Fast Company's smartest women on Twitter

From Chelsea Clinton to Elizabeth Warren; a list of 25 women whose voices stand out of the social media crowd

Published August 26, 2013 3:47PM (EDT)

As a woman CEO who writes about women in leadership, I'm frequently looking to make connections with other women on Twitter.

The main stumbling block to fully engaging professionally on Twitter is that it can be a challenge to find the most valuable thought leaders, who tweet about the most relevant topics for you. Search results for the top thinkers in any field are often skewed toward the usual suspects, which tend to include only well–known personalities with a large following. Yet the key to extracting the most value out of Twitter is to find the new voices in the crowd. It can be exhilarating to discover people and communities that share the same interests and passions as you.

Since my work includes curating a meaningful Twitter audience for C–Suite clients, I'm charged with selecting tweet streams that enrich discussions related to top business trends. Part of this process includes seeking out the most influential and profound leaders across a diverse set of industries and interests. As the Twitter ecosystem continues to grow, it's an ongoing challenge to find new, unique, and interesting sources of information with fresh points of view.

With a sense of shared discovery in mind, we've decided to publish lists of some of the most captivating people we have found on Twitter. Starting with The 25 Smartest Women on Twitter list, we've included women who elevate the level of discourse among smart business leaders. They validate the conviction that a change in the culture of leadership is under way, with women playing a prominent role to drive positive change.

The 25 Smartest Women on Twitter list highlights some of the women who are maximizing the potential of Twitter. They bring a new vision and fresh perspective to an array of social, economic, business, philanthropic, and other leadership topics. They are drawn from a wide spectrum of industries, professions, and geographies. The list includes business, political, and nonprofit leaders, as well as advocates for change, economic reform, and sustainable capitalism.

We did not choose women based on number of followers or those listed as the "most powerful" by other business publications. We made our selections without regard to big brand affiliation or title. Instead, we looked for women who were thought leaders and pioneers, and who continually advance groundbreaking ideas and provide surprising insights that can change perspectives.

The 25 Smartest Women on Twitter list is obviously incomplete, since the list cannot possibly encompass all of the intriguing women we've discovered on Twitter. We will add to this list on an ongoing basis and will publish it twice a year. Our selections will continually strive to showcase new voices. Feel free to tweet additional recommendations for additions to the next Smartest Women on Twitter list to @annmcharles––I'd love to hear your ideas for the next "Smartest" list. Enjoy!

Christiane Amanpour | @camanpour

As one of the most iconic TV journalists, Christiane Amanpour is a powerful Twitter user. She offers breaking news on global conflicts, and provides unique insights and perspectives to political and world events. Follow @camanpour.

Genevieve Bell | @feraldata

Located in Australia, Genevieve Bell is the director of interaction and experience research at Intel Labs. She lives at the intersection of cultural practice and technology adoption. Her specialties include ethnography, anthropology, user experience, cultural patterns, socio–technical practice, and new technology development/innovation. Follow @feraldata.

Simone Brummelhuis | @thenextwomen

Based in London, Simone Brummelhuis is founder and CEO of The Next Women business magazine and a leader empowering women in business. Through her company's Twitter account @thenextwomen, Brummelhuis tweets tips, lessons, and trends to help women continue to succeed as entrepreneurs in the startup and corporate world. Follow @thenextwomen.

Chelsea Clinton | @ChelseaClinton

Chelsea Clinton is a tireless advocate for a healthy, equitable, and safe world. She is also an NBC News special correspondent and very active with the Clinton Foundation. Follow @ChelseaClinton.

Amy Cosper | @EntMagazineAmy

Amy Cosper is the editor in chief for Entrepreneur magazine. She has an in–depth understanding of how to drive a business idea forward with passion and creativity. With journalism roots in the tech world, she infuses cutting–edge ideas into Entrepreneur. Cosper keeps her audience alert to the network of tools fundamental to launching and growing businesses. Follow @EntMagazineAmy.

Laurie David | @Laurie_David

Laurie David is an author, producer, and environmental advocate, bringing passion and dedication to a variety of environmental and food issues. She has produced numerous projects including the Academy Award–winning An Inconvenient Truth. David has partnered with Katie Couric to executive produce Fed Up, a documentary that examines the causes and impacts of childhood obesity. Her books include The Family Dinner: Great Ways to Connect with Your Kids, One Meal at a Time, and The Family Cooks, to be published in May 2014. Laurie has been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Good Morning America, and The Today Show, among others. Follow @Laurie_David.

