These top female millennials are making an impact in their daily lives. If you ever felt stuck or unsure which direction you want to go in, check out what these women are doing to inspire others around them. You might just get the spark for your next big idea that will change the world!
Read their bios and then make a list of the top three you liked the best. Notice any common elements? Compare it to our infographic at the bottom of this post and see how many qualities you share with these millennial women.
You don’t have to have 100,000 followers or make millions of dollars to create lasting change. Wondering what you do need? It all starts with your inner voice (a positive one!) that says “If I don’t do this big idea…then what?” Never look back — keep your eyes facing forward and You WILL be your own Superstar!
1. Lauren Lopez, 30 – Actress
Lauren Lopez, an actress, singer, dancer, and writer graduated from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 2009. Lopez gained a huge fan base when she played Draco Malfoy in the 2009 Starkid Production of A Very Potter Musical. Currently she is the star of Firebringer an original Starkid production and knocks it out of the park every show!
Together with fellow Starkid actors Julia Albain, Denise Donovan, and Jaime Lyn Beatty Lopez created a group called Glow “in order to create community and inspire girls and women to be the best that they could.” They toured and met with female fans to inspire them to believe in themselves.
Lopez shares her passion about empowering young people to realize their own potential, especially in the arts by inspiring her more than 90,000 fans on Twitter. She has a natural ability to make everyone in the audience laugh until they cry and has built up a loyal following of fans who travel from around the world to see her perform.
2. Kaley Cuoco, 30 – Actress
Kaley Cuoco grew up modeling and starring in commercials. Cuoco made a few appearances on TV shows before taking the spotlight at a young age when she starred in 8 Simple Rules. Then in 2007 she starred as Penny on Big Bang Theory, which has had a lot of success and made $1 million an episode!
3. Lena Dunham, 30 – Actress, Writer, Director
Lena Dunham studied creative writing at Oberlin College with plans to be a poet. Dunham got her start in film when she produced a short film titled, “Tiny Furniture” with a budget of $45,000 and it took 18 days to make. She won the South by Southwest Film Festival’s Best Narrative Feature award. It led to her to land the series on HBO called Girls. She directs, writes and stars in the series and earned several Emmy nominations and two Golden Globes. Dunham’s success has only just begun!
4. Veronica Roth, 27 -Author of Divergent series
Veronica Roth is author of bestselling book Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant and Four. She writes books for young adults and studied creative writing at Northwestern University. Her books became a huge success after being released in 2011 and were turned into movies which continue to be blockbusters at the box office.
5. Shana Knizhnik, 27 – Author and Attorney
Shana Knizhnik knows the importance of finding life’s balance starting in the summer of 2013 she was both in law school and curated the now well-known Notorious R.B.G. Tumblr, a meme-filled forum for fans of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Knizhnik turned the contents of the forum into a book published in 2015.
In addition to her many activities, Knizhnik served as a co-chair of the Coalition for Law and Representation and a political action co-chair for OUTLaw LGBTQ Students’ Association. She has plans to clerk for Judge Dolores Sloviter of the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia.
6. Jessica Scorpio, 28 – Founder and VP of Marketing of Getaround
In 2009, Google co-founder, Larry Page, presented a challenge to a group of 40 students at Singularity University to come up with an idea that could impact 1 billion people. Inspired, Jessica Scorpio designed a business to help people share their cars. Since 92% of the time cars sit in a spot unused, Scorpio thought there was a way to tap into this resource. After she finished the program challenge she launched her idea called Getaround. It allows people to rent cars from their neighbors for short periods of time. It helps the owners make money and the renters save money. In fact, as it turns out, the program is even helping students pay off their loans.
7. & 8. Danielle Weisberg, 29 and Carly Zakin, 29 – Cofounders of The Skimm
Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin were roommates after college and developed a news source for busy people to get the scoop on everything from politics to celebrities. They wanted to give people a way to easily access news on the go so they could stay informed on what was going on around them. Sharing their interest in news and after working for various news companies, Weisberg and Zakin went out on their own and created The Skimm. This news format is a clever way to deliver high-level news in an easy to digest format.
9. Ashley Graham, 28 – Plus Size Model
Ashley Graham is from Lincoln Nebraska and was discovered in a mall at age 12. She signed with an international modeling agency at age 13. Graham has worked in editorial, catalogue, runway, commercial, television and film. She has many ground breaking accomplishments, including being the first plus-sized model to appear in an ad in Sport’s Illustrated. Graham has also collaborated with Canadian Brand Addition Elle on her own line of plus size lingerie. She is a role model and body activist who speaks at high schools and girls’ groups about body image, self-acceptance, and female empowerment.
10. Michelle Phan, 29 – Creator of ipsy
Michelle Phan used YouTube to grow a community of 7.5 million fans and 1 billion downloads from people who love her makeup tips and tutorials. Phan founded one of the world’s largest and most passionate online beauty community, ipsy. The company sends out a glam bag every month with samples of different beauty products individualized for each person based on their preferences. They have over 1 million subscribers.
