The New Guard: America's 50 Most Influential Women

Our 4th-annual list of movers, shakers, and rule breakers.

Design by Betsy Farrell

We are in the throes of a revolution. The power paradigm is shifting before our very eyes. Got a sharp voice and a point of view? Your Snapchat account could command as many viewers as a cable-news network. Got a revolutionary idea and some deep-pocketed friends? You could be the genius behind the next SoulCycle or LinkedIn. Got a brilliant concept for a Web series? Whip out that iPhone and start filming, girl.

Power and influence have been untethered from all the traditional metrics: paychecks, office sizes, fancy titles. Today's power brokers are those who can open the doors to opportunity. They know exactly whom to call for financing, support, and talent. In our fourth-annual New Guard list, Marie Claire salutes the next generation of women leveraging their smarts and all-important contacts to build fortunes, upend industries, and even change the world. Remember the names of this badass collective, these 50 powerhouses. Follow them. Connect with them. Then join them. There's always room for one more.

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Pipeline Builder: Laura Weidman Powers
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34, Cofounder and CEO, Code2040

Twitter: @laurawp

Badass bio: The Stanford biz alum runs a Silicon Valley nonprofit that pairs black and Latino tech talent with jobs at giants like Apple and Google.

Bragging rights: This summer, she was appointed a senior policy adviser to U.S. Chief Technology Officer (and ex-Google biggie) Megan Smith.

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The Visionaries: Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, & Opal Tometi

35, 32 & 31, Founders, Black Lives Matter (BLM) 

Twitter: @aliciagarza@osope, @opalayo

Badass bios: Established after George Zimmerman was acquitted in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in 2013, BLM has become the most important grassroots social-justice movement in recent history. 

Next big thing: They want to transform the increasingly influential—and controversial—cause into an actual agent of real and lasting change. Keep an eye on these women. 

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The Healer: Kiah Williams

30, Cofounder, Sirum 

Twitter: @kiahjw

Badass bio: This former Alliance for a Healthier Generation health-care program manager helped develop Sirum, dubbed the Match.com for unused medicine, connecting those who can't afford prescriptions with the estimated $5 billion supply of surplus medicine. Genius. 

Bragging rights: Last year, she won Forbes' Change the World Competition—and a $500,000 prize along with it. 

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Boston Strong: Michelle Wu

31, President, Boston City Council

Twitter: @wutrain

Badass bio: The Harvard grad and Elizabeth Warren protégé is the first Asian-American woman to hold the city's second-highest-ranking seat (after the mayor). 

MC predicts: The pro-small-business progressive and paid-parental-leave advocate is a favorite for a national seat. Senator Wu, anyone? 

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Talent Spotter: Jessica Grounds

35, Cofounder, Running Start

Twitter: @jessica_grounds

Badass bio: The cofounder and cochair of Running Start, which trains young women for political-leadership roles, was also director of an early pro–Hillary Clinton super PAC and the president of WUFPAC (Women Under Forty PoliticalAction Committee).

MC predicts: New year, new office in the Executive Office Building?

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The Messenger: Zerlina Maxwell
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34, Progressive Media Director, Hillary Clinton 

Twitter: @ZerlinaMaxwell

Badass bio: The prominent writer on race—she accompanied President Barack Obama on Air Force One during his historic visit to Selma, Alabama, last year—was snapped up by Team Hillary for digital outreach. 

Bragging rights: The creator of the viral #RapeCultureIsWhen hashtag appeared onstage with Lady Gaga during the singer's emotional Oscars performance earlier this year.

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The Loyalist: Marisa McAuliffe

35, Director of Operation Services, Hillary Clinton

Twitter: @MarisaMcA

Social network: The niece of longtime Clinton ally Terry McAuliffe (Virginia governor and past DNC chief) helps run operations for Clinton's sprawling campaign, which employs more than 500 people around the U.S. Career highlights: She cut her teeth on the Democratic convention committee during the 2008 election, and later reported to Anne-Marie Slaughter when she served then–Secretary of State HRC.

