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INSPIRING FEMALE ROLE MODELS

February 5, 2020

AngeLink is building a strong community of individuals, particularly women, who have devoted their time to efforts that empower one another. Here are five fantastic women who have used their unique talents and success to better the lives of others!

Kathy Calvin, Former President & CEO - United Nations Foundation

Kathy Calvin is a cool, calm, collected force for global good. Not only does she champion the rights of women and girls around the world, but she’s personally broken down barriers in politics by being one of the first female press secretaries for a U.S. Senator. In her TedxBerkley Talk, Kathy Calvin shows that she can command a room by presenting the reality of today’s challenging times with a hopeful and compelling vision for the future. While serving as the CEO and President of the United Nations Foundation, Kathy Calvin stewarded over $2 billion in donations, funds, and assets. Under Kathy’s diligent management, 87 cents of each dollar given to the foundation went directly to UN programs like children’s health efforts, decreasing child mortality, enhancing programs that empower women and girls, sustainability and climate change endeavors. Likewise, she and a small team launched GivingTuesday, a movement of global generosity that’s inspired hundreds of millions to give! She is a longtime philanthropist and advocate of leadership for the benefit of others. When she’s not changing the world, she likes zipping around it on her motorcycle...what a #BossBabe!

Selena Gomez, Singer, Actress and Producer

“Rare” is Selena Gomez’s favorite word. Maybe you already knew that, because it was the title of her third full-length album, and the word she tattooed on her neck in a small but legible font, as well as the name of her beauty line that launched last year. For her, the word is special because it adds a positive connotation to the things that make each person unique. It’s a small but powerful celebration of differences. And Selena Gomez has no problem with sharing things that may separate her from her Hollywood counterparts. In addition to being an amazing musician and entertainer, she is an advocate of transparency. Her personal struggles with mental health and lifelong struggle with Lupus (and the medical complications that often accompany it) have given her a passion for including all people of all backgrounds and abilities. Her expansive platform is educational and inclusive and invites people to engage and learn about disabilities. When designing her makeup brand, Rare Beauty, Selena made sure to include 48 shades of concealer and disability-friendly packaging. Selena is also a longtime supporter of charity efforts as evidenced in her role as the youngest ever GoodwillAmbassador for UNICEF. She is not only successful and fashionable, but kind and proud to be herself. 

Tu Youyou, Chinese Pharmaceutical Chemist & Malariologist 

Tu Youyou’s persistence, innovation, and world changing discovery make her a remarkable role model—especially for women in STEM. Tu Youyou was born in a small town in Eastern China and had a deep understanding of traditional Chinese medical remedies. After graduating from Peking University in 1955, Tu went on to work at the Traditional Academy of Chinese Medicine. During the Vietnam war, Tu headed a research team tasked with researching potential antidotes to malaria. She used her depth of knowledge of Chinese remedies to extract a certain compound from a wormwood plant, which she believed would combat the disease. It didn’t take long to see that she was right; she had discovered the first cure for malaria. In the early 2000s the World Health Organization adopted Tu’s cure and has used it to cure millions. Tu’s perseverance is inspiring. When she was a high school student she contracted symptomatic tuberculosis. Rather than derailing her studies, it motivated her decision to study medicine. Tu wasn’t the first scientist to research potential malaria treatments; it’s estimated that scientists around the globe had over 240,000 total failed attempts to find treatments. Nevertheless, Tu and her team planned to sample 2,000 natural remedies and failed 640 times before finding success. She broke ground as the first woman in the People’s Republic of China to earn a Nobel Prize and teaches us to keep working towards our goals, despite failures.  

Lori Greiner, Inventor, Entrepreneur, and TV Personality 

Most people recognize Lori Greiner from the four-time Emmy award winning TV show, Shark Tank. While her keen judgement and entrepreneurial instincts have made her a household name and a fan-favorite on the show, Lori Greiner has been innovating and inventing for years. Way before joining her fellow Sharks, Lori made and sold jewelry as a college student. This small business gave her the skills she needed to launch her first big idea after college: a jewelry box that keeps all your items properly organized. Boom! After appearing on TV and selling thousands of her jewelry boxes in minutes, she seemed to have one wildly successful idea after the next! Also known as the Queen of QVC, Lori Greiner has brought over 800 products to market and owns over 120 patents over her career. Yet Lori believes, "If you’re lucky enough to be successful, I believe you have a responsibility to give back." Beyond her highly successful career as an inventor and entrepreneur, Lori is inspirational for her contributions to Big Brothers, Big Sisters (BBBS) of Greater Los Angeles. BBBS is a nationwide nonprofit that empowers disadvantaged youths by pairing them with supportive, caring mentors. While BBBS is needed around the country, its presence is particularly impactful in Los Angeles County, where 25.3% of children live below the poverty line. Lori has worked with numerous young women through this program, and even provided her mentees with generous college scholarships, putting her philosophy of ‘giving back’ into action!

Oprah Winfrey, American Talk Show Host, TV Producer, Actress, Author, and Philanthropist 

Oprah Winfrey is an icon--and not just because she has run the most successful talk show on daytime TV for over two decades, or because her magazine has millions of subscribers, or her Instagram has 19 million followers, or her net worth exceeds $3 billion. Oprah is an inspiration because she is tenacious, resilient, talented, and kind. Oprah Gail Winfrey was born in 1954 to a teenage mother on a small farm in Mississippi. Her parents were poor and separated shortly after she was born. Her childhood was transitory and she was sexually abused as a preteen. When she moved in with her father as a teenager, her life regained some structure and she studied fastidiously. She also developed a knack for public speaking, which ultimately landed her a full-ride scholarship to Tennessee State University. From there, Oprah went to work for CBS, WJZ-TV, and Chicago A.M. and eventually earned a large enough following to launch her own talk show. Since The Oprah Winfrey Show has been on air, Oprah has donated over $400 million to education, created her own foundation, and has been ranked as one of the top 50 most Generous People in the World. Specifically, her partnership with Pathways to College has enabled over 4,000 students to gain degrees. She quickly and generously responds to natural disasters around the globe, and she publicly advocates for equality in the workplace through the Time’s Up campaign. Oprah even launched a leadership academy for underprivileged girls where she pays room, board, and tuition for each student. Most recently, she created a coronavirus relief fund, donating millions to multiple food pantries and Boys & Girls Clubs throughout the country. Oprah’s giving is both thoughtful and reflexive, showing that her character is generous and caring. 

How You Inspire Others

Though we chose to highlight these five specific female role models, there are so many women who are pillars in their family, business, community, and our world. Each is a role model in her own way, including you! AngeLink believes in the power of role models and pursuit of women empowerment. Through its platform, AngeLink encourages everyone to be a hero and lend a helping hand to others in need. We are building a community of women to better the world.