Powerful Women’s Equality Day Speakers for an Unforgettable Event

Women’s Equality Day is celebrated on August 26. This historic day commemorates the 1920 certification of the 19th Amendment of the Constitution which granted women the right to vote. Women’s Equality Day is about advocating for gender equality in all aspects of life. Whether through closing the pay gap, advocating for gender equity in the workplace, increasing representation, or otherwise, these dauntless women fight to make their voices heard every day. This Women’s Equality Day, celebrate the triumphs of women past, present, and future with a powerful female speaker, no matter your event.

Women in Business

Women in business play a big role in leveling out the playing field in corporate settings. Women are continuing to rise to the top of formerly male-dominated industries, where their voices are able to make the most difference and enact actionable change towards increased diversity and inclusivity. These featured women in business deliver powerful speeches and interesting perspectives on the state of women’s equality in the workplace.

Barbara Corcoran

Real Estate Entrepreneur, Angel Investor, Author & Co-Host of “Shark Tank”

Barbara Corcoran is founder of The Corcoran Group and a Shark on ABC’s “Shark Tank”. She is a frequent small business and real estate contributor on every major network. Corcoran has been an investor/Shark for the past nine seasons on ABC’s four-time Emmy award winning show, “Shark Tank.” As one of the “Sharks,” Corcoran has ponied up her own money and invested in over 80 businesses to date, competing to make those deals for all to see, then shepherding them to success.

Her other credentials include straight D’s in high school and college and 20 jobs by the time she turned 23. It was her next job that would make her one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the country: She borrowed $1,000 and quit her job as a waitress to start a tiny real estate company in New York City. The Corcoran Group grew to become one of the largest and best-known brand in the brokerage business.

Corcoran is the author of the best seller “Shark Tales: How I Turned $1,000 into a Billion Dollar Business!” which takes you behind the scenes of her life and business, and her ‘as seen on TV’ venture capitalism. Barbara is famously brash and blunt, bold and courageous, and a brilliant identifier of opportunity and talent (often invisible to others). She is the host of the top business podcast “Business Unusual with Barbara Corcoran.”

Patty McCord

Expert Human Resources Consultant, Author & Former Chief Talent Officer at Netflix

Patty McCord is a human resources (HR) consultant and executive. From her many years working with companies that range from very large global tech companies to small very small innovative start-ups, McCord saw first-hand how companies can become slow and complacent and employees become cynics and whiners. Her background includes staffing, diversity, communications, and international human resources positions.

McCord spent 14 years at Netflix as chief talent officer experimenting with new ways to work and helping create the Netflix Culture Deck. From abolishing performance reviews to challenging the need for policies, McCord believes people come to work as fully formed adults with a desire to make an impact and be proud of what they do and she’s on a mission to spread the word that we can do this differently. served of Netflix for fourteen years

McCord continues to coach and advises a small group of companies and entrepreneurs on culture and leadership. She is frequently in the media with interviews and articles from Harvard Business Review, NPR, Fast Company and The Wall Street Journal. She speaks at CEO Forums, Business schools and for large groups around the world. McCord brings the Silicon Valley concepts of fresh ideas and innovation and applies them to rethinking the way we work. She challenges norms and invites us to reconsider the idea of “best practices.” McCord’s book, “Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility,” was published in January of 2018.

Women’s Equality Activists

Some women have made a career off of integrating their experiences as women into impactful stories calling for gender equality. These #MeToo and Time’s Up advocates address the unfair and often unseen harassment that takes place in today’s society. They take action through protests, speaking, and rallies that call for accountability for women who have faced unfair treatment. 

Tina Tchen

President & CEO of the “Time’s Up” Legal Defense Fund; Former Chief of Staff to Michelle Obama; Former Executive Director of the White House Council on Women & Girls

Tina Tchen serves as President and CEO of TIME’S UP Now and the TIME’S UP Foundation, overseeing the organizations’ strategic plans to change culture, companies, and laws in order to make work safe, fair, and dignified for women of all kinds. In 2017, Tchen co-founded the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund with Robbie Kaplan, Fatima Goss Graves, and Hilary Rosen; since then, the Fund has connected thousands of people to legal or PR support for sexual harassment across dozens of different industries.

