" Read More // Kathy Eldon: Social Impact Through Media and Art

KoAnn Skrzyniarz

Founder & CEO Sustainable Brands & Media

San Francisco, CA

"A heavy-duty marketing mindset has taken our attention away from trying to understand value. Instead we looked at false values and pushed consumers to buy more stuff. That’s what led to the lack of trust in brands today. When brands are seen as more and more irrelevant to people’s life, that’s when business is at risk." Read More // KoAnn Skrzyniarz Builds a Home for the Courageous Optimists

Suzie Afridi


New York, NY

"The comedy business is very, very hard for a woman. You have to work harder to prove yourself. I got so tired of bringing my people and giving my business to bad comedians. Old-fashioned, second-hand car salesmen type control a lot of comedy. They’re cheesy, they hit on you, and they make it harder for women. So I’m doing my own show." Read More // Comedy is Not a Laughing Matter

Denise Restauri

Founder and CEO of GirlQuake & Forbes Podcast Host Mentoring Moments

"I was with twenty women at a dinner, primarily executives of major companies and organizations, talking about the power of mentoring. Everyone except two — and I wish I made this up — everyone except two women said, “…Not me, I’m too busy to mentor others.” I dug into that and said, “How can we be too busy to mentor someone younger?" Read More // Mentoring Women At a Vital Time in Today’s World

"I like to work with people who actually care about making a positive difference in the world, which is not true of all musicians."

- Jana Herzen, Founder & CEO, Motema Music

Read More // Jana Herzen’s Motema: Communicating and Connecting Through Music

Milena Adamian

Cardiologist and Venture Capitalist

New York, NY

"I was a venture partner in one of the funds. Once I was told after a meeting, “Milena, that was good but … when you speak with companies, try not to smile that much. Because women are already not taken seriously in this industry.” I left and my first reaction was, “fuck you.” I’m smiling because that’s my personality, it does not take away my brain. It is ok to look human — entrepreneurs like that, and, clearly I am who I am. Second, go and try to tell the same to your other male partner whose face expresses nothing. Really? This is what makes one to be “taken seriously”?" Read More // Cardiologist Turned Venture Capitalist

Shannon Walker and Heather Hochrein

Co-founders, EVmatch

Santa Barbara, CA

"Shannon: It's really part of a greater movement than just starting a company; it's about proving that women can also do this and do it well. Heather: Knowing that I can make the biggest impact by starting this business is something that's really surprising to me. Heather: We can better the community and achieve sustainability simultaneously, and this can help people economically." Read More // Charging the Future of Transporation

Eva Haller

Social Activist, Philanthropist, and Mentor

Santa Barbara, CA & New York, NY

"I believe, very firmly, that the greatest gift you can give to another human being is to share with them the idea that you believe in them. That one-day they will be able to achieve what they are hoping to achieve." Read More // Road Map for Life

Rachel Gloger

Co-founder and Executive Director of the Santa Barbara Transgender Advocacy Network (SBTAN)

Santa Barbara, CA

"I've been surprised at how many friendships I've gained from this. From people from all walks of life that I wouldn't have encountered before I had a transgender child, being only in the spaces that a cisgender, straight, white woman, and stay at home mom would frequent. I didn't walk into LGBT spaces. I was going to playdates at the park and back to school night. So I feel like my world has expanded a lot in a really surprising, hard, and beautiful way." Read More // Rachel Gloger: Transforming a Trans Community

Deepa Biswas Willingham

Founder, PACE Universal


"If you give a rural girl education — particularly beyond the sixth grade — she marries later and has less numbers of children. Literate women do not produce illiterate children, and the next generation is improved. And, if you give her micro credit like we are doing, then she does successful business. Women nurtures, so they want their families to live in a better environment. They take part of their income, put it back into the community and soon the community changes. That’s why the formula works, and that’s what we’re trying to do." Read More // Addressing The World Bank and the Second Half of Life

