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Thirteen Inspiring Entrepreneurial Women in Technology

When I first started my own Web site, Sparkplugging, it was my goal to inspire women to build businesses from home. Obviously, the site has evolved considerably since then, but that still remains one of my goals. As things have evolved, there have been times when I’ve seriously lost sleep or wanted to check myself into a mental institution. To get through these hard times, I’ve needed my own inspiration—sometimes way more than I let on.

Whenever I have gotten down on my business or on myself, I’ve looked to these women to help me turn things around. Some are dear friends. Some don’t even know I exist. But they all have helped to shape Sparkplugging into what it is today, whether they realize it or not!

Heather Armstrong: Dooce
Heather’s success in building her Web site from scratch to one of the most successful blogs on the internet has been an ongoing light at the end of the tunnel for me. I’ve always been so impressed with her ability to take the mundane and make it insanely hilarious and fascinating—especially to those who aren’t mom bloggers. I have to say I’m also impressed with her unapologetic position on her liberal views. Not many women are so comfortable with themselves while risking offending others, which we all know she has done.

Jory Des Jardins, Lisa Stone, and Elisa Camahort: BlogHer
BlogHer is one model for building an empire that eclipses all others in my mind. I’ve watched these women grow their grassroots community into the biggest powerhouse company for women in blogging. Knowing how hard it has been for me at times only makes me respect them more. And just when I think they couldn’t possibly do much more, they seem to somehow outdo themselves again and again. 

Liz Strauss: Successful Blog
Since Liz lives here in the Chicago area with me, she and I have grown to be close friends. We’ve laughed together, cried together, and I honestly don’t know where I would be today without her. And I’ve watched her with true admiration as she has grown SOBCon to be one of the most important blogging events out there. She’s been a mentor, friend, leader and chief inspirer. I love you Liz. 

Erin Kotecki Vest: Queen of Spain
Erin and I seem to cross paths every time I go to a conference. Even though we’ve been friends for a while, it was this post that officially launched my girl crush on her. But my crush turned into full-out envy when Erin landed her gig with BlogHer as their Political Director and Election ’08 Producer. And then she got onto CNN at the Democratic National Convention. And THEN she landed an interview with Barack Obama himself. 

Green. With. Envy. I. Tell. You.

Pam Slim: Escape from Cubicle Nation
Pam has been blogging about entrepreneurship for way longer than I have. I’ve been honored to be in her company in this space. Though we’ve only traded a few emails and tweets on Twitter, I was kind of wonderfully astonished at how much we connected and were able to share in so few words. I don’t even have to read her blog to be inspired by Pam—just the fact that she is out there doing her thing makes me want to be a better person. 

Kelly Anderson: Startup Princess
Kelly and I go back to nearly the beginning of my blogging career. We’ve leaned on each other for advice and support, and have had long conversations in which we’ve really, truly connected. I’m so proud of what she has done with Startup Princess, and have been so impressed with her dedication and determination. Kelly truly serves women in business from the bottom of her heart and I adore that about her. (And here’s a bonus, Gwen Bell, Kelly Anderson, and Barbara Jones recently hung out at a Startup Princess event in Salt Lake City. (Sigh.) 

Barbara Jones: One2One Network
When I first met Barbara at the BlogHer conference this year, we became fast friends. It’s turned into an amazing working relationship, as Barbara has been working with Epson, who sponsored our amazing group trip to go to BlogWorld in September. But it’s Barbara’s groundedness and brilliance that have truly inspired me—she really gets marketing via social media, and it’s been more than an honor to work with her!

Laura Fitton: Pistachio Consulting
Laura is one of those people that is smart as hell—the kind of person that you can sit down, start a conversation with and not realize what the heck happened to the time three hours later. Laura inspires me with both her success and her humility—one of those rare people that make you feel awesome no matter what mood she is in. If there is ONE person you should follow on Twitter, it’s @pistachio

Laura Mayes, Gabrielle Blair and Laurie Smithwick: Kirtsy
Somehow every time I run into the Kirtsy chicks, it’s at some crazed moment at a conference so we get about 30 seconds to say hi. But I wish I’d get more time with them, because they just impress the heck out of me. I love what they are doing with Kirtsy, and I think they are going to go very far with it. Plus they just brought on Gwen Bell to grow the business with them, and Gwen gets an honorable mention as another inspiring woman in technology! Anyone who hangs with Gwen does right by me! 

Arianna Huffington: Huffington Post
When I first started blogging, I remember looking at the Empire of Arianna and thinking that I would never, ever be able to ‘get there’ from here. Now, I’m still no Huffington Post, but to be even mentioned in the same post as her was one of the highlights of my blogging career. Although she was one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in 2006, she’s also a passionate blogger—just like me. Just thinking about that makes me feel bigger than I was five minutes ago.