Celebrating inspirational women

Dragonfly champion influential women in the marketing industry, so for International Women’s Day, we thought we’d do something that would celebrate women of all shapes and sizes, and from all types of different backgrounds.

We reached out to some inspirational women in our network and asked them: who inspires you? Whether it’s a celebrity, a historical figure, or someone they know, we’re passing on the celebration of inspirational women.

Please keep the momentum going by sharing this post with a woman who inspires you!

Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.

Happy International Women’s Day!

Ailsa Graham, Lead – Marketing Channels, Tesco Bank

“Susanne Najafi, founder of a Breaking minds.

She is one of those women whose story inspires you to be brave and really made me rethink my goals for the next few years. After reading her story, it really made me take stock, and realise my goals were in no way big or scary enough!

She has taken some big risks in her career. Leaving the security of a high flying role at Procter and Gamble to start her own business. Selling her apartment to raise money for one of her business ventures. Now, she is an angel investor. Investing in start-ups that are often overlooked, particularly those led by women.

All in all, pretty inspiring!”

Jenny Ledgar, Wholesale Director, Royal Mail Group

“Michelle Obama – fiercely intelligent, incredibly hard working. Her story of coming from an impoverished background but one filled with love to becoming one of the most influential women of our time is inspirational to me. Her championing of women, girls and education is something for us all to champion. Both she and her husband have a phrase when faced with criticism and backbiting and in this world right now it seems even more important – ‘when they go low, we go high’. Always maintain your own standards, no matter what!”

Michelle Obama - International Womens Day

Collette Hughes, Marketing and Be Kind Officer, Oliver Bonas

“The woman that inspires me most right now has to be actress, activist and self confessed feminist-in-progress Jameela Jamil. As someone who is an avid user of social media it’s so easy to be presented with images and information that can be damaging to the way we view ourselves. Jameela is going out of her way to offer a different point of view, actively building a community to combat these issues and constantly uses her voice and position of authority in a really positive way.”

Judith Donovan CBE, Chair, Royal Mail Strategic Mailing Partnership

“I’m in awe of two queens, Queen Elizabeth I and Queen Elizabeth II. Queen Elizabeth I ruled for 43 years, on her own, fighting for her right to reign, and always trying to protect the country from powerful enemies. Our current Queen Elizabeth II has such a developed sense of duty that she has sacrificed much personal happiness and freedom of expression on that altar. And, all around her she sees the world having fun and her own family falling apart, and still she soldiers on! Two women working and winning against the odds!”

Fiona McBeath, Research Analyst, Nestle

There are many women in the world who inspire me. Many of these women are well known from our history books and their main attributes tend to be strength and resilience in the face of adversity. However one woman who inspires me far greater than anyone is my sister Diana. 15 years ago she gave birth to her son Ronnie, a happy healthy little boy. At the age of 2 everything changed and he was diagnosed with many health complications from epilepsy, ADHD and autism to name only a few. Ronnie has reached his teenage years now and Diana has never heard her son speak. She cares for him as a single parent around the clock as his needs are so complex. She does this every day with a smile on her face and the odd glass of wine. Her strength of character and selfless attitude is incredible and something for which I admire.

‘The strongest women are not those who show strength in front of us but those who win battles we know nothing about.’

Mary Glasgow, Chief Executive Officer, Children 1st

“As hard as it is if I had one woman to identify as an inspiration to me it would be Eleanor Roosevelt. She overcame many personal challenges and had to step out of the shadow of her powerful husband in order to make her voice heard at a time when women with strong and unpopular political views were rarely taken seriously.

She championed the rights of Women and African Americans way before it was commonly accepted that inequality was unjust and harmful and in 1948 she was the driving force in creating The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Eleanor Roosevelt inspires me personally because of her courage, her ability to think and act ahead of her time and for her incredible wit, warmth and clarity in communicating her ideals and values.”

Eleanor Roosevelt

Rachel Aldighieri, Managing Director, DMA

“I’d like to celebrate Anneli Ritari-Stuart, MD of iProspect. The reason? Juggling a big job and family is a challenge in itself but throw in being a champion powerlifter and sitting on numerous Boards and Committees and I’m just in awe!”

Roslyn Tumiotto, Co- founder of Rocco Venezia

“So many amazing and inspiring women to chose but I will choose first Marie Curie, a pioneer in science, determined and with grit and perseverance to achieve world changing revolutionary advances in science despite being denied her right to an education by men. She is a symbol for me of women’s strength, determination and meaning… she’s pretty cool! 

I also am utterly inspired by so many different women around the world but being a bubbles Queen founder of Italian brand Rocco Venezia, I am hugely inspired by women in the drinks industry who have shifted things and ruffled feathers but made huge headway in the world of champagne houses and drinks.

I choose Madame Cliquot ‘The grande dame of the champagne world’, Madame Clicquot was the woman who started the female revolution in champagne by transforming her husband’s failing wine business and becoming one of the first international businesswomen in the world. 

Fact: Veuve means widow… widows were allowed to run businesses unlike married or single women. Let’s raise a glass or Rocco or Veuve on International women’s day.”

Natalie Alexandrou, Product Development Manager, Strathberry

“I find Emma Watson inspiring. She has used her platform to raise awareness for gender equality, working on campaigns which give education to gives in poorer countries as well as her He for She campaign. Alongside this amazing work I think it’s fantastic how she only wears clothing and accessories which are sustainably and ethically sourced, supporting a brand’s ethos and not how popular it is.”