Ever since an inspiring peer of mine delivered a TEDxTeen Talk when I was an impressionable young gal about making a difference in the world at any age, I became obsessed with TED Talks (shout out to you, Kristen). TED Talks are great—they’re packed with an endless wealth of knowledge and introduce you to totally new perspectives. Being the huge TED Talk fan that I am, I felt it was my duty to spread the word about some of the most inspiring women’s talks out there.
The common denominator among the speakers on this list is simple: They want to make the workplace a better place for women. They’re no strangers to adversity, discrimination, and judgement. They’ll answer all of your burning business questions and hopefully inspire you to think a little differently along the way. As total trailblazers in the world of leadership and success, they’re inspiring to everyone—so once you’ve soaked up all the knowledge you can, I’ll pass the duty baton to you, and encourage you to share these talks with anyone who’d benefit from these thought-provokers.
Now without further adieu, here’s the list of badass females with ideas definitely worth spreading:
1. Anne-Marie Slaughter: Can We All "Have It All?"
In 2012, international lawyer and foreign policy analyst Anne-Marie Slaughter wrote a rather famous article for The Atlantic titled "Why Women Still Can't Have It All." In her TED Talk, Slaughter further explains her ideas and explains how shifts in work culture and public policy can lead to more equality for everyone.
2. Dana Kanze: The Real Reason Female Entrepreneurs Get Less Funding
You’ve heard it from us before—less than 3 percent of the $100 billion in venture funding given to American entrepreneurs goes to female founders. In this talk, Dana Kanze, a doctoral fellow at Columbia Business School, discusses the reason behind this statistic.
3. Mellody Hobson: Color Blind or Color Brave
Ariel Investments President and Businesswoman Mellody Hobson discusses race and diversity in hiring in her TED Talk. She says that yes, race is a touchy subject, but speaking about it openly can lead to better businesses and a better society.
4. Carla Harris: How to Find the Person Who Can Help You Get Ahead at Work
You might know by now that at InHerSight, we’re huge proponents of finding mentors at work. Well, so is Wall Street professional Carla Harris. She talks about her firsthand experience with mentorship and how to develop the best relationship possible.
5. Erica Joy Baker: How Do We Bridge the Anxiety Gap at Work?
It’s no secret that women and people of color are in the minority in the workplace, especially in the tech industry. The discrimination they face can lead to severe anxiety and diminish productivity in the office. Tech exec Erica Joy Baker talks about she dealt with the "anxiety gap" and shares advice on how we can close it.
6. Roselinde Torres: What It Takes to Be a Great Leader
Roselinde Torres, managing director of consulting firm BCG, discusses what it takes to become an awesome leader. Her advice? Aspiring CEOs should ask themselves three little questions to ensure they’re able to achieve their potential.
7. Ashwini Mrinal Bhagat: What I Learned from 32 Grueling Interviews
After surviving 32 intense interviews in order to secure a job, Ashwini Mrinal Bhagat knows a thing or two about how to slay the process. Through every experience, she kept notes and learned tons of invaluable lessons. In her TED Talk, she shares her wisdom and insight into the journey of an aspiring business woman looking for work in India.
8. Musimbi Kanyoro: To Solve the World's Biggest Problems, Invest in Women and Girls
Musimbi Kanyoro is the CEO of the Global Fund for Women, an organization that supports and promotes women. In her talk, she discusses "isirika," a Maragolian concept that means equal generosity. She explains the power behind the concept and how it has the potential to change the world for women if we all live it out.
9. Irene Mora: For Women in Pursuit of Motherhood and a Career
Calvin Klein Senior Merchandiser Irene Mora recounts her unconventional childhood—her mother was the CEO of a multinational pharmaceutical company, so she grew up traveling between countries. These days it seems like mothers are criticized for any decision they make, but Mora accredits her own drive to her busy-bee mother. In her talk, she explores all of the skills she attained throughout her childhood that have helped her succeed.
10. Crystal Martin: Small Ways Women Can Support Each Other at Work
Crystal Martin has dedicated her entire career to educating women in the tech field. In her speech, Martin emphasizes that it’s incredibly important for women to not only stand up for themselves, but also for other women. She’s a proponent of creating a culture where women help other women get to the top, and at InHerSight, we couldn’t agree more with this idea.
11. Sheryl Sandberg: Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg discusses how smaller percentages of women make it to the C-Suite in their careers. In this powerful talk, she presents three pieces of advice as how how we can reverse this trend.
12. Soraya Chemaly: The Power of Women's Anger
In her 2018 TED Talk, writer Soraya Chemaly asks the question, what might change if women stopped silencing their anger? What might we accomplish we our rage?
13. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: The Danger of a Single Story
Diasporan novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (famous also for her TED Talk, We Should All Be Feminists) warms of the dangers of viewing culture through a single lens and argues the importance of diversity of voice when understanding the world.
By Cara Hutto
Born and raised a Tar Heel, Cara Hutto is a culinary aficionado and zealous writer consumed by wanderlust. She's passionate about women's issues and interviewing inspirational women in her community.