Ladies, we salute you!

Happy International Women’s Day. And what better way to mark the occasion than to salute the women who inspire, innovate and genuinely contribute to the business of marketing, media and communications. Here are my heroes of the day:

Joanna Shields and Elisabeth Murdoch

Watch out. Joanna and Elisabeth have joined forces and are on a mission.  Their venture, under Elisabeth Murdoch’s Shine umbrella, sets out to produce content across online and offline platforms, with a focus on social engagement.  During Joanna’s time heading Bebo (and eventually engineering the sale of it to AOL for $850 million) she showed the world that she not only had her finger firmly on the pulse of social media’s relevance to content production (think Kate Modern) but that she could bring business value from it too.  Always engaging, completely relevant and super-smart, she’s a hero. And that, combined with the drive, ambition and media credentials of Elisabeth Murdoch, will be exciting to follow.

Arianna Huffington

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Huffington Post, one of the most powerful online media brands – bringing news and blogging together, and now one of the most linked-to news sites.  Arianna has revolutionised news, especially the way in which US political issues are covered. The Huff Post is now 5 years old and that that’s a long time in the online world. Then, and now, it provides something pretty great: quality content, speed to report, opinion and  – most vitally – serious stuff delivered with a light touch, making it truly accessible and engaging. Arianna herself is the visionary who clearly understands what we want from online news content.  With an incredible business network, sharp intellect and obvious drive, she’s a powerhouse.

Jane Bown

Photographer extraordinaire. Jane has provided The Observer with quite incredible black and white photography since 1949 and continues to delight with her ability to tell a story with a captured moment. Her skill is quite simply extraordinary: no gimmicks, no effects – just Jane and her 40-year-old camera creating something honest and enduring. Photography is a vital part of communications, helping us tell a story, evoke and illustrate. For me, there’s none better than Jane Bown.

Kathryn Bigelow

Hot on the heels of her Best Director (first woman ever, in 82 years!) Oscar win, Kathryn deserves a mention. In directing The Hurt Locker to Oscar and box-office success, she’s a woman who reigns supreme in a male-dominated oeuvre. Point Break excepted, she’s a star.

Who’s inspiring you today?

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