In honor of International Women’s Day this month, we’re celebrating women who inspire us: three entrepreneurs and Tory Burch Foundation Fellows, plus three ambitious multi-hyphenates. Caitlin Ritt is founder and CEO of Bay Area-based Lotus Method, focused on pre- and postnatal fitness; Arielle Cassidy is a nutritionist and founder of New Jersey’s health-forward Juice House; Rosa Li is creator of Wildwonder, a line of sparkling juice and herbal tonics; Claire Prince is a boxer, trainer and manager at Manhattan’s Gotham Gym; Lily Miesmer both instructs at SoulCycle and writes for women’s shave brand Billie; and Bec Adams is a lawyer-turned-DJ and founder of all-woman music collective Les Filles. Without further ado, we chat with them about what it means to be a woman in their field of choice.
The woman who most inspires me…
Lily: Don't we automatically have to say our mother? My mother! She is talented, determined, creative, selfless. To know her is to love her.
Rosa: My grandma, who grew up and still lives in China. She grew up in an environment where girls didn't go to school. Not only did she pick up reading and writing on her own, send all her children to college and take up leadership positions in everything she did, but at the age of 90, she still bugs me to teach her English.
Claire: The breast cancer survivors group that I train on the weekends.
Bec: Sofia Coppola. She carries herself and her work with grace and dignity.
Arielle: My mother and sisters — without them I don't know where I would be! But on a corny level, I am genuinely astonished by what Billie Eilish has accomplished. She is so young and fearless, and I love everything she stands for.
Lily: I work at a successful startup that is almost entirely made up of women which is to say: I've reached the promised land. It's amazing to be around so many talented women at the top of their field.
Rosa: There are simply way fewer women, especially in leadership positions, in the industries I worked in, from investment banking as my first job to the consumer goods and beverage industry I work in now. But I see that as an opportunity: It makes me work harder.
Caitlin: As the leader of an all-female team, I think the biggest thing that empowers me is that I have the opportunity to inspire other women.
Claire: To be a woman in my field means to be consistently aware of the responsibility you have. It empowers me to know that my presence may eventually make room for others to follow suit.
Bec: Being a woman in music is my superpower. Females behind the scenes of the music industry are definitely outnumbered, and there is unfortunately a history of misogyny. In the beginning, trying to get my foot in the door as both a music supervisor and as a DJ was really challenging; I couldn't help but sometimes think if I were a man, would I be more readily given these jobs I desired? Experiencing some of these challenges was the core reason I started my female music company Les Filles.
Arielle: It's very powerful to know that your brand has a far reach and that your product is working or that people are turning to you to better their lives.
I embrace ambition by…
Lily: Here's a fun way to embrace ambition: Talk openly about what you want from your career. People aren't really used to hearing that from a woman.
Rosa: Doing things out of love, not fear.
Caitlin: Putting myself out there over and over again. Often I fail, often my idea or strategy doesn’t work, and I have to get up, dust myself off and do it all over again the next day. You have to embrace that you have something different to offer the world that no other person can.
Claire: I embrace ambition head-on. It’s a learning experience and gateway all at the same time.
Bec: It is the reason I wake up every day! The goalpost if you are an ambitious person is an ever-moving target. It is really important to take a step back now and again and see what you have achieved and give yourself a little hug. It can be really easy to run yourself in circles trying to achieve all the things you want and feel like nothing is ever enough!
Arielle: Believing in myself and knowing that one day I will far surpass every single dream I have ever had.