Happy Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day from everyone at Momentum! To celebrate, we’ve asked the team to name a woman outside of their family who has inspired them in their life and careers. Check out the answers below:

Millie Wert

Victoria (V.E.) Schwab: She’s a fantasy writer and author of the Darker Shades of Magic Series, Vicious and The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, among many others. She is a brilliant storyteller and inspires me to push boundaries and be more creative with my own writing. (She also happens to be an alumni of my high school, so that’s how I initially connected with her.) 

Andrew Smith

Julia Gillard: The first female prime minister of Australia, a country that like this one has been historically resistant and dismissive of female leadership. She endured many blatant examples of misogynistic behavior until she finally called it (and her opponent) out in devastating fashion in parliament, in a speech that resonates even now.

Katrina Dizon

Simone Biles: The most decorated gymnast in history, Simone Biles continues to surprise us with her seemingly superhuman athletic abilities. In an industry where the majority of household names consist of men, Simone’s sheer dedication and talent cemented her status as one of the greatest athletes of all time.

Jim Miller

Deborah Borda: One of the most dynamic leaders in the (made-dominated) classical music world is an out gay woman. As president of the New York Philharmonic she miraculously turned the nightmare of the pandemic shut down into a stunning renovation of the orchestra’s concert hall, a project that had seen countless failed attempts. As a parting gift before retiring, she lured hot-shot conductor Gustavo Dudamel as the orchestra’s next music director, teeing the Philharmonic up for a very bright future ahead.


Linnea Lipson

E. Jean Carroll: Because of this article. Her newsletter is also funny. 


Josh Kurzer

Mina Kimes: An award winning journalist and NFL analyst, Kimes busted down doors in the sports media industry on her way to the top of ESPN. Representing the gold standard of women in sports, Kimes backs up her hard-hitting analysis with detail oriented data made accessible to fans in an entertaining and informative way across print, digital and audio platforms.

Olivia Parker

Jane Fonda: A cultural icon, she inspires me with her extensive entertainment resume and dedication to using her voice for causes like climate change and civil rights.

Jamaal Fisher

Ava DuVernay: A game-changing player in the film industry, DuVernay has told stories important to the Black community in an industry known to not always give these stories the proper platform to be told. 

Zachary Halper

Jane Goodall: She is an inspiration to me because of her groundbreaking work with chimpanzees. We understand these amazing creatures more than we ever would have without her efforts.

Ogo Sylla

Rihanna: One of the most visible women in the fashion and entertainment industry, Rihanna has shone as an advocate and philanthropist fighting for access to education for girls worldwide and climate justice. The way she’s leveraged her platform, celebrity and status as a fashion mogul have made her a champion of regions in the Global South that seldom get the media spotlight, as well as Barbados’ favorite daughter.

Nicholas Comaratta

Ursula K. Le Guin: One of the greatest authors of her generation, Ursula K. Le Guin’s work inspired American science fiction authors for decades. Her ability to break through in a male dominated industry and advocate for her beliefs across various mediums made her one of the most influential voices in literature over the last century.