Women We Admire
We have always been inspired by strong, creative women. We launched the Women We Admire initiative to celebrate the ingenuity, perseverance, and remarkable talents that make these women special.
WRITER SAN FRANCISCO, CA
Hope and resilience is the message that Sukey Forbes wishes to instill in those around her. Sukey is the author of “The Angel in my Pocket”, a book that talks about her personal story of losing her daughter to a rare genetic disorder. Descended from two prominent New England families, Sukey found that her austere upbringing was inhibiting her grieving process.
She longed to find relief in something that could offer her comfort, to know that someone had experienced what she was going through and that there was hope. When she did not find what she was looking for, she promised herself that she would be the one that would offer this comfort to someone else through sharing her story. Sukey was brave enough to take something negative that happened in her life and turn it into something positive; something that not only helps others get through a difficult time but reminds them that life is still beautiful and there is light beyond the darkness.
WRITER SAN FRANCISCO, CA
Jennifer Raiser walks between the worlds of commerce, consulting, philanthropy and the social swirl with amusement and abandon. Writer, manager, stylehunter, non-profit board junkie all are words that can describe the very talented Jennifer. Jennifer is the author of “In the Spirit of Napa Valley,” just published by Assouline this month, and the Amazon bestseller, “Burning Man: Art on Fire”, which takes readers on an armchair art tour to the Black Rock Desert, offering a peek into one of the most talked-about festivals of our time. She writes regularly for the Style section of the SF Chronicle, for Huffington Post, and for SFWire.com. Depending upon the occasion, her distinctive demeanor can be spotted in the salons of San Francisco, the boardrooms of Silicon Valley, or the dry desert of Black Rock City, Nevada.
ENTREPRENEUR SAN FRANCISCO, CA
Being a wife and mother of four (including two Labradors), Kara Goldin has always been an advocate for wanting to help people lead a more healthy lifestyle. That’s why in 2005 she launched a beverage company that produces all natural fruit essence waters. Hint Water has successfully challenged the notion that drinks must contain sugar or diet sweeteners to appeal to the consumer. Kara was chosen as Fortune’s 2011 “Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs,” and was named in 2012 as one of Ernst and Young’s “Entrepreneurial Winning Women.” She was honored as the 2012 Gold Stevie Award Winner for “Female Entrepreneur of the Year” in the category of Business Products and was listed as a “Rising Star” and a “CEO to Watch in 2013” by the American Express website, OpenForum.com. Kara lives in San Francisco with her husband Theo and four children.
FLORIST & ENTREPRENEUR SAN FRANCISCO, CA
Christina is a San Francisco-based florist and founder of Farmgirl Flowers, whose mission involves sourcing only locally grown flora in her designs. After growing up on a farm in northern Indiana, and gaining experience across a variety of industries including hospitality and event planning, Christina began creating her own arrangements and floral designs, where she quickly discovered that there was a better way to source and arrange sustainably and locally. Christina launched Farmgirl as a socially conscious, better alternative to traditional e-commerce flower companies. Her innovative approach means that she is constantly creating and setting the rules for herself and her team, regardless of what has been done in the past. Christina’s favorite flower is the Peony – specifically the perfect shade of peach Tree Peony.
ENTREPRENEUR SANTA BARBARA, CA
Wendy Foster owns five boutiques in the Santa Barbara area with her husband and fellow entrepreneur, Pierre Lafond. Together the couple also own Upstairs at Pierre Lafond (a lifestyle home boutique), Santa Barbara Winery, Lafond Winery and Montecito Wine Bistro and Deli. Wendy grew up in New York and Massachusetts, but dressing up in her mother’s party clothes in her parents’ Palm Beach home was the start of her passion for clothing. After high school, she traveled the world by herself for 10 years, shopping and learning about different cultures — like a art history education on the road. Wendy’s passions are her gardens (which she is struggling with in the drought), exploring, hiking and reading. Her current favorite book is A Little History of the World by E. H. Gombrich.
PSYCHOLOGIST & AUTHOR PALO ALTO, CA
Jennifer Aaker is a social psychologist and influential professor who studies time, money and happiness – specifically how people chose to spend their time and money, and when and why those choices are associated with lasting value. She also focuses on how small acts can create significant change, and how those effects can be fueled by digital and social media. The recipient of numerous prestigious awards, Jennifer’s work has been featured in a variety of media including the Economist, Science, and the New York Times. Jennifer currently teaches courses at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business on global brand building, designing story in a digital world, and design and innovation. Together with her husband, she co-authored the award-winning book “The Dragonfly Effect: Quick, Effective and Powerful Ways to Use Social Media to Drive Impact.” She counts winning a dance-off in the 1980s, establishing a reputation of not cooking well, and raising her three children, Cooper, Devon and Téa Sloane, as her biggest accomplishments (although not necessarily in that order).
EXECUTIVE SAN FRANCISCO, CA
Amy Williams is a mom, wife and executive who has had a long interest in retail and a deep love of family. She had strong opinions about clothing early on, and a particular passion for denim. Working in retail during college, Amy realized that this was her calling, and law school plans were put on hold. She started with Gap in 1989, leaving 14 years later as Senior VP of Product Development and Design, then moved to Lucky Brand Jeans as the Executive VP, where she met her husband. For the next few years they focused on creating a family, and worked together to create Peek…Aren’t You Curious, a children’s line. Amy joined Citizens of Humanity in 2009, and is incredibly proud of the work accomplished in her time as President, including the Just Like You series and philanthropic support of over 15 charitable organizations.
