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SUCCESS’ 2024 Women of Influence

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SUCCESS’ 2024 Women of Influence

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Every year, the SUCCESS Women of Influence awards shine an exciting spotlight on remarkable women who transcend boundaries, inspiring and transforming lives across diverse industries and communities. These women are the unsung heroes, the trailblazers who’ve left an indelible mark, both personally and professionally.

In honor of Women’s History Month, we’d like to continue our celebration of inspiring women everywhere—those who are breaking barriers, giving back and making an impact in their daily lives.

No matter what age or life stage, these women are true heroes and deserve a place to be honored. Their resilience, innovation and leadership inspire and challenge traditional norms. By championing these women and their achievements, we pave the way for future generations to thrive in an inclusive world where everyone, regardless of gender, can aspire to greatness.

A collective movement

Recognizing and supporting female business owners, entrepreneurs, influencers, CEOs and community leaders isn’t just gender-specific recognition; it’s about acknowledging their profound contributions to society as a whole.

Celebrating female leaders is intrinsically linked to the broader fight for gender equality. It acknowledges that women’s contributions are indispensable, spanning not only specific roles but all facets of life and industry.

With that in mind, female entrepreneurs and business owners often face unique challenges and societal biases, yet they persist, shattering barriers that limit opportunities and challenging preconceived notions about what women can achieve. Hence, their resilience and determination serve as beacons of inspiration, proving that success transcends gender boundaries.

When women support one another, it forges a sense of unity and strength capable of challenging norms, driving change and nurturing future leaders. Naturally, when we celebrate and empower women, society becomes more inclusive, diverse and progressive.

The power of collaboration

Collaboration among women in various roles—entrepreneurs, influencers and corporate and community leaders—is a powerful force for change. Working together, they amplify their voices, ideas and initiatives, catalyzing systemic change and creating a more equitable world.

Mentorship is also crucial. Experienced women who guide and nurture the aspirations of the next generation play a pivotal role in ensuring a more gender-inclusive future. 

Female entrepreneurs, CEOs and community leaders who mentor and support young women provide invaluable guidance, helping them overcome challenges and achieve their ambitions.

These incredible women also bring fresh perspectives and innovative solutions to the forefront. Drawing from their unique experiences and insights, they create products, services and technologies that cater to the diverse needs of society, driving innovation and fostering inclusive growth.

Whether you’ve nominated a colleague, a friend or even yourself, you’ve become a catalyst for positive change and empowerment. 

Please join us as we celebrate the extraordinary accomplishments, actions and achievements of our Top 50 finalists.

Nominating a woman for an award isn’t just a gesture; it’s a gift of recognition, motivation and celebration. It’s an opportunity to honor someone’s brilliance and to contribute to a more inclusive, diverse and equitable world.

The Women of Influence awards is an opportunity to honor and celebrate outstanding women who are rewriting the narrative for the next generation—and shaping the future of women’s leadership worldwide. Your nomination has empowered us to put a spotlight on women who deserve the recognition and inspire us all.

Congratulations to all of our finalists!

Thank you to our nominees!

Meet Our Finalists

Yasmine Arrington

Founder, Executive Director, ScholarCHIPS, Inc.

ARRINGTON YASMINE

When she was a junior in high school, Arrington founded the nonprofit ScholarCHIPS, an organization that provides college scholarships, mentoring, mental health support and a peer support network to children of incarcerated parents. To date, ScholarCHIPS has awarded more than $500,000 in college scholarships to 88 scholars, resulting in 40 college graduates to date. Through her work, Arrington is breaking cycles of incarceration and creating pathways to college education and careers for historically underserved communities. 

She is a 2023 CNN Hero, a 2022 Soros Justice Fellow and a 2019 JustLeadershipUSA Leading with Conviction Fellow Alumna. Arrington has been featured in TeenVogue, Essence, Black Enterprise, Forbes, The Washington Post, Baltimore Times and on the Black Girls Rock! Network for her community work with ScholarCHIPS. She’s received several awards, including the Washington Business Journal’s Top 40 Under 40, the Peace First Prize, the Samuel Huntington Public Service Award and several others.

Jasmine Ashton-Leigh

CEO, Abundant Health and Energy Pty Ltd

ASHTON LEIGH JASMINE KO

Ashton-Leigh, a revered life coach for women and a distinguished women’s business coach, has become an instrumental force in transforming the lives of women worldwide. Her profound influence extends beyond conventional empowerment, guiding women to conquer their fears, overcome self-doubt and unlock their true wealth potential. 

As the founder and CEO of Abundant Health and Energy Pty Ltd, Ashton-Leigh is recognized as an authority in women’s empowerment and business growth. Moreover, Ashton-Leigh has introduced a groundbreaking therapy known as NeuroEconomic Transformation Therapy™. 

Influenced by psychology, NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), neuroplasticity, hypnotherapy and neuroscience, this revolutionary therapy is making significant strides, delivering profound results by reprogramming the subconscious mind, empowering women to transform their relationship with money, elevating their self-worth and confidently communicating their value to create seven-figure success.

Dr. Rajinder Atwal

Medical Director, CEO, Founder, Family Physician, M.D., C.C.F.P. Bathurst Walk-in Clinic and Family Practice

ATWAL RAJINDER

Atwal is a trailblazer in the health care industry. She is the founder, CEO and medical director of Bathurst Walk-in Clinic and Family Practice, which serves marginalized communities. She’s also involved in educating the next generation of women entering the medical field through her role as the CEO and founder of Women STEM Mentorship. 

During the pandemic, Atwal founded Covid Kids Canada, offering free mental health services to children facing the unique challenges brought about by the global crisis. Additionally, Covid 24-7 Canada, a 24-hour virtual advice and treatment service staffed by top-tier medical professionals, was established under her leadership. 

She recently won the 2023 Waterfront Award for Science and Technology and was recognized as one of White Page International’s Top 100 Asian Women Power Leaders.

Leigh Burgess

CEO, Founder, Bold Industries Group

BURGESS LEIGH

Burgess is a thought leader, game-changer and powerhouse connector determined to ignite and support the bold journeys of others. She has built a platform for uniting, inspiring and empowering women that brings together a unique global network via her Bold events, the Bold Leaders Collective membership, Mindset Gym, The Bold Lounge podcast and through her dynamic speaking engagements. 

With a focus on the intersection of mindset, strategy and wellness, her Believe-Own-Learn-Design (B.O.L.D.) Framework is your map to the “bold” life. Her forthcoming book, which is all about how to apply the framework to your own life, will be distributed by Simon & Schuster in fall 2024. Burgess is also a songwriter with work available on Spotify and iTunes.

Kim Carson

CEO, Founder, Parallax Futures

CARSON KIM

With more than 15 years of leadership experience in research, operations, strategy, finance and business development, Carson’s track record stands out for clients. She’s passionate about enabling teams of creatives, technology leaders and innovators with the skills, mindset and network to tackle the complex and evolving challenges of tomorrow. 

