Last week, the U.S. Treasury announced plans to grace the $10 bill with the image of a prominent woman in U.S. history. Since, many big and not-so big names have emerged, but it won’t be until many months before the agency makes a final decision over who would replace Alexander Hamilton.
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew is asking the public for suggestions (by U.S. law, the criteria is that it must be someone who is no longer living). While the agency plans to launch a website asking for ideas over social media, Fortune polled some of the biggest names in business and beyond. Here’s what they had to say — in their own words:
Denise Morrison, CEO of Campbell Soup
I would strongly recommend Eleanor Roosevelt. Working tirelessly and passionately to advance women and civil rights, she was not only a remarkable visionary, but also a remarkable patriot. As she wrote in her aptly named Book of Common Sense Etiquette, ‘True patriotism springs from a belief in the dignity of the individual, freedom, and equality not only for Americans, but for all people on earth, universal brotherhood and good will, and a constant and earnest striving toward the principles and ideals on which this country was founded.’
Sarah Robb O’Hagan, president of Equinox
I would have to go with Rosa Parks. She is without question the First Lady of the Civil Rights Movement. Not only did she have courage and determination to stand up for what is right, but she collaborated with other civil rights leaders to maximize impact. Her extraordinary iconic leadership will continue to inspire our citizens for centuries to come.
Megyn Kelly, anchor at Fox News
I’d vote for Susan B. Anthony. She was deemed worthy of being on U.S. money before. It wasn’t her fault they put her on a huge coin that no one wanted to lug around. Why did we abandon her when that crappy coin faltered? She was perhaps the most instrumental woman in the country’s history at a time when it took huge courage to push such a cause. Without her and the women like her, we could still be voiceless in this country — told only by the men what rights we do and do not have. It’s tough to overstate her importance or, more specifically, the importance of the cause for which she stood.
Katia Beauchamp, co-founder and CEO of Birchbox
Sally Ride is a modern hero, a powerful role model, and a true inspiration. She demonstrated courage and curiosity as our country’s first woman (and youngest U.S. astronaut) to go to space, and committed the rest of her career to tirelessly advocating for women and girls in STEM fields. There are many accomplished women who deserve to be honored on the $10 bill, but my vote goes to Sally for breaking barriers and setting an example for girls to aim for the stars.
Ryan Holmes, CEO of HootSuite
Few advancements in recent history have democratized access to ideas and information like the Internet. And without the work of pioneering engineer Radia Perlman — sometimes called the Mother of the Internet — we might not live in such a connected world. A path-blazing student at MIT in the 1970s (at a time when there were maybe 50 women in a class of 1,000), who went on to develop part of the networking protocol that made the Internet possible, Perlman continues to inspire women in tech today, faced with a lingering gender gap in the field. While Radia Perlman is far from a household name, there are few households that don’t benefit from her achievements.
Sarah Kauss, CEO of S’well
Hurray for this news! Now is the time for us to put a modern-day hero on our currency — one that individuals can relate to and reflects the country’s values today. Since Madeline Albright, Oprah Winfrey, and Gloria Steinem are still with us to share their wisdom and experience, let’s consider celebrating women like Eleanor Roosevelt or Maya Angelou. Having one of these women on the new bill would be a true testament to change. They’ve both touched so many lives through their heartfelt passion, progressive ideas, and ability to act.
Brit Morin, CEO of Brit + Co
Harriet Tubman — a freedom and women’s rights trailblazer. She was a woman of great courage and a true symbol of triumph over adversity.