17 Kickass Women to Inspire You in 2017

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Role models and mentors can have a huge impact on our success when making changes. And since the new year is almost here, I’m sure a lot of you are thinking about making some BIG changes in the next 12 months.

(Like, maybe learning some fancy new tech skills? Skillcrush’s FREE 10-Day Coding Bootcamp is a great way to get started and see if tech is for you!)

As we close down 2016 and pave the way for 2017, I made a list of 17 women in tech, journalism, politics, TV, radio, and beyond I’ll be closely watching over the next year. Find out why:

1. Joyce Chang – Joyce Chang is the editor-in-chief of Self magazine and Conde Nast’s only Asian-American EIC. Chang came to the magazine amidst a PR fiasco and dwindling sales and rebranded Self’s image with a new, empowering vision.

2. Luvvie Ajayi – A fantastic writer, speaker, and general badass, I first heard about Luvvie on the Nerdette podcast (see #12 and 13). Her 2016 book “I’m Judging You: The Do Better Manual” should be on your 2017 reading list if you haven’t read it yet.

3. Marissa Shorenstein – Shorenstein has served as the President of AT&T for the state of New York since 2012. She’s also got an impressive career history spanning everything from politics to sports.

4. Lindy West – Lindy is a powerful writer, editor, and fat-acceptance activist. Her 2016 book “Shrill” is on every Best Books of 2016 list and boy does it pack a punch. Should be required reading for everyone.

5. Yoky Matsuoka – Matsuoka is the former VP of Technology at Nest. She left Nest in 2015 and moved on to Apple. About 2 weeks ago, reports confirmed that Matsuoka is leaving Apple after only 5 months. I can’t wait to see what this robotics expert and former Googler does next.

6. Issa Rae – Issa was one of the bright spots in the dumpster fire that was 2016. Read her book, watch her HBO show, follow her on Twitter, try to recreate her outfits. Issa is my new imaginary real BFF.

7. Ash Ambirge – This isn’t the first time we’re fan-girling on Ash here at Skillcrush. Spend 5 minutes on her website The Middle Finger Project and you’ll know why. Ash’s trademark whip smart business advice and tell it like it is tone paired with her own brand of support and encouragement strikes the perfect balance.

8. Mina Markham – Markham served as a Senior Software Engineer for the Hillary for America campaign. I’ve been amazed at Markham’s honesty, drive, and of course, talent, as she assumed quite a public position, and she’s been nothing short of inspiring over the past couple of years.

9. Jean Chatzky – Chatzky’s podcast HerMoney is one of my go-tos. From investing wisely to cutting costs, you’ll stop looking at money the way you used to and start making some big changes.

10. Rupi Kaur – Kaur is a performer, poet, writer, and spoken word artist. Her recent book of poems, Milk and Honey, was a gift I purchased for a friend, but couldn’t put down myself. I read it all the way through before I gifted it, making it the first book of poems I’ve read in easily a decade.

11. Brianna Wu – Wu is a very well-known game developer, programmer, engineer and founder. After being targeted by the Gamer Gate movement, Wu became a celebrated anti-online harassment activist. She recently announced her intention to run for Congress in 2018, confirming that she is in the beginning stages of assembling a campaign team.

12. And 13. Greta Johnsen and Tricia Bobeda – If you’re not subscribed to the Nerdette, do so immediately. You’re welcome. This already amazing podcast keeps getting better and better. From interviews with U.S Senators (Carol Moseley) to Game of Thrones recaps (with Peter Segal), Nerdette understands the multitudes of you and me and delivers every. Single. Week.

14. Lauren Duca – Duca is a freelance writer and editor who currently writes for Teen Vogue. Duca’s recent article put women’s magazines at the forefront of a discussion on the current state of journalism, with everyone applauding Teen Vogue’s transformation into a hard-hitting news outlet. Many failed to recognize however, that this type of coverage isn’t new for women’s magazines. In the words of Stanley Tucci in the Devil Wears Prada – “you have NO idea how many legends have walked these halls”. Women’s magazines are and have been a “shining beacon of hope” for many for quite some time.

15. Meredith Borders – As Managing Editor of and regular contributor to BirthMoviesDeath.com, Meredith has recently overseen a healthy expansion of diverse voices and content on the movies and entertainment hub. Outside of maintaining this successful and well-curated site, Meredith is also Social Director for Fantastic Fest, the destination film festival held in Austin yearly.

16. G Willow Wilson – A celebrated novelist, journalist, and comics writer for both DC and Marvel, G Willow Wilson has come to prominence most recently for her excellent work writing NYT Best selling series Ms. Marvel, starring young Pakistani-American teen Kamala Khan as the titular young hero for Marvel Comics.

17. Kamala Harris – Newly elected as a Senator in California, Kamala Harris has a heroic service record as both District Attorney and later Attorney General in her home state. She will serve on several committees, including Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Environment and Public Works, the Budget, and the Select Committee on Intelligence.

Ready to make some changes for 2017? Check out Skillcrush’s FREE 10-Day Coding Bootcamp to get a taste of what learning tech skills is all about and make sure tech is right for you.

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