She believes the best teams have fun, laughter and optimism for the future. Prior to Parallax Futures, Carson enjoyed leadership positions in both academia and the technology sector. 

She served as the director of University of California San Francisco’s first-ever strategic planning process, a program executive for a $60 million higher education analytics engagement, the go-to-market leader for IBM’s Watson Education and a top business development executive for intellectual property licensing at IBM’s 12 global research labs. She holds dual bachelor’s degrees in political science and German from Susquehanna University.

Dielle Charon

CEO, Sales Coach, Dielle Charon Coaching

CHARON DIELLE ADJ

Charon is the first Black millionaire of The Life Coach School and a sales and money mindset coach. She is passionate about helping women boost their sales skills without the money mindset drama and bringing together a community of women who are building their businesses. 

She started as a social worker who could barely pay her student loans, then became a coach as a side hustle. Today, Charon is a seven-figure coach with a community of women of color.

LaToya Christian

Managing Partner and Executive Director of Inclusive Strategy & Innovation, GroupM

CHRISTIAN LATOYA KO

Christian is the executive director of inclusive strategy and innovation at GroupM in New York City. As a conscious marketer, she infuses data and creativity into areas of strategy and innovation to drive representation and social impact within advertising. 

At GroupM, she oversees a team of strategists working with clients to unlock audience growth opportunities through data and leads special projects that support the development of new products aimed at cultivating responsible media investments. 

Committed to ensuring all communities have a voice, Christian regularly contributes to industry trades such as Forbes, Think with Google and MediaPost. She has also delivered presentations during NYC Advertising Week, the 4A’s StratFest, YouTube Black FanFest and Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, solidifying her as a thought leader within the industry. Christian holds a bachelor’s in marketing from Hampton University and a master’s degree in integrated marketing from New York University.

Kelley Cornish

President, CEO, The T.D. Jakes Foundation

CORNISH KELLEY

Cornish is the president and CEO of the T.D. Jakes Foundation, a workforce development and community-building foundation fostering opportunity globally through corporate partnerships, workforce readiness, STEAM programming for youth and community and housing engagement. 

Prior to this role, she served as a senior executive for diverse segments, representation and inclusion at Wells Fargo & Company. In 2022, Cornish received the Woman of the Year Award from iHeartMedia radio for her work in the community and in corporate America. She’s also been recognized as one of the Most Influential Women in Corporate America by Savoy magazine and as one of the Top 25 Influential Black Women in Business by The Network Journal

She received the Sojourner Truth Award by the National Congress of Black Women. Cornish is the co-author of It’s Work! How Will You Show Up?, in which she shares practical tips for navigating the workplace.

Toyin Crandell

CEO, Toyin Crandell Coaching

CRANDELL TOYIN

Crandell is a pioneer and global authority in using neuroscience principles to multiply business top-line revenue and profits. The host of The Millionaire Money Podcast, founder of Money Mindset SHIFT and a bestselling author, Crandell is an international speaker and master financial and neuroscience coach and consultant. 

She has been featured on more than 73 platforms, sharing the power of the human brain in creating behavior that drives monetary increase. Business owners, executives, sales teams and rev ops teams hire her when they want to boost mental stamina and increase sales through neuroscience-based mindset training. 

With an inspirational personal journey of going from having no food or home for her family to 11 streams of income, multiple real estate properties and running a multimillion-dollar organization within four years, she demonstrates what is possible when your brain is in line with your goals.

Tatia Davenport

CEO, California Association of School Business Officials

DAVENPORT TATIA

Davenport is the CEO of the California Association of School Business Officials (CASBO), the foremost authority on business driving for the nation’s largest public education system. 

With an estimated $108 billion annual budget across California schools, Davenport’s work as a steward for public education is significant. CASBO represents more than 25,000 professionals across 1,100 school districts and 58 counties statewide and supports facilities and management of approximately 125,000 acres of land, 475 million square feet of real estate, an estimated 630 million student meals and snacks served annually at 22,000 sites and 115 million miles of busing and student transportation annually. 

Davenport is a member of the Forbes Business Council, and under her leadership, CASBO was named the winner of a Bronze Stevie® Award in the Organization of the Year for a nonprofit or government organization in the 20th Annual International Business Awards®.

Mikeshaya Edwards

Health Care Executive—Hospital Operations & CEO of M.Edwards Legacy, HCA Healthcare, Tenet Healthcare, Kaiser Permanente Healthcare

EDWARDS MIKESHAYA

A charismatic leader, skilled communicator, mentor and community advocate and CEO of M.Edwards Legacy, Edwards is an experienced and confident health care professional with an infectious enthusiasm for helping others. With the U.S. health care system rapidly improving and evolving, she has developed a focus centered on strengthening the effectiveness of health care institutions through positive diverse relationships, continued learning and competent leadership. 

Edwards has provided guidance and expertise for several dominant health care systems, including HCA Healthcare and Tenet Healthcare, and works closely with executives on organizational and operational assignments, such as compliance issues, operation strategies, policy changes, capital funding, patient safety and administrative procedures. She has also served on several boards including the American College of Healthcare & Technology and Riverside Downtown Partnerships.

Marie Feagins, Ed.D.

Chief of Leadership & High Schools, Detroit Public Schools

FEAGINS MARIE

Feagins is an award-winning educator, author and community advocate with a career spanning two decades. From roles as a teacher, counselor and coach to positions as an assistant principal, principal and senior district administrator, Feagins guided students from historically underestimated communities to remarkable success at top universities, Fortune 500 companies and various branches of the United States military. Feagins’ societal advancement is accentuated by the founding of F.A.M.E. Network Inc., an educational nonprofit providing college trips, tutoring, mentorship and service leadership programs to ensure success for every child. 

Beyond education, Feagins graced the media landscape as a news anchor, co-host alongside Katie Couric and a film extra in Selma, Survivor’s Remorse and With This Ring. Holding a doctorate in education from Samford University and a bachelor’s in business administration from The University of Alabama, Feagins blends her academic accolades and leadership skills to passionately serve others.

Elayna Fernández

Storyteller, Story Strategist, Student of Pain, The Positive MOM

FERNANDEZ ELAYNA KO

A four-time TEDx speaker, Fernández is a bestselling author, international keynote speaker and award-winning storyteller. She’s best known for her award-winning blog, which has inspired millions of moms in more than 160 countries. Her passion is to help entrepreneurs craft, tell and turn their painful stories into passive streams of income, so they can break cycles, find peace and feel whole. As a multiple-trauma survivor, her encouraging coaching style is focused on clarity, compassion and connection. 

She brings more than 20 years of experience in web design, digital content marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) to create meaningful and easy-to-monetize content on every platform. Fernández holds a Marriage, Family, and Human Relations certificate from Brigham Young University-Idaho, as well as numerous certifications in the areas of neuroscience, personal development and positive psychology.

