This year we are excited to award our third annual list of women leaders making a difference at work. We took nominations from our readers and combed through hundreds of profiles and sites to create our list of the top 15. Thank you all for your nominations.
Our goal was to assemble a comprehensive list of women who you may not have heard of before. This is not a celebrity list because you can find those millions of other places online. Instead, this is a list of women who work, just like you and I, who are hustling every single day to make their dream careers, businesses and lives happen.
We wanted to clear the clutter of “not so classy” that we see too much of and deliver you the REAL classy and ambitious ladies who are driving change, inspiring others and making the world a better place. The more we know that other women are making the impossible possible, the more empowered we will be that we can do the same. What we have learned time and time again is that when women support other women, incredible things happen.
What we looked for:
Women who meet the definition of a Classy Career Girl:
A female displaying elegance, style, high standards of personal behavior, skill and grace.
These Classy Career Girls are leaders and making a difference whether it is working for a company OR owning their own business. They can be ANY age and live anywhere in the world.
Get ready to be inspired! Here are the top 15 Classy Career Girls of 2017 (in alphabetical order):
Role: Professional Birth Worker
What makes her a Classy Career Girl: Julie is a strong independent entrepreneur raising a family and building a successful business at the same time. She has become such a big part of the birth community in the Chicago area. She has been working as a birth doula since 2009 and earned her business degree at the University of Alaska before starting a midwifery apprenticeship in 2016. She is always there to help out fellow birth workers. One of her projects is to bring free-standing birth centers to many of them in need areas of Illinois.
Mariana Carballo Montalvo
Role: Director of Business Development – Behr Mexico (Mexico division of Behr Paint in the US). Located in Mexico City.
What makes her a Classy Career Girl: Mariana is the epitome of leadership and displays class and grace in all she does. She leads a large team of men and women who respect her greatly and when the day is done she, as a single mother, also leads her two twin babies, Mia and Cesar. Mariana displays a very natural ability to balance a career while also managing a household and continues to surprise her co-workers every day with her accomplishments. Mariana is greatly admired as a classy career girl and a friend.
Role: Owner/CEO of Insight HR & Career Solutions
What makes her a Classy Career Girl: Debi is the quintessential HR coach and mentor. As an active member of Classy Career Girl Network, Debi reached out to others when they posted questions regarding career moves. Her advice has been invaluable in helping other members reach their career goals, and she graciously offered to conduct a mock interview with members to assess their skills. This guidance has been very helpful in reaching career goals for so many women. Debi is thoughtful, funny, and knowledgeable in her responses and helps identify areas of improvement in your career or job search, as well as celebrate your successes.
Role: Life Coach
What makes her a Classy Career Girl: Paula is a Brazilian living in the UK. Paula deserves to be nominated because of her integrity, hard work, kindness, passion and dedication to make sure we can become the best people we can be. She’s just become a mother, and still finds time to motivate and inspire us with grace in her Facebook group, which is all about women reinventing themselves.
Role: Owner / Professional Organizer of Sarasota Home Organizer
What makes her a Classy Career Girl: Elizabeth started the year not quite as she thought. She was going through what many entrepreneurs go through. She lost a lot of clients. Not for anything she did but it happens. Well, that didn’t last for long because Elizabeth got them all back and then some. She ended the year having to hire another organizer to help her with her clients because she had so many. Elizabeth has been literally changing people’s lives this year helping them to organize their home, get rid of things they don’t need, and helping them move.
Role: First-year medical student at Loyola University: Stritch School of Medicine
What makes her a Classy Career Girl: Itisha is an alumna of Spelman College, C’ 2011. She graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Chemistry, cum laude. At Spelman, Itisha was very involved on campus and in the Atlanta community. She held several leadership positions on campus, researched and volunteer abroad. She has researched at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, University of Cape Coast in Cape Coast, Ghana as a Minority Health International Research Training (MHIRT), Merck and Co., Inc and Spelman College. Her abroad experiences consisted of volunteering at the University of Cape Coast Hospital in Cape Coast, Ghana where she promoted health education and community health outreach in the villages, and volunteering at the Helping Hands Community Hospital in Kathmandu, Nepal.
