February 3, 2010 at 12:49 pm , by Sonia Harmon
In the November 2000 issue of LHJ we named Dr. Jane Delgado one of seven women to watch for her work as president and CEO of the National Alliance for Hispanic Health. The organization is the nation’s largest non-profit working to provide health and human services to Hispanics, a topic that Jane has long been passionate about. She immigrated to the United States from Havana, Cuba as a child, and despite difficulty learning English at first, she went on to excel in school, graduating two years early. Ten years after we first recognized Jane, she continues to be a staunch advocate on health issues, including mental health, air pollution and health insurance. Her new book, The Latina Guide to Health, will be published on February 16, and proceeds from the Spanish edition will go to the Health Foundation for the Americas.
What makes me a lady: I enjoy listening to others but will be forthright about what I believe. It’s okay to disagree with others. I am a lady because I enjoy being a woman and am comfortable with myself. At a superficial level this means that while I love to wear dresses, I do not wear pantyhose and am happily sleeveless 90% of the time.
Favorite guilty pleasure: Watching DVDs of Babylon 5 and Star Trek and outfits that have a shelf bra built in.
Three things on my life list: 1. Build an endowment for the Health Foundation for the Americas. 2. Be debt-free (that includes paying off my mortgage). 3. Take a first class trip around the world with my husband.
If I could have a superpower, it would be: The ability to instill kindness and respect in the hearts of others.
Ladies I admire: My mother, Lucy Delgado, who died in 1993. Everything that I am today is based on the sayings and lessons that she shared with me throughout her life. And those very same wise words are what I share with my daughter today. No matter how difficult life was for my mother she was never envious or bitter.
January 7, 2010 at 1:05 pm , by Sonia Harmon
The 2000 film Erin Brockovich, starring Julia Roberts in the title role, follows Erin’s personal challenges as well as her legal triumph to expose a gas and electric company’s toxic contamination of the community’s groundwater. The film earned numerous academy awards and nominations, and the real-life Erin suddenly found herself a public figure. Over the last decade she has continued working to resolve environmental issues all over the world, and she is the spokesperson for Seventh Generation on the Million Baby Crawl to Washington DC to reform the Toxic Substance Act. In addition to being an activist, she is also a motivational speaker and who speaks about not only the environment, but women’s issues and self esteem.
What makes me a lady: What makes me a lady is that I am polite and respectful, even when I am put on the defensive or under the worst of circumstances. A lady is graceful under fire. I don’t judge a book by its cover and never assume because someone isn’t dressed a certain way that they are therefore not a lady; a lady shouldn’t judge.
Favorite guilty pleasure: Shopping! I love to shop because I go brain dead—I am not worried about deadlines or paying the bills. I work hard and am indulging myself a little. I like to look at different colors, designs, jewelry and see what kind of mood I am in that day.
Three things on my life list: I’d like to share four. 1. Sail to all the warm and isolated islands of the world—or maybe just a few of them. 2. To go to sleep at night and not worry about my children. 3. Retire and raise toy Pomeranians, hundreds of them, on a big open ranch! I have four and absolutely adore these little animals. They bring joy to my heart. 4. To help more people, as far as my career goals. Oftentimes there’s not a lawsuit to help innocent victims, and many people that e-mail me are left not knowing what to do. I would like to find a way in my career to give those people guidance and/or advice on how to handle a situation themselves when companies are absent, the government can’t help, and no lawsuit can be filed.
If I could have a superpower, it would be: To erase world hunger and eradicate disease.
Ladies I admire: My Mom, no question! I so admire my Mom because she always understood my learning disability and knew that if I lost my self esteem, I would be in jeopardy. She also taught me the value of an unknown and underused word: “sticktoitiveness.” We define it as the propensity to follow through in a determined manner. She had a great sense of humor. She was compassionate and the day she passed away in my arms, she taught me courage through the very worst of times.