CEO, Founder, Digital Culture Group, LLC

FOOTE CRYSTAL

Foote is an award-winning marketing professional and entrepreneur with a career spanning almost two decades in the marketing industry. As the visionary founder of Digital Culture Group, she leads a forward-thinking digital marketing and advertising technology company deeply committed to inclusivity and diversity. 

She strives to propel her clients to the forefront of their industries, enabling them to achieve their objectives while nurturing relationships with consumers. Foote’s company is the sole woman-owned and Black-owned advertising technology company in her field. Actively involved with organizations like ColorVision and the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), she tirelessly advocates for equity within the marketing and advertising sector. Her lineage as the great-great-niece of Sgt. Alfred B. Hilton, an African American Union Army soldier and Medal of Honor recipient during the American Civil War, further fuels her commitment to diversity and inclusion in the business world.

Kimberly Ford

Founder, President, CEO, BRND Marketing Group LLC

FORD KIMBERLY

Ford is a high-performing brand marketing strategist with 29 years of experience. Often called a “brand whisperer,” she is known as an innovative thought leader who asks “Why not?” Ten years ago, Ford founded and operationalized a boutique integrated marketing agency, BRND Marketing Group LLC, the lead agency of record for Lincoln Park Coast Cultural District (LPCCD), a nonprofit that is building a comprehensive cultural and arts district in historic Lincoln Park, Newark, New Jersey. 

She’s successfully fundraised upward of $3.5 million for LPCCD. BRND Marketing Group LLC produced Leadership Newark’s Public Policy Summits featuring keynotes from U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Van Jones (CNN host) and was the festival production company for Newark Arts Festival (2017 and 2018). Formerly, she held the position of associate director, multicultural marketing at CoActive Marketing Group (US Concepts/Urban Concepts Agency).

Christine Gannon

Founder, CEO, Brightworks Consulting

GANNON CHRISTINE

Gannon, the founder and CEO of Brightworks Consulting, is dedicated to fostering positive change through leadership, collaboration and a strong commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. Her commitment to DE&I is evident in her groundbreaking research, focused on creating tangible change at the community level for women and girls. 

In addition to her role at Brightworks Consulting, Gannon is co-founder and president of The Foundation for Female Equity and Inclusion, a 501(c)(3) organization. This foundation embodies her vision to empower women and organizations with the resources, education and best practices needed to foster inclusion and equity in the workplace. Under her guidance, the foundation has become a beacon of hope and a catalyst for transformative change.

Jing Gao

Founder, CEO, Fly By Jing

GAO JING

Gao, the founder and CEO of Fly By Jing, is a chef, entrepreneur and renowned expert on Chinese cuisine on a mission to bring uncensored Chinese flavors to the table. She was born in Chengdu but grew up everywhere. Gao uses her experience as a chef to share meaningful flavors that open people up to new ideas and conversations. She was the founder of an award-winning, modern-Chinese fast casual restaurant in Shanghai, and her work has been featured in The New York Times, BBC, CNN, The Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, Fortune and more.

Aurelia Gooden

Engineer, Composer, Pianist, Public Speaker, Inventor, Stellantis

GOODEN AURELIA

Gooden is an engineer and manufacturing specialist at Stellantis in Michigan, with specialties in industrial engineering, process engineering, process improvement, engineering design, plastics and polymers, as well as some laboratory work experience and maintenance management. She is also a Ph.D. student at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology and Wayne State University. Gooden worked as a subject matter expert at General Motors and took on several industrial engineering roles at Honda. 

She has been designated a Fellow of the Women’s Engineering Society and was selected for prestigious awards of membership in IOM3 (Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining) and the Institution of Engineering Designers (IED). In addition to her corporate ambitions, Gooden is a freelance pianist and chamber music composer. She is a summa cum laude graduate of Jacksonville State University with a bachelor’s in music, a master’s in music and another master’s in manufacturing systems.

Demetria L. Graves

Certified Family Law Specialist & Founding Partner, The Graves Law Firm

GRAVES DEMETRIA L

Graves, a certified family law specialist, opened her own family law practice, The Graves Law Firm, at age 25—just six months out of law school. Considered a leading family law attorney, Graves was honored at the 2023 Cultural Inclusion Foundation for making a difference in 2023. The Graves Law Firm will be recognized in the upcoming list of Top Boutique Law Firms in California 2023 in the Daily Journal

Graves was featured in the January/February 2023 issue of Super Lawyers magazine, and in 2022, she was named as a Top Family Lawyer by the Daily Journal and included in the Top 100 Lawyers list in the Los Angeles Business Journal. In 2021, Graves was named in the Top Women Lawyers list in the Daily Journal and as a minority leader of influence in the Los Angeles Business Journal. She’s also been featured in Authority magazine, Pasadena magazine and Voyage LA.

Lakecia Gunter

Chief Technology Officer, Fortune 500 Tech Executive, Podcast Host, Microsoft Corporation

GUNTER LAKECIA

Gunter’s career started with a deep passion for science, technology, engineering and math. Her natural curiosity, intellect and instinct for helping others opened the door to the possibility that she could become a trusted leader and role model who blazes trails for Fortune 500 global technology companies. Throughout her career in both the private and public sectors, Gunter has been at the forefront of innovation in the tech industry, spearheading the creation and development of multibillion-dollar businesses, developing new channels and markets, driving M&A initiatives and leading global organizations. 

She’s currently the chief technology officer for Global Partner Solutions at Microsoft, where she defines the technical vision and strategy to help ecosystem partners build innovative solutions and leverage AI advancements. She also serves as an independent director for IDEX Corporation and is a member of the Executive Leadership Council (ELC), an organization committed to increasing the number of Black executives.

Claudienne Hibbert-Smith

President, TRU Prep Academy/ TRU Real Estate Exchange

HIBBERT SMITH CLAUDIENNE

Hibbert-Smith became a mom at the age of 14 and obtained her bachelor’s degree in 2001 from the University of Florida. Shortly after landing her first job out of college, she transitioned into a real estate professional and partnered with a real estate company for 20 years, where she excelled. Hibbert-Smith recently partnered with eXp Realty and has expanded her team to more than 250 Realtors within 19 states. 

Throughout the last 22 years, she has received various educational and real estate industry credentials. She owns multiple businesses, including TRU Real Estate Exchange, which services Realtors, and TRU Global Title Company, which services real estate transactions in the state of Florida. She and her husband, Mario Smith, own and operate an all-boys K-12 school after seeing a need for change in their community.

Karwanna D. Irving

CEO, She’s Got Goals, LLC

IRVING KARWANNA D

Irving is an award-winning small business expert, the founder of She’s Got Goals, LLC, and the author of Don’t Duck The Government, They’ve Got Your Money. As a 20-plus-year business veteran who has successfully built small businesses of her own, Irving teaches entrepreneurs to create generational wealth by scaling government contracts. 

To date, she has helped more than 300 business owners generate upward of $4 million combined in revenue. As an international speaker, Irving has been featured on CBS, NBC, FOX, Star Tribune Business, Best Business Digest, Ticker News and The LIST TV show. She’s been highlighted in several magazines, including SwagHer, Empower and SHEEN and has shared the stage with major leaders including Les Brown, Trent Shelton, Stacia Pierce and others.