11. Bethany Mota, 20 – YouTube star
Bethany Mota has over 7 million YouTube subscribers on her channel, MacBarbie07. Mota video blogs tutorials and tips for beauty products. She even launched her own clothing line and room décor line with Aeropostale starting in 2013. She also has a line with Forever21 and JCPenny. Mota has written articles featured in magazines like Teen Vogue. At 20 years old, she has a net worth of $3 million dollars and growing!
12. Alison Dorsey, 29 – Senior Manager of City and State Programs, LinkedIn
Alison Dorsey had a career with two startups before she joined LinkedIn. Dorsey developed a program and helped more than 100,000 veterans be connected into the 7 million people network. In addition, she is implementing a program to help train workers for new job opportunities.
13. & 14. Eimear O’Carroll, 26 & Rhona Togher, 25 – Restored Hearing
Eimear O’Carroll and Rhona Togher created a product to help people that suffer from tinnitus called Restored Hearing. After meeting in school, their company was inspired from a Young Scientist project. Many people suffer from hearing loss due to inadequate protection and the company is launching products that offer better insulation using smart materials that only blocks out the loud decibels, but not the ability to communicate.
15. Niamh O’Neill, 30
Getting an early start in her career, Niamh O’Neil won ‘2013 Fashion Designer of the Year’ at the Irish Fashion Innovation Awards. Her experience spans New York and Paris for major international design houses as a graduate of NCAD. She started her own company in 2012. She has her sights on expanding into the UK soon with womenswear that provides dressy contemporary apparel
16. Lauren Conrad, 29 – Fashion designer
Best known for her Reality TV show Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County and The Hills, Laura Conrad has been a fashion designer for the past 5 years. She started her career creating accessories for Kohl’s. Conrad has an upscale line Paper Crown. Her online store The Little Market that has handmade pieces made by women.
17. Kelechi Anyadiegwu, 26 – Founder, Zuvaa
After not being able to find fashionable African-inspired fashion, Kelechi Anyadiegwu, a Nigerian American entrepreneur, decided to create an e-commerce solution. Filling a void for women looking for unique clothing from Africa, Anyadiegwu’s company Zuvaa offers designers and customers alike a place to sell and make purchases.
18. & 19. Amanda Curtis, 28 Gemma Sole, 28 – Cofounder, Nineteenth Amendment Fashion
Solving one of the big challenges of emerging designers — how to sell their lines — Amanda Curtis and Gemma Sole co-founded Nineteenth Amendment Fashion. It is a marketplace where shoppers can find a designer they like and partake in a 19-day pre-sale. The clothes are custom made in only 4 weeks. This startup was part of the Fashion Tech lab in New York where they only produce what sells.
20. Allie LaForce, 28 – CBS Sports Reporter
Allie LaForce has accomplished a lot being valedictorian of her high school, Miss Teen USA in 2005 and playing basketball at Ohio University. She has been covering sporting events that include March Madness, NFL playoffs and SEC football. In 2011 at Fox8 Cleveland (her first job after college) she won an Emmy for a high school football show. LaForce started working on the sidelines for the NCAA Tournament in 2013.
21. Cassie Petrey, 29 – Cofounder, Crowd Surf
Cassie Petrey got her start while still in college serving stars like Britney Spears and Steven Tyler. In a short time, Petrey has grown her company Crowd Surf into a 35 person organization with four offices and an incredible 800 million followers.
22. Amani Al-Khatahtbeh, 24 – Founder of Muslim Girl
Giving voice to Muslim women, Amani Al-Khatahtbeh founded MuslimGirl.net. She is an activist, writer, and spoken word artist studying political science and Middle Eastern studies. She shares her passion for women’s issues, Islam and the Arab World when she speaks at conferences and events. Al-Khatahtbeh has a large following on Twitter and Facebook.
23. Emma Watson, 26 – Actress
Emma Charlotte Duerre Watson is a British actress, model and activist at the U.N. She became one of the best-known young actresses for her portrayal of the beloved Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter film series, where she appeared in all 8 films from 2001 to 2011. She attended both Brown University and Worcester College, Oxford and graduated from Brown in 2014.
Watson’s career spans many films, however, one of her greatest achievements is from her service. She was appointed as a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador and helped launch the UN Women campaign HeForShe, which calls for men to advocate gender equality. Check out our featured blog post about Emma Watson in 2015
24. Malala Yousafzai, 19 – Activist
Malala Yousafzai defied the Taliban in Pakistan and became a strong education advocate for girls at a very young age. She was brutally shot in the head by a Taliban gunman in 2012, however, she survived and became the youngest ever to win the Nobel Peace Prize.
“If I win Nobel Peace Prize, it would be a great opportunity for me, but if I don’t get it, it’s not important because my goal is not to get Nobel Peace Prize, my goal is to get peace and my goal is to see the education of every child.”
