By Tessa Greenspan (as told to Nanette Wiser)

On September 16th, I’ll be talking to the Greater St. Charles Chamber of Commerce in the St. Louis MO area where they are celebrating American Business Women’s Day (Sept. 22) early. It’s hard to believe that women did not have the right to vote (thank you, suffragettes), or earn equal pay (still fighting that one).

Thanks to my mother’s early teachings and encouragement, I have been a successful business owner, serial entrepreneur and mentor to many business women. I’ve had the honor of being named one of the top businesswomen in America and am an active member of Women’s President Organization (WPO) and E-Women. 

On September 22nd, American Business Women’s Day honors the accomplishments of the businesswomen across the nation. I’d like you to take a moment to reflect on the contributions and achievements of the millions of women in the workforce and women business owners.

The day also brings together businesswomen of diverse occupations to collaborate and network. The opportunity provides insight into platforms and inspirational ways for women to help themselves and others grow personally and professionally. Workshops and seminars offer leadership, education, networking, and national recognition.

Through small businesses and corporate leadership, women provide a variety of skills in the business world. They set examples for young women driven to become leaders themselves. Generation after generation pave the way for new and inspiring professionals. This day honors each and every one!

On American Business Women’s Day, I’d like to give a shout-out to ten women I consider to be tops in their field. Everyone of these American business women and leaders strive to improve the world with their foundations and philanthropic projects. For them, it’s not just a career; it’s a mission. I share their drive and vision.

1. Oprah Winfrey: Bravely speaking out on topics, fighting for the underdog, giving people the language and power to make a difference in their community and world, all beautifully articulated. And growing her garden, one veggie at a time.

2. Maria Shriver: A powerful dynasty, an extraordinary woman who defies aging and guides us through the labrynith of physical and mental health issues.

3. Jane Pauley: CBS Sunday Morning’s host is flawless, an amazing journalist and graceful storyteller, an encore chapter for her leading to extraordinary discoveries by us.

4. Maxine Clark: In 1997, she founded Build-A-Bear Workshop®, a teddy-bear themed retail-entertainment experience. Today there are more than 400 Build-A-Bear Workshop stores worldwide. In June 2013, Maxine stepped down from her Chief Executive Bear role to apply her entrepreneurial skills to her passion for improving K-12 public education and to invest in and mentor women and minority entrepreneurs.

5. Arianna Huffington: Arianna Stassinopoulos Huffington is a Greek-American author, syndicated columnist, and businesswoman. She is a co-founder of The Huffington Post, the founder and CEO of the mind-body-spirit cutting edge website Thrive Global, and the author of fifteen books. 

6. Sarah Blakely: This American businesswoman, entrepreneur, and philanthropist is the founder of Spanx, an American intimate apparel company with pants and leggings that comfortably shape us and our professional lives.

7. Eleanor Roosevelt: An American political figure, diplomat and activist, she was the longest-serving FLOTUS from 1933 to 1945 during her husband President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s four terms in office. She advocated for expanded roles for women in the workplace, the civil rights of African Americans and Asian Americans, and the rights of World War II refugees. Following her husband’s death in 1945, Roosevelt remained active in politics for the remaining 17 years of her life. She pressed the United States to join and support the United Nations and became its first delegate. She served as the first chair of the UN Commission on Human Rights and oversaw the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

8. Sandra Yancey:  Award winning entrepreneur, #1 bestselling author, philanthropist, founder & CEO of eWomenNetwork has been featured in Chicken Soup for the Entrepreneur’s Soul and has four other #1 bestsellers.

9. Laura Herring: A pioneer in career/life transition support, psychologist Laura Herring is Founder and Chairwoman of IMPACT Group, a leader in the human resource consulting space. Under Laura’s leadership, IMPACT Group received numerous awards including the Inc.500 Fastest Growing Companies List, the Golden Plate Award by the Old Newsboys Day organization, the distinguished Jeffrey Butland Family-Owned Small Business Award, “Top 500 Woman-Owned Business” awarded by and the St. Louis’ Top 50 Award by the Regional Chamber & Growth Association.

10. Dr. Deb Carlin: Dr. Carlin’s K Factor hosts my Tuesdays with Tessa weekly BlogTalkRadio podcast. Founder of Partners In Excellence LLC, Carlin based upon this consulting company on her proven method for achievement. Dr. Carlin has a methodology for listening, watching, engaging, talking, and then making recommendations while working side by side with individuals to ensure their growth and success – personally and professionally.

In addition to this powerful group, I want to acknowledge the female first responders, health care professionals and essential workers who are on the front lines daily making it possible for us to care for ourselves, friends and family, from grocery store employees to city workers.

So, celebrate #AmericanBusinessWomensDay by giving a shoutout to a businesswoman you know. Attend a seminar, workshop, Ted Talk, or other resources to increase your business knowledge. Sponsor a leadership conference or speak at a local school. Attend a career fair and offer your expertise as a businesswoman to aspiring youth.

Support businesswomen in your area, whether they’re experienced or just starting out. Join forces with other business leaders and create a positive environment for women in business.

Share your business style, strengths, and creativeness using #AmericanBusinessWomensDay to post on social media.

St. Louis author and motivational speaker Tessa Greenspan’s international bestseller, “From Outhouse to Penthouse – Life Lessons on Love, Laughter and Leadership,” is available on Amazon here.  This inspired personal story, struggle to overcome obstacles and life lessons is especially poignant during these difficult times.  “Failure is not an option,” is Greenspan’s motto.  Follow her on social media and her website  Email her at [email protected].

Nanette Wiser is a multimedia journalist and media consultant. Email her at [email protected].