1. The Mindful Giver
Hali Lee, 51, founder of the Asian Women Giving Circle and co-founder and co-executive director of Faces of Giving, dedicated to amplifying the power of philanthropy.
"In my mind's eye, I'm 28 years old, so the gift of now is that I have the energy and ideas of a younger person with the experience and insight of an older person. It's impossible to have everything, do everything, be everything. It is possible to do well enough, get by, try your hardest, be okay with the grays and the imperfects and to have a good enough time — dare I say fun — while doing so."
2. The Social Reformer
Sujatha Jesudason, 51, Professor of Management at the New School and founder and Executive Director of CoreAlign, a reproductive justice organization.
"At this age, I'm trying new things — what better time to risk it all? I just moved to New York City for the first time in my life. I'm the most impactful I've ever been in my work, and I'm also transitioning into the role of mentor. More of my energies are going into supporting other women, and in this political moment, that is powerful. We need to go all out."
3. The Breakthrough Researcher
Dr. Carolyn Westhoff, 66, a leader in contraceptive research and family planning services at New York Presbyterian Hospital at Columbia University Medical Center.
"When I turned 60 I thought, 'What would be worth accomplishing at work in the next 10 years?' and I chose to focus on enduring problems in the area of oral contraceptives, how to move those forward. In my 60s, I'm calmer and wiser, with a lot of history to draw on when issues arise — and I'm so grateful that the smart, idealistic young people I work with are not despairing even now. They're dynamite."
4. The Design Innovator
Ruth Lande Shuman, 74, founder of Publicolor, a not-for-profit organization using design projects to empower struggling students to realize their potential.
"Curiosity continues to imbue my work, which allows me to be flexible and responsive to new ideas. My age and experience mean that I can act as a mentor to young talent, which is enormously energizing! I am more patient, but I still have a sense of urgency around my work, and I want to keep growing Publicolor's impact, helping even more high-risk low-income students reach their potential."
5. The Founding Feminist
Marie Wilson, 77, founder of the White House Project, the Ms. Foundation for Women, and creator of Take Our Daughters to Work Day."It's hard for me to slow down, even now. What keeps people strong and healthy is the ability to make change — in their job, in their community or in their home. What's kept me sane is the continual ability to do something about what's wrong in the world — through the civil rights movement, the women's movement, the gay rights movement, and all the things we are struggling with right now. I get up every morning and I know there's something I can and must do."
6. The Cultural Curator
Nancy Spector, 58, Artistic Director and Jennifer and David Stockman Chief Curator at Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum."At this point in my life I am able to be decisive and direct in my leadership but also still open and attuned to what is new, radical, and risky in my field. I am deeply committed to doing what I love, honing my curatorial skills, and looking for opportunities to use art to address the profound concerns of our time."
7. The Intrepid Advocate
Sayu Bhojwani, 50, founder and President ofNew American Leadersand author of People Like Us, about American democracy.
"As an immigrant woman of color, I represent so much that is under attack in this country today. Yet I have never been more sure of who I am and what I believe is possible here. That I continue to lean into my work at the intersection of immigration and politics is a testament for women like me to never shy away from the battle for our place at the table."
8. The Eco Protector
Deborah Goldberg, 63, Managing Attorney ofEarthjustice's, Northeast regional office.
"I work as an environmental lawyer and we are trying very hard to protect a healthy planet for all species. Right now I'm working to get New York State law to require cleaning products to disclose their list of ingredients so people aren't bringing home things that will make their families sick. These are difficult times, and at this age, I have a long view — I know that we need to stay hopeful and keep fighting."
9. The Scholar
Kimberlé Crenshaw, 58, renowned civil rights advocate and leading scholar of critical race theory at the UCLA School of Law and Columbia Law School.
On intersectionality, a term she helped advance: "Without frames that allow us to see how social problems impact all the members of a targeted group, many will fall through the cracks of our [social justice] movements. When there's no name for a problem, you can't see a problem. When you can't see a problem, you can't solve it."
10. The Organizer
Heather Booth, 72, organizer for justice and democracy.
"It is a gift to be able to do the work building a better society where all people will be treated with dignity and respect. And at this age, I am grateful to have a little more confidence than I did earlier. We are in perilous and inspiring times. The stakes are so high, but often out of the greatest crisis comes the greatest progress. But only if we organize."