#JLBleader – The Women Who Inspire Us by: Lyn Huckabee

Photo courtesy of @Tara_Moss on Twitter

Photo courtesy of @Tara_Moss on Twitter

Where would we be without leaders? Acting as role models, they ignite a spark within us, allowing us to be better, dream bigger and do more than we otherwise would.

The Junior League of Boston is full of leaders, opting to improve the community by volunteering to contribute their talents and time. Inspiration is drawn from those around us as well as those who have come before us.

We recently polled our social media community on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram inquiring about leadership. When we asked which female leaders were most inspiring, we received a diverse influx of input:

  • Oprah inspires Tracey Manzi as a leader and role model for women and the young girls we serve in the community. Tracey explains: “Her life story is a modern day example of how a poor, young girl can triumph over adversity and tragedy.  I respect Oprah for using her influential position in the media to spread powerful messages that inspire, educate and empower people to live a better life. Oprah is not only a self-made billionaire; she is also a generous philanthropist who supports women, children and those less fortunate here and abroad teaching the values of giving back and making a difference, while also improving yourself. I don’t believe Oprah was involved in the Junior League, but her leadership skills and charitable work are perfectly aligned with our mission, vision and values.”
  • Erin Dwyer-Frazier is inspired by Malala Yousafzai. Malala is very young and has been a leader for girl’s education in Pakistan for several years, despite years of threats against her and her family – including her being shot in the head by a Taliban gunman. And yet, during a recent visit here to the states, she said in an interview that she would not respond to threats with violence but would try to explain the importance of education to a Talib – because Talib’s want education for their children too.  Erin shares that she respects Malala because even having seen the worst humanity has to give at 14, she still believes in the fundamental goodness of the human spirit.
  • Monica Zurlinden sees Michelle Obama as a leader. Monica shares, “I love what Michelle is doing to promote healthy eating at public schools and with the My Plate initiative. I also love how the first family is setting an example by eating healthy themselves by utilizing their garden and promoting healthy recipes.
  • Marissa Mayer inspires Alyssa Fenoglio. At the age of 38, Marissa is one of the youngest female CEOs. In addition to leading Yahoo! Marissa is a young mom, successful professional and wife. Alyssa explains that Marissa is an exceptional role model for my generation of aspirational women.
  • Elizabeth Smith is inspired by Hilary Clinton, who she believes is encouraging women to see their gender as empowerment rather than hindrance. Elizabeth looks to Hilary Clinton for her brilliance. She also admires Hilary’s trail blazing spirit and for never taking no for an answer.
  • Elizabeth Smith is also inspired by the leadership of Elizabeth Glaser. Now deceased, she put a face to AIDS and was committed to create a foundation designed to eradicate the disease through education.
  • I, Jen Dorman, am inspired by Jennifer Siebel Newsom. As the Director of MissRepresentation, which was recently screened during a Junior League of Boston training, Jennifer is part of a movement to make the world a better place for both genders, without sexism. Though a campaign impacting brands and media, Jennifer’s work aims to bring accountability to those who objectify females.

Who inspires you? Join the conversation by tweeting your answer to us (@bostonjl) with the hash tag #JLBLeader.

– Jen Dorman transferred to the Junior League of Boston from Buffalo, NY in 2010.