Crystal Washington

Technology Translator & Speaker

Houston, Texas

"My family said to always be nice, which sounds like a good thing, right? But nice is different than honest. There can be a nice out of fear. There are times when you have to put your foot down which takes guts. I don’t always have to be nice. It’s more important for me to be respectful and real. Respectful can mean telling the truth. That might be saying, “No, what you’re saying is not going to work. Here’s how we need to do it right now." Read More // Crystal Washington: Technology Translator

Alethea Tyner Paradis

Founder and CEO Peace Works Travels

Santa Barbara, CA

"American youth is constantly being told how inadequate they are. All these negative messages are designed, of course, to make you purchase something that’s driving the consumer machine. What if you had a strong sense of how lucky you were and had a real awareness of your privilege? Then you are able to put that in action for someone else. That’s a lot of what our trips are about, inspiring kids to find that." Read More // Transforming Students into Global Citizens

Ofri Cnaani


New York, NY

"We are always on and we’re so connected. We sell ourselves to the world but we feel more and more alone. What I often try to do is a very simple one-on-one performance that takes the form of a reading, like a reading card or creating collages." Read More // How Artists Can be Agents of Change

"I want the young girls to know that whatever life they are living in, let them not lose hope."

- Phiona Mutesi, Chess Champion & Queen of Katwe

Read More // Phiona Mutesi: Queen of Katwe

Pamela Hawley

Founder and CEO, UniversalGiving

San Francisco, CA

"Franklin said, “Look, we need libraries available for everyone to be able to read.” Carnegie had a strong passion for museums and public works and believed that we need to level the playing field. The most successful philanthropists are not the ones saying, “Hear me roar, I need my name on a plaque.” It is, I’m giving because this is the right thing to do, and it is why I’m here on earth, to be able to give back in this way." Read More // The Impact Organization Vetted

Jan Masaoka

CEO, California Association of Nonprofits

San Francisco, CA

"Think of having a community career, like a professional career. That means moving around different organizations, seeing what you like and seeing where you can be successful." Read More // Jan Masaoka: An Intentional Community Career

Laurie Ashton

Lead Counsel of Nuclear Zero

Nobel Peace Prize Team Nominee 2016

Marshall Islands

"Over the next 30 years a trillion dollars is projected to improve arsenals and make weapons that last longer, are stronger, and are more lethal. That is the opposite of negotiating disarmament. On one of the days that we were at the United Nations, Secretary of State John Kerry spoke. His speech stated that we, the United States, can eventally be prepared to talk about nuclear disarmament. That’s not good enough." Read More // The Woman Taking On Nine Countries

Teresa Law

Co-Founder and CFO, Mountain Hazelnuts

Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan

"We have over 800 staff on the payroll and about half of them are women. While we try to have programs that benefit all of our staff, we do focus on women in terms of public health services including health screenings and cervical screenings because we know that women are the backbones of families." Read More // Teresa Law, Co-Founder and CFO, Mountain Hazelnuts in Bhutan

Kristin Denault

Founder and CEO, Fluency Lighting

Santa Barbara, CA

"One of the things that laser technology can do is called visible light communication. It’s similar to Wi-Fi, but instead of using the wavelength and frequency you’re using in Wi-Fi, you’re using the actual light. Light can’t travel through a wall, all your data transmission can be much more secure, and you can also get much faster speeds than you can with Wi-Fi. This is interesting for government and military applications, and for underwater communication. There’s lot of interesting benefits that this technology holds that are kind of even more than just lighting." Read More // Fluency Lighting for a Brighter Future