December 16, 2009 at 2:48 pm , by Sonia Harmon
Last year Nicole Bouchard Boles started her blog, The Frugal Philanthropist, as a way to inspire people to create positive change through low or no-cost activities; today she is the author of How to Be an Everyday Philanthropist, a new book that includes hundreds of different ideas on how to make a difference.
Maybe you’ve been meaning to volunteer, but just haven’t found the time—and that’s okay! Nicole has found a plethora of ways for you to make a difference, from donating clothing to using search engines that donate money with every click. We love her enthusiasm for philanthropy, because no matter how big or small, what’s most important is that you’re doing your part.
What makes me a lady: Acting on my values. One of the most important things in life is to determine what is most important.
Favorite guilty pleasure: Shopping on the Internet, although I don’t feel so guilty about it. I always try to infuse my shopping sprees with philanthropy, so I roam though charity malls like OneCause.com to do a good deed for non-profit organizations. And I can spend hours in front of the computer wandering through Nordstrom’s website or virtual window shopping at Williams-Sonoma.
Three things on my life list: 1. To encourage as many people as possible to look at what they already have—then find a need in the world—and fill it! 2. Loving my children so powerfully and unconditionally that never in their life will they wonder what love is. 3. Taking my husband back to New York where he proposed to me under the Brooklyn Bridge.
If I could have a superpower, it would be: To vault all my memories so they never fade. I would capture every smile, every tear, and every precious moment with my children.
Ladies I admire: Mary J. Blige; I admire her attitude tremendously. She is the essence of class and compassion. Marian Wright Edelman, founder of the Children’s Defense Fund and persistent advocate of children’s rights. My mother; she’s always been the strongest person I know and is such a nurturer, but she’s really come into her full grace as a grandmother. And finally my daughter, a young lady of beauty, joy and almost immeasurable kindness.
November 18, 2009 at 3:23 pm , by Sonia Harmon
Kelly Sargent, a marketing professional based in Des Moines, had a thing for buying pajamas—there was something about having a new, comfy pair that seemed to put her at ease. So on one unseasonably cold night, when she got the desire to buy another pair of pajamas, she wondered if women at the local domestic violence shelter might find comfort in a new pair of their own, since they often come into shelters with just the clothes on their backs.
After joining forces with her local Rotary club, friends and family to make donations, Kelly received 150 pairs of pajamas. Two years later, more than 5,000 pairs have been donated to domestic violence shelters in Iowa, Arkansas, Nevada and New York through her non-profit, Helen’s Pajama Party, named after her mother. We love that Kelly thought outside the box—it might seem like just a pair of pajamas, but it’s a warm gesture for women on the first night of their new beginning.
What makes me a lady: Being married to my wonderful husband, and caring about and loving pretty much everything and everyone around me.
Favorite guilty pleasure: Having way too many shoes and clothes! But that’s justified by the fact that I have my black belt in bargain shopping.
Three things on my life list: Write a best-selling book, do a cartwheel and learn to speak Spanish fluently.
If I could have a superpower, it would be: I would like the ability to vaporize any and all hate within them someone just by touching them on the arm. I’d leave all the other emotions untouched—sad, mad, glad—but I’d neutralize hate.
Ladies I admire: This is a tough one because there are so many I admire. Most of those I’d name are women that might be deemed “ordinary” because they’re not famous. The thing they have in common is that they’re all women who have overcome obstacles and tragedies and still manage to take care of the ones they love day after day and be a force for good in the world. Some well-known women I admire include Jane Goodall, Alice Walker, Steffi Graf and Sonia Sotomayor.
Do you know a woman who deserves some of the spotlight? Tell us about her at email@example.com and she could be featured in a future post.
November 11, 2009 at 1:30 pm , by Sonia Harmon
When she was only 16 years old, Nicole DeBoom qualified for the 1988 Olympic Swimming Trials. After swimming on Yale University’s varsity team, she began a career as a triathlete, and by 2004 she won Ironman Wisconsin—all while competing in a skirt. It was a prototype for her new women’s fitness clothing line, SkirtSports. Five years later her line continues to give women the option to exercise without compromising style. Nicole also recently partnered with designer Jackie McPhee to create a new collection of SkirtSports clothing that will benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Charitable and an entrepreneur—how’s that for ladylike?
