Killer Chef. Mountaineer. Meet the Moms Making—and Remaking—the West
In honor of Mother’s Day, we’re celebrating some of the super-moms of the West
It’s officially the time of longer days, less clouds, and more flowers. In other words, it’s May, which means it’s also time to celebrate M-O-M. We wanted to pay tribute to inspirational women in the West, all of whom happen to be mamas. From acclaimed writers and chefs to gardening gurus and philanthropists, these lady bosses are helping to craft the West in their accomplished fields while also tackling motherhood. What can’t they do?
The Wild Woman: Cheryl Strayed
Before she was a mom of two, Cheryl Strayed solo hiked the Pacific Crest Trail while grieving the loss of her own mom. If you haven’t read her memoir, Wild (or seen the movie adaptation starring Reese Witherspoon), we suggest you put it on the top of your springtime must list. The captivating story is one of the author’s four #1 New York Times bestselling books; she’s also known for her former Dear Sugars advice column in the NYT, now a podcast. Strayed is also a fierce feminist activist previously working as a political organizer for the Abortion Rights Council of Minnesota and more recently as one of the first board of directors for Vida: Women in Literary Arts.
The Foodie’s Muse: Ayesha Curry
It’s no secret that super-mom Ayesha Curry wows millions as a successful restaurateur, best-selling cookbook author, and TV personality. (She also happens to be married to one of the NBA’s most prized players, but Ayesha has a stellar career and rep in her own right.) What inspired her to turn her food passion into a career was starting a family. Her husband encouraged her to pursue her food passion via a blog then later a Youtube channel. Now a mom of three and residing in Alamo, California, Curry continues to take the food industry by storm with a new show that will air on ABC this summer called Family Food Fight.
The Boundary Breaker: Melinda Gates
One of the original boss women of the West, Melinda Gates is proof that working moms are a force of nature. Entering a male-dominated workplace at Microsoft as a marketing manager and then later as general manager of information products, she successfully worked to encourage women to join the computing and technology field. She focuses on numerous philanthropy projects, particularly The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has tackled poverty issues at home in Washington state but has more recently been turning its focus to a more national level. All the while raising three children.
The Green Thumb Aspirant: Flora Grubb
Before Nurserywoman Flora Grubb came along, many gardeners weren’t aware of the water-wasting practices they were partaking in when creating their outdoor space. Now, Flora Grubb is committed to helping gardeners, designers, and urban planners across the West convert to using minimal water and chemical practices when creating their garden landscapes—making sustainable gardening just plain, old, standard gardening. While building her plant-based empire, Grubb was also raising her son, Greyson, who helped her in the garden as a toddler. Grubb went on to transform her business into the stunning Flora Grubb Gardens retail shop, a destination nursery in San Francisco that’s popular among urban gardeners and Instagrammers alike.
The MVP: Lisa Leslie
Lisa Leslie wasn’t just the first woman to dunk a ball in a WNBA game on July. 30, 2002 in Los Angeles. She’s an experienced sports commentator and analyst who shares her keys to the game on NBC, ABC, and Fox, all while being an all-star mom to her daughter and son. In fact, in between her time playing in the WNBA and winning gold at the Olympics, she had her first child, Lauren. She is also a co-owner of the Los Angeles Sparks and is currently a studio analyst on Orlando Magic broadcasts and gives motivational speeches. She recently spoke at KPMG’s Women’s Leadership Summit where she talked about self-discipline and self-motivation.
The Cuisine Crafter: Dominique Crenn
Jordan Wise Photography
Dominique Crenn certainly has a lot on her plate. After the Michelin Guide awarded her restaurant, Atelier Crenn, in San Francisco a two-star ranking making her the first ever female chef to receive two stars in the U.S., she continued to grow her restaurant kingdom. Since, it has been awarded three Michelin stars and the chef has opened two additional businesses, Petit Crenn and Bar Crenn, all while being a mom of two, of which she kept private throughout most of her career. Crenn was also named the World’s Best Female Chef in 2016 by world’s 50 Best Restaurant awards, awarded the James Beard Foundation Award of Best Chef: West in 2018, and has appeared on Season 2 of Chef’s Table on Netflix.
The Mountain Conquerer: Stacy Allison
Stacy Allison sets the bar high for incredible women of the West. Mountaineer, author, motivational speaker, and committed mother of two, Allison’s adventurous spirit continues to inspire women of the outdoors. Originally from Idaho and residing in Portland, Oregon, she made history when she became the first American woman to reach the summit of Mt. Everest in 1988 detailed in her memoir Beyond the Limits. Allison continues to inspire in the Pacific NW as Chair of the American Lung Association of Pacific Mountain Region’s fundraiser, Climb for Clean Air.
The Lifestyle Icon: Emily Schuman
Cupcakes and Cashmere
When she’s not posting adorable pictures of her daughter, Sloan, and three cats on Instagram, boss-mom Emily Shuman is running her L.A.-based lifestyle brand, Cupcakes and Cashmere. A tastemaker in the fashion, travel, food, beauty, and interior design fields, Emily is also helping other young moms like herself navigate motherhood and career. However, what sets her apart from what seems be an endless amount of bloggers these days is that is that she has turned her blog into a prosperous brand. She has gone on to write two bestselling international books and created fashion and home goods lines that are now sold in major retailers like Anthropologie.