Kris Curran

Winemaker and Co-Founder of D’Alfonso- Curran Wines

Santa Rita Hills, CA

"I've had my own label since 1996, my first vintage. I was hired right after graduation at Cambria, which is part of Kendall-Jackson. I had the ability to make wine under my employment agreement. I only paid for grapes and packaging. Then I started two wineries up: Koehler Winery and Sea Smoke Cellars. I learned a lot starting projects from the ground up. When Bruno and I started the D’Alfonso-Curran it was a big difference because before I didn’t have to worry about the water- and electric bills, unemployment, and workman's comp. When you called, I thought, “Why does she want to talk to me? I am not an entrepreneur!” I have so much love for what I do in the winery that I forget that I'm running an entire company." Read More // Winemaker: Artist, Scientist, and Sidepreneur

Norah Eddy

Co-Founder, Salty Girl Seafood

Santa Barbara, CA

“I was sitting on a panel where I was the only female entrepreneur chatting about this. I said that female entrepreneurs don't have it worse and kind of being politically correct at that moment. One of my investors said, “She's not telling like it is.” We have been talking about the importance of people who are your advocates, people who are mentors, who know and who believe in you and in what you're doing. It’s unfortunate it has to be that way, but I don't think that's exclusive to young female entrepreneurs. It’s probably true of young entrepreneurs in general. It is true of any entrepreneur who is in a minority.” Read More // Shows You Where Your Fish Came From

Linda Pouliot

Founder and CEO, Dishcraft

San Francisco, CA

“Robotics is definitely the hot topic lately, and it's getting a lot of attention. But then, I know of many male founded robotic companies right now that are struggling to raise money. So again, it's the idea. Have you found customers that want what you're building? Have you built a team around you that can execute? I really like to start with the problem first and not start with just some cool technology.” Read More // Building Robots, Believing in People

Suparna Mohindra and Monisha Daga

Founders, The Angels Network


"The idea was that we believe there are angels looking out for us. We have the ability to be an angel for somebody else. We had only two rules when started this. One was we won’t ask for money, and two, to express gratitude. No matter what, just be grateful for anything that comes your way. The idea was for everyone to use their existing set of skills and resources and be a part of this. To be perfectly honest, beyond that we had no plan!" Read More // Angels in Action

Lara Morabito

Garden Designer

Washington D.C.

"I love baseball. It is the one sport I could get lost in, and maybe attend every home game. There are close to 80 games in a year! It is the longest season of any sport. I kept thinking about how baseball was born as an American backyard sport: small children in a field, usually rural areas, playing baseball. I used that imagery as my inspiration. Grasses, trees, and flowers… we planted herbs and vegetables in huge containers all over the ballpark with cherry tomatoes on fences, to bring back that feeling of that American backyard sport." Read More // Nationals Ballpark Garden Designer

Maja Matarić

Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Embodied, Inc.

Pasadena, CA

"It’s incredibly fundamental to be solving a problem. I couldn’t care less about entertaining for amusement. There’s a lot of need out there. I’ve spent the last 14 years learning about the needs that different populations have. I feel like I would be wasting my time if I weren’t trying to help with some of that. We are working on a machine that provides companionship, coaching, and motivation to allow and enable a person to reach their potential. That is what I have been doing all along, but to do it in a product that people can have at home. That is a whole different challenge." Read More // Companion Robots to Assist People

Shubh Chopra

Founder, Chandroti


"Working has given dignity to these women. I asked them once, “Do your husbands resent that you are doing this?” They said, “No ma’am.” You see, when they take the yarn, the husbands make the balls from the yarn. They are part of it. The children are part of it. The children come along to my house. While the mother is fulfilling their part, the children are playing." Read More // A Social Enterprise for a Tight-Knit Community

Phiona Mutesi

National Chess Champion of Uganda


"I want the young girls to know that whatever life they are living in, let them not lose hope. Let them be patient. You never know, there’s something that might be waiting for you anytime. Because that’s the way it was for me. I was also losing hope at a certain minute but it was God, who restored hope in me. I would like this movie [The Queen of Katwe (2016) movie based on Phiona Mutesi’s life story] to also restore hope for those who have lost it." Read More // Phiona Mutesi: The ESPN and Disney film Based On Her Life

"We are always on and we’re so connected. We sell ourselves to the world but we feel more and more alone."

