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#WomanCrushWednesday: TEDWomen Edition

By Jessica Ruby on June 3, 2015 in TED-Ed Lessons


If you aren’t privy to the latest social media hashtag #WCW, it stands for Woman Crush Wednesday — a weekly opportunity to give a shoutout to one of the awesome, inspiring women in your life. At TEDWomen 2015, we asked a handful of speakers and attendees to give a quick shoutout to their girl crush of the week.

The majority of people we asked were inspired by various public figures, from artists to politicians and everyone in between.

“Jill Soloway. I’m obsessed with Transparent.” – Sasha Bronner, Senior Los Angeles Editor, The Huffington Post

“Sally Ride [the first American woman in space]. I’m so jealous of anyone who got to meet her, and she was supposedly also very nice. And Georgia O’Keefe. I just love the way she lived her life.” – Liz San Miguel, RF Engineer/Manager, Northrop Grumman Corp

“I love Michelle Obama. I’ve always wanted to hear more from her, so lately I’ve loved hearing about her experiences as a black woman in leadership. She’s the baddest woman in the game, but also the smartest.” – Jamia Wilson, Executive Director, Women, Action & the Media, TEDWomen Host

“Sandra Bernhard is a no-nonsense badass. And Elizabeth Bennett [of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice] is so saucy.” – Doug Chilcott, Creative Director, TED Conferences

“Honestly, J.K. Rowling. When I was dealing with PTSD and sexual abuse, and I was going in and out of treatment centers, the Harry Potter [books] came out as I was going through treatment. Harry Potter deals with PTSD and overcoming adversity in the whole series, and I read it and it helped me get through some very difficult times when people were hurting me.  So, thank you, J.K. Rowling, for sharing that.” – Alix Generous, Student, Co-owner, AutismSees, TEDWomen Speaker

“I really look up to Sheryl Sandberg. I think she should run for office. She’s one of the few women that’s been able to bridge being a woman and being seen as a bitch. She owns her leadership, while still being very feminine.” – Holly Liu, Founder, Chief Development Officer, Kabam

“Senator [Elizabeth] Warren.” – Robin Sparkman, CEO, Storycorps

“Nan Goldin. Her work inspired me to become a photographer.” – Molly DeCoudreaux, Photgrapher, Molly DeCoudreaux Photography

“[Relationship therapist and TED Speaker] Esther Perel — for the amazing career she has created for herself while maintaining life balance, and for her eloquence, openness, confidence, intelligence, generosity, strong values, and honesty. I learned so much from her in the lead up to TED2015.” - Cloe Shasha, Associate Content Producer, TED Conferences

“There are several women. One is a woman that I really got to be acquainted and work with, her name is Ruth Messinger. She is the head of the American Jewish World Service. She is a fantastic, strong woman, and she’s just so powerful, so outspoken. I use her as a role model most of the time. I also really look up to Mrs. [Hillary] Clinton and Mrs. [Laura] Bush. I think that Mrs. Clinton has been very outspoken for women’s rights, and Mrs. Bush has been outspoken for education.” – Sakena Yacoobi, Founder and Executive Director, Afghan Institute of Learning, TEDWomen Speaker

Two attendees were particularly struck by speakers at the conference.

“I admire the woman who just spoke [TED Speaker Nancy Lublin]. That was my favorite talk so far. I have a total crush on her, and I’m gonna find her later.” – Lindsey Anderson, Acting Director, Policy & Dosctrine, FEMA Response

“Because I’ve just seen her recently: Jane Fonda.” – Penny Wirsing, Director of Emerging Initiatives, Society of Women Engineers

A few looked up to women who’d made an impact on them personally or professionally.

“[Fellow TED Women attendee] Lisa Gregorian. I met her at TEDWomen 2010 at a time when I was just starting my organization, and she encouraged me at a lunch break. She’s been a great supporter of our work. It was a 15 minute lunch that turned into a 5 year relationship of support.” – Yawa Hansen-Quao, Founder, Leading Ladies’ Network

“Medical Doctor Angelina Faoro, a neurologist from Venezuela.” – Norys Figuera, Epilepsy Visionary, Epileptically Entrepreneur

“The woman I’m crushing on is [Executive Producer of TED Media] June Cohen … because she’s June Cohen. She takes the time to speak to everyone at conferences and in the office, ​and she is always sincere. I can’t think of a better woman to have as a great example of an extremely successful professional who is also extremely nice.” – Amanda Ellis, Community Development & Engagement Manager, TEDx

“My COO Aria Finger makes me a lot better. She just makes me a better person. She’s inherently positive. I’m not sure I was for a long time, and then I met her. She’s just happy all the time; she sees the glass half full.” – Nancy Lublin, CEO, and TEDWomen Speaker

And not surprisingly, many attendees said that the most crush-worthy woman in their lives were their mothers.

“My mom. She was absolutely brave when Burma opened up. She went out there on her own.” – Maya Brahmam, Senior Communications Officer, World Bank

“My mother. Her sense of inner peace through adversity. She overcame breast cancer in such a private and graceful manner.” – Allyson Hobbie, Senior Business Analyst, Vanderbilt

“I continue to look up to all the women in my family. I am very fortunate to have met my great grandmother and grandmother. They lived long lives and were healthy and prosperous. They struggled and made big sacrifices that have allowed us to even be in this space now. I hope my legacy is as strong as theirs. They didn’t have money or power but strength and perseverance. I am honored to know them, and I always want to share the stories of my bloodline. I know these women. If I had known about Storycorps, I would’ve been doing it with my family.” – Angela Patton, CEO, Girls for a Change

“My mom. I’m inspired to be like her.” – Ashley Prendergast, Project Manager, VMware

“Nobody on this planet could ever inspire me more than my mama. Her name was Mona Cliatt. She’s not here anymore. I just don’t know how she did it. How did she send me and my three sisters to school? How did she make us go to school? She always worked. She was low income, but she always worked. And my father was not there. But she had so much love. She was the most incredible woman I’ve ever met in my life. And really, that saved me. God gave me her.” – Linda Cliatt-Wayman, Principal, Strawberry Mansion High School, TEDWomen Speaker

Who’s your #WomanCrushWednesday? Let us know in the comments!