How our Women to Watch have seen women's leadership evolve

We asked our former Women to Watch honorees how they’ve seen women’s leadership change over the last decade, and their responses show us how far we’ve come together. There’s still so much work to be done, but by recognizing the incredible women in our community, we’ve marked and honored the legacy of women who came before us.

Read on for their inspiring words, and learn more about joining us to be inspired in person.

“Women are becoming more outspoken and courageous in their leadership. In prior decades, it seemed that for a woman to be successful in business or philanthropy, she had to take on the mannerisms and norms of men in the workplace. Today’s young women are teaching all of us that we can be ourselves and be successful. From politicians like Kamala Harris to tech pioneers like Sheryl Sandberg, women are forging new paths that were unheard of a generation ago. My daughter, Eliana, is a great example of the next generation of female leaders. She’s a senior at Duke University, she is a Research Associate at Dan Ariely's Startup Lab at Duke, and interned at Google Ventures this summer, helping start-ups with their user experience (UX).  Eliana inspires me every day with her fearless leadership. She’s an emerging Woman to Watch!”
Laura Lauder, WTW 2004
Venture Philanthropist; Founder, DeLeT: Day School Teaching Through Leadership
Atherton, CA

“Women's leadership has moved forward dramatically and, in so many ways Jewish groups such as JWI are in the forefront. I believe my daughter's generation feels that they have a voice and are less afraid to use it than my cohorts did.”
Paula Shoyer, WTW 2015
The Kosher Baker
Chevy Chase, MD

“It's heartening to see so many more women holding C-level positions, and I feel that they all have made a tremendous impact on their companies. Women bring a collaborative spirit and warmth often lacking in all male dominated businesses. Now, working as a professional speaker, I have noticed that many conference directors search for women to do their keynotes because they offer a more emotive and empathetic type of motivation for their employees.”
Linda Kaplan Thaler, WTW 2004
Chairman, Publicis Kaplan Thaler
New York, NY

“Women young and old are paving the way for a new style of leadership. Meeting the women that are a part of JWI is an example of how women are transforming organizations around the world.”
Marla Garchik, WTW 2017
Co-founder and CEO of Peace Love Solve
Boca Raton, FL

“In some ways women’s leadership has evolved, and in others not. In some places we are seeing more women in leadership (e.g., the nonprofit sector) and we are seeing more women than ever running for office and winning. There are more efforts to prepare women for and place them on boards and in other leadership positions -- and yet, particularly in the corporate world, women at the top are still not the norm. Despite mounting evidence of the value in having women in leadership, and the different sensibilities we bring, it is still a struggle to get to the top, and women -- and women of color in particular -- continue to be held back by systems, practices, and beliefs that are predicated on how men see the world.”
Nicky Goren, WTW 2016
President and CEO of the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation
Washington, DC

“Women’s leadership is always evolving in my mind. Women are so outspoken and courageous now. And I think that it is not just women who can learn from these new leaders. They aren’t just “women leaders.” They are just leaders, for everyone to look up to.  They speak up and out and use personal stories to galvanize movements.”
Anna Isaacson, WTW 2017
Senior Vice President, Social Responsibility, National Football League
New York, NY

“Women's leadership continues to evolve as we see more women running for office and serving in leadership positions. As that TV commercial used to say, "You've come a long way, baby," and we still have a long way to go!
Esther B. Newman, WTW 2011
Founder & Executive Director, Leadership Montgomery
Rockville, MD

“When I graduated college in 1978, entering a male profession meant that there was an expectation that we would do the job the way men did the job.  Over the 40 years of my rabbinic journey, and my mentorship of new generations of women rabbis, it was heartening to see that women had the courage to reinvent the profession.  We could do it "our way."  We brought so much to the rabbinate and transformed rabbinic work in so many wonderful ways. 

I also see a generosity in women mentoring women which didn't exist for me when I was a young professional. To be a woman leader today means that you share what you know and mentor those who come after you.  I also feel that my voice is heard in every room and board room with respect, because I am a leader now, not identified by gender, but by my life's work and accomplishment.”
Rabbi Amy R. Perlin, WTW 2012
Senior and Founding Rabbi of Temple B’nai Shalom
Fairfax Station, VA

“In the course of my life, I have chaired the boards of two national and three local organizations. Twenty years ago, particularly in the Jewish community, women rarely held leadership positions.  Even in the mid-1990’s, when I first served on the board of my Jewish Community Center, the nominating committee included “housewife” as an identifier for a potential board member.  Women were frequently denied access to the ladder to leadership.  But women, hard-working, determined, scrappy, have changed the leadership landscape!”
Rosalyn E. Jonas, WTW 2005
Abortion Rights Activist
Washington, DC

“In the past decade(s), women's leadership in politics, business, media, etc has evolved tremendously.  There are many more voices, many more women in positions of power and influence (though not enough), and a greater diversity of voices. The #MeToo movement has also been incredibly important in exposing sexism and male power in the workplace.”
Alice Rothchild, WTW 1998
Physician, Author, Activist
Seattle, WA