- Ofri Cnaani, Artist

Read More // Ofri Cnaani on How Artists Can be Agents of Change

Jody Turner

Strategist and Writer

Portland, OR

"I have been coining the phrase Xtrapreneur as an important transitional term. An Xtrapreneur works inside or outside of a company exploring new ground with the same seriousness as their day job. They may be shifting to a new skill or career, working on education or projects that align with their purpose driven interests. It is a transitional time, we will see more Xtrapreneurs as industries evolve." Read More // The Future of Work

Fleur Bakker

Founder, The Refugee Company

The Netherlands

"There’s a big group [of refugees] who have been in the system for seven to eight years, waiting. Recently it has changed. The system goes much faster, policymakers are changing, they have changed their opinion to that people have to be active. Eight years ago, the policy was, we move people around as much as possible, through the Netherlands, so they cannot root somewhere. Then at the end of eight years, we say, “How come you didn’t find a job? Why are you on the couch?” You’re on the couch because you’re depressed — you’re broken." Read More // The Refugee Company

Rhacel Parreñas


Princeton, New York

“I’m a qualitative sociologist, so I spent time in Singapore, in the UAE, and interviewed employers, domestic workers, government officials, and middlemen brokers. What I found, just even looking at the domestic worker interviews, is that their experiences are so diverse. It’s not like all of them are enslaved. It’s not like all of them are entrapped. It’s not like all of them are working like 20 hours a day. They have such a diversity of experiences. You have mean employers and kind employers. You have considerate employers and totally inconsiderate ones.” Read More // Women Labor & Migration

Charita Castro

Chief of Research and Policy

Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor and Human Trafficking

Washington D.C.

"Our app is meant for the public to ask questions, take action, demand change. We want people to ask more questions about how workers are treated around the world. We need to ask the right questions like, “Where does the coffee I drink every day come from? Are the companies that I’m buying it from aware of their supply chains? Do they care about it?” For us, it’s all about raising awareness about the child labor and forced labor so that we can all work together for change. We want to provide people with information so they can be a voice for others who do not have a voice for themselves." Read More // Sweat and Toil — an App that Matters

Michelle Pang & Irene Haast

Co-Founders, Blake Seven

The Netherlands

Michelle Pang: We started with six white t-shirts with six different prints. I designed them and we produced them in Holland. We didn't have the minimum quantities to produce elsewhere. Irene Haast: The first three and a half years, we didn't take any money out of the company. I have always had a full-time job next to the company to keep it healthy. There were moments when we thought, “What are we doing this for? We don't even earn money with it, but should we stop or not?” These thoughts would last for a second.” Read More // Start with Six T-Shirts, End Up in 150 Stores Across 5 Countries

Francesca Ferguson

Initiator and CEO, Make City Festival


“A city is extremely heterogeneous, and one has to be inclusive if one wants to find the voices that make up those who devise, make, build, and impact cities. You have to see no contradiction in including specific groups and activists, and also hearing the voices of the more progressive investors. If we want to hear one another, we have to develop a language that is inclusive and generous.” Read More // Francesca Ferguson and Berlin City’s Development

"Think of having a community career, like a professional career. That means moving around different organizations, seeing what you like and seeing where you can be successful."

- Jan Masaoka, CEO CalNonprofits

Read More // Jan Masaoka: An Intentional Community Career

Robin Hauser

Director and Producer of the award-winning film, CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap

San Francisco, CA

"Diversity equals innovation. There was a study that was done June 2011, published in the Harvard Business Review, and it stated that, regardless of the individual IQ of a team of men, if you add one woman to that team, the collective IQ rises. The more women you add, the higher the IQ, so that’s pretty strong evidence of the importance of having women on the team." Read More // Producer/Director of CODE Documentary

