Published On: 8 March 2023|By |Categories: Stories|5.3 min read|

On IWD23, XYZ spotlights women across the world that pioneer and inspire, from activists and artists to sportswomen and entrepreneurs  

Phoebe Boddy  (@p_bod, @palettedining, @hash_hut )

This girl is my rock. Daytime, she’s an artist whose practise is stimulated by food and flavour, whereby she uses the process of painting to explore the connections between the two creative fields of Food and Art. She is also the Co-Founder of Pallet, a concept hosting unique dining experiences exploring the sensory connections between Food and Art. Oh, and by night, she’s also the Co-Founder of Hash Hut – hash browns loaded with the maddest and baddest of flavours, they BANG! 3 businesses and one badass woman – that’s my girl!  

Chosen by Briony Wills, Senior Operations Manager at XYZ 


Desta French (@destafrench)

Desta is London-based singer-songwriter with Colombian and Italian roots, who’s on a mission to find a voice for the UK’s Latin population. She inspires me because she has made a space for Latinos who grew up in the UK to reconnect with their roots through diaspora sounds and community. She promotes & facilitates amazing collectives like Bonita and Candelita bringing together Latinos all over London. Her music takes the authentic elements of traditional salsa, cumbia, guajira etc and gives them a new context and expression. 

Chosen by Anna Gonzalez, Business Development Manager at XYZ 


Kapana Feldano (@Kapana.Feldano, @Grandmas.hotsauce)

The inspirational Kapana Feldano founded Grandma’s Hot Sauce using her grandmother’s traditional Guyanese recipe to build brand by herself – in only a year she’s now stocked in Selfridges and a number of US and Canadian outlets – all from her house.   

Chosen by Paul Stanway, Executive Creative Director at XYZ 


Cheryl Strayed  (@Cherylstrayed)

Cheryl Strayed is an American novelist, memoirist, and essayist that exemplifies what it means to become a resilient person throughout life’s adversities. Strayed is most well known for her memoir titled “Wild: From Lost to Found on The Pacific Crest Trail,”  telling the incredible true story of Strayed’s three month, 1,100-mile hike through the Pacific Crest Trail at 26 years old in an attempt to heal following trauma in her life. Strayed has also worked as a political organiser for women’s advocacy groups and was an outreach worker at a sexual violence centre in Minneapolis 

Chosen by Ally Westwood Associate Creative Director at XYZ 


Sharmadean Reid (@Sharmadeanreid)

A leading entrepreneur, she’s a former stylist who then founded Wah nails and latterly The Stack World ( which powers women’s communities, giving them the tools and confidence to build their own peer circles and develop leadership skills.  

Chosen By Will Mould, Managing Director 


Yusra & Sara Mardini (@Yusramardini, @Saramardini)

I recently watched ‘The Swimmers’, one of the most inspirational films I’ve seen. Based on a true story about two Syrian sisters, who are training to be part of their Olympic team but decide to attempt to escape war in their country. The film shows the mental strength of millions of refugees, but specifically Sara and Yusra, who swam for hours across the sea alongside a sinking dinghy to lighten it, and essentially save the lives of others on the boat. Yusra then went on to represent the Refugee team in the Rio 2016 Olympics, and Sara became an activist whilst continuing to help other refugees cross the boarders. Two unbelievable women. 

Chosen by Alexia Kouzaris, Account Executive at XYZ 


Renuka Ramanujam (@studio_mudra_, @_huid_)

Renuka is a multi-talented artist and designer working in sustainability, regenerative design and decolonisation. As well as her amazing print and textile work she has created the startup Huid, with the mission of transforming the millions of tonnes of onion skin waste generated globally each year into a compostable food packaging alternative to plastic. As a friend and fellow creative, she inspires me with her drive, fearlessness and vision for practical, community-driven solutions to the climate crisis. 

Chosen by Luisa Filby, Midweight Creative at XYZ 


Sophie Tea (@sophietaart)

Abstract artist Sophie Tea is known for her empowering collection of nudes, which celebrate diversity of the female form and promotes body confidence.  

She brought her art to life through a unique series of live nude catwalk shows and has recently released her book SEND NUDES, which continues to promote self-love, inspiring women to celebrate the bodies they have and the stories that they tell. 

Short film about NUDES here:  

Chosen by Meg Fryer, Producer at XYZ 


MunroeBergdorf (@MunroeBergdorf)

 ’A pioneer of LGBTQ+ visibility and inclusivity, Munroe Bergdorf is activism in action. The model has dedicated years of her life to platform causes, events, and charities geared towards helping those around her. 

Whether it’s fronting a national campaign or making a name for herself online, the presenter has paved the way as a leading figure discussing trans issues and racism in the UK. Munroe has dedicated a past chunk of her life to furthering a single cause: her activism. “I see activism as a machine with different components and functions. They’re all valid, but without one small component, the whole thing doesn’t work,” she analogises. This figurative addressal may seem like a sharp metaphor, but, in fact, it’s an active assessment of the current state of the LGBTQ+ community.` Full article is HERE. 

Chosen By Matteo Cortés Rios, Midweight Creative | Experience Design at XYZ 


Hansa Dabhi  

My aunt who I’ve looked up to and admired from a very young age. She’s a Yorkshire based businesswoman and chef famously known in Leeds, having won numerous accolades and awards for her pure vegetarian and vegan Gujarati Indian restaurant, ‘Hansa’s.’  

A true supporter of women, Hansa employed an all-female workforce made up entirely of incredible Asian women from undervalued and underprivileged backgrounds to give them a solid career opportunity and find their own way and independence in life. 

 Her restaurant was a Leeds institution, picking up awards such as ‘Best Indian Vegetarian Restaurant in UK’ by the Daily Telegraph.  

 After 33 very successful years, Hansa decided to close the restaurant to spend time with her family and travel the world, but her talents live on through her cookery schools and her two published cookbooks which are highly acclaimed by food critics of The Times and The Guardian. 

Chosen by Nina Chauhan, Creative Services Manager at XYZ