What makes me a lady: I think a true lady is a woman who takes a big leap of faith to attempt something most people would consider virtually impossible. I became a lady the day I started SkirtSports with a mission to change the way women view fitness. Five years ago, running in a skirt was a big stretch to most women who didn’t understand that looking good for themselves would foster a “feel good” attitude that would ultimately lead to better performance. So in a way, being a lady is about taking chances and going after things with 100 percent conviction.
Favorite guilty pleasure: I refuse to choose just one; I am a lady of many guilty pleasures. US Weekly while traveling (not BusinessWeek or Time), jigsaw and crossword puzzles, and very strong coffee with half and half (not skim or Coffee-mate). Read more
November 4, 2009 at 12:11 pm , by Sonia Harmon
In 2008 Heidi Krauel left her job, steady salary and home in San Francisco to embark on a 10-month journey to New Delhi, India. As a 2009 Acumen Fund Fellow, equipped with degrees from Princeton and Stanford as well as experience on Wall Street, she worked in India with a company called D.Light Design to provide LED technology to people in New Delhi still using kerosene lanterns at night. Cameras followed the experiences of Heidi and two other Acumen fellows for The New Recruits, a new documentary that offers insight into how capitalism can bring social change to developing countries. Whether or not you agree with the film’s message, you’ll agree that Heidi’s eagerness to gain a better understanding of how to serve the poor through sustainable business is something to admire.
What makes me a lady: I surround myself with people that challenge me to be my best self at work and at home, and I know that there’s no bad day that can’t be made better by donning a fantastic pair of heels, some NARS lip gloss and enjoying a great glass of wine with friends.
Favorite guilty pleasure: A three hour Sunday brunch with lots of sparkling rosé followed by a Gossip Girl marathon on TiVo.
Three things on my life list: 1. Trekking in Bhutan. 2. Writing a book of short stories to recount my ridiculous life, love, and travel (mis)adventures. 3. Creating ways for people to invest in businesses that serve the poor as easily as they pick a stock or buy a CD.
If I could have a superpower, it would be: Insta-Empathy. I would love the ability to make people understand each other’s values and perspectives instantly, so that cultural divides could be crossed and great ideas for effective partnerships could start to flow from the very start.
Ladies I admire: Ariane de Bonvoisin (CEO, First 30 Days), Jacqueline Novogratz (Founder, Acumen Fund), Penelope Douglas (President, Pacific Community Ventures) and Julia Child—women leaders that not only break through boundaries with their work, but also nurture a rich personal and spiritual life.
Is there a lady who you think deserves some of the spotlight? Tell us about her at firstname.lastname@example.org and she could be featured in a future post!
October 14, 2009 at 12:20 pm , by Sonia Harmon
Rachel Kramer Bussel, Nichelle Stephens (pictured at right) and Stacie Joy are the women behind one of the sweetest blogs we know, Cupcakes Take the Cake. Now you may be wondering when the whole cupcake fad is going to blow over, but these ladies have been blogging since 2004 and they’re convinced that cupcakes are here to stay. Cupcake lovers come to CTTC for recipes, decorating ideas, event listings—you can even find a cupcake shop in your area. So give their blog a look, and we totally don’t blame you for stopping by a bakery on your way home!
Rachel Kramer Bussel
What makes me a lady: I write thank you notes (and send snail mail), I’m a good friend and I try to think outside of the box.
Favorite guilty pleasure: Tabloid magazines. (Love ‘em and read way too many of them.)
Three things on my life list: Become a mom, cook a fabulous meal for someone special and get published in The New York Times.
If I could have a superpower, it would be: Mind reading.
Ladies I admire: Jeannette Walls, Martha Stewart, Michelle Obama, Anna Quindlen, Mary Lou Lord, Guinevere Turner, Christina Hendricks, Madonna, Virginia Postrel, Molly Crabapple, Samara O’Shea, Hollis Gillespie and Mary Pols.