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The Point Person: Ashlee Strong

31, Press Secretary, Speaker Paul Ryan 

Twitter: @AshLeeStrong

Badass bio: This onetime spokesperson for the Senate Republican Conference logged stints with South Dakota Senator John Thune and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker before joining Team Ryan last year. 

MC predicts: As the media liaison to one of the most powerful men in America, she's clearly a top-round pick for the GOP's White House contender in 2020. (Hey, four years goes by fast.)

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The Fixer: Katie Walsh

32, Chief of Staff, Republican National Committee

Twitter: @KMWalsh_GOP

Badass bio: Right hand to RNC chair Reince Priebus, she's responsible for making sure prime GOP candidates have the money, data, and resources to defeat Democrats. This year, especially, she's vital.

Clutch play: Ask her about the plan B she reportedly masterminded in the event Trump's Republican Convention was contested.

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The Supernova: Ayah Bdeir

33, Founder, littleBits

Twitter: @ayahbdeir

Badass bio: A pioneer of the so-called Maker Movement, she's the brain trust behind littleBits—kits of plastic doodads embedded with circuits that snap together—hailed as Lego 2.0, the ultimate toy for tech-savvy Generation Z.

Bragging rights: Last year, the MIT grad and TED Senior Fellow raised $44 million in funding, for a total of $60 million so far.

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Green Goddess: Amanda Chantal Bacon

33, Founder, Moon Juice 

Instagram: @moonjuiceshop

Badass bio: Her Los Angeles–area juice outposts—three so far—are a mainstay of wellness-obsessed celebs like Gwyneth Paltrow and Shailene Woodley. 

Next big thing: Beauty, of course! Moon Juice skincare lines are already available at Saks and on Net-a-Porter. 

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Gadget Guru: Aarthi Ramamurthy

32, Founder and CEO, Lumoid

Twitter: @aarthir

Badass bio: The serial entrepreneur and prestigious Y Combinator alum founded this ultra-buzzy gadget-rental startup, which now boasts arguably the largest fleet of drones in the country. Among her investors: Wellness magnate Arianna Huffington (not too shabby!).

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The One to Watch: Libby Leffler

31, Class of 2017, Harvard Business School (HBS) 

Twitter: @LibbyLeffler

Badass bio: She served as consigliere to Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg (her title: lead to the COO) before overseeing high-profile media partnerships, including deals with the White House and UN. Leffler is currently making her mark as HBS student- body copresident. 

MC predicts: Watch the big names line up to recruit her after graduation.

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The Social Entrepreneur: Jordan Hewson

27, Founder, Speakable 

Badass bio: The former founding editor at antipoverty outfit Global Citizen just released Speakable's first product, Action Button, which connects news readers to polls, petitions, and charitable groups with the click of a button. 

Social network: Her sister is The Knick star Eve Hewson; dad is, well, Bono.

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Werking Girl: Kathryn Minshew

31, Cofounder and CEO, The Muse

Twitter: @kmin

Badass bio: After getting her start as a consultant at McKinsey & Company, she launched her Millennial-focused career-development and job site, The Muse, five years ago with Alexandra Cavoulacos; in June, she raised another $16 million in funding, bringing the total to $29 million.

Among her investors: Tyra Banks, Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian, Sallie Krawcheck, and Aspect Ventures' Theresia Gouw.

To-do list: She has penned columns for the Harvard Business Review and The Wall Street Journal

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The Ace: Julia Ioffe

34, Writer and Columnist

Twitter: @juliaioffe

Badass bio: The former Moscow-based contributor for The New Yorker now boasts a column in Foreign Policy and regular pieces in The New York Times Magazine and Politico.

Recent headlines: Though the Fulbright Scholar has written extensively about Edward Snowden and Vladimir Putin, her recent GQ profile of Melania Trump made her one of Team Trump's most viciously attacked media targets.

