These Women Are Slaying The Business World, And We’re Taking Notes
While it’s evident that the business landscape is always changing, one thing we should all be celebrating is the growing force of women taking more leads and inspiring change around the world. This is no longer a man’s game, and you better believe that women aren’t here to play by the rules. These powerful business women are changing the way we think about influential companies and their role within society. With their intelligence, confidence, and quick wits, these women are the epitome of true strength and greatness, proving that there is absolutely nothing in this world a woman cannot do.
Media Maven Anne Sweeney
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Anne Sweeney was the former co-chair of Disney Media, President of the Disney-ABC Television Group, and the President of Disney Channel from 2006-2014. Basically, Sweeney was responsible for all of your favorites making it to the spotlight like Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez, and the Jonas Brothers.
Prior to her work at Disney/ABC she was chairman and CEO of FX Networks, Inc., from 1993 to 1996. She also spent twelve years at Nickelodeon/Nick at Nite in various executive positions and oversaw Nickelodeon’s international expansion, including launching the channel in the UK. In March 2014, Sweeney announced she would be leaving her position at the Walt Disney Company to become a television director.
Beyoncé Takes Big Risks For Big Rewards
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Aside from being one of the most powerful forces in the entertainment industry, Beyoncé is a modern voice for women across the world to aspire to. In 2013, she dropped a surprise album without any promotion – something only artists of her caliber can pull off – and then went on to sell over two million copies. She is also the most nominated woman in GRAMMY Awards history.
Apart from being a top-seller, Beyoncé lends her time to issues closest to her heart as she advocates for global issues such as poverty, hunger, pollution, and health care. She has also taken many humanitarian trips to Haiti in support of pediatric care and reconstruction following the country’s 2010 earthquake.
No Goal is too Lofty for Meg Whitman
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Former CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Meg Whitman served as President and Chief Executive Officer of eBay from 1998-2008. Like her efforts with HP, Whitman oversaw expansion and boosted revenue for the company. Her personal net worth sits at a sizable $2.1 billion, and if that doesn’t inspire you, she even has a political side as she ran for Governor of California in 2010.
In 2008 and 2012, Whitman was a senior member of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaigns and was cited by The New York Times as among the women most likely to become the first female President of the United States.
Isabel Dos Santos’ Words Have Power
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Isabel Dos Santos may be the daughter of the president of Angola, but she is also Africa’s first female billionaire, amassing a net worth of at least $3.4 billion. This comes at a time when the average Angolan lives on just $2 a day.
With a wealth stemming mostly from investments in Angolan and Portuguese conglomerates, including Angola’s largest telecom companies Unitel, and Portugal’s Banco BPI, Dos Santos has the ability to make many positive changes within her community with her words. In 2015, she suggested a merger between Banco BPI and Portugal’s Millennium BCP causing share prices of both banks to surge to their highest levels.
Ginni Rometty is One of the 50 Most Influential People in the World
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Ginni Rometty is the current chair, president, and CEO of IBM, and the first woman to head the company. Prior to her current stint, Rometty first joined IBM as a systems engineer in 1981 and headed global sales, marketing, and strategy. Since becoming CEO, she has focused IBM on cloud computing, analytics, and cognitive computing systems.
Her tenure has led her to some high praise – Bloomberg named her among the 50 Most Influential People In The World while Fortune has her named among the 50 Most Powerful Women In Business since 2005. In March 2018, she was named the sixth most important person in tech by TIME.
Ursula Burns is the First Black Woman to Head a Fortune 500 Company
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Born in Panama City, Panama, Ursula Burns is the current chairman of VEON, a senior advisor to Teneo, and has joined the board of beverage company, Diageo, among other directorships such as Uber. In 2009, Burns became the CEO or Xerox, making her the first black woman CEO to head a Fortune 500 company, and the first woman to succeed another woman as head of a Fortune 500 company.
Among other civic positions, Burns was a leader of the STEM program of the White House from 2009-2016, and the head of the President’s Export Council from 2015-2016. In 2014, Forbes named her the 22nd most powerful women in the world.
