On International Women’s Day, we are excited to celebrate women who are blazing a trail and working to make an impact around the world every day. We’re honored to recognize these women and share how they are ushering change to their communities. Today, we’re showcasing entrepreneurs, physicians, authors, business leaders and trailblazers who inspire us.
Rebecca Contreras is the President & CEO of AvantGarde LLC (AG), a consulting firm she co-founded in 2011 as the majority owner. She is also the author of Lost Girl: From the Hood, to the White House to Millionaire Entrepreneur. AG has grown to over 110 employees spread across TX, DC, VA, MD, Philadelphia, Kansas City, Florida, and a few other states. AG’s Offices are in the Austin and Washington DC area with clients in 26 different government agencies. AG offers a one-stop-shop approach to addressing complex organizational issues, AGs capabilities center around four key areas: Human Capital (HR), Organizational Development, Business Operations and Technology. Rebecca commutes back and forth between her TX and DC offices.
Dr. Jennifer Lincoln
Jennifer Lincoln, MD, IBCLC is a board-certified OB-GYN who is passionate about helping girls, women and those assigned female at birth understand their bodies and feel empowered to advocate for themselves. Her book, Let’s Talk About Down There: An OBGYN Answers All Your Burning Questions Without Making You Feel Embarrassed for Asking is a shame-free, illustrated handbook for people with vaginas. It’s like the health class you wish you had – think evidence-based, myth-busting sex ed that tosses shame out the window. In this engaging guide, Dr. Lincoln answers the questions about vaginal, sexual and reproductive health many are afraid to ask, adressing topics such as hormones, menstrual cups and birth control to empower readers to make more informed decisions about their health.
The first female F-14 Tomcat fighter pilot in the U.S. Navy, Carey Lohrenz is an in-demand speaker, business consultant, military aviation pioneer and author of the book Span Of Control: What To Do When You’re Under Pressure, Overwhelmed, And Ready To Get What You Really Want. Carey’s podcast Welcome to My Office features conversations with leaders worldwide to discuss high performance, success and failure, and what it takes to achieve more than you ever thought possible.
Charlene Wheeless is a renowned communications expert, author of forthcoming book You Are Enough, speaker, principal of Charlene Wheeless, LLC and the senior advisor for equity and justice for APCO Worldwide. Combining her extensive knowledge of leadership, three decades of communications experience and her skills managing adversity she helps others learn to retain authenticity, in life and in business, and find strength in vulnerability.
Sarah Dusek is the Co-Founder and General Partner of Enygma Ventures, a private investment fund focused on investing in women-led businesses in South Africa. She is also Co-Founder of Under Canvas; the leading US adventure-hospitality company offering luxurious glamping accommodations just minutes from America’s most popular and iconic national parks. In 2017, under Sarah’s leadership Under Canvas received a spot on the coveted Inc. 5000 list and Sarah was named to the EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women list from Ernst & Young. Sarah believes passionately in empowering women to reach their full potential and enabling them to grow in their leadership. This commitment extends to her broader mission to help grow scalable, sustainable businesses that have the power to transform communities, cities and nations.
Revati “Rani” Puranik
Revanti “Rani” Puranik is a successful business leader, creative, and philanthropist who thrives at driving innovation, empowering others, and inspiring collaboration. She is the co-owner, executive vice president and global CFO of Houston-based Worldwide Oilfield Machine (WOM), a privately held, family-owned oil and gas equipment manufacturing firm with more than 3,000 employees operating in 11 locations around the world. In addition, she chairs the organization’s corporate responsibility arm, the Puranik Foundation, a nonprofit that provides educational opportunities for under-resourced children in India.
Karin is the Founder and CEO of Evoking Insights, a premium coaching and consulting firm for innovative growth companies in the biotechnology and technology sectors. As an executive coach and strategic advisor, Karin brings over 25 years of leadership experience to her clients. Karin creatively combines strategy and leadership approaches that bring leaders and teams to greater clarity, decisive action and more effective impact.
Heather White is the author of One Green Thing: Discover Your Hidden Power to Help Save the Planet.. Heather is a nationally recognized conservation and environmental policy expert with extensive experience leading and advising non-profit organizations, including increasing organizational performance, managing change, guiding strategic planning, and directing innovative fundraising and advocacy campaigns. In April 2021, she launched OneGreenThing, a nonprofit that tackles climate crisis overwhelm and anxiety through joyful daily action, inspiring culture change for policy solutions. She also serves as a consultant to help businesses, foundations, and nonprofits create a greener, healthier, and more equitable world through her consulting firm, Heather White Strategies.
Shanna A. Hocking
Shanna A. Hocking is the Principal of Hocking Leadership, an organizational leadership and fundraising consultancy. Prior to founding her business, Shanna spent 20 years in multi-billion-dollar organizations, including the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, University of Alabama, and Duke University, where she managed large teams and personally raised $155m+ throughout her career. Through her experiences as a working woman and leader, she saw the need to build stronger workplace cultures and leaders, and support women at work, which led her to found Hocking Leadership. She is the author of One Bold Move a Day, which will be released in November 2022 (McGraw-Hill) and host of a popular indie business podcast by the same name.
Kandi Weins, ED.D. is a Senior Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education in the PennCLO Executive Doctoral Program and Director of the Penn Master’s in Medical Education Program. She is also an executive coach, national speaker, and organizational change consultant. Her work is deeply rooted in the latest positive psychology, emotional intelligence, and mindset research. She became fascinated by research showing how much better life can be when we learn to change our perspectives and find more productive ways to deal with stress. From her research, she started developing and using strategies that enabled her to use her emotional intelligence to break through her burnout and connect to her passion. Today, she’s thrilled that she gets to help others do the same.
