Jane Lu (the founder and CEO of this company), is a force to be reckoned with. Running a successful company at the ripe age of 30, Jane has achieved more in the last 6-years than most people will achieve in a lifetime. Unlike many successful people, Jane (to a certain extent, there are some 2am emails) has a pretty good sense of work life balance. She works hard but also parties hard with her oodles of friends, while also enjoying downtime with her longtime boyfriend at their home in Balmain with her family who she’s incredibly close with. It’s for reasons like this (above and beyond owning a company with a 2.5M social following and sitting on a 30M run-rate) that myself and many women around the world look at Jane as an inspiration. But in light of International Women’s Day, this Wednesday the 8th of March, I asked Miss Lu herself who SHE looks up to…
Sara Blakely – Spanx Founder
Sara initially came up with the idea for Spanx while wearing traditional hosiery as she liked the way that the control-top model eliminated panty lines and made her body appear firmer. So after many prototypes, research and hard work, Spanx was born. Spanx is a perfect example of branding, as even though there are competitors doing similar styles, people always refer to the garments as ‘Spanx’, no matter the brand. I really respect that she’s a self-made billionaire and has no external funding, while also donating more than half her wealth to charities and supporting other women entrepreneurs.
Ellie Cole – Australian Paralympian
I met this absolute delight at the Cosmo awards last year, and at only 25 years old, I look up to Ellie as SUCH an inspiration. Australian Paralympic swimmer and wheelchair basketball player, she hasn’t let her amputated leg hold her back at all. In fact, she’s thrived! She has more medals than most women shoes, and with a world record under her belt, she’s one of the most inspiring Australians around.
What title would you give Beyonce anyway? One of the (if not the) most influential women in the world, Beyonce has changed the landscape for women of colour, while also bringing curves back into the spotlight in celebration of all women of all shapes and sizes. I have so many favourite Bey songs that inspire me to be a better, stronger person. As a business woman, she leads the pack, who else has the balls to just drop albums or music videos with no advertising or premeditated build up? Now THAT is one hell of a powerful brand.
Rhiannon Tracey – The Next Step (TNS) Founder
At only 21, I can’t even fathom how Rhiannon dealt with being told she wouldn’t walk again. After diving into a pool in Bali, she suffered extensive spinal injuries that haven’t held her back in the slightest. Rhiannon is living proof of the limitless potential of the human spirit thanks to her tenacious spirit. Although several doctors told her she wouldn’t drive or walk again, she’s proven them wrong and can now walk short distances with crutches, and can drive her modified RAV4. GO GIRL!
Mia Freedman – Mamamia Founder & Content Director
Feminist, activist, writer, publisher and champion of women, Mia is one of the most influential women in Australia. She tackles the tough issues on Mamamia every week, which is a woman’s site that refuses to post salacious gossip or pap pics (something I’m all for). I also love listening to her wealth of knowledge across her podcast network, they’re so interesting and one of my favourite things to listen to at the gym or on my way to work in the morning.
Sheryl Sandberg – COO Of Facebook & Author of Lean In
I don’t know many women who are passionate about their careers that haven’t read ‘Lean In’, it is such a great and important read. Sheryl has taken Facebook to new strengths of success and is proof that no business is successful without the right team members. As a woman in business, I try and encourage all my female employees to ‘lean in’ to their position and careers,which is why we offer flexible working hours so that it’s possible to have a successful career without compromising your personal life and family.
Meryl Streep – Actress
She’s so talented and just seems like a really nice lass, you know! She’s had a career spanning four decades in an industry that prefers young, skinny chicks and she’s been nominated for more Academy Awards than any other actor. EVER. I really respect that although she’s a ‘star’, she’s really stayed out of the spotlight, proving that acting to her is her passion and her craft, not just something she does for the money or fame.
Other women I find super inspiring are Lisa Wilkinson. Kayla Itsines, Michelle Obama, Hilary Clinton, J.K Rowling, Jo Horgan, Serena Williams and Lady Gaga.
The main thing I want young girls to absorb this International Woman’s Day is that they shouldn’t be looking up to reality TV stars as a success, the women in this list are the epitome of success in so many different facets. These are the faces we want our young girls to look to for inspiration.