Inspiring Women in Los Angeles

Inspiring women truly are everywhere right now. All across the globe, we are seeing female empowerment, creativity and collaboration like never before: female founders and owners, who are creating kinder, gentler businesses. From the philanthropic to those pioneering new rules around creativity, here are 10 fantastic female game-changers we are celebrating in Los Angeles right now. (Photo by @skeiko via Twenty20).

1 Helene Henderson - malibu-farm

Helene Henderson

Helene Henderson came to America from Sweden with nothing more than a one-way ticket and $500. Following in her mother's footsteps she began to waitress and learned to cook- her dinner parties took off in Malibu (where she moved with her surfer husband) and she was given the opportunity to do a short-term pop-up on Malibu Pier. Five years later, it's still the hottest weekend brunch spot in town.

2 susan-burton-620

Susan Burton

Susan Burton’s world was forever changed when her five-year-old son, K.K., died after being hit by a car in 1982. She became caught in a vicious cycle of drug abuse and prison (she served six sentences in 17 years). What changed her path? “Knowing my life had value,” she says. Susan began by meeting women released from prison as soon as they stepped off the prison bus, welcoming them into her home, and urging them to stay as long as they needed. This grew into her charity A New Way of Life, which is based in South LA and provides housing and support to formerly incarcerated women.

3 downtownwomenscenter-Los Angeles

Jill Halverson

Former outreach worker, Jill Halverson, founded the Downtown Women’s Center in 1978 after she forged a strong friendship with a homeless woman named Rosa. As Los Angeles' homeless population sharply increases, the Downtown Women’s Center is still the only organization in town that’s devoted exclusively to helping homeless and poverty-stricken women in Skid Row. If you are looking for a place to volunteer, you can go solo or as a group— last year, it hosted more than 5,000 volunteers, who helped out by cooking, coaching, and running self-help workshops.

4 caitlincrosby

Caitlin Crosby

Growing up in Hollywood, with industry parents, and launching her own career as a singer and actress, Caitlin Crosby felt compelled to help women deal with their body image. Her organisation LoveYourFlaws started a social movement of women holding up handwritten signs and proudly embracing their perceived wobbles, or scars or 'ugly' parts. As part of the campaign, she had a bunch of keys with words like Love and Strength and Let Go, which she started passing out to people who needed them. One night, while out in Hollywood, Caitlin passed a homeless couple serendipidously holding a sign that said: 'Ugly, Broke and Hungry.' It immediately resonated and, as they began talking, it emerged the couple made jewellery. From that moment a new brand was formed, The Giving Keys- the couple engrave the keys which are now sold online and stocked by Fred Segal. They are no longer homeless.

5 a-sense-of-home-la

Georgie Smith & Melissa Goddard

Georgie Smith started a Sense of Home by accident. Posting a Facebook status asking her friends to donate furniture to help a former foster youth who had “aged out” of the foster care system settle into his first ever home. The response was overwhelming. Ever since, alongside her partner Melissa Goddard, they've been transforming the lives of foster youth by moving them into their first homes and decorating the space. Three years on, their company A Sense Of Home is now staffed by the recipients of the program.

6 Sara Kramer and Sarah Hymanson’s

Sara Kramer and Sarah Hymanson

Sara Kramer and Sarah Hymanson are two expat New Yorkers, who opened up a small family style canteen in Los Feliz that's garnered a big reputation. Sourcing as much as possible from small, responsible, local growers - their mission is to make the restaurant industry a kinder place to work in too. Tips are included in the menu's pricing and they’re trying to redefine the drama and stress often associated with working in a kitchen for employees.

7 photo8

Jenefer Palmer

Malibu-based Jenefer Palmer started OSEA in the early 90’s in her kitchen sink. Teaching herself basic chemistry, her active, totally organic and seaweed-infused skincare brand has been leading the way in plant-based beauty ever since. 100 per cent vegan and responsibly packaged, before it got cool, her nourishing elixirs were inspired by her family (in the picture you can see Jenefer give her son a mud treatment on the beach).

8 Yael Aflalo-reformation

Yael Aflalo

Driven by the concept that fashion is the third most polluting industry, Yael Aflalo is on a mission to clean it up. The CEO and founder of Reformation, LA's hottest sustainable fashion boutique, her stylish eco-conscious garments have a cult following from Taylor Swift to Karlie Kloss, Rihanna and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.

9 general-store-venice-ca

Serena Mitnik-Miller

Co-owner and founder of the oh-so cool store General Store in Venice Beach, Serena Mitnik-Miller spends her days painting, designing, collecting, and collaborating with the local artisan community. Living in Topanga, her style is new California cool and her moto? "Cherish what you have, don’t be afraid of change, take a chance and live with no regrets and most importantly fight for what you believe and follow your heart!"


Sonja Rasula

Sonja Rasula is on a mission to help small businesses by inspiring us all to shop local. Founder of Unique LA, one of the top craft fairs in the city, as well as the Unique Space, an event and co-working space in the DTLA area, she's all about helping other talented entrepreneurs grow. Her motto: "Your dollars make a direct impact in your neighborhood>"