Crediting Women’s Historical Achievements | Holly Hotchner and Virginia Littlejohn


Purse Power

Ep. 237 - Have you ever wondered how to capture women's achievements for posterity? Holly Hotchner is the president and CEO of the National Women's History Museum and had previously served as the director of the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City from 1996 to 2013. Virginia Littlejohn is the founder of the women's entrepreneurship advocacy organization Quantum Leaps and was named to Forbes 50 over 50 for investment. In this episode, Holly and Virginia talk about their work in advocating for women’s issues both in history and entrepreneurship. Listen in to learn how women can make a difference when afforded high leadership opportunities in government and big organizations’ offices. You will also learn the importance of retelling women’s achievements stories to inspire younger generations of women and girls to strive higher.

Key Takeaways:

  • How to form connections and partnerships to help advocate for women’s entrepreneurship issues
  • The difference women can make when given high leadership positions in government and organizations
  • The benefits of pushing women into STEM and algorithms to be part of decision-making in tech
  • How to step up to big issues in our communities to leave a better legacy for future generations
  • The importance of women engaging with policy and advocacy to bring humanity to the world

"We need to have a better legacy for our kids than what we are currently providing." - Virginia Littlejohn

In this episode you’ll discover:

Virginia on how her mom influenced her plus her career and entrepreneurship journeys [2:22]

Holly on her journey in leadership and the part she has played in advocating for women’s history [4:24]

Holly’s mission to inspire women and girls through history to aspire for greatness [7:20]

Virginia describes her work and milestones in entrepreneurial advocacy since the 1980s [10:18]

How to create systemic change and best practices around women’s entrepreneurship [14:44]

How the National Women's History Museum is collecting history on Covid impacts on women [18:47]

How we can credit women’s achievements so they don’t go unrecognized by history [27:19]

The difference it can make for women to serve at the highest government offices [31:10]

The trends that are impacting women’s entrepreneurship post-pandemic [34:49]

Holly explains how her organization is working to continue being an inclusive national movement [39:51]

Why the National Women's History Museum has partnered with the Martin Luther King Library [43:33]

Why we should work to end hatred, get involved with big issues, and engage with policy [45:52]

How to bring people together through storytelling and inspire future generations [49:35]


Holly Hotchner is a strategic not-for-profit leader, with four decades of experience and repeated success as an institution builder, particularly in the arts community. In both senior executive and external advisory roles, she has created and executed transformational long-range plans that ensure growth, stability, and lasting community impact. Holly specializes in institutional transition and change brought on by interior and exterior forces.

Holly was the founding Director of the Museum of Arts & Design, leading it through turnaround and transformation, including a name change, a new location, expanded mission, major fundraising, staff and board development and the establishment of new and recurring sources of income.

During her seventeen-year tenure there, she increased the MAD’s operating funds and endowment, while expanding its exhibition programming and outreach. She co-organized a number of critically acclaimed exhibitions at the Museum with accompanying catalogues adding greatly to scholarship in the field. Under her direction MAD became a premiere destination for creative innovation and one of the most visited cultural institutions in the city.

Currently her work and passion has extended to broadening cultural communities where she has joined the board of the Arts Committee of the Fairfield community foundation and has sat for many years on the board of the Landmarks Conservancy, in line with her passion for preservation. She serves as an advisor to the Bard Graduate Center for Decorative Arts, Design and Material Culture, the Young Concert Artists and the Stamford Ballet Company.

She has worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art , the Tate Gallery, The Hirshhorn Museum and the Museum of Modern Art.

In addition to her leadership as a museum director, Hotchner led her own consulting firm and worked with nonprofits on strategic growth. She worked with organizations including The Princess Grace Foundation, The Society of Illustrators, Arts for Healing, and the Morikami Japanese Museum and Gardens.

