Women Who Flip the Script at SXSW

Every year, SXSW Interactive gathers people who work in tech. And given that technology touches all aspects of our lives today, the SXSW audience reaches far and wide, including media entrepreneurs, healthcare specialists, and a range of digital artists. Below, meet three of the women whose work stands out as forward-looking and vital to women worldwide: 

The Media Diversifier (and J.Lo Discoverer!)

Christy Haubegger, founder of Latina Magazine spoke on Sunday at The Girls Lounge, addressing diversity (or lack thereof) in media. Haubegger founded Latina after she saw her black friends reading Essence magazine, and realized she could change the complexion of the newsstand for Latina women. 

At SXSW, she offered some advice for women who want to help change the status quo in their industry: “Share one thing a day. Don’t just share it with other women, share it with men.” You can start with Haubegger’s own MAKERS story

The Brave Heart

At SXSW, Lizzie Velasquez spoke onstage with iJustine, a fellow YouTube personality. Velasquez has been diagnosed with a syndrome that prevents her from gaining weight. As a teen, she found a video online that called her “The World’s Ugliest Woman.” In response, she created her own YouTube channel so people could see beyond her appearance. She spoke about bullying in a 2013 TED Talk, and took the stage after Hilary Clinton at an event in Mexico. Her life’s journey is chronicled in the documentary “A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story,” which premieres at SXSW. What does Lizzie want people to take away from the film? “I hope you’re inspired, but also a little bit angry.” 

The Futurist Living Beyond Limits

Speaking to a packed crowd during her keynote presentation, Martine Rothblatt started the conversation with her personal story. She grew up in a family where she was always encouraged to question authority, and as a transgender woman and the highest-paid female executive in the world, she’s very familiar with breaking traditional boundaries. 

Rothblatt went on to address a hot topic in technology: artificial intelligence. Rothblatt is a futurist who believes technology will eventually give humans eternal life, and the transformation will be gradual and peaceful:

"It's not us versus cyberspace," she said on Sunday. "We're merging together." Rothblatt is the founder of Sirius Satellite Radio and currently CEO of United Therapeutics, a biotechnology company focused on creating products to help people with chronic and life-threatening conditions. Her overarching philosophy? “The only way to be happy in the world is to keep making things."