Trends Female Adda
1 year ago
Women Who Make a Difference

Zoya DeNure
1/28 Clark James Mishler
Zoya DeNure
Why she's an Action Figure: At 25, DeNure gave up her modeling career, moved to Alaska, and opened Crazy Dog Kennel and Canine Rescue, dogsleddenali.com, a haven for homeless Alaskan sled dogs

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Are you making a difference or do you know someone who is? Tell us about her and she could be featured in the magazine.
Susie Frazier Mueller
2/28
Susie Frazier Mueller
Why we like her: A few years ago, downtown Cleveland looked more like a scene from Unforgiven than a grand metropolis: Think tumbleweeds blowing down abandoned streets. Or at least that's how the city's art gallery owners described it.

Then Mueller, a local artist, began brainstorming ways to liven up the place. In 2003 she cofounded Sparx, a nonprofit program that draws art out of the galleries and onto the streets.

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Majora Carter
3/28
Majora Carter
Why we like her: While walking her dog Xena in Hunt's Point, her low-income Bronx neighborhood, in the late '90s, Carter stumbled across an illegal dumping ground along the waterfront. Located near 15 waste-transfer stations that handle 25 percent of the city's trash, the ground was covered with piles of garbage and old tires.

Disgusted, Carter (then a local community organizer) rallied volunteers to help transform the neglected area into a park--the community's first in 60 years. Three years later she launched Sustainable South Bronx (SSB), a nonprofit group committed to making Hunt's Point a cleaner, safer, sweeter-smelling neighborhood. "The environment broadly influences everything around you -- what you breathe, what you see, how you feel about yourself," she says.

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Beth Vincent
4/28
Beth Vincent
Why we like her: Beth Vincent, a public health specialist and mother of three, is the creative mind behind Oh Mama! bars--one of the first nutrition bars for women who are breast-feeding, pregnant, or trying to conceive.

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Dawn Averitt
5/28
Dawn Averitt
Why we like her: She's the founder and CEO of The Well Project -- a nonprofit corporation with an award-winning Web site offering the latest news and information for those who are infected with and affected by HIV.

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6/28
Anne Mahlum
Why she's an Action Figure: In July 2007, Mahlum started Back on My Feet (backonmyfeet.org ), a nonprofit running club for residents of local homeless shelters.

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7/28
Anna Wells
Why she's an Action Figure For nine summers, Wells has spent three days backpacking through New Hampshire's White Mountains to raise funds for the Elizabeth Stone House, a Boston facility that offers shelter and support to women in need. Wells has contributed $17,559 so far.

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8/28
Samantha Lockwood
Home base Philadelphia
Day job Manager, Comcast


Why she's an Action Figure: Lockwood helped rally more than $41K for ovarian cancer research by participating in Climb4Life, an annual rock-climbing fundraiser held in Boulder, Colorado; Washington, D.C.; and Salt Lake City.

Read Samantha's story


9/28
Jordan Carlson
Age 18
Home base Charlotte, NC
Day job Student

Why she's an Action Figure Last fall, Carlson raised nearly $800K by trekking 720 miles for the Breast Cancer 3-Day, a fundraiser held in 12 cities in which participants walk 60 miles over 72 hours.


Read Carlson's story

10/28
Holly Miyagawa
Age: 37
Home base: Hermosa Beach, CA
Day job: Lease administrator for Skechers

Why she's an Action Figure: Six years after receiving a new kidney from her cousin, Miyagawa won volleyball gold at the 2006 U.S. Transplant Games. She defends her title at the games this July.

Read Holly's story


11/28
Georgina Miranda
Age 27
Home base Los Angeles
Day job A director at a residential development firm

Why she's an Action Figure Ain't no mountain high enough for Miranda, who will try to climb the Seven Summits--the tallest peaks (there are actually eight) on each of the seven continents--over the next few years to raise $2.2 million ($50 per meter) for victims of violence in Africa.

