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If you’re looking for powerful speakers from whom to draw inspiration, we've got a formidable list of the best female motivational speakers to share with you today.
Our list is composed of strong, highly intelligent, determined women speakers who inspire audiences to
Women as motivational speakers offer a unique viewpoint on many topics. Oftentimes, their stories are born out of the challenges they face because they are women.
In this article, you’ll get to know women leaders in the financial sector, successful entrepreneurs who are also mothers, athletes, academics, and more.
Each one of these speakers personifies the resilience of women.
Many of those who are featured in this list incorporate humor into their talks, which helps diffuse the tense energy surrounding volatile topics.
These speakers share their personal (and often intimate) stories to show what can be accomplished when women let go of their limiting beliefs and start claiming their stories.
Read on and get motivated.
1. Carla Harris
via Morgan Stanley
Carla Ann Harris was born in Port Arthur, Texas, on October 28, 1962. Various publications have named her as one of the most powerful African Americans in the nation’s business and finance sector.
In 2013, Ms. Harris was appointed by then-president Barack Obama as chairperson of the National Women’s Council.
The breadth and depth of her experience make her a sought-after speaker on the topics of:
A couple of books she wrote include Strategize to Win and Expect to Win. In addition to being an in-demand motivational speaker and a powerful figure on Wall Street, Ms. Harris is a professional singer who has released several albums and performed in live concerts.
Watch her speak in a 2018 TED conference about how to find a person who helps you get ahead at work.
2. Brené Brown
via Brené Brown
Brené Brown was born on November 18, 1965, in San Antonio, Texas. Her down-to-earth approach, intelligence, and ability to truly listen are qualities that endear her to audiences.
She has years of experience in research and specializes in social work. Her work has been recognized by organizations such as the Huffington Foundation and the core topics of her writing and talks include vulnerability, shame, and courage.
Ms. Brown has authored several bestselling self-help books, including The Gifts of Imperfection, where she shares lessons of how to be your authentic self, and Daring Greatly, in which she offers guidelines on how to be “all in” in life.
Watch this video of her first TED Talk, where she speaks about the power of vulnerability.
3. Arianna Huffington
Arianna Huffington was born in Athens, Greece, on July 15, 1950. She is the founder and CEO of Thrive Global, a company that helps people unlock their potential.
She has been recognized by companies and publications as one of the top 100 influential people in the world. In her work, she discusses success, well-being, and science-based methods for improving personal performance.
Ms. Huffington has written several bestselling books, including The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time, where she discussed the importance of self-care in our pursuit of success.
Watch the video below where she gives an amusing TED Talk on how sleep contributes to success.
4. Amy Purdy
via Amy Purdy
Amelia Michelle “Amy” Purdy was born in Las Vegas, Nevada, on November 7, 1979. When she was 19 years old, she contracted a type of bacterial meningitis that affected her whole body and caused her two legs to be amputated below the knee.
Despite the challenges she faced because of her disability, Ms. Purdy went on to become a champion para-snowboarder. She entered Dancing With the Stars in 2014, where she was a runner-up and inspired more people in the process.
She is the co-founder of Adaptive Action Sports, a non-profit organization offering action sports programs for individuals with physical disabilities. As a living example of the resilience of the human spirit, she inspires people to follow their dreams despite obstacles. She often delivers her talks in an emotional and heartwarming way.
Watch her share the story of how she overcame the limits of her disability in this video.
5. Iyanla Vanzant
via Iyanla Vanzant
Iyanla Vanzant (Rhonda Eva Harris) was born on September 13, 1953, in Brooklyn, New York. She is a lawyer, life coach, spiritual teacher, motivational speaker, and TV personality. Ms. Vanzant hosts Iyanla: Fix My Life on the Oprah Winfrey Network.
Her no-nonsense and outspoken style when she speaks inspires her audiences to examine their lives and work harder on the things they want to improve. The core topics of her work include:
She wrote a number of books, including Peace from Broken Pieces, where she talks about personal healing, and In the Meantime, in which she discusses love and relationships.
Check out her high-energy and often humorous speaking style in the video clip below, where she talks about forgiveness and moving on.
6. Dianna David
Dianna David was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. She left her job as an engineer to pursue her dream of becoming a performer. Ms. David then enrolled in clown school, where she discovered the “special thing” that helps her connect with her audience.
She is the founder of the Red Ball Movement, where she uses expressive therapy to engage her audience and inspire them to follow their own dreams.
During her talks and performances, she combines dance, contact juggling, and storytelling to provide a visually appealing foundation from which to share her story.
Watch the TEDx video below to see her in action.
7. Mel Robbins
Mel Robbins (Melanie Schneeberger) was born in Kansas City, Missouri, on October 6, 1968. She is a lawyer, author, and a sought-after motivational speaker.
Her audiences appreciate her authentic, no-nonsense style of speaking. In her presentations, she usually discusses the power of the right mindset, behavioral transformation, courage, and confidence.
She has written several books, including the bestselling The 5 Second Rule, the premise of which is that we all have a 5-second window on which to act on a goal before we lose the motivation to do it.
Watch the video below of her talk titled How to Stop Screwing Yourself Over.
8. Rachel Hollis
via Rachel Hollis
Rachel Hollis (Rachel Elizabeth Neeley) was born on January 9, 1983, in Weedpatch, California. She rose to Internet fame in 2015 for her Instagram post featuring a picture of herself showing her stretch marks and an empowering message to women to “flaunt that body with pride.”
She currently serves as CCO for The Hollis Group, a company she founded with her former husband Dave Hollis.
Her high-energy style as a speaker has earned her the nickname “the female Tony Robbins” and her topics include personal growth, business, and marketing.
Ms. Hollis has authored several bestselling books, including Girl, Wash Your Face and Girl, Stop Apologizing.
Check out the video below that introduces Ms. Hollis as a motivational speaker.
9. Gretchen Rubin
via Gretchen Rubin
Gretchen Rubin (Gretchen Anne Craft) was born in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1965. She worked as a courtroom clerk, but left this job to become a writer.
Her funny, thoughtful, and insightful style of delivering her talks endears her to audiences. The topics she is most passionate about include:
Ms. Rubin is the author of several books, including The Happiness Project, where she discusses personal transformation, and Better Than Before, in which she shares answers to the question, “How can people change?”
In the video below, she presents her ideas on how we can successfully adopt new habits.
The world needs more speakers who can share their stories and inspire us to live up to our potential.
Female motivational speakers have a unique way of connecting with their audiences and touching their lives. (If you also aspire to be a motivational speaker, our article on SMART goals for public speaking is a great resource.)
It is our hope that this post has given you some insight into how powerful women can be.
And if you're interested in hearing more speeches from inspirational people, check out these blog posts:
- The 18 Top Motivational Speakers in the World
- 9 Top Christian Motivational Speakers to Witness
- 11 Black Motivational Speakers to See
For more resources on women empowerment and self-care, check out the following articles:
Finally, if you want to take your goal-setting efforts to the next level, check out this FREE printable worksheet and a step-by-step process that will help you set effective SMART goals.