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Most Popular: Luvvie Ajayi

31, Blogger and Writer

Twitter: @iLuvvit

Badass bio: The prolific blogger (Awesomely Luvvie, Awesomely Techie) and Shonda Rhimes fave has a massive "LuvvNation" following that earned her deals with BET and McDonald's.

MC predicts: How long before her LOL literary debut, I'm Judging You: The Do-Better Manual, gets picked up for TV?

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The Mighty Voices: Tracy Clayton & Heben Nigatu

34, Staff Writer, Buzzfeed & 25, Digital Producer, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert 

Twitter: @brokeymcpoverty, @heavenrants

Badass bios: The duo behind Another Round, Buzzfeed's critically acclaimed podcast (named year's best by iTunes, The Atlantic, and Slate) are the ultimate pit stop for culture A-listers like Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, author Ta-Nehisi Coates, and, NBD, Hillary Clinton (in a juicy exclusive back in October). 

Social network: The Twitter bold-facers have an impressive fan base that includes Ava DuVernay and Melissa Harris-Perry.

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Frequent Flyer: Isobel Yeung

30, Correspondent and Producer, Vice on HBO 

Twitter: @IsobelYeung

Badass bio: The intrepid war-zone reporter is the face of the renegade media outlet's presence on HBO, logging reports on women's rights from Afghanistan, rape in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and GMO crops in Paraguay. 

Recent headlines: In April, an Afghani lawmaker threatened to have her raped in response to intense questioning about women's rights.

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Wonder Woman: Sana Amanat

34, Director of Content and Character Development, Marvel

Twitter: @MiniB622

Badass bio: The comic book editor (Captain Marvel, Hawkeye) is cocreator of Ms. Marvel, the first female Muslim-American superhero.

Bragging rights: Around the time she joined Marvel seven years ago, there was not a single female-led title. Today, there are more than 20. Kapow!

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The Triple Threat: Lena Waithe

32, Producer, Writer, and Actress

Twitter: @hillmangrad

Badass bio: The Dear White People producer costars as Aziz Ansari's gay best friend on his Emmy-winning Netflix comedy, Master of None

Next big thing: With rapper Common, the former writer's assistant to Girls producer Jenni Konner wrote and produced The Chi, a gritty pilot for Showtime about inner-city Chicago. (DVR alert!) 

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The Protégé: Alison Eakle

36, Head of Drama and Comedy, ShondaLand 

Twitter: @alisoneakle

Badass bio: Since 2013, she's been the trusted development executive to ABC's übershowrunners Shonda Rhimes and Betsy Beers (Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, How to Get Away With Murder). Next big thing: She's working on an untitled ShondaLand drama based on Romeo and Juliet. (We're in!)

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The Gatekeeper: Samata Narra

35, Senior Vice President of Comedy Development, Fox 

Badass bio: The rising star, who started out as a William Morris assistant, has shepherded hits like The Mindy Project, New Girl, and The Last Man On Earth

Next big thing: In the live-action and animated hybrid sitcom Son of Zorn, a barbarian-like warrior (voiced by Jason Sudeikis) returns to Orange County, California, to win back the affections of his ex and son. 

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Captain Belieber: Allison Kaye Scarinzi

35, President of Music, SB Projects

Twitter: @Allisonkaye

Badass bio: The longtime adviser to music impresario Scooter Braun helps oversee album releases and tours for his top acts, such as Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande.

Bragging rights: She has at least five fan-sponsored Twitter accounts, including @ScarinziArmy ("Supporting the Beautiful and Talented Allison K. Scarinzi Who Makes Girls' Dreams Come True").

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New-Media Mogul: Angelica Nwandu

26, Founder, The Shade Room 

Instagram: @TheShadeRoom

Badass bio: The former accountant who founded the must- read celebrity-gossip Instagram account has her sights on an empire, with a team of over 20, including eight writers. 

Social network: Nicki Minaj, 50 Cent, and the Kardashians are all fans of The Shade Room. 