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12/28
Meg Brauch
Age 29
Home base Mansfield, CT
Day job High school biology teacher

Why she's an Action Figure This fall, Brauch will saddle up for her fifth Quiet Corner's Ride for the Cure, an annual eight-mile horseback ride through the woods and fields of Pomfret, Connecticut. Proceeds benefit Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Read Meg's story
13/28
Lindsay Avner
Age 25
Home base Chicago, IL
Day job Founder and executive director, Bright Pink

Why she's an Action Figure After testing positive for the breast cancer gene, Avner decided to take a drastic step: removing, at age 23, her two healthy breasts. Last year she founded Bright Pink, a support and education network for young women at high risk for breast and ovarian cancer.

Read Lindsay's story

Jackie Horrick
14/28
Jackie Horrick
Why we admire her: When she was 9, Horrick peered out the window of a hotel in Greece and saw three sheep being dragged into a butcher shop. That's when she became a vegetarian. By 16, she'd cut leather out of her wardrobe, which turned finding shoes into mission impossible.

Eleven years -- and countless pairs of canvas shoes -- later, Horrick met fellow food scientist and vegan Henny Hendra while working at Dole. They instantly bonded over shopping woes. In October 2003, Horrick and Hendra brainstormed a way to bring the vegan and fashion worlds together. Six months later, they launched Alternative Outfitters, an online retailer that sells stylish animal-friendly goods.

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Stacey Antine
15/28
Stacey Antine
Why we admire her: Antine sits on the ground, raking the soil with her fingers. She drops in a pea seed and looks up at 12 wide-eyed little kids staring back. When she says the word, they scramble off to plant their own seeds in a 10-by-10-foot plot of soil. After playing in the dirt for an hour, they head back to the barn, where Antine shows them how to prepare peas for a pasta dinner. "Whatever we plant, we cook," she says. And therein lies the essence of HealthBarn USA, a program that uses the farm experience to teach people about eating well.

Four years ago, Antine, then a public relations vice president, craved a job that was more fulfilling. A few successful nutrition campaigns had inspired her to take night classes at New York Univeristy to become a registered dietitian. While working in a hospital to earn credits, she realized that simply telling people about nutrition wasn't enough. If only she could show them In 2005, HealthBarn USA was born.

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Laurel Dudley
16/28
Laurel Dudley
Why she's an Action Figure: Dudley took the summer off to participate in the inaugural Blue Planet Run, a 20-person relay race to raise money and awareness for safe drinking water. She logged 10 miles daily across 16 countries and four continents.

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Deirdre Greenholz
17/28
Deirdre Greenholz
Why we admire her: Last June, Greenholz helped promote organ donation by pedaling in 20-minute sprints for Race Across America; her team completed the trek from California to New Jersey in 7 days.

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Amy Purdy
18/28
Amy Purdy
Why we admire her: In 2005, Purdy founded Adaptive Action Sports www.adacs.org, a nonprofit that runs training camps for disabled athletes.

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Stephanie Smith
19/28
Stephanie Smith
Why we admire her: Smith has scaled three mountains in 3 years --and raised $9,500 -- for Summit for Someone, a program that sends inner-city kids on wild adventures.

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Farhana Huq
20/28
Farhana Huq
Why we admire her: As Huq sinks her teeth into a salsa-covered burrito, she watches customers line up at the popular San Francisco restaurant La India Bonita. She's thrilled to see that the place is hopping.

It probably wouldn't be here without her: Mexican-born Guadalupe Chavez opened the eatery last June with help from a nonprofit group Huq founded in 2003. Called C.E.O. Women (Creating Economic Opportunities for Women), it teaches low-income immigrant women to become savvy entrepreneurs.

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Holly Sasnett
21/28
Holly Sasnett
Why we admire her: Sasnett, a professional photographer, doesn't blame women for being critical oftheir bodies -- she's not out to judge. All she wants is a chance to show them that their so-called trouble spots might actually be works of art.

For the past 9 years, as part of her Body Revisited project, she has been inviting women suffering from eating disorders to pose nude in front of her camera. A few weeks after the photo session, which can last up to 4 hours, her subjects return to Sasnett's Atlanta studio to see themselves in a new light. "I've had nothing but positive results," she says. The most common reaction she hears? "Oh, how beautiful!" -- uttered in a tone of total surprise.

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Mary Leighton
22/28
Mary Leighton
Why we admire her: When Leighton met 13-year-old Jonathan the first day of camp, he was so self-conscious about leaving his wheelchair -- he was missing a leg -- that he barely spoke. The occupational therapist eventually coaxed him out of his chair to try Pilates and learn how to hop.