Lisa Jacobson

President, CEO, Influencer, Life Purpose & Positivity Coach, Sila Development

JACOBSON LISA

Jacobson is president and CEO of Sila Development, a national coaching firm specializing in the areas of life purpose and positivity. She is a frequent keynote speaker at conferences and panel discussions. Jacobson has created the Life Is So Amazing movement as a changemaker and thought leader for women who want to build lives they only dream about. In addition, Jacobson works as the CEO of the Saint Paul Festival & Heritage Foundation, which produces the Saint Paul Winter Carnival, the oldest winter festival in the country. 

She also sits on the Community Advisory Board for the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office and serves as a Rotarian in her community. She was also a professional dancer with the NBA as a Timberwolves Senior Dancer for the past six years.

Missy Johnson

Screenwriter, Speaker, Author, Coach, Fearless Women Rock LLC

MISSY JOHNSON

Johnson is the founder and CEO of Fearless Women Rock LLC, a powerful platform created for women to share their stories of transformation. She is also an award-winning speaker, coach and bestselling author. In addition, she shows women how to become authors and speakers by teaching them how to book, brand and bank their business. 

She is a screenwriter and made her television debut for a film she co-wrote for a BET Her breast cancer health initiative. Johnson is also the founder of CTC Personal Development Institute. This organization collaborates with women in corporate America who seek support as they transition from corporations to entrepreneurship. Johnson is available to speak in the corporate arena and offers executive coaching.

Moira Kucaba

High Performance Coach, Keynote Speaker, Together Rising LLC

KUCABA MOIRA

As a struggling addict-turned-seven-figure CEO, Kucaba is here to show you that you can achieve anything you desire through the power of vision, manifestation and a solid dose of action. 

Her Rise Up: Book of Proof journal and VPM Method combines manifestation techniques rooted in neuroscience with actionable goals. It’s the process she credits to helping her achieve the No. 1 spot in a billion-dollar company and mentoring many others to massive success. 

Today she teaches people how to amplify their lives and transform their minds through her courses, speaking engagements, podcast and coaching business.

Renata Liuzzi

CEO & Founder, Axis Partners

LIUZZI RENATA

Liuzzi is the pioneering CEO and founder of Axis Partners, a boutique consultancy specializing in business strategy, customer experience and innovation. With over 18 years of experience, an international MBA from IE Business School and a mechanical engineering degree with specialization in motorsports, Liuzzi has led transformative projects for Fortune 500 companies. 

She’s also a visiting lecturer at IE for MBA students. Her work goes beyond corporate success; she’s a thought leader committed to driving human progress through business excellence and personal development. With a multicultural background and a passion for human behavior and neuroscience, she’s reshaping the future of business consulting for a more collaborative and impactful approach.

Tara McCarthy, Jamie Tulak & Lauren Rocco

Co-Founders, Girls With Grit

MCCARTHY TARA JAMIE TULAK LAUREN ROCCO

McCarthy, Tulak and Rocco, three professional female Realtors, founded Girls With Grit because they saw an opportunity to connect and collaborate with other incredible women in real estate. They found a way to create meaningful relationships across the globe to help others level up their own real estate business instead of looking at one another as competition. 

By helping every agent find their own personal grit, they have created a distinctive women’s collaborative that has blossomed into a formal business and movement. They have more than 17,000 women in their community and have led more than 6,000 women through their training and coaching programs.

Nicole Mason

CEO, Show Up Great, LLC

MASON NICOLE

Mason is a public servant with more than 25 years of service. In her role as a diversity, equity and inclusion professional, she brought systemic changes to the work environment via policy changes, training and advocacy. 

She has mentored and coached senior leaders on changing culture and developing confidence, boldness and executive presence. In her company, Show Up Great!, Mason empowers women to speak up with confidence and stand out with courage. 

She has helped women start businesses, become published authors and transition from careers to pursue their passions and callings. In 2018, she was recognized by then-governor of Maryland, Larry Hogan, for her life-changing work with women. 

Mason, dubbed “America’s Boldness and Confidence Mentor,” is also an award-winning author, recognized by the Indie Author Legacy Awards and Black Enterprise magazine. Her work has been featured in the world-renowned Chicken Soup for the Soul® series.

Dawn Menge, Ph.D.

President, Educator, Speaker, Special Education Advocate & International Bestselling Author

MENGE DAWN

Menge has won 90 international literary awards and 20 film festival awards as the published author of the Queen Vernita educational series and Dragon’s Breath, including the Special Recognition Champion Award from Conquering Disabilities with Film, Best Written Word from Miracle Makers Film, Hollywood Dreams Film and International Author Boss Award from Power Conversations Magazine

Menge writes book reviews, judges three children’s literacy contests for Story Monsters Ink magazine, and judges indie romance books for InD’tale magazine. She holds a Ph.D. in education and specializes in curriculum and instruction. She has been teaching students with severe cognitive delays for more than 27 years and mentors/lectures graduate students.

Debbie Millman

Podcast Host, Editorial Director, Chair, Design Matters Media

MILLMAN DEBBIE

Named “one of the most creative people in business” by Fast Company and “one of the most influential designers working today” by Graphic Design USA, Millman is an illustrator, author, educator and host of the award-winning podcast Design Matters

She is the co-owner of PrintMag.com and the author of seven books. In 2010, she co-founded the graduate program in branding at the School of Visual Arts, and from 1995-2016, she served as president of Sterling Brands. She is president emeritus of AIGA and was awarded the AIGA Medal for lifetime achievement in 2019. In 2022, Harvard Business School introduced a case study on Millman, which is being taught to grad students. 

She is working with Law & Order: Special Victims Unit actor Mariska Hargitay’s Joyful Heart Foundation to eradicate sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse and the rape kit backlog.

Rose Namayanja

Founder, President, Rose Namayanja Foundation

NAMAYANJA ROSE

Born on a banana plantation in a rural, war-ravaged town in Uganda, Namayanja was faced with debilitating poverty from a young age. Determined to escape her situation, she set her eyes on an academic qualification or an elective post at the university, village council or parliamentary election. 

Namayanja’s drive to succeed is reflected in her rise through the ranks of elective politics, due in part to her innovative approach to politics and social encounters. Her accounts on the political campaign trail in her constituencies are an instruction on effective political mobilization and showcase her natural ability to unite divergent forces toward a common goal. 

Namayanja’s story is one of humility. At the peak of her career, she left politics and founded the Rose Namayanja Foundation, which provides hope to many underprivileged children in her native community.

Gaby Natale

Triple Emmy-Winning Journalist, Bestselling Author & Speaker, AGANARmedia

NATALE GABY

As the first Latina to win three Daytime Emmys® back to back, the first Hispanic author to be published by HarperCollins’ Leadership division and one of the few foreign-born writers to narrate their audiobook in English, Natale has had her own share of being “the first like her” in leadership spaces. 