DIRECTOR, PRODUCER, ACTRESS LOS ANGELES, CA
Samantha Futerman is a Director, Producer, Actress and Co-Founder of The Kindred Foundation for Adoption. She is a Korean American adoptee who was born in Busan and was raised in Verona, NJ, where she began performing during childhood. She moved to LA in 2011 to further her acting career, and in February of 2013 her life changed when she discovered that she had an identical twin sister. This experience ignited a desire to assist other adoptees; she wanted to share a positive outlook on adoption and convey that family is deeper than DNA. Her directorial debut and documentary TWINSTERS premiered at SXSW 2015. Samantha hopes to continue raising awareness for the greater adoption community.
ACTRESS LOS ANGELES, CA
Jenna Ushkowitz is known for her role as Tina Cohen-Chang on the Emmy-nominated television series “Glee”. A Co-Founder of Kindred Foundation for Adoption, she is a Korean American adoptee from Seoul, and was raised in East Meadow, NY. As a child, Jenna acted in commercials, Broadway and television, and after performing in Broadway’s “Spring Awakening,” landed the role on “Glee” and moved to LA. Jenna was approached by friend Samantha Futerman in 2014 with the amazing story about her own adoption. Knowing that not all adoptees had the same comfortable experience they did, the women wanted to create a resource for adoptees so they know they are not alone, no matter what their personal journey has been.
ENTREPRENEUR STANFORD, CA
Fern Mandelbaum is an entrepreneur, coach, teacher, and investor, specializing in creating and growing technology-focused businesses, primarily in the internet, mobile, media, and software spaces. She teaches Entrepreneurship from the Perspective of Women at Stanford Business School and the Accel Innovation Scholars Program in the Engineering School. Ms. Mandelbaum is the Managing Partner at Vista Venture Partners, a seed stage venture fund and was co-founder and CEO of Skyline Products, one of the premier toy invention firms that was sold to IDEO. Fern’s favorite meeting locale is a walk around the Stanford Dish.
PHILANTHROPIST NEW YORK, NY
Carolyn Bechtel is an entrepreneur and philanthropist, with a passion for helping children in need. She is board director and camp counselor volunteer for Victory Junction Camp in North Carolina, an affiliate of SeriousFun Children’s Network (founded by Paul Newman). A member of the Duke Cancer Institute board of advisors, she is keenly aware of the healing effects of the positive experiences and support these camps provide. Carolyn is a founding partner of CORD:USE Cord Blood Bank and director of the CORD:USE Foundation, combining her passion for philanthropy and entrepreneurship. She is also director of NY-based “sweetriot” – a free trade, organic dark chocolate and healthy snack company.
WINEMAKER NAPA, CA
Artistic sensibilities drive Brazilian born Elizabeth Vianna, Winemaker and General Manager of Chimney Rock Winery, as she creates powerful yet elegant Cabernet Sauvignons from the famed Stags Leap District of Napa Valley. Elizabeth developed a passion for wine while living in NYC as a biology student and clinical toxicologist. She has served as President of the Stags Leap District Winegrowers Association, and is featured in a public television series. A leader in her field, her speaking engagements, tastings and research have her traversing the globe, from South Africa to the UK and Brazil.
DESIGNER LOS ANGELES, CA
Audrey is the founder and designer of LA-based fashion brand Frank & Eileen. Born out of her family’s Irish heritage and the inspiring love story of her grandparents (the original Frank and Eileen), the brand’s modern take on a classic shirt merges luxury Italian fabrics with chic silhouettes. As an entrepreneur Audrey has taken the simple idea of designing “the perfect shirt” and built it into a successful global business with a vast network of wholesalers and consumers.
NUTRITIONIST NEW YORK, NY
Jeanette is a self-nourishment expert, board-certified integrative health and nutrition coach, and founder of Path for Life, a program designed to bring more conscious awareness to our own power for healing. Her inspiring work revolves around helping people find freedom from emotional eating and offers an alternative option to dieting that truly transforms the way we think about health and happiness. Jeanette has appeared as an expert guest speaker at a number of events around the world, and has authored several books, including the upcoming Eat to Feel Full.
CELLIST NEW YORK, NY
Sara Sant’Ambrogio is a Grammy Award-winning cellist who has appeared as a soloist with numerous prestigious orchestras around the world, and has collaborated with a wide range of artists from Sting to Rufus Wainwright to Yo Yo Ma. Sara continues to push the boundaries of classical music, transcending genres and bringing a fresh modern spirit to classical pieces by such composers as Bach, Chopin, and Schubert.
DIRECTOR NEW YORK, NY
Writer Liz Tuccillo offers a unique voice and realistic depiction of women, relationships, and modern dating. After gaining recognition as writer and executive story editor for HBO’s acclaimed series Sex & the City, Liz co-authored the successful self-help book He’s Just Not That Into You, authored her first fictional novel How to be Single, and recently made her directorial debut with the indie film Take Care.
PHOTOGRAPHER NEW YORK, NY
Photographer Anne Menke is a free spirit whose work occupies a unique realm where high fashion meets bohemian travel. Her editorial work can be seen worldwide in Vogue, Elle, Conde Nast Traveler, Self, and W magazines, among others, and she has published several books showcasing her work. Anne was born in Germany and has lived and worked in London, Paris, and New York City. She splits her time between New York and Sayulita, Mexico, where she founded The Costa Verde International School, an ecological, community-oriented, multicultural private school.
DESIGNER WOODSIDE, CA
Patty Brown is a dancer, designer and artist who is living the life she loves. She worked as an interior designer for many years and is well known for her creative work as an event and party planner. Inspired by family stories and traditions, Patty shares the art of knitting in an unexpected and bold new way with the launch of Lamb to Loop. The line features hand-knit, oversized chunky blankets and throws, using 100% pure domestic Merino wool that is entirely handcrafted by artisans in the United States. Patty also owns a private dance studio that has become a hub for the dancers in her community.