She continues her fight and stays true to her message only meeting with world leaders if the conversation is focused on access to education for all children. Check out our featured blogpost of Malala Yousafzai makes a difference in the world.
25. Marcela Sapone, 29 – Entrepreneur, CEO and Co-Founder Hello Alfred
Marcela Sapone used her tech background to become a co-founder in 2014 of the butler service Hello Alfred. For only $32 a week an “Alfred” will organize your home and provide errands as well as tidy up services. “We want you to spend your time on the things that really are meaningful to you,” says Sapone. The service is in New York City and Boston with $12.5 million in VC investment.
Hello Alfred gave Sapone and her partner Jessica Beck the opportunity to be the first women to win the coveted TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco.
26. Tyler Haney, 27 – Entrepreneur, Founder Outdoor Voices
Tyler Haney loved sports growing up and played basketball, ran cross-country and almost went to college for sports. Instead she focused on her other passion, fashion, and created a line of clothing that integrated her love of being active: Outdoor Voices. The name comes from “use your indoor voice,” Haney says.
After going to 70 VC investors, Haney and her team succeeded in landing $8 million in venture capital. One thing Haney can attribute to her success: “I don’t have experience on my side, but I have persistence.”
Food & Drink
27. Annie Lawless, 28 – Co-Founder, Suja Juice
Annie Lawless tapped into the new popularity of consumers looking to have a healthy drink and created Suja Juice in 2012. The company has grown to be $300 million with investors like Coca-Cola and Goldman Sachs infusing $150 million for 50% equity in the company. Lawless says “People are realizing that what we’ve been consuming has been making us fat and sick.” Juicing has “blown up” in the last five years, she continues. “Now people are wondering, ‘How can we make it even more nutritious and more convenient to get all these unique ingredients in our bodies?’”
28. Jewel Burks, 26 – Co-Founder, Partpic
Jewel Burks started her career at Google and had a strong tech background. She left that position to return home and be with her family when her grandmother became ill with breast cancer. While there, she joined a large manufacturing company that was a U.S. industrial parts distributor.
Burks quickly saw an opportunity to help make finding the right replacement parts easier. Burks said “I wanted to create a better way.” Helping customers use a smartphone to search for any type of part — automotive to drills, and order it quickly, Burks co-founded Partpic with co-founder Jason Crain also a former Googler.
29. Katelyn O’Shaughnessy, 29 CEO and Founder, TripScope
Katelyn O’Shaughnessy used her experience as a travel agent to create Triscope in 2013. In addition to creating a platform that connects live travel agents with travelers, she also is the Entrepreneur in Residence at Cornell University Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship. In addition, she is the National Director of Millennials in Travel helping young travelers.
30. Jessica Hendricks, 27 – Founder, The Brave Collection
After teaching in Cambodia, Jessica Hendricks was inspired to help make a big change by founding a company to help Cambodian workers who are disabled and disadvantaged. Her company, The Brave Collection, sells handmade jewelry made by mostly women. Not only is Hendricks helping these women in need, the company donates 10% of its sales to help stop human trafficking.
31. Sarahi Espinoza Salamanca, 26 – Founder, DREAMers RoadMap
Sarahi Espinoza Salamanca experienced firsthand what it is like to be an undocumented student from Mexico with no way to go to college. When she finished high school in California, Salamanca had no idea how or where she could find money to go to college since many loans don’t apply for undocumented students. Inspired to find a solution she is launching an app, Dreamers Road Map, to help provide scholarships for the 2.1 million students who are undocumented living in the U.S.
32. Jerelyn Rodriguez, 26 – Cofounder, The Knowledge House
Seeing the need to help youth in disadvantaged areas, Jerelyn Rodriguez used her background in STEM to launch Knowledge House in her home neighborhood, the South Bronx, helping students who are at risk learn skills in tech to be able to find jobs. Currently there are 300 students engaged in 5 locations.
The Knowledge House is building a STEM education-to-jobs pipeline in underserved neighborhoods, and has served some 300 young people in five program sites.
33. Anisa Mirza, 28, Co-founder – Giveffect
Anisa Mirza is the co-founder of the Giveffect, a software platform to help take some of the heavy lifting of running a non-profit out of the day-to-day operation. Since 2015, the company has included clients like Habitat for Humanity, United Way and Big Brothers and Big Sisters.
Jobs and Careers
34. Stacey Ferreira, 23, – CEO, Forrge
Stacey Ferreira got her start as a young entrepreneur in high school with a company called MySocialCloud, which she sold to Reputation.com. Her recent company, Forrge, is a company that easily pairs workers with jobs — helping talent and employers find each other. Forrge is a modern hiring agency helping hourly and part-time workers in retail, restaurant and hospitality industries.
Ferreira has written a book “2 Billion under 20” and did a TEDx talk titled “Millennials Are Screwed.” Helping Millennials find what they love is her passion-check it out below.
Here is our list of common traits these Millennial women share. You have some of these too! Share with us what traits you like best and who is your favorite in our top list below.