With years of experience as a board member and volunteer leader in non-profit organizations, Hotchner believes in the power of transforming lives through material culture and history. She serves on the Board of Directors of The National Academy of Design; the New York Landmarks Conservancy; the Bard Graduate Center for Decorative Arts, Material Culture and Design; and the Fairfield Alliance for the Arts.

Virginia Littlejohn is Co-Founder of Quantum Leaps, and President for Innovation and Strategic Initiatives. As Senior Advisor on Women’s Entrepreneurship to the OECD’s Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) and Entrepreneurship program from 1996 to 2006, she co-organized 3 global and 2 regional women entrepreneurial best practice conferences in Paris and Istanbul, for which she was primarily responsible for identifying the speakers, content, policy recommendations and best practices. The largest conference had SME Ministers and/or Ministers of Industry from 86 countries, as well as global women entrepreneurial leaders and other stakeholders. She also provided advocacy training for the OECD from 2005-2006 for women entrepreneurial leaders from the MENA region.

Since 2010, Ms. Littlejohn has served as the Lead International Consultant for the Women & Trade program of the International Trade Centre (ITC, a joint agency of the UN and the World Trade Organization in Geneva), which facilitates women’s access to corporate and public procurement, and to international trade. In 2015, she developed the global SheTrades Call to Action on Sourcing from Women for ITC, focused on policy, research, markets, finance, capacity building and property rights; she is now working with an ITC team and global partners to implement these recommendations.

Ms. Littlejohn was National President of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) in the United States in the mid 1980s and has owned two businesses, the Global Enterprise Group and Tradebuilders, of which she was CEO and co-founder.  She served as a delegate to all three White House Conferences on Small Business, and was one of three architects of the Women’s Business Ownership Act, signed by President Reagan in 1988. She served on the National Women’s Business Council for 4 years, which provides policy advice to the US legislature, the Administrator of the Small Business Administration, and the President of the United States.  She also served as Vice President of the World Association of Women Entrepreneurs in the 1990s.

Ms. Littlejohn has served on the American Express Small Business Partnership Advisory Board, on IBM’s Small and Medium Business Research and Technology Advisory Board, and on the Global Women Entrepreneur Leaders (GWEL) Scorecard sponsored by Dell.  She currently serves on the Walmart International Advisory Council; the Enterprising Women Magazine’s Advisory Board; and is a US representative to the W20 (Women’s 20) engagement group for the G20 countries.

Ms. Littlejohn has received numerous awards.  She received the US Small Business Administration’s first Women’s Business Advocate of the Year Award in 1980, and NAWBO’s first Women in Business Advocate of the Year Award in 1986.  She has been awarded the Applause Award by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) for her work in developing their Global Business Committee and global program; the President’s Award by Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) in the US; the Priyadarshini Award by the Federation of Indian Women Entrepreneurs (FIWE); the Champions Award by WEConnect in India; the Lifetime Achievement Award by the China American Business Women’s Alliance; the Lifetime Achievement Award by The International Alliance for Women (TIAW); been inducted into the Enterprising Women Hall of Fame; been inducted into the Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) Hall of Fame sponsored by the American Institute of Diversity and Commerce (AIDC); and received AIDC’s Trailblazer Award.


National Women's History Museum: Holly Hotchner

Holly Hotchner Website

Wikipedia Holly Hotchner

LinkedIn Holly Hotchner

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Virginia Littlejohn

Women7 Virginia Littlejohn

LinkedIn Virginia Littlejohn



Marlene Wagman-Geller

Laura Yamanaka

Virginia Harris

Elizabeth A Jones



Donna Miller is the founder and CEO of Purse Power, Let's Share the Journey. Purse Power promotes women-led, women-owned businesses by providing a Google extension that allows everyone who visits your website to locate nearby businesses.

Let's Share the Journey holds calls at 10 AM Central every Friday to learn from national leaders to share expertise, ideas, and support. One week a month features Zoom Room networking. We support Donna's endeavor and have provided the speaker calls in a podcast format. Please join her on Friday mornings! You can register for the calls here.

Leave a Comment to Join the Discussion!

Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top