A former assistant to President Barack Obama, executive director of the White House Council on Women and Girls, and chief of staff to First Lady Michelle Obama, Tchen has worked to advance gender equality, particularly for working women. At the White House, Tchen spearheaded the first-ever White House Summit on Working Families and helped form the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault.

Prior to taking the helm at TIME’S UP, Tchen was a lawyer specializing in workplace culture, advising companies on gender inequity, sexual harassment, and diversity. She has served on numerous strategic advisory boards for organizations, businesses, and nonprofits, including the United State of Women, which she continues to co-chair.

Bethanie Baynes

Founder, Breadwinning Women of the World; Director, Global Partnerships at Google; Host, Working Wife, Happy Life! Podcast

Bethanie Baynes began her career in the photo industry before joining Google in 2004. Throughout her 16 year career at Google she has spent 12 hour days reviewing ads, sold the first campaigns on YouTube, created, launched and (sometimes) sunsetted products, negotiated billions of dollars in first-of-their-kind deals and now oversees New Business Development, Revenue Management and Analytical Insights.

Baynes is a tireless women’s advocate and recognized leader on the topic of breadwinning women. She founded the Breadwinning Women’s community at Google which has grown to almost 2000 women globally in less than a year. Bethanie is the host of the podcast, “Working Wife, Happy Life!” launched in early 2020. She has been featured on CNBC, Refinery 29, Medium, Know Your Value “Women in the News”, Said Business School at Oxford University, Chief Mom Officer and on podcasts such as So Money with Farnoosh Torabi and the Ellevate Network. She was an official speaker at the Women’s March NYC 2020 and hosts many Talks At Google events for the Google sponsored YouTube channel on topics focused on furthering women in various industries including the film Equity, the film Egg, the documentary She Started It and the books The Myth of the Nice Girl and Fair Play.

Bethanie holds a BA in Human Services from Northeastern University in Boston, MA. She has attended several global leadership conferences for women including Women Transforming Leadership at Said Business School at Oxford University in the United Kingdom and the Women’s Director Development Program at Kellogg. She also enjoys world travel, made easier by her fluency in Spanish thanks to her two fun-filled “gap” years in Alicante, Spain.

Women in Entertainment

Female actors, influencers, authors, and other entertainers use their platforms to make big splashes in support of women’s equality. Their presence and insight in the entertainment industry allow for a more well-rounded and diverse approach to media. These creative female comedians, writers, and entertainers can provide an interesting perspective on women’s equality to your audience, pulling from their own experiences.

Luvvie Ajayi Jones

New York Times Best-Selling Author, Podcast Host & Professional Troublemaker

Luvvie Ajayi Jones is what happens when you blindly follow doing what you love without expectation. Born outside the box, her brilliance is the unifying theme for all her endeavors. The New York Times best-selling author, sought-after speaker, and podcast host thrives at the intersection of comedy, media and justice. Her debut book, “I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual,” hit the New York Times best-sellers list at #5 in its first week. Her second book, 

“Professional Troublemaker” was released in March 2021.

Selected for Oprah Winfrey’s inaugural Supersoul 100 list for “elevating humanity,” Jones is known for her trademark wit, warmth, perpetual truth-telling and troublemaking. Putting into words the thoughts few dare to say; the veteran blogger could give a masterclass on disruption. Internationally recognized, she has graced stages around the globe for some of the world’s most innovative companies and conferences, including Google, Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, MAKERS, SXSW and the Obama White House. Her wildly popular TED talk “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable” has over 5 million views and climbing.

Ajayi Jones has a culture blog, AwesomelyLuvvie.com, as well as her own social platform called LuvvNation, a safe space in a dumpster fire world, that is the go-to source for elevated conversations about all things buzzworthy and has over 14,000 members. She is also the co-creator of the #SharetheMicNow2020 global movement. The campaign amplified the voices of Black women by having white women with huge followings swap social media platforms with Black women. 