Mary Barra is Changing the Way We Drive
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Mary Barra is the CEO of General Motors and is the first female CEO of a major global automaker. Barra grew up with a passion for automobiles as her father worked for Pontiac. She was inspired to start working in the car industry at 18-years-old, checking fender panels and inspecting hoods to pay for her college tuition.
Barra has her eyes on a driverless future after obtaining self-driving tech startup Cruise Automation. GM has begun testing autonomous Bolts with its new car-sharing service offering deals to Uber and Lyft drivers. Were you surprised to learn that a woman is a game changer in the automotive industry? She’s not the only one with her foot on the gas.
Indra Nooyi Helps Companies Succeed
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Indra Nooyi is an Indian American business executive and current chairman and CEO of PepsiCo. After Nooyi jumped on as CEO, the company’s profits jumped 16% with stock outpacing most of its competition as the industry adjusts to major consumer shifts. She is also adamant about moving the brand towards a healthier fare as the company recently launched a premium water line.
Beginning her career in India, Nooyi held product manager positions at Johnson & Johnson and textile firm Mettur Beardsell. She’s also held strategy positions at Motorola and Asea Brown Boveri.
Oprah Winfrey is the Ultimate Rags-to-Riches Story
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The queen of all female entrepreneurs has got to be Oprah Winfrey. Worth nearly $3 billion, Winfrey grew up in a traumatic upbringing of living in poverty while enduring years of sexual and physical abuse. As the world fell in love with her through her own talk show, Winfrey became of the most beloved and successful media personalities of the 21st century.
The founder of the award-winning production studio, Harpo Productions, and the Oprah Winfrey Network, also proves herself to be quite the influencer. Her book club is followed with a cult-like dedication. Winfrey owns a 10% stake in Weight Watchers while also acting as a brand ambassador. Don’t mess with her bread, folks!
Keep reading to see which business woman stood up to Vladimir Putin.
Sheryl Sandberg Puts Her Money Where Her Mouth Is
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Sheryl Sandberg is the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook and founder of Leanin.org. Before her position at Facebook, Sandberg was Vice President of global online sales and operations at Google. Prior to that, she served as chief of staff for United States Secretary of the Treasury Lawrence Summers.
Reported to be worth over $1 billion due to her stock holdings in Facebook and other companies, Sandberg inspires women everywhere by speaking up on issues that are dear to her heart like immigration and women’s health reform. She penned a book, Option B, about the loss of her husband, which has topped bestseller lists.
She Stood Up To Putin: Angela Merkel
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Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel is a strong and vital leader in Europe. While facing a host of challenges throughout her tenure, she has always come out on top, including holding the Eurozone together during the financial crisis and global recession. She has stood up to Russian President Vladimir Putin in his aggression toward Ukraine and has managed Europe’s refugee crisis.
Within her term, Germany stands above the rest of Europe with a low unemployment rate and strong economy, despite not being universally liked. She stands her ground, proving to be a stabilizing force amid turmoil.
Arianna Huffington, You Rock
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Arianna Huffington is a Greek-American author, syndicated columnist, and businesswoman. We all know her as the co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, which is now owned by AOL, but in the mid-1990s, she was also a popular conservative commentator. In 2003, she ran as an independent candidate for governor in the California recall election.
In 2016, Huffington announced she would step down from her role at The Huffington Post to devote her time to new startup, Thrive Global, which focuses on health and wellness information. As of 2014, she is listed by Forbes as the 52nd Most Powerful Woman in the World.
Christine Lagarde Thinks Globally
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Christine Lagarde is the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and is the first woman to head the organization, which serves as the economic adviser for 188 countries. She has previously held positions in the French government and was the first woman to become Finance Minister of a G8 economy.
Another impressive first is Lagarde being named the first female chair of major international law firm Baker & McKenzie during her stint as a prolific anti-trust and labor lawyer between 1999 and 2004. In 2017, Forbes ranked her Number 8 on their World’s 100 Most Powerful Women list.