Role: Owner/CEO of EGM Consultant
What makes her a Classy Career Girl: Last year Stephanie joined Corporate Rescue Plan and she transformed her business. This year she created amazing courses and programs to help women around the world realize their dream of having a website and online presence. Stephanie started the year afraid to put herself out there but has since done videos, interviews, podcasts and summits. She truly came out of her shell this year and started putting herself in her business this year. It has made all the difference. She has helped over 200 people this year realize their dream of having an amazing website and build their online business.
Role: Branding Photographer
What makes her a Classy Career Girl: Angie is known for her amazing ideas and developing great projects with others. She has played a big role in other people’s lives this year and her kindness, intelligence and enthusiasm, and passion for capturing the essence of a person and their business are inspiring!
Role: Owner of Marshall Web Studio Design
What makes her a Classy Career Girl: Treva is the epitome of class. She is always available to answer questions and to help others who need website assistance. She puts a lot of thought into her answers and suggestions and others know that whatever she recommends is the best option/answer because she asks such great questions and, if needed, does research before providing her suggestions. The person who nominated her can’t say enough great things about Treva, she’s amazing!
Melissa Morris Venable
Role: Executive Director
What makes her a Classy Career Girl: Melissa is the Executive Director of the Northern Colorado Chapter of the American Red Cross. Her tagline is “Ditch the drab and finds your FAB”. Melissa changed her life around, coming out of a bad marriage and reinventing herself as a life coach, author, and speaker and helps other women “find their fabs” too.
Role: Founder, self-esteem coach, and speaker
What makes her a Classy Career Girl: Daniela has a “day job” where she works hard, but it’s her side hustle that is her passion. As an author, she uses her gift of words to motivate and inspire others. By sharing her own life experiences and challenges she supports other women who love to write. Daniela is a truly kind and generous person and her compassion towards others is inspiring.
Role: President of 10x digital, living in Greenville, South Carolina
What makes her a Classy Career Girl: Holly has earned her place in the ever-growing, male-dominated industry: marketing. In her 20 years as a PR professional, she’s been the winner of a wide variety of accolades and landed clients in publications like HuffPost, USA Today and much more. She also won the Content Maven award from Content Marketing Institute 2 years in a row and acquired another digital agency after just a few years of owning hers to stay up-to-date on the services the company is able to offer.
Laura J. Shifflett
Role: Nationally and PA-Certified School Psychologist | Adjunct Lecturer of Psychology
What makes her a Classy Career Girl: Ms. Shifflet is the epitome of a Classy Career Girl. She is a strong, independent woman with the elegance and style of Jackie O. Ms. Shifflett has a passion for fashion and always dresses for the job she wants, not the job she has. Similarly, her standards in life are as high as her heels. Her ambition is evident in her achievements in becoming a published author in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine as an undergrad where she put herself through school taking night classes while raising her son and working full-time. Ms. Shifflett earned her Master’s degree while also going to school & working full-time. Ms. Shifflett is an active member of Lives Changed By Christ, her local congregation, where she serves children & families with special needs. Ms. Shifflett has a desire to use her skills for the glory of God & to serve others. She has been saved by grace to love others extravagantly & do good works.
Role: Clinical Pharmacy Manager of Ambulatory Care Services
What makes her a Classy Career Girl: Erin is a pharmacy manager in a large, multicenter health-system who just completed the long and arduous path through 4 years of pharmacy school and 2 pharmacy residency with high standards of personal behavior. While she was in a rigorous residency program, she was also a full-time masters student earning an MS in Health-System Pharmacy Administration, making a total of 3 degrees (BS, PharmD, MS). Through her academic and residency training programs, she combined a passion for taking care of patients with advancing the profession of pharmacy by being a strong female leader in her field. She has done multiple presentations at pharmacy conferences and workshops for students to leave strong legacies and sharing their impactful stories. She is published in peer-reviewed pharmacy journals and has contributed to multiple pharmacy magazines. Her current role affords her the opportunity to provide direct patient care in the clinic setting.
What makes her a Classy Career Girl: Rebecca started this year by growing her family and bringing a beautiful little girl into this world. Having a second child was not quite what she thought and she had to put her business on hold for a few months. She was also given another challenge when her family decided to relocate to the other side of the country. Rebecca faced many changes she wasn’t expecting this year but through it all, she found her true vision for her business. Creative Habitat coaches other busy moms and mompreneurs on tools and strategies needed to develop a habit of carving out creative time and space in day-to-day living, a true gift for every woman willing to seek it out. And soon it will become a real location!
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