It’s International Women’s Day today and to commemorate it, we wanted to feature and give a shout-out to several women in the marketing and professional world who inspire our team on a daily basis.
Our #LadyBugs (our own all-woman virtual community at SmartBug®) put this list together, and we’re feeling more inspired than ever to do the best work we can for our clients, partners, and coworkers.
Here are our top eight women in marketing you need to follow and connect with in 2022.
1. Ann Handley
- Ann is the queen of content marketing
- World's first Chief Content Officer
- Cited in Forbes as the most influential woman in social media
- Recognized by ForbesWomen as one of the top 20 women bloggers
- First person ever inducted into CMI’s Content Marketing Hall of Fame
- Runs her own marketing training company, MarketingProfs
- Author of the Wall Street Journal best seller on business writing, Everybody Writes, and the coauthor of the best-selling book on content marketing, Content Rules.
Ann is hugely responsible for shaping the profession of content marketing into what it is today (see the incredible list of accomplishments above!). She is also a funny, down-to-earth person. Her newsletter is like hearing from a friend, and she will personally respond to emails. I’ve had the privilege of meeting her in person several times, and she is truly a warm, kind, and humble person in addition to being a marketing visionary, indispensable guide for marketing professionals, and a role model for women in content marketing.
Shoutout by SmartBug Ali Wert
2. Michaela Alexis
- Personal brand and marketing professional
- LinkedIn Trainer for individuals and businesses
- Former LinkedIn Learning Instructor
- Writer and public speaker
- Co-founder of a social media agency
I found Michaela years ago after she published a viral blog on LinkedIn about her experience of being fired and what she was determined to do to not slow down her career aspirations. Now, she owns her own successful business helping others reach their goals. However, it's not that story that has kept me refreshing her feed over the years. It was her honesty about imposter syndrome, her transparency about wanting to start a family and the loss of a parent, her willingness to share her struggles with infertility, and her dedication to taking time off when she needed it—all while mixing in amazing knowledge that proves why she has such a great career.
She's authentic and happy to share personal achievements alongside her professional advice, reminding us all that you can be a kick-butt leader while being human. Women feel a unique pressure to be everything to everyone, often hiding the things that could be seen as “challenging” for employers. For many women, showing that humanity can mean losing a job or being skipped over for a promotion, which makes it difficult to feel comfortable showing feeling and emotion while chasing success. Michaela is doing her part to change the narrative and prove that you can struggle outside of work, make room for personal accomplishment, and still break professional molds.
Shoutout by SmartBug Marissa Litty
3. Dr. Brené Brown
- Research professor at the University of Houston, where she holds the Huffington Foundation Endowed Chair at the Graduate College of Social Work
- Visiting professor in management at the University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business
- Spent the past two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy
- The author of six No. 1 New York Times best sellers
- The host of the weekly Spotify original podcasts Unlocking Us and Dare to Lead
- Her TED talk on the Power of Vulnerability is one of the top five most-viewed TED talks in the world
- She is also the first researcher to have a filmed lecture on Netflix, "The Call to Courage"
The first time I heard Dr. Brené Brown speak was at HubSpot’s INBOUND 2018. It was right after Hurricane Harvey wrecked Houston (the hometown that we share), and she had changed her entire presentation to highlight not only the devastation that was caused, but also the resilience, the courage, and the community that came together that week in Houston and the surrounding areas. It was beautiful. Up until that point, the event had only been spoken about with doom and gloom , but she showcased the beauty that was rising from the ashes. It was refreshing.
Brené has a wonderfully, relatable way to discuss hard topics, such as shame or vulnerability, and lead her viewers/listeners/readers to search deep within themselves to find power within their vulnerabilities. This, in turn, can help shape us into better humans.
“Vulnerability is not winning or losing. It’s having the courage to show up when you can’t control the outcome.”
Shoutout by SmartBug Tabitha Young
4. Randi Barshack
Randi Barshack is currently the CMO of RollWorks, is a Forbes Council member, and has over 20 years of experience building and scaling global marketing teams leading to a total of one billion dollars in exit valuations. She has worked to establish brands across a variety of sectors, as well as worked in TV and film production and was a multimedia producer. She has led marketing efforts at companies like Mashery (acquired by Intel), Figure Eight (acquired by Appen), Mercado (acquired by Omniture/Adobe) and TeaLeaf (acquired by IBM) where she was a co-founder.