Abigail Johnson Keeps a Low Profile
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Abigail Johnson is the CEO of Fidelity Investments and is the chairman of its international sister company Fidelity International. Her grandfather Edward C. Johnson II was the founder of the company. While Johnson keeps a low profile, it’s pretty obvious that she was destined to take over the company from an early age.
She started working for a firm in high school and officially joined Fidelity as an analyst in 1988. She has served as president since 2012. Johnson holds a personal fortune of $18.5 billion, making her one of the wealthiest women in the world.
Safra Catz Can Make Deals Better Than POTUS
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Safra Catz is an Israeli-born American business executive and current Co-CEO of Oracle. Catz spearheaded Oracle’s 2016 $9.3 billion acquisition of NetSuite, the largest deal in company history and is the leader of major expansion within Oracle by hiring 5,000-plus new engineers, salespeople, and other staff.
Aside from her duties at Oracle, Catz oversees a $3.5 billion company investment in STEM initiatives and was on President Trump’s transitional team. In 2017, she was elected to the board of directors of The Walt Disney Company and is the highest paid female CEO of any US company as of April 2017, earning $40.9 million.
Marillyn Hewson is the CEO Everyone Wants
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Marillyn Hewson is the Chairman, President, and CEO of Lockheed Martin. In 2015, she was named the 20th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes. She came from humble beginnings, born in Junction, City Kansas, but that never held her back. She worked her way to business school at Columbia and Harvard and joined Lockheed Martin in 1983.
Since then, she’s held a variety of executive positions and was named on Harvard Business Review’s list of 2017 Best-Performing CEOs in the World. Hewson earned her place on that list. After becoming CEO in 2013, Lockheed Martin’s market cap has doubled.
We All Know Hillary Clinton
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This list just wouldn’t be complete without Hillary Clinton. Clinton has come a long way since her stint as First Lady. From fighting through fire in the 2016 presidential election to her previous work as the former US Secretary of State, Clinton is a fighter who has continuously paved the way for the future.
She was the first female senator of New York, and so far, the only female (and First Lady) to ever run for president. Her 2017 book, What Happened, details the trials of the 2016 election, giving disappointed voters and the world an inside look at one of the most high-profile elections in US history.
Phebe Novakovic’s Talent Lies in Cybersecurity and Defense
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Phebe Novakovic is the Chairman and CEO of General Dynamics. She also worked for the Central Intelligence Agency. From 1997-2001, she worked for the United States Department of Defense. After joining General Dynamics in 2001, she has worked her way up to the top and was named the president of the company in 2012.
She has sat on the Board of Directors of Abbott Laboratories since 2010 and in 2015, Forbes listed her as the 56th most powerful women in the world, rising from the 65th position just a year prior in 2014. Novakovic’s push to expand cybersecurity capabilities has been an advantage, helping General Dynamics land new contracts, record operating earnings, and margins last year.
Ruth Porat Named Best Internet CFO
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Ruth Porat is a British-American financial executive who currently serves as the CFO of Alphabet Inc. as well as its subsidiary Google. Porat also served as CFO and executive vice president of Morgan Stanley from 2010-2015. Since she became CFO, shares jumped more than 70% and the company is currently the world’s second-most valuable company after Apple.
Porat was named Best Internet CFO by Institutional Investor. At Google, in addition to Finance, she also has various departments reporting to her such as Business Operations, People Ops, Human Resources, Real Estate, and Work Place Services.
Maria das Gracas Silva Foster
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Maria dad Gracas Silva Foster is a Brazilian business executive and chemical engineer. She was the CEO of Brazil’s state-controlled oil company, Petrobras-Petróleo Brasil, located in Rio de Janeiro and was the first woman to head a major oil-and-gas company.
TIME listed her as one of the most influential people in the world in 2012 and in 2014, she was recognized as the 16th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes. On top of that, Fortune ranked her as the Most Powerful Woman in Business (outside the US) for two years in a row.