Kate Gilman Williams
Kate Gilman Williams is an 12-year old animal advocate, CEO and founder of the animal advocacy organization, Kids Can Save Animals, an advocacy organization aimed at inspiring and empowering kids and teens to take action to save wildlife and wild spaces.
In 2021 Kate founded Club 15 which combines advocacy and technology to teach the concepts of conservation and applied computer science to kids, 15-minutes at a time, through interviews with leading scientists, advocates and technologists. Club 15 was created in partnership with Sarah Maston and Daisuke Nakahara, the Founders of Project 15 from Microsoft.
Kendall Antonelli is the Co-Found and Co-Owner of Austin business Antonelli’s Cheese Shop. Combining her mission-driven nonprofit background and philanthropic service with entrepreneurship and small business hustle, Kendall speaks of “Passion with Purpose” at the heart of all they do and in creating a life where the professional and the personal intersect in a way that brings success and joy. Described as “real, raw, and relatable,” Kendall’s power comes from her vulnerability. She interweaves stories of work, family life, mental health challenges, and perceived flaws in a way that celebrates all of life’s moments as part of the journey.
Natasha W. Lewry Beauvais, MD, MPH
Natasha W. Lewry Beauvais, MD, MPH is a physician at Northern Virginia Family Practice Associates (NVFP), an internal medicine practice that offers full-service concierge health care in the Northern Virginia area. With more than 16 years of professional experience, Dr. Beauvais understands the importance of providing care for the whole family through every stage of life and values the continuation of long-term patient care.
Cecily D. Havert, M.D.
Cecily D. Havert, M.D., is a physician at NVFP. With an impressive background in preventive health care, mental health support and outpatient medicine, Dr. Havert specializes in women’s health with an emphasis on the LGBTQ+ community. She has a passion for nurturing patients’ emotional and mental health needs, with a goal of providing the utmost in quality, personalized medical care and a safe environment for all.
Tammie Chang, M.D.
Tammie Chang, M.D., is a board-certified physician in pediatric hematology/oncology and co-founder of Pink Coat MD, an uplifting community to empower women physicians. Using her expertise in coaching, leadership and consulting work, background in wellness and work as a physician, Chang guides women physicians to become the best version of themselves and protect their well-being by helping them achieve greater balance, prevent burnout and live healthier lives. Her new book, Boundaries for Women Physicians: Love Your Life and Career in Medicine, focuses on the understanding that to heal and serve others, one must first focus on having a healthy body, spirit and mind.
Monica Garcia Duggal
Monica Garcia Duggal is a serial entrepreneur, author, speaker, and researcher with a background in sports psychology and neuroscience. Monica’s lifetime research has led her to mental, physical, financial and spiritual health awakenings, which she shares with other business owners who want to grow their wealth exponentially. Monica’s passion for encouraging women to pursue positions of leadership led to her founding both Women’s Executive Leadership for Mentors and Mentees and Financing Women in Technology and finally, writing a research paper on Women CEOs in Fortune 500 companies. Monica founded the Whole Health Plan as her passion for health was reignited by her mother’s passing. Monica has always believed that self-care for our minds, bodies, and spirits is the most important thing in the world. Monica’s new book, The Power of Breath: The Gift of Self-Actualization through Meditation, is based on her 40 years of research around meditation and breathwork. She encourages readers to go on the same transformational journey she has taken, leading them with a guiding hand through the self-actualization process and revolutionizing how they think about their health and lifestyle overall.
Amy Newmark is the bestselling author, editor-in-chief and publisher of the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series. Since 2008, she has published more than 150 new books, most of them national bestsellers in the U.S. and Canada, more than doubling the number of Chicken Soup for the Soul titles in print today. Amy is credited with revitalizing the Chicken Soup for the Soul brand, which has been a publishing industry phenomenon since the first book came out in 1993. By compiling inspirational and aspirational true stories curated from ordinary people who have had extraordinary experiences, Amy has kept the twenty-five-year-old Chicken Soup for the Soul brand fresh and relevant.
Mackenzie is the Co-Founder and Director of Operations of Heartwood Real Estate Group in Austin, Texas. Heartwood leverages close relationships with local consultants and partners, as well as in-depth knowledge of Austin’s housing market and development process, to tackle complex projects others tend to overlook. Heartwood aims to help Austin solve its affordability crisis by making a substantial contribution to the city’s critically insufficient housing supply.
Ashlee is the Global Director for Global Child Advocates and Co-Founder of Sojourn Studio. Ashlee has 14 years of child welfare experience both in Thailand and in the U.S.. She is a licensed social worker with a Bachelor and Master of Social Work specializing in Direct Practice with Children and Families.Having seen the impact of systemic family separation and the way it increases the vulnerability of children, Ashlee is passionate to see every child protected within the love of a family. Ashlee is honored to lead and serve alongside an incredible team of child protection specialists who share the same vision. She oversees GCA’s social enterprise which provides dignified work and a community of support to empower teens and moms towards a hope-filled future.
Julie Ann Walton
Julie is the Strategic Engagement Officer for Global Child Advocates. After founding an anti-bullying program in Tacoma, Washington, her advocacy took her to Sri Lanka where she became burdened for orphaned and vulnerable children growing up deprived of parental care. This led her to return to American University’s Graduate Program in D.C. where she earned a Masters in Social Enterprise. Her aim was to better understand how policy trickles down to affect children. She is determined to see the church care for children with excellence and joy so that all children have every opportunity to grow and thrive.
Dr. Mona Delahooke
Mona Delahooke, PhD is a licensed clinical psychologist with more than 30 years of experience caring for children and their families. Author of an award-winning parenting book, Beyond Behaviors: Using Brain Science and Compassion to Understand and Solve Children’s Behavioral Challenges. She is a frequent speaker, trainer, and consultant to parents, organizations, schools, and public agencies.