By the time the Hawaiian-themed farewell bash came around, Jonathan was doing the limbo and grinning ear to ear. Helping kids with limb loss feel comfortable being themselves is the reason Leighton founded Camp Ability, a yearly 4-day event.

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Katherine Chon
23/28
Katherine Chon
Why we admire her: It's 2 A.M. when Chon receives a call from two terrified girls. Locked inside a hotel bathroom, the teenagers run the shower to avoid waking the man who has kidnapped them and forced them into prostitution.

Not knowing their exact whereabouts, they describe landmarks, which Chon quickly recognizes as downtown DC. Within 3 hours, Chon and her staff help the police locate the girls and escort them to an emergency shelter. A high-stakes night like this is anything but rare for Chon, who runs the Polaris Project, an international nonprofit that helps bring victims of human trafficking home.

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Jill Youse
24/28
Jill Youse
Why we admire her: Last fall, ice trays and Ben & Jerry's took a backseat to frozen breast milk in Youse's freezer. After pumping more than her daughter, Stella, needed, she searched for a milk bank online and came across iThemba Lethu, a transition home for orphaned AIDS babies in Durban, South Africa.

They had six babies to feed, each in need of human milk--not formula, which has been linked to the development of allergies and a weaker immune system. "I was hell-bent on getting my milk to South Africa," says Youse, who turned to her family for support. Her grandmother wrote her a $1,000 check to cover shipping costs, which in January 2006 became the seed money for the International Breast Milk Project (IBMP), a nonprofit that provides the white stuff to babies in underdeveloped nations.

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Gail Stern
25/28
Gail Stern
Why we admire her: Entering stage left, a guy walks up to Stern at a fraternity party and says, "You must be from Tennessee..." The audience roars at the embarrassingly familiar pickup line. "...because you're the only 10 I see." Stern smiles. Before long, they're back at his place, and the guy is coaxing her to do things she'd rather not. The audience goes silent, and the lights fade to black.

Within seconds, the lights are up again and Stern and the guy are on a talk show discussing date rape. "Yeah, she said no," he says. "But it was a whisper." This is a typical performance of Sex Signals by Catharsis Productions, a program cocreated by Stern in 2000 to raise awareness of sexual assault on U.S. college campuses.
Robin Kay Levine
26/28
Robin Kay Levine
Why we admire her: The acrid fumes of ammonia and bleach filled Robin's nostrils as she stepped into her sister Leslie's New York City apartment one afternoon in March 2005. It was the usual smell left behind by the housekeeper, who cleaned up while Leslie, then 36, was out getting chemo for breast cancer. In town from Los Angeles, Robin raced to open the windows. It has never been clear why her sister developed cancer--it doesn't run in the family.

But Robin suspected that chemical cleansers, which have been linked to breast cancer, might have been a cause. "Your skin absorbs the chemical ingredients, which enter your body and mimic estrogen, causing imbalances in your hormonal system," she says. So Robin developed all-natural cleansers and a Web site, Eco-Me (eco-me.com), where she sells kits containing the tools people need to make the products themselves.

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Nargis Shearzad
27/28
Nargis Shearzad
Why we admire her: A heavy gold curtain is pulled across the glass doors of a three-story building in the heart of downtown Kabul. There's no sign outside, but local women know what's hidden here. It's Venus, one of the capital's first women-only gyms, founded by fitness lover Nargis Shearzad.

When a fall nearly crippled her at age 3, Shearzad's family created a makeshift physical-therapy routine to teach her to walk again. It worked so well, she became an avid runner. "I knew exercise was the secret to staying pain-free," she says. In early 2005, just 4 years after the United States ousted the Taliban from Kabul, Shearzad decided to do something her female relatives wouldn't have considered in their wildest dreams: open a gym.

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28/28
Rebekah Anna Drezek, Ph.D
Age 34
Home base Houston, TX
Day job Associate professor of bioengineering, Rice University

Why she's an Action Figure Last year Drezek received the Era of Hope Scholar Award and a $2.8 million grant to support her work developing less expensive, less invasive methods for detecting, diagnosing, and treating breast cancer.


Read Rebekah's story

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