Diana Starr Langley

Founder of Dioptics

Montecito, CA

“The American Cancer Society starting to say that UV causes skin cancer. At this point the FDA did not agree with me that UV caused cataracts. Of course they wanted 25-year studies. I didn't have time to do 25-year studies. Mine was all based on the ophthalmologist agreeing that it logically made sense. That if UV can cause a burn, if it can cause cataracts, then it can also hurt the retina over a long term, therefore, putting UV protection would not hurt anybody. I said, “Okay, somehow we need to find a way to put UV in the polycarbonate so we can make the sunglasses.” Read More // Diana Starr Langley: UV Insight and Foresight

Veronika Scott

Founder and CEO of The Empowerment Plan

Detroit, MI

“A lot of good can be done around the corner from you; communities you are already a part of. It’s important to make sure that you’re spending time and doing this with the people who need it. Their buy in, their belief, and everything that has to do with them is critical for your business. Without them, you don’t have anything. It’s not the other way around. Without you they’ll go on; without them you don’t have anything. I think that’s where people get confused. The Empowerment Plan and my job, without the people we hire, I have nothing. Without them, this does not exist. We wouldn’t make coats, but we also wouldn’t make an impact.” Read More // Designing a Coat to Break a Cycle

Jana Herzen

Founder and CEO, Motema Music

Harlem, New York

“I like to work with people who have mastered their craft, who are serious about their playing, singing, writing, composing, or arranging. I like to work with people who know how to change the molecules in the room when they play. When you go see an amazing performance, your molecules change. The whole room gets electrified. People become mesmerized by what’s going on. Third, I like to work with people who actually care about making a positive difference in the world, which is not true of all musicians. Some musicians really want to be famous, some musicians want to get laid. [Laughs.]” Read More // Communicating and Connecting Through Music

"A lot of good can be done around the corner from you - communities you are already a part of."

- Veronika Scott, Founder & CEO, The Empowerment Plan

Read More // Veronika Scott: Designing a Coat to Break a Cycle

Sylvia Earle

National Geographic Explorer in Residence

Oakland, CA

"Make smart choices about the companies that you choose to buy from. Choose not to consume wildlife from the ocean. That includes tunas and sharks and swordfish. Eat low on the food chain. Explore the ocean. If you haven’t taken the plunge, put on a mask to see life in the ocean yourself. Go to an aquarium; realize that all fish, like all cats and dogs and horses and people, are individuals. We need to respect wild fish in lakes, rivers, and streams, and certainly in the ocean. They’re not just commodities to be consumed, they’re part of what makes the planet function in our favor." Read More // Hero of the Planet, Sylvia Earle, on the Earth’s Blue Lungs

Shirley Adams

Executive Director of Catharine Street Community Center

Poughkeepsie, NY

"Social impact can happen with an individual, with a group, with an organization, all the way up to the government level. There is no such thing as too little, in terms of making an impact on the quality of life for people. Certainly, collaborations and support from all sectors for a relevant cause is optimal. That is not always what you’re going to get. You have to pick your battles, decide on what can you do to make a difference." Read More // Featured New Yorker: Shirley Adams

Claudia Iannazzo

Venture Capitalist

New York, NY

“Women leaders of companies need to spend more time networking into funds. The problem is with the people with the unconscious bias. When a woman walks into the room, she’s under an unfair advantage. You actually need women check writers that they’re pitching to, who can rebalance the unconscious bias in the room. That’s why I’m working at that end of the equation. There’s a bunch of people who are working more on investing in women-led businesses. I’m focused on getting more women partners to the investing table.” Read More // One of the 200 Women in Venture Capital

"We want people to ask more questions about how workers are treated around the world."

