She founded a billion dollar company. She has her own Wikipedia page. She’s been on the cover of Forbes. Her wedding was featured in Vogue.
And she was no slacker in college, either, studying at the Sorbonne in Paris and working with orphanages in Southeast Asia.
But none of us would have known anything about her if she hadn’t won a million-dollar lawsuit for sexual harassment.
Whitney Wolfe Herd isn’t even 30 yet, and she’s achieved more than most of us manage in a lifetime.
You may not have heard of her company Bumble (yet), but you’ve probably heard of Tinder.
The biggest dating app on the planet owes its name to her.
The story goes that Wolfe Herd was inspired by the logo, a small flame. Her family had a cabin in Montana, and she remembered using tinder to start a fire.
It was the perfect metaphor for a dating app. The name stuck, the company flourished, and Wolfe Herd stepped into the role of vice president of marketing. She was just 24 years old at the time.
She relished her position as one of the company’s five co-founders, along with her boyfriend at the time, Justin Mateen.
Then the thing happened that always happens:
Their workplace romance turned sour.
Everyone knows the rules. Never date a co-worker.
And Wolfe Herd was a case in point.
After their breakup, Mateen harassed her in a series of damning text messages. Wolfe Herd claimed that Mateen threatened her job and had her co-founder status revoked because of the negative impression a “girl founder” might make about the company.
Wolfe Herd didn’t take her dismissal lying down. She fought back. And she won, thanks to the power of technology. The text messages she’d saved from Mateen convinced Tinder to launch an internal investigation and settle out of court.
It was then that Wolfe Herd began to think about what dating might look like if women were in charge.
Her vision came to fruition in Bumble, a dating app that lets women make the first move.
Bumble is a dating app designed by women for women. Matches go nowhere unless the woman initiates a conversation within 24 hours—and 60% do.
Bumble is now in 160 countries across the world, with over 35 million users. It has branched out to include Bumble BFFs (for meeting new friends), Bumble Bizz (for networking), Bumble Fund (venture capital), and Bumble Beauty (facial serums).
If Wolfe Herd has her way, Bumble will never stop expanding. Her goal is to empower women and eliminate misogyny. She’s even working with legislators to make it an offense (similar to flashing) for men to send women unsolicited “dick pics.”
And she’s not afraid to call herself a feminist.
Up until I started work on Bumble, the ‘f-word’ scared me. People would ask me if I was a feminist and I didn’t know how to respond. The word seemed to put guys off, but now I realize, who cares?”
Wolfe Herd isn’t afraid to take unpopular positions. Bumble banned guns in profile pics after the Stoneman Douglas school shooting. The outcry led to Wolfe Herd beefing up her security at Bumble headquarters. She now travels with a bodyguard.
It’s hard to imagine being a 29-year-old woman with an empire to run and a world to save, but Wolfe Herd isn’t Superwoman. She is open about her struggles with anxiety, being taken seriously as a woman, and trying to do it all.
I have panic attacks. I have horrible anxiety. I have really, really good days where I feel on top of the world, I’m on inbox zero and feel like a machine, and then there are times when I think I can’t do this anymore, and it’s okay to feel that way. Not everything is going to be easy. And when you just accept and embrace that, it becomes easier.”
After the disastrous love affair with Mateen, she got her own happy ending after all—just not on Tinder.
She didn’t meet her husband on Bumble, either. She met restaurateur Michael Herd the old-fashioned way, by bumping into each other on the ski fields at Aspen. They married in southern Italy in 2017. (She wore Oscar de la Renta.)
For her commitment to putting women first, we celebrate Whitney Wolfe Herd as a truly #BrilliantBabe.
Favorite Whitney Wolfe Herd Quotes
Everyone in the dating business wants to know what women want—it’s the billion-dollar question. But it’s simple: put one in charge, and you find out.”
I can do whatever job I choose, eat what I want, go to the gym when I want, but if I was out with my friends at a bar and saw a cute guy I couldn’t go over and say hi. Women shouldn’t be sitting back and waiting. It’s so old-fashioned. I, for one, don’t want to sit back and wait.”
Feminism is not about girl power. It is about equal power.”
You have to realize that things are bigger than just you…. I had to think: all this stuff that is hurting my feelings, making me depressed, sad or anxious, this is bigger than just me, and every time I feel this way, there are millions of women around the world who probably feel this way, too. Once you make it bigger than yourself and strive to do something to make a change for others, it will rebuild you.”
I hope I’ve been an example to any woman who has an idea or has found a problem in society that she’d like to change.”
Stay Tuned for More #BrilliantBabe Profiles
Here at Your Brilliance, we believe the best way to figure out how bright you’re able to shine is to look up to other woman who are doing what you’ve always wanted to do.
The women you see featured in glossy magazines, climbing sheer rock cliffs and heading Fortune 500 businesses and crafting unique Etsy art from the comfort of their own homes, got there on guts and faith.
They didn’t know if they’d be able to succeed at their dream. But each and every one made the decision to take the first step. And the second. And the third.
We hope these profiles of brilliant women inspire you to reach for your dreams.