Caterina Fake | @Caterina

A vibrant innovator and entrepreneur, Caterina Fake is the founder of Flickr and Hunch and a board member at Etsy. She writes for Wired and Bloomberg Businessweek. Fake is also the founder of Findery, a site to help you discover the world around you. She tweets about the latest digital news, technology, and her own personal views, passions, and interests. Follow @Caterina.

Diana Farrell | @Farrell_Diana

Diana Farrell is the global leader and cofounder of the McKinsey Center for Government and the McKinsey Global Institute. She is a frequent speaker at major U.S. and global conferences and held the position of deputy assistant on economic policy to President Obama. Farrell has authored and coauthored books, articles for academic journals, and op–eds for leading international publications. Her focus is on creating more efficient and effective government, integrating technology solutions, and innovation. For insights on the economy and leadership in government from an insider, follow @Farrell_Diana.

Marina Gorbis | @Mgorbis

Marina Gorbis is executive director at the Institute for the Future. She also leads the Technology Horizons Program, focusing on the innovation at the intersection of new technologies and social organization. Gorbis has worked with hundreds of organizations in business, education, government, and philanthropy. Born and raised in Ukraine, she sees things from a global viewpoint. She is very interested in how new technologies are able to give people the power to connect with each other. Follow @Mgorbis.

Kelly Hoey | @jkhoey

Kelly Hoey is the cofounder and managing director of Women Innovate Mobile, an angel investor, and a startup advisory board member. She is a serial connector who believes that "In the social business era, your network is a bottom–line business asset." Hoey engages with her followers, posts inspiring content, and live–tweets many industry events and conferences. Follow @jkhoey.

Janet Hanson | @janethanson

Janet Hanson is the CEO and founder of 85 Broads. Janet is recognized as a unique voice and champion for women globally. She has built a global network community of 30,000 women at 85 Broads. Prior to founding 85 Broads, JHanson worked for Goldman Sachs and was the first woman in the firm's history to be promoted to sales management. She is also a member of the Forbes Executive Women's Board. Follow @janethanson.

Rosabeth Moss Kanter | @RosabethKanter

Rosabeth Moss Kanter is a Harvard Business School professor and the author or coauthor of 17 books. She chairs a Harvard University group on creating innovative initiatives on advanced leadership. Kanter's tweets consist of inspiring thoughts and articles on how to succeed in business and become a better leader. Follow @RosabethKanter.

Andrea Kerzner | @AndreaKerzner

Andrea Kerzner has a deep commitment to arts education. She is the CEO of the Lalela Project. Kerzner has focused on arts and education to connect children at risk in Africa with students and donors in the United States, and she continues to do this important work through the Lalela Project today. She believes that the power of art and music can help individuals cope with conflict and overcome poverty. Follow @AndreaKerznerfor the latest trends and developments in art education.

Alice Korngold | @alicekorngold

Alice Korngold is the CEO of Korngold Consulting. Known for her thoughts on leadership, she consults to––and places business executives on––NGO and nonprofit boards. Her book A Better World, Inc.: How Companies Profit by Solving Global Problems . . . Where Governments Cannotis being published by Palgrave Macmillan this fall. Korngold is an expert blogger for Fast Company and tweets the latest news on best business leadership and CRS practices. Follow @alicekorngold.

Lucy P. Marcus | @lucymarcus

Lucy P. Marcus is the CEO of Marcus Venture Consulting, a professor at IE Business School, and a Reuters board member and leadership columnist. Marcus is known for challenging conventional wisdom inside and outside the boardroom. She is considered one of the highest–regarded thought leaders and was recently recognized with the Thinkers50 Future Thinkers award and ranked 19th on the Reuters & Klout list of Most Influential Execs on the Web. She is a regular contributor to Harvard Business Review, Bloomberg Businessweek, The Huffington Post, and many more. Follow @lucymarcus.

Rita Gunther McGrath | @rgmcgrath

Rita Gunther McGrath is a Columbia Business School professor and a globally recognized expert, speaker, and author in business strategy and innovation. In 2011, she was recognized as one of the top 20 management thinkers by global management award Thinkers50. McGrath has also been recognized as one of the top business school professors to follow on Twitter. She tweets her opinions on business industry news, as well as disruptive tech. Follow @rgmcgrath.