Yara Shahidi

Actress, Youth Advocate & Voting Activist

Yara Shahidi is an American actress, model, and activist. She gained recognition for her starring role as the oldest daughter Zoey Johnson on the sitcom “Black-ish” and its spin-off series “Grown-ish”. In December 2014, she won an NAACP Image Award in the category of ‘Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy’ for her performance in “Black-ish”. Her film credits include Imagine That, Smallfoot, and the lead role in The Sun Is Also a Star. Time included her on “The 30 Most Influential Teens of 2016” list.

Shahidi founded Eighteen x 18 with social news publisher NowThis, which is a platform to encourage her peers to vote for the very first time in our upcoming midterm elections. Her other organizations include Yara’s Club, a partnership with Young Women’s Leadership Network (YWLN) of New York, which provides online mentorship in hopes to end poverty through education.

In 2020, Shahidi launched production company 7th Sun together with her business partner and mother, Keri Shahidi, and signed a deal with ABC Studios to produce shows.

Women in STEM

The Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) field has consistently lacked gender equality in the past, but innovative women entrepreneurs and scientists are working to break the glass ceiling in these industries every day. These entrepreneurs and advocates inspire young women and girls to take an interest in STEM, and to let them know there is a place for them in the industry. These top women in STEM are here to educate and captivate your audience.

Kimberly Bryant

Founder & CEO of Black Girls CODE

Kimberly Bryant is the Founder and CEO of Black Girls CODE, a non-profit organization dedicated to “changing the face of technology” by introducing girls of color (ages 7-17) to the field of technology and computer science with a concentration on entrepreneurial concepts.

Prior to starting Black Girls CODE, Bryant enjoyed a successful 20+ year professional career in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries as an Engineering Manager in a series of technical leadership roles for various Fortune 50 companies such as Genentech, Merck, and Pfizer. Since 2011 Bryant has helped Black Girls CODE grow from a local grassroots initiative serving only the Bay Area, to an international organization with fourteen chapters across the U.S. and in Johannesburg, South Africa. Black Girls CODE has currently reached over 10,000 students and continues to grow and thrive.

Bryant has been nationally recognized as a thought leader for her work to increase opportunities for women and girls in the technology industry and has received numerous awards for her work with Black Girls CODE. She has been awarded the prestigious Jefferson Award for Community Service for her work to support communities in the Bay Area, named by Business Insider on its list of “The 25 Most Influential African-Americans in Technology’,” and named to The Root 100 and the Ebony Power 100 lists in 2013. Bryant has been named one of FastCompany’s Most Creative People. She was named a White House as a Champion of Change for her work in tech inclusion and for her focus on bridging the digital divide for girls of color and received an Ingenuity Award in Social Progress from the Smithsonian Institute. She has been identified as a thought leader in the area of tech inclusion and has spoken on the topic at conferences nationally and internationally such as the Personal Democracy Forum, TedX Kansas City, Platform Summit, Big Ideas Festival, South By Southwest (SXSW), and many others.

Tracy Chou

Advocate for Diversity & Inclusion Expert in the Tech Industry; CEO and Founder of Block Party

Tracy Chou is an entrepreneur, software engineer, and diversity advocate. She is currently exploring and advising a range of new projects across the startup world, civic tech and engagement, and diversity activism.

From 2011 to 2016, Chou was an engineer and tech lead at Pinterest. Before Pinterest, she worked at Quora, also as an early engineer there. Alongside her engineering career, Chou is most well-known for her work pushing for diversity in tech. In 2013, she helped to kick off the wave of tech company diversity data disclosures with a Github repository collecting numbers on women in engineering. She is now a founding member of Project Include, focused on driving solutions in the space. She has been honored as Forbes 30 under 30, MIT Technology Review 35 Innovators under 35, and Fast Company Most Creative People in Business.

