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inspiring working mothers

Mothers have always had a profound influence on the world- but never more so than now. On the back of predominant messaging around working moms 'having it all', “ very frank reflections have emerged on how brutally hard it is to be excelling at everything and constantly be failing unrealistic expectations. In celebration of authentic sharing, and ahead of Mother's Day, we highlight ten moms that are redefining motherhood and doing things their own way.

1 sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl Sandberg

As Facebook’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg is one of the most powerful women in the world, yet in 2015 her role in life changed forever when she was left suddenly widowed after her husband died of a fatal heart attack. How to withstand catastrophe and grow from adversity has been her personal mission ever since- whether it be for her two children, the workplace or our communities. Sandberg now actively seeks out small moments of joy during the working day, and makes it a habit to write down a list of at least three things daily that she is grateful for.

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2 Jourdan Dunn- Brandon Maxwell SS18

Jourdan Dunn

London born model Jourdan Dunn's career was just taking off when aged 17 she fell pregnant with her son Riley. She didn't let the change in her body or life circumstance stop her. Working until she was 6 months pregnant, and making history as the first black model since Naomi to strut for Prada, her and Riley just shot Brandon Maxwell's SS18 campaign (pictured) but she's open about the self criticism and doubt that arises too. In an open letter on Instagram, Dunn admits: "My career has been a rollercoasted of rejection and support. Mostly my own."

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3 ANNE-MARIE SLAUGHTER

ANNE-MARIE SLAUGHTER

The first woman to serve as director of Policy Planning for the U.S. State Department, Anne-Marie Slaughter has been profoundly open about her struggles to balance motherhood with being part of President Obama's power circle. In 2012, she wrote a refreshingly honest article for The Atlantic, called “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All”, where she discussed her decision to leave her high-stress government job to be at home with her sons. She admits: "I’d been the one telling young women at my lectures that you can have it all and do it all, regardless of what field you are in. Which means I’d been part, albeit unwittingly, of making millions of women feel that they are to blame if they cannot manage to rise up the ladder as fast as men and also have a family and an active home life (and be thin and beautiful to boot)."

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4 Ellen Latham

Ellen Latham

Ellen Latham was laid off from her dream job in 1996. A single mother with a 9-year-old son, she had no idea that her life would change forever- in the most positive of ways. Transforming the spare room in her home, she began teaching one-on-one Pilates classes, pioneering her method that would evolve into the multimillion-dollar fitness franchise now blowing up across the US: Orangetheory Fitness. Her secret? “Momentum shifting,” which means focus on what you do have, rather than what you don’t.

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5 Ariana Huffington

Ariana Huffington

Founder of the Huffington Post (which was sold to AOL in 2011 for more than $300 million), Ariana Huffington says she always wanted to be a mother. Yet re-marrying at 35, and having her first baby delivered stillborn, she didn't give birth until she was 38 and again at 40. As a working mother of two girls, Huffington has been open about the fact:“I always felt guilty. I think that’s something which every working mother feels. And it’s really horrible because I don’t think I would’ve been happy if I was not working.”

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6 Dianne Green

Dianne Green

Unlike the ‘college-kid-coding’ Silicon Valley success story you normally hear, Dianne Green is a highly respected engineer who chose to do her own thing, raise her kids, and start Bebop Technologies in 2012- a cloud based computing company. Google bought it for $380 million, hired her and she donated her almost her entire share ($149 million) to charity. Green is now bringing unity to the fragmented cloud-based technology industry by cultivating partnerships.

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7 Stella McCartney

Stella McCartney

With former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney for a father, Stella McCartney might not be expected to suffer from the same worries as other working mothers but she admits “I feel guilty because I don’t do either of the things well: neither work 100 per cent, nor being a mother 100 per cent.” McCartney, 39, who is married to Alasdhair Willis and is a mother of four, has always been determined to be known in her own right- independent of family titles. The designer’s ethical stance (since 2001) was ahead of her time, and while her refusal to use leather and fur is legendary, she is now she's on a mission to have us recycle what we wear too.

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8 Waris Dirie

Waris Dirie

Waris Dirie was a victim of female genital mutilation in her home of Somalia. At 13, when her parents then arranged for her to marry a man in his sixties, she ran away. Winding up alone in London, she became a successful model (and Bond girl) but couldn't forget the past injustices. Now as a mother of four children, she founded an organization called Desert Flower that combats female genital mutilation around the world. Her motto:“Every education begins with Mama. We have to rethink what we teach our sons. That's the most important thing."

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9 KATHY HEADLEE

KATHY HEADLEE

Kathy Headlee, a mother of seven (the youngest of whom she adopted from Romania), started Mothers Without Borders to help orphaned children around the world. The idea came to her in a dream in 1992, and she has since led a group of volunteers to distribute relief supplies to orphanages and train caregivers in Romania, Bolivia, Bosnia, Guatemala, India, Mexico, Zimbabwe, Uganda, and Nepal. Her ethos? "I can't help them all," she says, "but I can make a difference in the lives of a few. These kids feel invisible, but they do have a voice. Each of those little voices deserves to be heard."

10 Dani Johnson

Dani Johnson

Dani Johnson, may be mother of 5 children (and 7 grandchildren), but still coaches thousands of women on how to overcome adversity and debt. Abused and molested between the ages of three to 16, by the time she was 19 she was destitute, homeless and living out of her car with $2.03. She decided to change tact by putting up a flyer for a weight loss program in a popular coffee shop- within hours she'd received 25 responses and knew she was onto something. She went on to earn her first million in just two years and has since been launching businesses and coaching other women to do the same.

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