Susan McPherson | @susanmcp1

Susan McPherson is SVP, director of global marketing at Fenton. Susan is a serial connector who leads Fenton's CSR practice. She is a regular contributor for Harvard Business Review and Forbes, and often advises technology startups. McPherson serves on the board of Bpeace, an organization dedicated to assisting women in regions of conflict and post–conflict, startup businesses, and Earth 2 Hub, a London–based innovative media platform for science and technology. Follow @susanmcp1.

Nilofer Merchant | @nilofer

Nilofer Merchant is an author, corporate director, and speaker. She writes for Harvard Business Review and is of the most respected thought leaders in business and entrepreneurship. Known as the "Jane Bond of Innovation" and a visionary by CNBC, Merchant tweets about tech and business leadership, as well as politics. Follow @nilofer.

Jacqueline Novogratz | @jnovogratz

Jacqueline Novogratz is the founder and CEO of the , an organization changing the way the world tackles poverty. She is a well–respected advocate and humanitarian. Novogratz sits on the advisory board for many renowned groups and was also appointed by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the Department of State's Foreign Affairs Policy Board. She is a speaker at the Clinton Global Initiative and was featured in The Daily Beast's 25 Smartest People of the Decade. Novogratz posts the latest news from developing countries, focusing on overcoming extreme poverty through the means of sustainable energy, education, and innovation. Follow @jnovogratz.

Maria Popova | @brainpicker

Originally from Bulgaria, Maria Popova is the editor of Brain Pickings, a blog that features and covers a wide array of cultural topics: history, current events, and images and texts from previous decades. In 2012, Fast Company named Popova one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business. She posts a fantastic digest of the most interesting news on politics, culture, and art, making hers one of the most well–rounded accounts on Twitter. Follow her @brainpicker.

Maria Poveromo | @mariapoveromo

Maria Poveromo is the senior director of social media, analyst relations and public relations at Adobe. She is responsible for driving social media strategy and influencer relations programs across the company, and establishing the organizational framework for social media activities worldwide. Poveromo shares great insight on programs to engage influencers across traditional and new media channels, identifying the latest digital and social media trends for business. Follow @mariapoveromo.

Jennifer Preston | @JenniferPreston

Jennifer Preston was the first social media editor at the New York Times. She reports on the intersection of social media, politics, government, business, and real life. Prior to joining the New York Times, Preston was the City Hall bureau chief at New York Newsday. She has won numerous awards for investigative reporting. The social pioneer tweets the latest news on social media, as well as the top stories from the New York Times. Follow @JenniferPreston.

Zainab Salbi | @ZainabSalbi

Zainab Salbi is the founder and former CEO of Women for Women International. She is an activist and humanitarian for world peace and women's rights. Salbi has been honored by President Clinton and was nominated as one of Harpers Bazaar's 21st–Century Heroines. The Guardian, Newsweek and the Daily Beast have all named Salbi as one of the Top 100 Women. Follow her for news, stats, and opinions on humanitarian crises and how you can contribute to making the world a better place. Follow @ZainabSalbi.

Katie Jacobs Stanton | @KatieS

Katie Jacobs Stanton is vice president of international at Twitter; her team is responsible for growing Twitter's audience outside the United States. She is the special advisor to the Office of Innovation at the U.S. Department of State and was also President Obama's appointee to a newly created position, director of citizen participation. Stanton is a veteran of Google and was a producer for Yahoo! Finance. Follow @KatieS.

Elizabeth Warren | @Elizabethforma

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren is an avid tweeter. She was previously a Harvard Law School professor and established the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. She has written a number of academic works and has also served as assistant to the President and special advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury. Warren regularly posts about the latest in policy news and often interacts with her fellow political peers. Follow @Elizabethforma.

––Ann Charles is the founder and CEO of BRANDfog, providing social media branding for CEOs to create transparency, strengthen brand reputation, and establish thought leadership. Charles is also on the advisory board of the Lalela Project, which provides educational arts to children affected by extreme poverty in South Africa, sparking creative thinking and awakening the entrepreneurial spirit. Follow her on Twitter at @annmcharles .

Who would you add to this list? Tell us in the comments section below, please!



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Chelsea Clinton Elizabeth Warren Leaders Social Media Social Network Twitter