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Screen Saver: Liz Plank

29, Senior Producer, Vox.com

Twitter: @Feministabulous

Badass bio: The upstart online video darling and cable-news mainstay parlayed her popular video series on Mic, Flip the Script, into hot Vox series 2016ish on the presidential election. Bragging rights: She's behind the #AllMenCan and #WithoutTheWageGapIWould viral Twitter campaigns.

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The Humorist: Jessica Anteby Tebele

26, Creator, @BeigeCardigan

Instagram: @beigecardigan

Badass bio: This self-proclaimed Manhattan stylist is the brains behind the @beigecardigan Instagram handle, with 2.5 million followers, including Cara Delevingne, Ellie Goulding, and Tove Lo. 

Power couple: Her husband is Elliot Tebele, founder of Instagram's blockbuster @fuckjerry account, with 9.8 million followers.

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Snap Master: Julieanna Goddard

26, Director of Vibes, YesJulz! 

Instagram: @YesJulz

Badass bio: Social media's bacchanal babe boasts more than 300,000 followers on Snapchat who obsessively track her moves daily as she lives out her #NeverNotWorking motto leading a digital marketing agency that boasts an all female team. With clients like Vevo & Red Bull, their very own radio station on the Dash App & stake in start ups like Muzik headphones, these ladies are a force to be reckoned with.

Next big thing: Julz has just launched two new ventures, 1 AM Ent & The Little Rascals FoundationKeep your eyes and ears out for her collaboration with Puma, the YesJulz! marketing agency, and a branded station on Dash Radio. 

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Fresh Faces: Julie Fredrickson and Chelsa Crowley

33 & 35, Cofounders, Stowaway Cosmetics 

Twitter: @AlmostMedia, @chelsa

Badass bios: The marketing executives (Fredrickson at Ann Taylor and Equinox, Crowley at Clinique and Bobbi Brown) introduced their mini "right- size" cosmetics line last year with $1.5 million in funding from the likes of Jason Calacanis and Gary Vaynerchuk. 

Social network: Crowley, with Foursquare cofounder husband Dennis Crowley, is half the duo The New York Times dubbed "The Power Couple of the New York Tech Scene."

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Fitness Evangelists: Caroline Gogolak & Katie Warner Johnson

31 & 32, Founders, Carbon38

Instagram: @carolinegogolak, @katiewarnerjohnson

Badass bios: The ex-ballet dancers captured the zeitgeist when they launched their luxe athleisure site in 2013, now a go-to for the fit and fabulous.

Social network: Top backers include the Winklevoss brothers (Facebook), Susan Lyne (BBG Ventures), and David Tisch's Box Group.

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The Fashion Maven: Jamie Schneider Mizrahi

28, Stylist

Instagram: @sweetbabyjamie

Badass bio: The dynamo counts Hollywood's A-listers as clients, including Suki Waterhouse, Riley Keough, and Nicole Richie.

Social network: Pals like Jessica Alba, Cameron Diaz, and Rachel Zoe turned up for her April wedding to hedge-funder Nico Mizrahi in Aspen, Colorado.

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The Muse: Ashley Graham

28, Model

Instagram: @theashleygraham

Badass bio: The full-figured stunner and outspoken body-positivity activist has graced the cover of this year's Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue and launched a swim line. 

Next big thing: Catch her judging America's Next Top Model with new host Rita Ora. 

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The Up-and-Comer: Misha Nonoo

30, Designer

Instagram: @MishaNonoo

Badass bio: The designer has a rep for thinking ahead: She ditched the runway to show her spring 2016 collection via a shoppable Instagram campaign, and most recently, her fall 2016 collection on Snapchat. 