A sought-after thought leader and motivational speaker, she has shared her inspirational message with Fortune 500 corporations, the United Nations and in her own TEDx Talk encouraging underrepresented minorities to pioneer and be what they cannot (yet) see in the world. 

She is also the founder of AGANARmedia, a marketing company with a focus on Hispanic audiences that serves Fortune 500 companies. In the digital world, she has a thriving fan base with over 50 million subscribers on YouTube.

Ariana Pareja

Co-Founder, President, Pareja Family Foundation

PAREJA ARIANA

Pareja, an immigrant child who started her first company at age 21, is co-founder of Pareja Family Foundation, which champions tech upskilling boot camps for women. She also initiated the first financial literacy program at Miami Dade College, open to all women at no cost, and her competitive spirit led her to participate on the reality TV show Billion Dollar Showdown, airing on CNBC in early 2024. 

As a mentor for Target Forward Founders program (2022-2023), she helped guide emerging consumer packaged goods businesses. Pareja is also an angel investor, who passionately supports minority-led startups.

Lani Phillips

Vice President, Partner Sales in Americas [and] CEO, Full Circle Leadership Group, Fullcircle Leadership Group

PHILLIPS LANI

Phillips is an award-winning leader, author, digital talk show host, transformative speaker and seasoned female executive who has served in top roles for Microsoft for more than 25 years. She has received many accolades, including CRN’s 2023 Inclusive Channel Leaders award, CRN’s 2021 The Most Powerful Women of the Channel: Power 100 award and Insights Success’ 2020 Top 10 Most Influential Women in the Cloud award. 

Phillips’ passion is inspiring, transforming and growing leaders. In 2019, she founded the groundbreaking Women Executive Channel Advisory Network (WECAN) to create more opportunities for women in leadership within the tech industry. Then in 2021, she launched Modern Mentoring with Lani Phillips, a digital talk show platform to share wisdom for anyone looking to thrive in corporate spaces. 

She’s launching a new consulting firm, Full Circle Leadership Group (FLG) and a book titled Full Circle Leadership.

Henna Pryor

Workplace Performance Expert, 2x TEDx Speaker, Author, Pryority Group

PRYOR HENNA

Pryor is a workplace performance expert and an award-winning, two-time TEDx and global keynote speaker, author and professional executive coach. She’s known for her science-backed approach to improving the performance, habits and actions of hungry high achievers to move them from their first level of success to their next one. 

Pryor brings her expertise to a variety of global organizations, including Google, Workday, FIS Global and Johnson & Johnson. She’s been featured in top TV, podcast and print media, including Forbes, NBC, The Washington Post, Fast Company and more. 

She founded Pryority Group, a performance growth firm, to expand on her belief that the key to most people’s success is leaning into awkwardness to skyrocket strategic risk-taking and bravery in the work we do. Her bestselling book, Good Awkward: How to Embrace the Embarrassing and Celebrate the Cringe to Become the Bravest You, received the Kirkus Star for excellence in writing and has been endorsed by NFL quarterback Russell Wilson and former Harvard Business Review editor Karen Dillon.

Valerie Rainford

CEO, Founder, Elloree Talent Strategies

RAINFORD VALERIE

Rainford is a business executive with more than 30 years of experience driving business transformations. During her tenure as the senior vice president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Rainford launched the first employee resource group and hired the first chief diversity officer. She spent 12 years at JPMorgan Chase, leading business transformations and serving as head of Advancing Black Leaders, where she focused on hiring and advancing Black talent. 

Her efforts resulted in historic increases in Black senior executive talent, with a growth rate exceeding 70%. As founder and CEO of Elloree Talent Strategies, Rainford brings her transformative approach and strategies to organizations across corporate America. 

She has been recognized with numerous awards, including 2023 Diversity & Inclusion Hall of Fame, Most Powerful Women in Business by Black Enterprise and 25 Most Influential Black Women in Business by The Network Journal.

Sara Ross

Chief Vitality Officer, Keynote Speaker, Bestselling Author, BrainAMPED

ROSS SARA

As the founder and chief vitality officer at the leadership research firm, BrainAMPED, an international keynote speaker and bestselling author of Dear Work: Something Has to Change, Ross is at the forefront of the human energy revolution. 

As a leadership expert, Ross uses brain science-based strategies to help people amplify their “Work Vitality Quotient” to fuel their success without feeding burnout. These ideas and research have positioned her as a fresh and thought-provoking voice in discussions shaping the future of work and combating burnout. 

Her groundbreaking work in the areas of emotional intelligence, resilience and well-being have earned her recognition as a go-to expert for world-class organizations, including Microsoft, PepsiCo, Cisco, Wells Fargo, T-Mobile, FedEx, Bell Media, Stanford University and the U.S. Navy. She has a Master of Science from the University of Waterloo, Canada.

Brianna Russell

CEO, Founder, Girls Leading Goals and FemThrive

RUSSELL BRIANNA

Russell is the founder and CEO of Girls Leading Goals. She played soccer her whole life, competitively through college at Sacramento State University, where she played on the NCAA Division I women’s soccer team. 

While serving in the U.S. Peace Corps in Vanuatu in the South Pacific, she launched the area’s first women’s regional soccer team. Russell started Girls Leading Girls in 2014, and four years later, she started her own executive coaching agency for women founders called FemThrive. 

She is also an executive coach for The Grand coaching company, a member of the Wise Women’s Council, a grant adviser for The Pollination Project Foundation, a mentor for the Women’s Collective and a member of the Filipina Women’s Network.

Mika Shino

Founder, CEO, The Stardust Company/Issei

SHINO MIKA

Shino’s experience lies at the intersection of culture, diplomacy and business. She is a writer, director, producer and entrepreneur bridging disconnected ideas to forge collaborations with meaningful, value-driven impact. Her career began at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, where she conceptualized and directed UNESCO International Jazz Day, UNESCO World Philosophy Day and other programs. 

She worked at UNESCO for 15 years, leading programs in multiple countries, including Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt, Kenya, South Africa, India and France. Shino earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from New York University, a master’s degree from L’Université de Paris I – Sorbonne, a second master’s degree from the London School of Economics and her doctorate degree from L’Université de Paris VIII – St.Denis (Paris). 

She’s also a Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef and author of Smart Bites for Baby: 300+ Recipes, a cookbook with recipes for children.

Janice Skoreyko

Author, Keynote Speaker, Integrative Health & Performance Expert, International Social Impact Business Mentor

SKOREYKO JANICE

Janice Skoreyko, an integrative health expert, international social impact mentor and speaker, brings more than two decades of coaching experience to her transformative work. This bestselling author and member of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine defied conventional medical predictions, revitalizing her health through a global journey studying medicine in seven countries. 

Skoreyko has become the catalyst for peak performance among leaders, executives and athletes. Known for heroically overcoming “incurable” conditions, Skoreyko’s journey fueled her mission to mentor thousands of leaders from 18 countries. 

