If you haven’t noticed, I’ve spent a lot of time working over the past year with Corning Incorporated, a fantastic company that uses significant research to develop Corning® Gorilla® Glass on a number of mobile devices. Its current version is Gorilla Glass 4, where the focus is on improving damage resistance against sharp contact, such as a drop on asphalt, concrete, and other rough surfaces.
Last month, just before our Women in Travel Summit (WITS), Corning sponsored a trip to Tucson, Arizona, where I was lucky to meet a number of incredible social media influencers from around the world – not only the USA, but the UK, South Africa, China, and India. We stayed at the gorgeous Loews Ventana Canyon Resort and spent the weekend learning more about Corning Gorilla Glass 4 while also taking on tough challenges like hiking to waterfalls, driving jeeps through the desert, and shooting arrows (because there’s nothing more tough than practicing our Katniss Everdeen skills).
Of course, the real benefit was the fact that during this long weekend, I got to spend some real quality time with some of the most kind, as well as talented and respected, influencers I’ve met. Seven of them were women and, of course, I just have to introduce them to you.
Leticia Barr, Tech Savvy Mama
If you’ve watched any of our past Gorilla Glass 4 trips, you’ll recognize Leticia as one of our partners in crime. She’s the founder of the award-winning Tech Savvy Mama, a site that assists parents in navigating the ever-changing world of technology.
Though Leticia lives in Washington, D.C., she’s constantly up in the air, testing a new product or planning a child’s birthday party – and sometimes all three at the same time while simultaneously eating a sandwich. Not only that, but she has the most positive, warm personality of anyone you’ve ever met.
Meridith Dennes and Kim Oksenberg, Project Eve
Meridith and Kim are the co-founders of Project Eve, a network that encourages female entrepreneurs to communicate, collaborate, and share actionable solutions. They are a hilarious duo that always has something insightful to say. They are also fierce Twitter users, viciously tweeting the day through their massively powerful @ProjectEve1 account. I was lucky enough to have Kim join me at WITS and can’t wait to get to know these women better.
Kelly Olexa, FitFluential
Kelly is the founder of FitFluential, a fitness network that bridges the gap between bloggers/influencers and brands. She is one of the four women I have been lucky to collaborate with over the past year, and I have loved every minute of her vivacious energy, razor-sharp wit, and open personality. She is fiercely loyal, believes firmly in supporting other women, and makes every interaction a hilarious memory. If you are passionate in the fitness space and haven’t checked out her site, you need to do it. Now.
Nicole Teresa Juneja, MissMalini
Nicole manages Delhi operations for MissMalini, one of India’s most popular blogs, featuring Bollywood news, celebrity gossip, fashion trends, beauty tips, and lifestyle updates. If anyone’s a traveler, it’s Nicole – willing to jet from India to the U.S.A. for just a few short days of endless adventuring and networking, and back again before she has a chance to adjust to time zones. I enjoyed chatting with Nicole and getting to know her throughout the weekend and am just waiting for that invitation to India….
Juliana Dever, Clever Dever Wherever
Juliana is the last (but certainly never forgotten) member of the original “Gorilla Glass Four” – our set of travelers who braved the deserts of Arizona and Utah together. Juliana is an actress and travel writer who knows how to dig deeply into an experience and share a real, heartfelt story. Despite constantly balancing international travel and a strict filming schedule for the ABC show “Castle,” Juliana manages to make it look effortless, while also laughing easily, making constant friends, and never being afraid of breaking out some dance moves.
Teresa Marie Howes, Eat, Drink and Be Skinny
Teresa Marie Howes is a natural health enthusiast, avid runner, active blogger, and published author. She is the brain behind Eat, Drink and Be Skinny and has attained significant success inspiring others to live stronger and more satisfying lives.
Teresa is incredibly warm and inviting, and I was lucky to have her join as an attendee at our recent WITS. She currently lives in Southern California and also looks great with a snake wrapped around her shoulders.
If you think you know what it is to be tough, try surviving the desert while also running a company. Nothing is more humbling than watching these powerful women travelers do it, and I felt lucky to be able to spend this quality time getting to meet them. The best part is yet to come – we have our own “inspired by tough” challenge coming soon, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it!
Featured image by Beth Santos.