- Charita Castro, Chief of Research and Policy, U.S. Department of Labor

Read More // Sweat and Toil — an App that Matters

Léni Fé Bland

Philanthropist (In Memoriam)

Santa Barbara, CA

“We were all singers - my father, my mother, my sisters and I. We didn’t make money out of it. I used to sing to the blind. My father used to put on concerts. My father had a string of artists who he would call on, and he would support these for people. Every summer, my mother and father would take a group of youngsters, probably 7 or 8 years old, on summer holiday. My two sisters and I would go with them. I believe in giving time, not only money. It is easy to write a check if you have it. It is giving time that is important.” Read More // Honoring a True Lady: Philanthropist and Professional Volunteer

Tresa Pollock

Chair Materials Science Department, University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB)

Santa Barbara, CA

"One of the things I’ve learned is that you can’t be afraid to do something different. You have to be adventurous and not be doing the same thing that everybody else is. Maybe that’s not surprising, but it’s very important. It can be very hard to realize early in your career. For me, that has involved moving a few times, being involved in a new environment, and working with new people. Many of the problems that face us in materials and in other fields are highly interdisciplinary. You have to be comfortable with the fact that you do not know everything. [Laughs.] You never will. In doing that, it helps you reach out across boundaries to work with other people." Read More // Tresa Pollock: Making Materials that Matter

Chelsea Catania

PhD, Materials Science

Santa Barbara, CA

"Unfortunately, it is accepted that the pipeline in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields is leaky — a term referring to the unintended loss of trainees from the disciplines - specifically, women and underrepresented groups. Fostering an open and diverse scientific community that draws from an array of unique experiences and perspectives is necessary to develop world-class talent in STEM. Policymakers and educators have put a lot of effort into broadening participation, but more needs to be done at different points along this pipe." Read More // Fixing the Leaky Pipeline: Graduate students for Diversity in Science

Barbara Caveng



"Bereket is from Eritrea. For months, we tried to communicate with him. We said, “Bereket, hi.” We said, “Bonjour.” Nothing worked. Then we had a sewing machine, and he got interested. Bereket is now one of the core group who is regularly with us in the museum and working on a big installation. I would say Bereket changed and he took something from the whole process. Maybe it’s the first time that he is in a relationship with people like us." Read More // KUNSTASYL: A Body with Power

"I’ve learned to be adventurous. The journey has made me young spirited and able to say, “You can do it.”"

- Denise Restauri, Founder and CEO of GirlQuake

Read More // Denise Restauri: Mentoring Women At a Vital Time in Today’s World

Monica Yunus

Opera Singer and Co-Founder, Sing for Hope

New York, NY

"What I like to say about having a father [Muhammad Yunus] who has won a Nobel Peace Prize is that there’s no pressure, right?! It’s an honor, obviously. For our family it was a fantastic thing and it’s very inspiring to see the work that he’s done over the course of his lifetime. Even more so, that it has inspired so many other people to really try to tackle poverty through many different ways." Read More // Monica Yunus, Opera Singer and Co-Founder, Sing for Hope

Hélène Grimaud

Grammy-Nominated Pianist, Founder of the Wolf Conservation Center (WCC)

Westchester, NY

“I was questioned many times on why [I picked wolves] and not any of the many other worthy causes out there. I always thought, there is no hierarchy between causes. The root of most problems in this world has to do with the lack of respect for another being, whether it’s human or other. The very existence of the Wolf Conservation Center proves what you’re able to do in this country if you have some energy and a vision. You will always, somehow, find people who come and join you. It’s something quite remarkable.” Read More // Celebrating Water and Wolves

Celine Shimizu

Author, Award-Winning Filmmaker and Professor at San Francisco State University

San Francisco, CA

"Race, sexualities, and genders are some of the most important issues of our day because they engage what it means to understand power. Both power that is imposed upon you by institutions and society. But also power that every individual has. When I teach how these social forces shape lives in the face of constraints, I hope to offer students a way of looking at the world that empowers them, but also help them to understand why they feel oppressed. Or why they feel a responsibility towards others." Read More // Reclaiming Life After Loss

Gloria Nelund

Chairman and CEO, TriLinc Global

Manhattan Beach, CA

"We believe that there are a number of funds that are impact funds that are probably not market rate. They focus more on promoting the impact. There are a number of funds, including our own, that generate both a market rate return and positive impact. They're not mutually exclusive, or they don't need to be. One of the things that we tried to do in the industry is work with other firms … to help define and promote the idea that investment discipline is just as important as measuring and monitoring and reporting the impact." Read More // On Impact Investment

"A strong network of people who are willing to go to bat for you has probably been the lynch pin for us in guiding us towards success."

