This year, as most, has been filled with inspiring women, from a record-breaking number winning seats in Congress like Native Americans Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland to the founder of the Me Too Movement, Tarana Burke, who has been working tirelessly for over a decade to bring help and healing to victims of sexual assault.
Narrowing down to just eight was challenging, but for the sake of not writing a whole novel, here is our list of standout women who inspire us to conquer our fears.
- Jeanne Baret | At Northern Fir, we're passionate about exploring, and so was Jeanne. Recognized as the first woman to circumnavigate the globe. The French Navy did not allow women on its ships, so she bound her breasts with linen bandages and disguised herself as a man under the name Jean Baret. She enlisted as valet and assistant to the expedition’s naturalist Philibert Commerçon and traveled on the ship with 300 men.
- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez | If we're recognizing virtuous accolades in our current political landscape, the resilient spirit of Alexandria goes high on our list. In June 2018, Ocasio-Cortez won the Democratic primary for New York's 14th Congressional District, unseating leading House Democrat Joe Crowley. Get this, she was born in 1989, making her the youngest seat holder in Congress.
- Mary McLeod Bethune | We know a little about overcoming adversity, but not near as much as women who've overcome barriers and broke down the walls of diversity. Known as the ‘First Lady of the Struggle’, McLeod fought tirelessly for civil rights, primarily education for African Americans, even when it seemed like the whole country was against her. She later went on to found Bethune-Cookman University with $1.50 in 1904.
- Naomi James | Sometimes self-care includes removing ourselves from the normal day-to-day lives that society would have us live. Naomi took solidarity and the aspect of self-care, which includes following your heart's passion to an esteemed level. She single-handedly sailed around the world via Cape Horn. James left Dartmouth in Devon on September 9, 1977, and returned 272 days later on June 8, 1978.
- Azie Morton | Morton served as Treasurer during the Carter Administration and still remains the only black person to hold that office. She holds a special place on our list as Northern Fir is based out of Austin, Texas where Azie was also instrumental in the de-segregation of Barton Springs Pool. The road leading to the pool was recently renamed in her honor.
- Peace Pilgrim | Born Mildred Lisette Norman, she was the first woman to walk the entire length of the Appalachian Trail! That’s over 2,000 miles people. If you think that’s a lot, then imagine this: between 1953-81, she walked over 25,000 miles on a personal pilgrimage for peace, inspiring and sparking action all along the way. Her simple, yet impactful message was ‘when enough of us find inner peace, our institutions will become peaceful and there will be no more occasion for war’. Side note, our Northern Fir scent is reminiscent of walking along the Appalachian Trail.
- Evelyn Berezin | Science and technology mean a lot to us here at Northern Fir, and the engineering mindset is what we take when we thoughtfully craft all our handmade goods. Berezin was a computer engineer on the first ever Word Processor, so every time you type a new doc, reserve a flight for your next vacation, or transfer money online, you’re using technology pioneered by Evelyn, who died recently on December 8, 2018 at the age of 93.
- Gladys West | West known as a "Hidden Figure" helped develop the GPS, and is most famous for her mathematical wizardry that helps us navigate all over the world. She was recently inducted into the Air Force Space and Missile Pioneers Hall of Fame. Inconsequently, if you look at our logo it resembles a compass pointing northward (as our brand aims to be forward-thinking) and is a subtle homage to the original GPS, a compass.
Feeling inspired? Follow in the footsteps of some of these leaders and start your own wave of change. A new year presents a new opportunity to make a commitment to get out of your comfort zone and set out to do something great. Let us know who inspires you in the comments below!