SAFE staff named one of BBC’s 100 most inspiring, influential women for 2021

Written by Antwon R. Martin

We are so proud of Piper Stege Nelson, SAFE’s Chief Public Strategies Officer, for being named one of BBC’s 100 Women for 2021! The people who know her–through work, personal connections, and throughout our community–have seen first hand her passion for improving the lives of others.

Her work to advance the rights of women and girls began long before she joined SAFE, and this honor recognizes only a small portion of the enormous impact she has had. Piper is literally changing the world. We’re so proud of her and what she brings to our community. Congrats!

About BBC’s 100 Women

2021’s keyword is “reset,” with the BBC honoring women who have contributed to “playing their part to reinvent our society, our culture, and our world.” The BBC revealed the names of these inspiring and influential women in December.

This year’s list includes Malala Yousafzai, the youngest ever Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Samoa’s first female prime minister Fiamē Naomi Mata’afa, Professor Heidi J Larson (who heads The Vaccine Confidence Project), acclaimed author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, actress Rebel Wilson, and designer Vera Wang.

Led by Claire Williams, editor of the BBC’s 100 Women, and Valeria Perasso, lead producer of the initiative, the BBC’s 100 Women team drew up a shortlist based on names they gathered and suggested by the BBC’s network of World Service languages teams. The BBC was looking for candidates who had made the headlines or influenced important stories over the past 12 months, as well as those who have inspiring stories to tell. The BBC was also looking for women who have achieved something significant or influenced their societies in ways that wouldn’t necessarily make the news. The pool of names was assessed against this year’s theme—women who are hitting “reset,” playing their part to reinvent our world after the global pandemic has forced so many to reassess the way we live.

The full BBC 100 Women List 2021 is available at

About Piper Stege Nelson

Piper serves as Chief Public Strategies Officer at Austin-based The SAFE Alliance, a longstanding and respected human service agencies in Austin serving survivors of child abuse, sexual assault, sex trafficking, and domestic violence.

“It’s an honor to be a part of an incredible community of feminist activists, whatever their daytime job,” Piper said. “Admittedly, I’m suffering some imposter syndrome—but understand that this honor is really for all the brilliant people fighting for the rights of women and girls and everyone to get the support and services they deserve. I’m proud to be a part of that fight.”

Her career includes leadership positions at Michelle Obama’s Let Girls Learn Initiative; Annie’s List, a political action committee dedicated to increasing the number and success of women in politics in Texas; publisher of The Texas Observer; the National Democratic Institute; and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Piper is a Fulbright scholar and a graduate of Carleton College and the University of Texas at Austin’s LBJ School of Public Affairs.

“It may be my name on the BBC 100 Women list, but the credit goes to my SAFE colleagues, my friends and mentors, and sheroes, all standing up for women any way they can,” Piper continued. “The last couple of years have been ridiculously hard on all of us, but particularly for every individual and family facing violence and abuse. I’m so proud that the important work of SAFE to serve survivors and to stop abuse for everyone is being amplified worldwide by the BBC.”