- Norah Eddy, Co-Founder Salty Girl Seafood

Read More // Norah Eddy: Salty Girl Seafood Shows You Where Your Fish Came From

Tara Sharma

Co-Producer and Hostess, The Tara Sharma Show


“Some of the statistics are really amazing. Apparently India has the highest percentage of new moms who want to go back to work: 54 percent. Which amazes me because you think of the Indian mum as somebody who may stay at home. What’s also interesting is, it also has the highest percentage of new mums who feel guilty about going back to work.” Read More // Celebrating Your Family

Masha Keating


Santa Barbara, CA

"My work is more an expression of my internal world. We all have a spiritual side to us. I feel like what I’m good at is to have people recognize that part of themselves and get in touch with that. I’m hoping that is helpful somehow — if people are more in touch with that part of themselves, somehow it will translate into something good." Read More // Featured Artist: Masha Keating, Painter

Nínive Calegari

Co-Founder, 826 Valencia

San Francisco, CA

"When [author] Dave Eggers and I connected, I was mainly focused on supporting kids and moms in the neighborhood and supporting teachers in their classroom. What ended up evolving was founding and designing a volunteer-run engine that ended up being an incredibly multifaceted organization benefiting the volunteers too. When we first started I was thinking about was happening in the classroom. I knew that even the best teachers under the best circumstances never had enough time to read all their kid's writing, and that getting that undivided attention was going to be really critical." Read More // Advocating for Change Through the Literary Arts

Teresa Goines

Founder and CEO, Old Skool Café

San Francisco, CA

"I actually started it in 2004, out of my apartment. I decided to just go for it. I thought, “It’s just like if I were going to grad school. You sort of sacrifice everything for two years.” Little did I know, it took eight years to get it out of my home. So, it’s a way longer journey than I thought.." Read More // Old Skool Cafe San Francisco

"The journey is the destination. That is it ultimately, if nothing more happens."

- Kathy Eldon, Founder Creative Visions, Emmy Award Winner

Read More // Kathy Eldon: Social Impact Through Media and Art

Lady Leslie Ridley-Tree

CEO and Chair of Pacific Air Industries

Santa Barbara, CA

“I see wonderful young people giving. I see that they want to serve, but they find it difficult to find their place. You will have to fall into it; it is something that you feel, and see where there’s a need. Maybe you have to find one or two things because not everything fits. You could try something. Maybe you won’t like the people that you work with or you don’t like the way they’re doing things. Or you might find that they don’t need you and you have to find something else.” Read More // On Giving

Alissa Sears

Vice President of Growth & Strategy, Christie and Co’s

Santa Barbara, CA

“We are looking to help build resilience in leaders dedicated to building a better world. The goal is to help transform the relationship between investors and entrepreneurs to help ensure alignment and strength as mission-driven companies grow. In building these pioneering, game-changing companies, it is essential for both the entrepreneur and investor to truly know who the other person is to ensure they’re building companies based in a shared vision rather than in an adversarial or fragmented way.” Read More // Building Business for a Better World

Charlotte Grossman

Academy Award winning film editor and producer.

