When it comes to putting our mark on the world, women like Rosa Parks, Coretta Scott King, Oprah and Beyonce have proven that we know how to do the damn thing just like the men do. When we put our minds to something, there’s no stopping us. We are goal getters and girl bosses. 2016 was a year to remember; from Serena Williams winning 2016 Wimbledon Championship to women slaying at the Rio Olympics.

For this post, I wanted to highlight women who have caught my eye with the amazing things they are doing.

Lupita Nyongo

I saw her in Queen of Katwe (great movie) and she was the voice of Maz Katana in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. So what’s not to love about her. I really want to see what projects she’s a part of this year.  Heard she will be in the upcoming Marvel Black Panther movie and I seriously can’t wait (plus Chadwick Boseman stars). Yes, I am that much of a nerd.

Zim Ugochukwu

As the founder of Travel Noire, Zim made Forbes list of 30 under 30 in 2016. She’s also appeared in Essence, New York Times and Glamour Magazine, to name a few. I’ve been a fan of Travel Noire for a year or two and I am diligently (read stalking) reading her newsletters until I can afford to book a Travel Noire Experience, which is a part of their business. Travel Noire, Travel Noire Experiences and Zim look like they will be doing bigger and better things in 2017.

Kathryn Finney

The CEO and founder of digitalundivided is on a mission to help female black and latino entrepreneurs through support and training. She and her team are investing in the success of other female founders of color. Through her company’s BIG Incubator program, she’s helped businesses like Zuvaa and the Red Pump Project.  

Viola Davis

Viola Davis is undoubtedly one of the best actresses right now. Her list of awards is probably a mile long but for the year so far she has won the Golden Globe, BAFTA  and Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actress. I’m loving Viola because she is unapologetically rocking her natural hair on the red carpet while throwing herself wholeheartedly into her work. In an article in The New Yorker, Davis said she “…had a call to adventure, a call to live life bigger than myself.” I think that’s an awesome way to look at life: it’s one big adventure and the best way to do it is to live it fully.

Morgan DeBaun

Co-founder and CEO of Blavity, a tech and multimedia company that serves as a voice for millennials of color. Morgan was also on Forbes 2016 list of 30 under 30. Blavity is a great platform for young black voices and reaches over 7 million readers a month. I’ve even considered submitting an article for them but I’m still working on my pitch.  

Khalilah Wright

Mess in a Bottle is Khalilah’s brainchild. The designer started her t-shirt business in 2015 and aims to help her customers express themselves without having to say a word. Her shirts are packaged in a glass bottle, reminiscent of the old-fashioned message in a bottle practice.  Her business is proof that you can take a familiar idea and make it successful by adding your unique twist to it. Pretty cool, if you ask me.

Michelle Obama

What’s not to love about one of the best (if not the best) First Ladies in American history? Michelle embodied style and grace in her eight years as the first lady and became a role model for many young women. Her quote “ … we go high when they go low.” has been quoted so many times since her speech at the Clinton Rally. She is without a doubt an inspiration to many of us.  She and Barack have reportedly signed a multi-million dollar book deal about their time in the White House, so 2017 is starting out on a good note for her and her family. It would be so amazing if she ran for President in 2020.

Arsha Jones

Arsha is the powerhouse behind Build, Brand & Sell, Apps by the Pound and Tees in the Trap. On her Build, Brand & Sell blog she shares what she’s learned about marketing and e-commerce to other entrepreneurs and creatives. She’ll be speaking at the BlogHer Conference in June this year. I’m loving Arsha because she is proof that you don’t have to stick to one thing to be successful.

Kalisa Martin

Kalisa has done something most of us probably would think is totally impossible if you were broke. She and her boyfriend opened a hotel, The Runaway, in Jamaica that was completely funded through Kickstarter. In an interview with Forbes, the question that sparked this endeavor was one that I’m sure we’ve all asked ourselves at one point or another, “Why not?” Kalisa showed us that with a great idea and a little determination, you can make your dreams happen.

These awesome women are just a few who have been slaying and continue to slay in 2017. Whether you are looking to start a business or whatever your goals are for 2017, let these ladies be an inspiration to you. No matter what stage you are in life, you are capable of amazing things.

Let me know in the comments how you’ve been slaying so far for 2017. Even the smallest win counts.

Author: Renee Desuza

Renee DeSuza is the freelance writer and virtual assistant behind DeSuza & Co. She works with savvy bloggers and boss ladies who need help with their businesses. Outside of her business, Renee spends time with her son or catching up on the latest episode of Game of Thrones.

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