6 Mothers Who Inspire Us Daily
This Mother’s Day, we’re celebrating female leaders and entrepreneurs who’ve worked tirelessly to build successful careers and inspire others, all while raising their children to be strong and powerful like them. These six mothers and their stories inspire us daily.
As the Executive Vice President and COO of Seattle Credit Union, Tonita oversees most of the day to day operations of the organization, but even beyond the mechanics of the credit union, Tonita leads the organization’s corporate culture to provide a path for personal prosperity for its members, communities, and employees.
Tonita, an Air Force veteran, an MBA and mother of four, leads by example and gives herself freely to her community work. She currently serves on boards for non-profits like Southeast Effective Development (SEED), 21 Progress and social enterprises like Pioneer Human Services. She is a champion of Diversity and Inclusion and is a frequent public speaker on the subject.
In an interview with Seattle Business Magazine Tonita said, “I learned that there are going to be people who think that because I am a woman, I should not be in specific roles. Just because they believe it does not mean they are right, and my next step is to prove them wrong by working on me, instead of trying to change them. [I will] show them and anyone else that I am more than capable. Also, I don’t look at how feedback is delivered, but rather [I see] the feedback itself as an opportunity to improve my skill set.”
You most likely know Mariska Hargitay as Olivia Benson on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, which she has played since the show started in 1999. However, the mother of three stands out to us because she used her fame to found the Joyful Heart Foundation, an organization that provides support and resources for people who have been sexually abused. She has become a powerful voice advocating for legislation that protects survivors and prosecutes perpetrators. On starting the organization Mariska said, “I started getting fan mail from survivors who felt a connection to Olivia. In many of these letters, people would disclose their personal stories of abuse—some for the very first time. I remember getting the sense that many were living in isolation with so much shame, but the shame belonged to the perpetrators. I wanted to help find a way to help people reclaim their lives and live them with a renewed sense of possibility and hope. And that's what we work to do every day at Joyful Heart.”
Lindsay Nead is the founder and CEO of Parker Management, a leading talent agency specializing in the travel, home, lifestyle and wellness space. In just three years, Lindsay has built a talent roster boasting more than 20 million followers spanning digital creators, influencers, models, lifestyle and wellness experts.
Flourishing for 10 years in the digital and advertising space at a traditional talent agency, Lindsay identified a need in the fast-growing influencer marketing space for closer agency and talent relationships, as well as the need to branch out from traditional talent. Under her leadership, Parker Management has tripled in size since it was founded in 2017, boasting 120% year-over-year revenue growth. With clear direction and differentiated values, Lindsay built Parker Management from the ground up to the successful agency it is today.
Outside of work, Lindsay is a mom to her five-year-old son and spends her time enjoying the greater Portland area and staying active. Lindsay and her husband were recently featured on HGTV’s popular “House Hunters” program, where the couple shopped for a new home in Portland to raise their family.
Serena Williams has been a feminist icon for years. She not only holds the most Grand Slam titles in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles combined among active tennis players, but she is also known for her activism fighting for equal rights and respect for all races and genders. Serena has put her career on the line several times to fearlessly stand up for herself, and others when injustices are done. In 2017, Serena won the women's title at the Australian Open for the 7th time – while pregnant. After giving birth to her daughter, she has been incredibly open about her postpartum struggles and her comeback post-baby. In a 2019 interview with PopSugar, she said, "I want her to know that being strong is never easy. Not in this world we are living in . . . Standing up for yourself is not going to be easy, but it's always eventually respected. When I tell her she's beautiful, I want to teach her that she's beautiful from the inside . . . Giving is beauty. Being kind and humble is the ultimate beauty." Serena is an inspiration to all women, athlete or not, and might actually be superhuman.
Amy Nelson, CEO of The Riveter, a national membership network of community, content, resources and coworking spaces, built by women for everyone. Amy’s first career was working as an accomplished corporate lawyer in NYC and Seattle. In 2017, with two young daughters and a third on the way, Amy launched The Riveter. In its first few years, The Riveter has grown exponentially and now has 9 locations around the U.S. Amy is now known as an icon to working mothers, saying “People see mothers in one light and business leaders in another light. They can and should pair in incredible ways. Motherhood makes us ruthlessly efficient” in an interview with Inc.com. She has mastered a healthy work-life balance, planning ahead and meticulously planning her days.
Caroline Duell is the Founder and CEO of All Good and Safe Sunscreen Council lead. After years of working in emergency medicine, wilderness education and holistic healing, Caroline turned her California farm-based salve-making hobby and passion for providing people with products safe for humans and the planet, into a business. In 2006, she joined 1% for the Planet, and in 2009, she certified All Good as a B Corp. Caroline is the lead and spokesperson for the Safe Sunscreen Council, a coalition of companies working to raise public awareness about the impact sunscreen ingredients may have on people and the planet.
When she isn’t running her business or advocating for stricter sunscreen laws, Caroline and her husband, Ryan Rich, All Good’s VP of Sales and Marketing live on an organic farm with their equally nature-loving daughters, Kalia and Allegra.