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Women & Power 2022

7 inspiring podcasts and books for aspiring women leaders

We asked women leaders in Boston to share the podcasts and books they’ve looked to recently for motivation.

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Inspiration can come in many forms. We asked some women leaders in Boston to share podcasts and books they’ve recently found to be particularly enjoyable — and motivational. Check out their recommendations, and maybe you, too, will be inspired.

Responses have been edited and condensed.

Podcast: The Daily (The New York Times), “An Iranian Uprising Led by Women” (September 28)

This episode of The Daily does an excellent job of putting the current uprising in Iran, launched by women, into the larger political, social, and historical context, and underscores the way in which Mahsa Amini’s tragic death has in many ways brought a kind of unity of purpose to a large swath of the Iranian public.


— Marisa Kelly, president of Suffolk University

Podcast: Going Wild with Dr. Rae Wynn-Grant (PBS), “Black. Female. Scientist.” (November 30, 2021)

I follow a ton of podcasts but I’d like to lift up this one. The whole series is great, and I highly suggest starting with Season 1 Episode 1, but if there is one episode that encapsulates her story, it’s “Black. Female. Scientist.” Dr. Wynn-Grant is a brilliant wildlife ecologist, and I admire how she knits together her passion for her career with navigating it as a woman of color.

— Lily Mendez, president and CEO of Mass Mentoring Partnership

Podcasts: WorkLife With Adam Grant, “Satya Nadella is building the future” (May 24); Harvard Business Review Women at Work, “The Essentials: Retaining Talent” (April 4); and TED Talks Daily, “Why winning doesn’t always equal success” (December 2019)

I’m a lifelong learner, so getting new ideas or perspectives from other leaders’ experiences, challenges, and journeys helps to enrich my thinking, refine my leadership, or deepen my understanding of a particular topic. Listening to podcasts is one way I do this, and there are usually at least one or two insights from an episode that spark an idea, help me to think about a problem in a completely new way, or just learn something interesting.


— Julie Kim, president of Takeda’s US Business Unit

Book: Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha (2018)

This book has been a fantastic read in further contextualizing intersectional disability justice in my work. Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha has thought of various communities and ways to build a community that not only cares for each other but fights for the rights of all, and not just some.

— Ellice Patterson, executive and artistic director of Abilities Dance Boston

Book: My Life On the Road by Gloria Steinem (2015)

Steinem tells her own story, which is as inspiring as it is eye-opening. Steinem repeatedly stresses the importance of listening to others. I like that she mentioned that she has 95 percent in common with conservative Republican women and we shouldn’t focus on the 5 percent we don’t agree upon. Women would all benefit if we supported each other despite our differences. I couldn’t agree more.

— Christina Gordon, cofounder and CEO of Women’s Foundation of Boston

Chelsea Henderson can be reached at chelsea.henderson@globe.com.. Follow her on Twitter @seahenderson.