She specializes in empowering her clients to tackle their most significant personal and professional challenges, disseminating methodologies to create positive social change. With a portfolio encompassing leadership retreats, compelling keynotes, education and TV, radio and print media appearances, Skoreyko is a consultant with collaborations that extend globally.

Shameca Tankerson

CEO, Shameca International

TANKERSON SHAMECA

Tankerson is a trailblazer and phenom in the field of business revenue acceleration. She is on a mission to empower entrepreneurial giants to experience massive wealth fast and become self-made millionaires who build dynasties and enduring generational wealth. 

Celebrated as one of the world’s most trusted leaders and advisers, her clients create six- and seven-figure months even in the most challenging economies. She is an award-winning business strategist, international speaker, bestselling author and CEO of Shameca International. 

Tankerson helps women own their worth, claim their confidence and become high-performing power players who create massive wealth with no apologies. She has been featured in major media like Forbes, CNN, The Wall Street Journal and more.

Julie Thomas

President & CEO, ValueSelling Associates, Inc.

THOMAS JULIE

Thomas is an author, speaker and CEO of ValueSelling Associates, Inc. She works with revenue leaders across industries to help them realize sales results they never thought would be possible. A former Gartner sales executive, Thomas is a longtime industry leader who is passionate about guiding revenue organizations through uncertainty and helping them build resilient, engaged teams that drive predictable, sustainable results and create customers for life. 

In a career spanning 25 years, she credits her mastery of the ValueSelling Framework® for her own meteoric rise through the ranks of sales, sales management and corporate leadership positions. Her latest book is The Power of Value Selling: The Gold Standard to Drive Revenue and Create Customers for Life.

Michelle S. Thomas

Founder, CEO, The Exceptional Woman Enterprise

THOMAS MICHELLE S

Thomas has leveraged her years of collective firsthand experiences with growing profitable businesses to become an 11-time internationally bestselling author, motivational speaker, owner of multiple minority businesses and a certified life, relationship and business coach. 

She is the executive founder and CEO of The Exceptional Woman Enterprise, which was created to remove the barriers of sustainable growth that often interrupt the potential of success for many women entrepreneurs, especially women of color. 

The company’s results-—driven entities focuses on providing mastery-level tools of business principles for a clear understanding of each complex level of their entrepreneurial journey. Thomas offers vetted, executable solutions that are formed from real-life experiences.

Aurora Threats

Writer, Creator, Executive Producer, Borealis Entertainment

THREATS AURORA

Writer, creator, producer and award-winning filmmaker Threats began her artistic journey in her youth. She now holds a Bachelor of Science in speech and theater education from Grambling State University and a Master of Science in human relations and business from Amberton University. 

As a stage actress, Threats mesmerized audiences with her captivating theatrical performances from coast to coast. Gracing iconic stages across the country, her presence has left an indelible impression on all fortunate enough to witness her remarkable talents. 

Her commitment to humanitarian efforts and her desire to give back to the community was evident even during her formative years. Her passion for helping others, combined with her artistic talents, has led to a journey where she not only achieves artistic milestones but also transforms lives through her philanthropic work.

Kylie van Luyn

Founder, Elevated Coaching & Consulting Global

VAN LUYN KYLIE

Van Luyn is an experienced coach, human services and workforce development consultant and nonprofit executive with more than 14 years of experience working with people from diverse and disadvantaged backgrounds. 

Her coaching areas of expertise include emotional intelligence; leadership development; fostering workplace diversity, equity, inclusion and psychological safety; shifting mindset; building confidence; and empowering individuals to reach their full potential. 

She was a 2019 Australian State Business Women’s Awards Finalist in the For Purpose & Social Enterprise category for her work supporting the inclusion and economic empowerment of women from refugee backgrounds across Australia. In March 2023, she was named one of the Top 10 Influential Female Entrepreneurs in the United States. 

Van Luyn and her teams at Elevated Coaching & Consulting Global work with leaders and employees across the public, private and nonprofit worlds to maximize social impact and achieve “doing well by doing good.”

Jacqueline Vazquez

Entrepreneur, Bestselling Author, Speaker, Podcast Host, Woman’s Wellness Advocate, Lifetime Events by Jacqueline

VAZQUEZ JACQUELINE

As the founder and CEO of Lifetime Events by Jacqueline, Vazquez is an award-winning master wedding and event planner with 25 years of experience, an educator and mentor of more than 15 years, a bestselling author and an international speaker. 

Her goal is to assist the event industry by helping professionals define their purpose and build confidence—and by helping develop a more supportive community of leaders in the event industry. Vazquez created a community platform called Inspired by Jacqueline that offers life-changing tools and resources for women struggling with entrepreneurship, faith or infertility. 

She has taken on the role as a woman’s wellness advocate, spreading awareness and resources via her platform and recently by sharing her story in two bestselling anthology books, Breaking the Glass Ceiling and Becoming An Unstoppable Woman.

Madona Wambua

Founder & CTO, Jibu Labs

WAMBUA MADONA

Named one of Women Who Code’s 100 Technologists to Watch in 2023, Wambua is the founder and chief technology officer at Jibu Labs. With a career spanning more than a decade, she excels as an author, keynote speaker and Android expert. Wambua has honed her skills in crafting consumer-centric applications and software development kits for developers. 

During her tenure with a startup venture at a neuroscience tech company, she worked on the Google Glass technology. Wambua is also the host and founder of the podcast Tech Talks with Madona, a platform that underscores her advocacy for gender diversity and inclusivity in the technology sector. 

The podcast offers a panoramic exposition of the tech industry and inspires women to stay in the tech field. Wambua’s journey is a testament to her unwavering dedication to fostering innovation and diversity and sharing knowledge within the technology realm.

Katherine Warnock

Vice President of Original Content, The Chosen TV series 

WARNOCK KATHERINE

Warnock is vice president of original content for the groundbreaking global phenomenon television series The Chosen. What started as a crowd-funded project has now garnered over 600 million episode views and more than 10 million social media followers. 

Warnock’s background is in strategic content, marketing and branding-based leadership spanning media, fashion and social enterprise. Previously head of faith and family content at MGM Studios, Warnock helped to steer exponential growth by 985% to a 24 million-plus audience, averaging 1.4 billion organic video views yearly. 

A dual resident of America and the U.K., she has worked with elite brands, from Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros. and Sony to Ford, Aerie and Gillette, with a goal of positively affecting culture through purposeful, anchored community-driven media.

Cristina Wilson

Author, Speaker, Combat Veteran, Business Strategist, Entrepreneur Power Network

WILSON CRISTINA

Wilson, a distinguished command sergeant major with more than 24 years in the U.S. Army Reserve, exemplifies a life dedicated to service, leadership and empowerment. Her journey includes five deployments and numerous achievements, embodying values of discipline and courage. 

