This International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating the powerful women behind some of our most beloved titles.
Joan Barnes, Play It Forward
Forty years ago, Joan Barnes founded a play center in a church basement with $3,000. This small investment would pay off big time, turning into the hugely popular children’s center Gymboree. Determined to enable women to achieve personal and entrepreneurial success, Barnes led Gymboree to become an iconic billion-dollar brand. But while the company flourished, Joan struggled with an eating disorder that threatened to destroy her and everything she built.
Joan overcame the disorder, charting a path that replaced demons with an enduring sense of worth and hope. She eventually resumed her business career on healthier terms with a line of yoga studios in an inspiring example of how women can triumph through reinvention. Play It Forward: From Gymboree to the Yoga Mat and Beyond tells the emotional tale of Joan’s courageous journey. Featured by the TODAY Show, People, Newsweek, and more, Joan is an inspiration to women across all generations, and Gymboree classes have brought fun, meaningful play to children around the world.
Jocelyn Delk Adams, Grandbaby Cakes
Since founding her popular recipe blog Grandbaby-Cakes.com in 2012, Jocelyn Delk Adams has been putting fresh twists on old favorites. Inspired by her grandmother, Big Mama, who baked and developed delicious, melt-in-your-mouth desserts, Jocelyn gives each recipe something familiar mixed with something new. From Aunt Irene’s Apricot Nectar Cake to Merry Berry Christmas Cake, each of the 50 brilliant recipes in Grandbaby Cakes is an ode to Jocelyn’s foundation of love, connection, and the deeply rooted traditions of her lineage.
Adams has earned praise from critics and the adoration of bakers both young and old by remixing traditional recipes with her fun “grandbaby” twist. In addition to being a TODAY Show Tastemaker and TED Talk speaker, she has been featured by dozens of media outlets including Bon Appetit, NPR, The Oprah Magazine, Essence, and Buzzfeed. Jocelyn is also the founder of A Charitable Confection, an annual anti-violence dessert fundraiser featuring the top bakeries in Chicago.
Yvonne Maffei, My Halal Kitchen
This International Women’s Day we celebrate Yvonne Maffei, founder of the hugely popular cooking blog and Islamic lifestyle website MyHalalKitchen.com and author of My Halal Kitchen: Global Recipes, Cooking Tips, and Lifestyle Inspiration. Maffei’s cookbook, published in 2016, collects over 100 recipes from a variety of cultural traditions and rethinks their preparation according to halal standards. Born in Ohio to Sicilian and Puerto Rican parents, Maffei developed a love of diverse culinary styles; from her nonna’s homemade meatballs to arroz con frijoles (rice and beans) on her mother’s side of the family. She credits her mom, who gave her her first subscription to Martha Stewart Living, for helping My Halal Kitchen find its ground, as well as her two late grandmothers, whose lives spent generously feeding their loved ones continue to inspire Maffei’s work. From Coq without the Vin, and Shrimp Pad Thai, to Chicken Tamales and more, My Halal Kitchen offers a world of abundant culinary possibilities to halal home cooks, and stands testament to the enduring influence of hardworking women on the cooks of today.
Own It: Oprah Winfrey In Her Own Words, edited by Anjali Becker and Jeanne Engelmann.
The public’s appetite for all things Oprah Winfrey has waned little since her Chicago TV debut in 1983. Known as a self-help guru and the “Queen of All Media,” Oprah (it’s almost impossible not to refer to her by her globally recognized first name) has been shining light on social issues and encouraging fans to “live your best life” for more than 30 years, revolutionizing her corner of the entertainment industry in the process. But Winfrey’s unprecedented influence and celebrity often overshadow her indisputable entrepreneurial prowess and business acumen. Even though Oprah has stated that she wouldn’t consider herself a businesswoman, her ever-expanding media empire and record-breaking multi billion-dollar fortune say otherwise. Own It: Oprah Winfrey In Her Own Words provides a unique look into the wisdom and thought processes of one of the most adored, respected, and powerful women in the world. This book collects her most insightful quotations, centered around her media career, life lessons, entrepreneurship, and remarkable personal story. This International Women’s Day, we celebrate Oprah’s triumphs; the self-reliance, values, and vision on which she has built her empire, and the precedent she sets for women and entrepreneurs everywhere.