“But the vein that has run through every industry, country, and company is the power of a marketer to tell a great story. Randi applies the skills she learned as a storyteller in her 10 years of documentary filmmaking, TV production, multimedia, and producing propaganda films for the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs to career-building narratives that bring additive value to high-tech companies.” —Forbes Council
Why do I admire Randi Barshack? It probably starts with authenticity. She is unapologetically herself, and her motivation to improve everything she touches is amazing. I love watching someone grow a company. It’s one thing to be a great marketer, another to be a great leader, and another to be such a great combination of the two that you are able to contribute to growing your company to the point of acquisition—which she has done multiple times. I also love that she’s sought out diverse cultural experiences that have shaped the way she operates
“As a marketer, I firmly believe in the marketing magic that occurs when both left and right brains work together. Contemporary marketing is a medley of hard-core metrics and processes intertwined with stunning and creative storytelling. This philosophy drives my approach toward building teams diverse in talent and personalities and is why I love my craft. Diversity has also played a role in my ongoing career path, having spent 10 years overseas (five in Tokyo and five in Tel Aviv)."
Shoutout by SmartBug Nicki Kamau
5. Ashley Owens
- Ashley Owens is the first and only Networking Concierge that puts you in the right situation or gets you out of the wrong one
- Ashley is a TV host of three digital TV talk shows, speaking and interviewing entrepreneurs and business owners on the topic of tactical networking and best business practices
- She has spoken to over 300 networking groups, organizations, companies, and conferences while teaching personal branding and advertising sales at Temple University
Ashley is the real deal! From the first moment I met her at a marketing conference in Philly almost four years ago, her energy and straight-talk advice had me hooked. I have been following along with her career and am so impressed with how she has grown her list of accomplishments and moved across the country yet her brand got stronger, and how she is just so passionate about helping other people find their way in their own professional lives. The content and humans she shares about are always spot on, and she keeps me laughing!
Shoutout by SmartBug Jackie Pfriender
6. Christina Garnett
- Senior Marketing Manager, Offline Community & Advocacy for HubSpot
- Community-builder and advocacy strategist, Christina Garnett uses audience intelligence and social listening to learn more about audiences to determine needs, behaviors, and more
- Her work serves to help brands better connect with their current customers, potential customers, and fans
- Her Tweet inviting marketers to connect with each other and build the community of marketing professionals continues to have engagement over a year later
She’s a gifted community marketer, easily bringing people together and inspiring connections.
She has helped develop and establish HubSpot’s HubFans advocacy arm of the HubSpot community and made it a great place to grow and connect within the HubSpot ecosystem.
She is also just a kind and intelligent human being.
7. Yamini Rangan
- Yamini Rangan is Chief Executive Officer at HubSpot
- Prior to becoming CEO, Yamini served as HubSpot's first-ever Chief Customer Officer, overseeing the marketing, sales, and services teams
- A tech industry veteran, Yamini has more than 24 years of experience in product marketing, sales, and strategy
- She holds a bachelor’s degree in Electronics Engineering, a Master’s in Computer Engineering, and an MBA from Berkeley
- In 2019, Yamini was recognized as one of the Most Influential Women in Business by San Francisco Business Times
Shoutout by SmartBug Kady White
8. Ashley Levesque
Ashley is inspiring the SaaS marketing world one post and podcast at a time. She’s a webinar master who makes it her mission to inspire, encourage, and connect women in sales and marketing.
- Host of The SaaS Breakthrough Show podcast
- Mentor and advocate at #GirlsClub
- Started a project called “listen up” where she interviews women leaders about everything from how to align sales and marketing teams to combating imposter syndrome and finding a work-life balance
- VP of Marketing at Banzai
- Hosts great webinars and training that are sure to inspire you!
I was lucky enough to work with Ashley years ago when we were both in pursuit of the arts (we both have backgrounds in theater/musical theater). Ashley has an incredible tenacity to achieve at the highest level of everything she does, and you can see that in her work. She’s deeply passionate about people and will work tirelessly to help her fellow marketers, friends, and colleagues in any way she can, particularly encouraging the upward movement of women to leadership roles.
Her passion for people has allowed her to excel when it comes to creating teams that are reliant on the successful partnership of sales and marketing. She understands and enhances both departments to hit revenue goals, further demonstrating her expertise in the industry.
Connect with Ashley on LinkedIn.
Shoutout by SmartBug Leslie Dysart
Feeling Inspired by All These Amazing Women?
Our #LadyBugs are constantly staying up to date with the latest insights about anything and everything related to women’s careers, especially in the marketing space. If you’d like our help finding resources or tips, don’t hesitate to reach out.
Also, SmartBug is hiring and looking for strong women to join our team—especially women who are ready to empower each other and help each other grow, personally and professionally. Check out our open positions.