Chou graduated from Stanford with an M.S. in Computer Science and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering, where she was a Terman Scholar and Mayfield Fellow and elected to Phi Beta Kappa and Tau Beta Pi. Tracy has spoken at SXSW, Google I/O, Techcrunch Disrupt, Venture Beat DevBeat, WIRED Business Conference, Bloomberg Tech Conference, Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, among other events.

Motivational Women

No matter the industry, women in any workplace have had to pioneer and hold their own when it comes to asserting equality for women. Through their experiences asserting themselves in male-dominated fields, sticking up for themselves and their beliefs, and perseverance to achieve once seemingly impossible goals, these motivational and inspirational women speakers are here to show you how they got to where they are and illustrate how to keep the fight going for future generations.

Amelia Earhart

President of the Fly With Amelia Foundation; One of the Youngest Women to Fly Around the World in a Single Engine Aircraft

Amelia Rose Earhart, namesake to the famed Amelia Mary Earhart who attempted to fly around the world in 1937, is one of the youngest women to fly around the world in a single engine aircraft. In 2014, Amelia flew a Pilatus PC12-NG 28,000 miles, crossing the equator six times, through fourteen countries to complete a circumnavigation of the globe. Her parents, sharing the Earhart surname, wanted their daughter to have a name that would inspire her to live a life of passion and adventure.

Earhart is the President of the Fly With Amelia Foundation, a non-profit organization that grants flight-training scholarships to young women, aged sixteen to eighteen. The Fly With Amelia Foundation also fosters aviation and aerospace opportunities for people of all ages through aviation-based educational STEM opportunities, in partnership with Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum in Denver, CO.

Earhart has been a passionate aviatrix since her first flight lesson at the age of twenty-one, a seeker of all things adventurous and is an accomplished public speaker, spending the last 8 years working as a television news anchor, covering breaking news, traffic and weather in Denver and Los Angeles. Amelia was given the Amelia Earhart Pioneering Achievement Award in 2013 and in 2014 was named by the Jaycees as one of the “Top Ten Young Americans”.

Billie Jean King

Former World #1 Professional Tennis Player & Sports Icon; Advocate for Women’s Equality

Billie Jean King is an American former World No. 1 professional tennis player. She is regarded as one of the greatest tennis players of all time. King won 39 Grand Slam titles: 12 in singles, 16 in women’s doubles, and 11 in mixed doubles. She won the singles title at the inaugural WTA Tour Championships. King is also the founder of the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative and the co-founder of World TeamTennis. She has long been a champion for social change and equality. King created new inroads for men and women in sports and beyond during her legendary career and she continues to make her mark today.

In 2006, her accomplishments both on and off the court were recognized when the home of the U. S. Open was renamed the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. In 2007, she co-founded GreenSlam, an organization dedicated to improving the greening of sports. Also in 2007, King was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, long after her professional tennis career ended. As diabetes was part of her family history, King was reportedly not shocked by her diagnosis. In 2008 King released her first book in more than 20 years. Titled “Pressure is a Privilege,” the book shares a collection of life lessons she has used throughout her life and career. In 1974 King co-founded World Team Tennis (WTT), the revolutionary professional tennis league. Now known as Mylan World TeamTennis, WTT showcases the best in professional team tennis competing for the King Trophy.

King is an advocate for gender equality and has long been a pioneer for equality and social justice. Since founding the Women’s Sports Foundation in 1974, Billie Jean has led the organization in its mission to advance the lives of girls and women through sports and physical activity. Since its inception, the Foundation has awarded more than $50 million in educational and cash grants to advance participation, research and leadership in sports and physical activity for girls and women.

While Women’s Equality Day is a great reminder, anytime is a great time to celebrate the strides of women working to create a more equal society. Starting with equal pay and inclusivity, and building from there, these powerful women advocates will instill motivation in your audience to fight for women’s equality, in the workplace and beyond.

Lucy Marr: Lucy is a freelance writer for AAE. A self-proclaimed pop culture addict, Lucy loves keeping up with current events, the entertainment industry and finding exciting new talent to feature in her articles. In her free time, she loves traveling, going to the movies, trying out new recipes, and doing improv comedy.
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