As the chief strategy officer of Entrepreneur Power Network, Wilson’s dynamic approach to leadership and her ability to draw from her military experience and real-life examples make her a sought-after keynote speaker, business strategist and mentor. An accomplished author, her book, Finding Your Why: A Path Towards Finding Your True Purpose in Life and Your Journey of Self-Discovery, offers invaluable insights and practical tools to help individuals discover their true purpose in life. 

Wilson’s commitment to giving back extends to her active involvement in supporting various local organizations and volunteering to mentor the next generation of women. Her journey, marked by resilience and continuous improvement, showcases her leadership, mentorship and advocacy for women and veterans.

Dr. Judy Wright

Founder, JW Health Consulting, LLC

WRIGHT JUDY 1

Wright is an authority in the field of health and wellness, stress management, and life balance and is the founder of JW Health Consulting, LLC. With more than 20 years of experience as a family physician, instructor, author and international speaker, Wright is committed to helping leaders and other professionals achieve optimal health and well-being by prioritizing life balance and resilience. 

Her passion for promoting health and wellness and her own personal experiences ultimately led her to focus on helping high-performing professionals understand their individual needs, manage their stress, shift their mindset and achieve life balance to thrive consistently. 

Through her inspiring speaking engagements, panel discussions and tailored organizational workshops, Wright’s work not only benefits the individual on a personal and professional level, but also has a significant positive impact on the companies and institutions that employ them.

Nominees

Farida Abjani, Richmond, TX

Terry Bell, DeSoto, TX

Kathleen Black, Ontario, Canada

Dr. Marianna Blyumin-Karasik, Davie, FL

Gabrielle Bosché, Dallas, TX

Lauren Bowen, Ocala, FL

Jacqueline Buckingham, New York, NY

Elbia Cabral, Bronx, NY

Giti Caravan, Saskatoon, Canada

Laura Casselman, Myrtle Beach, SC

Zai Chandler, Glen Burnie, MD

Maggie Chu, Sacramento, CA,

Laura Clark, Naperville, IL

Roberta Cocco, St. Johns, MI

Elly Cummings, Miami Shores, FL

Helen Cummings-Henry, Fort Mill, SC

LaQuanza Dockery, San Leandro, CA

Trish Doll, Narvon, PA

Falon Fatemi, Napa, CA

Gail Federici, Wilton, CT

Evva Fenison, Tarpon Springs, FL

Veronica Figueroa, Orlando, FL

Terri Gauthier, Bridge City, TX

Julia Giacoboni, West Chester, PA

Deborah Harrison, Montgomery, NY

Dena Jalbert, Winter Park, FL

Dr. Gail James, Jacksonville, FL

Jennifer Jones, Ontario, Canada

Tammy Kling, Bedford, VA

Kim Langelaar, Parker, CO

Tonyah Lee, Meridian, ID

Dr. Tina D Lewis, Santa Monica, CA

Kristi Ling Spencer, Seabrook, TX

Dr. Maria Malayter, Aurora, IL

Kristin Marquet, Scarsdale, NY

Morgan Leigh Miller, Spencer, IN

JoAnn Mitchell, Rio Rancho, NM

Jane Mukami, Atlanta, GA

Kortney Murray, Sarasota, FL

Michelle O’Neil, Dallas, TX

Cat Oshman, Eastvale, CA

Mariet Ostos, Orlando, FL

Holly Pascal, Fort Wayne, IN

Katie Rucker & Jenny Dinnen, Aliso Viejo, CA

Wendy Schauer, Olympia, WA

Ellie Shefi, Laguna Niguel, CA

Shannon Spotswood, Vestavia Hills, AL

April Stephens, Garner, NC

Sondra Thompson, Parker, CO

Sarah Throne, West Chester, PA

Jesa Townsend, Long Beach, CA

Laura Williams Argilla, Seattle, WA

Angie Wisdom, Newport Beach, CA

Forces of nature in their own right, these amazing women had the difficult job of sifting through this year’s applications.

We appreciate you!

Introducing the SUCCESS® Judging Panel

Kiersten Saunders

Kiersten Saunders is co-creator of the award-winning blog and podcast, rich & REGULAR, and author of the bestselling book, Cashing Out: Win the Wealth Game By Walking Away. Her and her husband Julien founded the FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) movement in 2017 and started sharing all of the exciting things they were learning about money.

“It was all met with crickets,” Kiersten says. “No one was interested in the message; they just felt like it was all out of reach.”

Kiersten and Julien noticed that most of the people who were sharing information about financial independence were high earners who could afford to squirrel away large chunks of their income. So they started rich & REGULAR and simply documented their path to achieving financial independence, which included paying off $200,000 in debt. Their story has been featured in The New York Times, Forbes, CBS This Morning, MarketWatch and more.

According to Kiersten, their success came from redefining what it means to win.

“People were still defining winning as getting the big job, the big promotion, the big raise,” Kiersten says. “No one was defining winning as the ability to walk away on your own terms for any reason whatsoever.”

She thinks the recipe that makes a woman influential boils down to how they measure progress.

“I think women of influence measure progress not based on where we’ve been but based on what’s possible,” Kiersten says.

Kris Carr

A wellness entrepreneur and bestselling author, Carr was motivated to change her life after being diagnosed with stage IV sarcoma, a rare vascular cancer in the cells that line the inside of blood vessels. A “cancer thriver,” she has been living with the disease for 20 years and is a member of Oprah’s SuperSoul 100, a roundup of the most influential thought leaders of today.

Carr cares for herself with a blend of conventional medicine as well as holistic healing, eschewing the notion that survivors must embrace one or the other.

Her most recent book, I’m Not a Mourning Person, shares observations about what to expect when you’re not expecting your world to fall apart. The book paints a picture of Carr’s journey leading up to her dad’s passing.

Helping people share their stories is how Carr cultivates the influence of other women through Thrive Mastermind, a 12-month experience for women in the wellness industry that helps grow their business, and she also works with thought leaders and women running wellness business to find support to get them to scale.

Carr brings her wisdom and self-awareness into her role as a judge of the Women of Influence awards. Featured in the SUCCESS’ September/October 2023 cover story, she reflected on the role of self-awareness in all endeavors—in leadership, creativity, team cultures and how we treat customers.

“A woman of influence opens doors for other women—especially the ones they fought hard to walk through,” Carr says.

Carolyn Merchant

Merchant is the chief marketing officer of eXp Realty and has nearly 20 years of marketing, brand and communications experience with a proven track record of driving business growth. She comes from a public relations background and brings that to her marketing strategy that fuses rich storytelling with branding and consumer loyalty.

Merchant believes women in business are positioned to bring a unique type of leadership that sees problems from a different angle. Women’s leadership, according to Merchant, collaborates and consults differently.

“As women of influence, it’s the women who are seeing opportunities in their lives,” Merchant says. “[They put] strong strategies together to create a solution… and [bring] the right people in to help make it a reality.”

Merchant is excited to judge the Women of Influence awards because she sees it as an opportunity for women to uplift other women.

