World-Changing Women’s Summit

Presented by Kate Spade New York, this celebration of incredible needle-moving, envelope-pushing mission-driven leaders is fiercely inspiring.

Another year, another list of incredible women-identifying leaders in conscious business. In the previous two installments, we opened with real talk about the overwhelming gap between our planet’s population and how misrepresented those demographics are in positions of power within for-profit organizations. Since the 2019 World-Changing Women list, not much has changed when it comes to gender equality in the private sector.

The number of Fortune 500 companies that have a female CEO is still abysmal, and women are still underrepresented in all levels of business. But, while we acknowledge there are plenty more steps to take, we’re taking a moment to look back and appreciate just how far we’ve come.

According to the National Association of Women Business Owners, there are a total of 12.3 million women-owned businesses in the US. This number becomes even more incredible when you realize that there were only 402,000 women-owned businesses in 1972.

During the decade between 1997 and 2007, women-owned businesses added half a million jobs to the US economy. In 2018, women started a net total of 1,821 new businesses every day; 64 percent of those businesses were started by women of color. Businesses run by women produce $1.8 trillion a year, according to the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council. All this to say: we’re getting somewhere.

Perhaps our optimism is due to this shiny new decade now on the calendar, or maybe it’s because this year our inboxes were flooded with nominations for the 2020 list of Word-Changing Women in Conscious Business. We’re talking nearly five times as many nominations than last year. And each time we painstakingly read through submission, we found ourselves enthusiastically nodding our heads — until we realized that, although we no longer deal with pesky page counts, we just don’t have the bandwidth to cover hundreds of women’s stories in one list.

So, our team whittled the list down to the yeses based on the impact they were making on the world, their demonstrated leadership in their respective fields, and the scope of their work and ambitions. The 43 women below are so holistically inspiring to us that we dissolved the categories — entrepreneurs, C-Suite executives, thought leaders, intrapreneurs, and impact investors — and focused on their most important work in social enterprise and beyond.

Honoring the World-Changing Women - Like Teresa Hodge

Our aim is not only to honor these leaders and their achievements but also to connect you, dear reader, with like-minded women in conscious business — a sort of virtual World-Changing Women’s Summit. If you like what you see, join us January 29 – 31 at The Lodge at Sonoma to dive even deeper into how to streamline and scale our companies — as well as our support systems and representation in business, as a whole.

This list of pivotal players is presented by our friends-in-purpose Kate Spade New York. “At Kate Spade New York, we empower women and girls to be the heroines of their own story,” says the Kate Spade New York team. “Our social-enterprise work, based in Rwanda, is at the heart of our social impact portfolio.

We’re so inspired by the female leaders on this list, who are all heroines of their own stories, changing the world one conscious business at a time.” (If you’re not familiar with how the Kate Spade brand is more than a handbag, make sure you read up on how their on purpose program is radically transforming an entire community. Like we said: there are a lot of world-changing women on the scene, and we’re here for it.)

Without further ado, and in no particular order, please enjoy the Conscious Company’s 2020 list of World-Changing Women in Conscious Business.

TERESA HODGE - Co-founder & CEO, R3 Score Technologies, Inc.

Teresa Hodge is committed to reducing the lasting harm prison causes to individuals and their families. After completing a 70-month federal prison sentence, Hodge co-founded Mission: Launch, Inc., an organization dedicated to improving the economic health of individuals living with records, with her daughter Laurin Leonard.Incredible woman, brave, daring, and bold enough to see reform happen and all exfelons get a second opportunity

What Hodge discovered was that, without challenging current risk models and vetting tools used by most businesses, people with criminal records would always be seen for who they were in the past and not for their current accomplishments. In 2017, the mother-daughter duo founded R3 Score Technologies, a software-as-a-service business solution tailored for the 1-in-3 Americans living with a criminal history.

R3 Score offers the benefit of context to a criminal history, allowing those living with a criminal record to be met with success when seeking suitable work, banking, housing, and educational opportunities. (The company itself hires individuals with a criminal history.) Since its inception, R3 Score has signed on five contract partners to help fund entrepreneurs with criminal records and has created three pilots that will allow R3 Score to be used in banking, in housing (leasing), and for small-business lending for people with criminal histories.

In 2020, R3 Score is taking its product directly to the person with the greatest pain point — the person living with the criminal history — to give them a tool they can use as they seek to update their lives. The company’s goal is to score more than 6,000 individuals in 2020.

What’s a key piece of leadership advice you’ve found meaningful?

Hiring can be challenging for a variety of reasons. You don’t always get it right. The best advice I received is when you realize you’ve made a bad decision, to be honest with yourself and the person, and provide a way out sooner versus later for the company and the individual. If possible, seek ways to help them with their transition, and become clear about the roles of each hire and the culture you are creating.

The original post written by Vanessa Childers was published on Conscious Company on January 6th, 2020.

More on Teresa Y. Hodge

Teresa Y Hodge, Technology and Human Rights Fellow

Teresa Y. Hodge is the Co-Founder and CEO of R3 Score Technologies, Inc. and is committed to reducing the harm prison causes to individuals and their families. After completing a seventy-month federal prison sentence, she co-founded Mission: Launch, Inc. with her daughter Laurin Leonard (Hodge).

Teresa is a 2018- 2020 Echoing Green Fellow and 2017–2018 Unlocked Futures inaugural cohort member for the tech intervention R3 Score. She was named a 2015–2016 Open Society Soros Justice Advocacy Fellow. Her innovative approach to criminal justice advocacy has led to national recognition. Teresa presented twice at SXSW (2016 and 2017) and is a 2017 Dewey Winburne SXSW Community Service Award recipient. As well as a 2015-2016 alumna of JustleadershipUSA's Leading with Convictions inaugural cohort.

Teresa's TEDx Talk, "We've Made Coming Home Too Hard," highlights the impact of personal bias and social stigma on formerly incarcerated people and points to why recidivism rates are so high in America.

More about Teresa:


Fast Company - Why John Legend is Backing Startups Launched by these Former Inmates
USA Today - Change Hiring Practices to Ensure Ex-Felons Aren't Automatically Eliminated from the Running
Washington Post - Getting Formerly Incarcerated People Back into the Workforce Helps Everyone
Organizational Websites:

Mission: Launch, Inc.

About the Author:
Laurin Leonard
Laurin Leonard

Chief Executive Officer

Laurin is R3 Score's CEO. R3 Score is a...

Laurin is R3 Score's CEO. R3 Score is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) business solution tailored for the 1-in-3 Americans living with a...