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Golden Girls: Randi (left), Arielle (middle right), & Donna (right) Zuckerberg

34, 28, & 29

Twitter: @randizuckerberg, @ariellezuck, @donnazuck

Badass bios: The sisters (pictured with their mom) may be the busiest siblings since the Ks of Hollywood: When not hosting her Sirius radio show or producing Broadway shows, Randi shepherds the TV adaptation of Dot, her kiddie netiquette book, in collaboration with Sprout and Jim Henson; Donna's a Silicon Valley–based classics Ph.D. who sometimes blogs for Jezebel and edits online classics journal Eidolon; and Arielle is a partner at the gilded VC firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers. Bragging rights: Mark who?

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Riot Girl: Phoebe Robinson

33, Comic, Author, and Podcast Queen

Twitter: @dopequeenpheebs

Badass bio: The cohost (with Daily Show alum—and fellow New Guarder—Jessica Williams) of blockbuster podcast 2 Dope Queens is also the author of the recently published memoir You Can't Touch My Hair

MC predicts: Her newest podcast, Sooo Many White Guys, is coproduced by Broad City star Ilana Glazer. Who do we social-media stalk to get this woman her own show already? 

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The Guardian: Parisa Tabriz

32, Security Princess, Google 

Twitter: @laparisa

Badass bio: Google's top hacker (she came up with the title) oversees 150-plus "white hats" and engineers on a mission to find and fix security holes in the Chrome browser. 

Bragging rights: The straight- shooting advocate of female hackers also serves on the U.S. Digital Service, a White House initiative to improve the nation's digital services.

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The Go-Getter: Natalie Guevara
Lila Murphy

29, Head of Communications, Genius

Twitter: @natisagee

Badass bio: The former SKDKnickerbocker flack helped reshape the controversial narrative of the bad-boy startup formerly known as Rap Genius, now a grown-up content king.

Bragging rights: She's responsible for killer collabs with everyone from the White House to Lin-Manuel Miranda. (She was a Hamilton backstage regular!)

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The Deal Maker: Joanne Yuan

28, Investment Partner, Cowboy Ventures

Twitter: @joanneyuanyuan

Badass bio: The Stanford business school grad worked in private equity and on Google's corporate development team before joining VC icon Aileen Lee at Cowboy. 

Bragging rights: She's the head of the Investment Committee for The Women's Building, the first women-owned and -operated community center, in San Francisco. 

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The Wordsmith: Cleo Wade

27, Artist and Poet

Instagram: @CleoWade

Badass bio: The NOLA-born, NYC-based bohemian style star and scenester has an Instagram following of 158,000 for her empowering and poetic posts.

Social network: When not chilling with bestie Katy Perry, she's hanging with DJ Mia Moretti and Jeremy Scott. Rumors of her dating NJ Senator Cory Booker surfaced during New York Fashion Week.

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The Funny Woman: Jessica Williams

27, actress and comedian

Twitter: @msjwilly

Badass bio: Hired in 2012 by The Daily Show, Williams was 22 and the youngest correspondent to ever work there. Now, she's working on her own scripted series for Comedy Central, which she'll both write (alongside stand-up comedian Naomi Ekperigin) and star in. The character? A journalist. (We wonder where the inspiration came from...)

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The Comedy Phenom: Kate McKinnon

32, Actress and Comedian

Badass bio: The SNL fave (and now Emmy winner!) lit up the Ghostbusters reboot, with costars Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones, and Kristen Wiig. 

Next up: See her with Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman in December's Office Christmas Party

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Wonder Woman: Gal Gadot

31, actress

Badass bio: The onetime Israeli model (and Israel Defense Forces soldier) stars in next year's hotly anticipated Wonder Woman film. 

Next up: She sizzles as a spy undercover in suburbia in this fall's Keeping Up with the Joneses, opposite Jon Hamm and Isla Fisher. 

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The Star: Aja Naomi King

31, actress

Badass bio: The How to Get Away With Murder costar makes her big-screen debut in the super-buzzy The Birth of a Nation

MC predicts: Despite the controversy surrounding Nation director Nate Parker, King's performance is a tour de force. A star is born. 

Editor's note: Rachel Sklar is an adviser at Lumoid and The Muse.

This feature is in the November issue of Marie Claire, on newsstands November 18.

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