“A really interesting juxtaposition in some ways is that, a lot of times, women are seen to be judgmental of each other and take each other down. I think this is the opposite of that. It really flips that on the head where it’s women supporting women and celebrating women.… It’s a really special opportunity to be part of that and to be a part of building what the next generation of women in leadership can look like.”

Ritu Bhasin

Bhasin is an award-winning speaker, author and the founder and CEO of bhasin consulting inc. (bci), a leading global diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) consulting firm.

In her book We’ve Got This: Unlocking the Beauty of Belonging, Bhasin gets vulnerable about her experience with bullying and unconscious bias, as well as the struggle of finding self in a multicultural identity. The book is a guide to cultivating belonging without losing yourself in the process.

“We all come into the world with an inherent sense of our brilliance,” Bhasin says. “But along the way, we start to internalize messaging that something is wrong with us. That messaging that we internalize starts to erode our confidence and our self-esteem.”

To become a good leader, according to Bhasin, is to acknowledge your own hurt so that it does not have an adverse effect on how you lead. This can impact whether you advocate or sabotage other peoples’ development.

“Paying attention to our hurt as an adult is really important as a leader,” Bhasin says.

Bhasin defines a woman of influence as one who is anchored to values-based living and who has their values in alignment. They should be involved in their communities, and they should also have overcome adversity.

“It develops a grit and a resilience that is really powerful, but it can also help to develop a growth mindset. The idea of, ‘I can be the captain of my ship, and I can be in the driver’s seat.’”

Erin King

King is all about helping people unlock their “Big Deal Energy.” The bestselling author, keynote speaker and one of the world’s leading energy management experts was named one of SUCCESS magazine’s “Top 10 Must-See Motivational Speakers of 2023,” and she has continued to deliver. King’s book, You’re Kind of a Big Deal, challenges you to unlock your audacity and channel your Big Deal Energy to bring out “your most unstoppable self.”

To watch King speak is like watching a hurricane in motion as she dispenses truth with a vibrant force. Yet, King is kind and approachable when you speak to her, offering words of encouragement wherever she can.

Currently, she is working on a study where she has commissioned Ph.D.s to do a deeper dive on human energy by interviewing 10,000 people to create a system around the type of energy people have to answer the question, “How do we categorize some key vibes people put out there?” She expects to publish a book describing this study later this year.

King is excited to be judging the Women of Influence awards and says she knows some people she admires have been nominated for the award.

“The women [who] really influenced me are the ones [who] inspire me to think differently about the meaning of impact,” King says.

So, what is King’s own Big Deal Energy? She is very inspired by her grandmother.

“There are certain situations where you feel too small; you feel like you don’t have what it takes. I will literally imagine, ‘What would Nana do right now?’” King says. “She would roll up her sleeves, and she would get in there.”

Anne Grady

Grady knows that resilience is more than getting back up after you’ve been knocked down. It’s also about making meaning out of difficult experiences and using these experiences of trauma, challenge and discomfort as a way to get stronger and smarter.

Grady goes into different types of companies, ranging from nonprofits to Fortune 500 companies, to help them create a culture of resilience.

“I either go in more of a training and development capacity—so, more professional development—or a keynote-type address,” Grady says. “For example, I was with a senior leadership team last week talking about how to create a culture of resilience starting with the leaders. How can you create a culture of psychological safety? You have to be intentional about creating an environment where people thrive.”

Grady works with leaders and teams to help them learn these skills, habits and practices that will allow them to navigate change and uncertainty while continuing to build team engagement.

For Grady, a woman of influence is also someone who appreciates the work of others and is willing to put their ego to the side.

“To me, a woman of influence is someone who takes ego out of the equation and focuses on whether it’s building community involvement or creating a workplace that’s a good place to be,” Grady says. “Developing other people and clearing a path for others to do well. Somebody who’s quick to take blame, but not quick to take credit.”

Join us at the 2024 I-LEAD SUCCESS® VIRTUAL SUMMIT

This year’s I-LEAD SUCCESS® Virtual Summit on March 12-13, presenting the annual Women of Influence awards, will bring together a constellation of star-studded speakers, power icons, change-makers and industry experts. It’s a unique opportunity for individuals who want to support women in business and life to learn, connect and be inspired.

The summit will offer insights, solutions and a network of support that reaches every area of life. With an exclusive 360-degree approach to the event, participants can expect each session to address all areas of a woman’s life—personal, health and well-being, mindset, business, finance, relationships and impact—all rooted in the understanding that these aspects are interconnected and influence one another.

Over two incredible days, knowledge, coaching and inspiration will interconnect. There will be motivational keynote speeches, panel discussions, candid conversations with visionaries doing things differently and an opportunity to network with the leading women of the world.

The I-LEAD SUCCESS® Virtual Summit offers more than just inspiration: It’s a community where you will receive actionable insights, practical solutions and access to a network of support that reaches every area of your life.

How to register: Visit ilead.success.com

Meet our i-LEAD Speakers

Highlighting the achievements of female leaders not only acknowledges their accomplishments, but also offers role models for others. Moreover, witnessing women like themselves achieve greatness fuels the aspirations of young women and reinforces their belief that they can succeed in any field.

Kudos to our amazing speakers, panelists and special guests who will be joining our exclusive event on March 12-13, 2024. You won’t want to miss it!

Sophia Amoruso

Award-winning entrepreneur, New York Times bestselling author, educator and podcast host.

Heather Monahan

Best-selling author, keynote and TED speaker and host of Creating Confidence.

More surprises, panelists and amazing speakers will be announced at SUCCESS.com.

*Subject to change

Lauryn Bosstick

Creator of The Skinny Confidential, a blog, book, podcast and YouTube channel.

Jasmine Star

World-class speaker, thought leader, podcast host, CEO and entrepreneur.

Brittany Driscoll

Cofounder and CEO of Squeeze and The Feel-Good Company, and cofounder of Okay Humans and Brightside.

Alli Webb

New York Times bestselling author, co-founder of Drybar, Squeeze and Becket + Quill, and president of Canopy.

Jen Gottlieb

Entrepreneur, international speaker, host of the I Dare You podcast and co-founder of Super Connector Media.

Cassandra Worthy

Founder and CEO of Change Enthusiasm Global, a boutique consulting firm with clients that include several Fortune 500 companies.

Lori Harder

Serial entrepreneur, podcast host and bestselling author of A Tribe Called Bliss: Break Through Superficial Friendships, Create Real Connections, Reach Your Highest Potential.

This article originally appeared in the March/April 2024 issue of SUCCESS magazine. Photo by Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock.com

KLB Headshot Digital 150x150

Kerrie Lee Brown is an international journalist, author and women’s health advocate. Over the years, she has written for more than 150 publications worldwide and held numerous executive and senior editorial roles across Canada and the U.S. She has interviewed a plethora of Hollywood celebrities and some of the most inspiring thought leaders around the globe. Today, Kerrie Lee is the editor-in-chief of SUCCESS Enterprises’ impressive magazine portfolio and an advocate for authentic storytelling as the founder of RedLilyLife.com.

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