San Francisco, CA

"Who among us understands the world? I asked my mother, a refugee and my father, a child of refugees who came to America early in the 1900s. Both were 20 years old at the time of the Depression. Sharing those painful, but real stories, changes the way you see how people help you or don’t help you, and this gives you fear or confidence. You make your way and try to have a good heart, be a good person; you shape the best life you can. Not new, yet the core of thousands of moving stories." Read More // Award-winning Film Editor on Seduction, Fighting, and Negotiation

Maureen Shea

Two-Time World Champion Boxer

Ventura, CA

"When I came in here, there was nobody to blame but myself. If I wanted it, I had to do it. I always want to control everything around me. I still try to control things, whether it’s my relationships, whether it’s my career, whether it’s my finances. There are things I’m not in control of. All I can do is show up and give my best in the next moment. You have to make that conscious decision to say, "You know what? Today, I’m going to be happy, because I decide to be."" Read More // Two-time World Champion Boxer About The Real Fight

"Nice is different than honest. There can be a nice out of fear. There are times when you have to put your foot down which takes guts."

- Crystal Washington, Speaker & Technology Translator

Read More // Crystal Washington: Technology Translator

Lotte de Beer

Opera Director


"I was 13, I was utterly depressed with the world that I saw around me. A teacher gave me La Peste by Albert Camus to read. It’s the most nihilistic book that you can imagine, and I got really, really angry — sort of. Then I thought, “Okay, if Albert Camus is right, let’s assume, then I don’t have to reach for that happiness because life’s going to be mediocre at best. But every bit of happiness that flies my way, I have to catch it, and I can totally enjoy it, instead of mourning the loss of a complete, all-consuming, happiness.” Read More // How a 32-Year-Young Opera Director Is Hoping to Impact the 132-Year-Old Met Opera

Betty Hatch

Founder, La Belle Foundation to Selfesteem.org

Santa Barbara, CA

“I realized the value of the training was the curriculum on professionalism — training in appropriate presentation, excellent performance and a loving personality — I called them the three Ps,” Hatch said. “Any woman can succeed in her own business by sharing the work she loves with others.” Read More // Betty Hatch from La Belle Foundation to Selfesteem.org

Anne Towbes

Teacher, Media Mogul, and Philanthropist.

Montecito, CA

"Keep a wider vision because you never quite know what one step will lead to the next step will lead to the next. Life can take surprising turns, and that's what's so wonderful about it. Stay local if you can because it has ripples, and you can see the effects of your actions. If you have the time and the possible resources to look into your heart and say, where are my passions? What can I do to make me feel great, but also to make an impact on the world? Then that's the footstep to take, but you never quite know where one footstep will lead, so it's important to be open." Read More // Santa Barbara Philanthropist

Kim Tchai

Chief Operating Officer, tchai Retail Solutions

The Netherlands

“During the kickoff of the new visions for the company, we took our logo and cut it in pieces. We symbolically gave the company away to colleagues because that is what we are doing. We’re inviting our 50 employees to become entrepreneurs. Together with all the colleagues, we want to know where we are going for the next years. Together we want make beautiful things and having fun doing it.” Read More // tchai on Redefining the Family Business

Rachel van de Pol


The Netherlands

“I realized that without even trying, I was influencing my environment, and that’s when it hit me – since my behavior is having such a big impact on my environment, how can I have more impact? What if once a week, I try to give people advice or a tip to make an impact at a really small level that doesn’t require effort? How about every day?” Read More // You Can Be A Superhero Too

Raadhika Dosa

Casting Director


“I was casting for a bunch of commercials for Google in India. Every commercial had a little boy who was being a smart ass with his mother. I talked to my husband and said, “I don’t like these commercials. I’m not going to be happy casting them.” Moms are expected to be really dumb in them, she Googles to help her become smart. Which I get; Google can help you get smarter. But the message came out of the son who tells his mom, “You don’t know anything.” If my son spoke to me like that, I wouldn’t like it. They’re making it okay that a boy can tell his mom that she can’t help him with his homework because she’s not smart enough or she’s not as educated as he is. Which, I get, is a reality. I’m sure it happens, but why do we have to make that point?” Read More // Casting with a Conscience

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