Women may be under-represented at the upper levels of Fortune 500 companies, but those that have made it to the top are making an impact. Across multiple industries, women are finding success in the corporate world. Let’s look at some of the top women in business currently.
The current chief operating officer at Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg has also held positions at Google, the World Bank and the U.S. Department of the Treasury. She was also named to the board of directors at Facebook in June. Sandberg has gained attention as the author of “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead” which has sold over a million copies and renewed the discussion on gender equality.
Indra Nooyi is the president and chief financial officer of PepsiCo, one of the world’s largest snack food companies. Born in India, she moved to the U.S. to attend Yale University’s Graduate School of Management. Nooyi has been in the top 20 on the list of the World’s Most Powerful Women since 2006.
Considered one of the most powerful and highest paid women in business today, Irene Rosenfeld was the chairman and CEO of Kraft Foods Inc. Rosenfeld oversaw the split of Kraft into two independent companies, and she chose to lead the global snack and grocery business now known as Mondelez International. Previous employers include General Foods and Frito-Lay.
Meg Whitman is the CEO of Hewlett-Packard. Formerly the chief executive officer of eBay, Whitman also tried her hand at politics, running for governor of California in 2010. Her resume also includes positions with Proctor & Gamble, Disney, FTD and Hasbro.
Marissa Mayer surprised many when she left Google after 13 years to become CEO of Yahoo in 2012. The 20th employee hired at Google, and its first female engineer, Mayer is credited for the look that characterizes the Google user experience. Her task now is to turn Yahoo around from falling stock prices, layoffs and faltering ad revenues.
Anne Sweeney recently stepped down as the co-chair of Disney Media Networks and president of Disney-ABC Television Group. There she oversaw more than 100 channels with viewers in 169 countries, including ABC Studios, the ABC Television Network and Disney Channels Worldwide. Sweeney plans to return to her passion for the creative side and pursue directing.
Born in Athens, Greece, Arianna Huffington studied economics at the University of Cambridge before moving to the U.S. and getting involved in politics. She started the Huffington Post in 2005. The Post was voted the most powerful blog in the world in 2008 by The Observer. After selling the Post to AOL in 2011, she became president and editor-in-chief of Huffington Post Media Group. Huffington is well known as an editor and author, writing several books including the recent “Thrive.”
Diane Von Furstenburg is best known as a world renowned fashion designer. She gained attention by designing work wear for the growing number of career women in the 70s. She is the president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America and helped start Fordham Law’s Fashion Law Institute to raise awareness of counterfeit goods.
These women have found success in a range of industries mostly dominated by men. Many have used their status and success to help other women develop and advance their careers. Their stories inspire by showing that women can reach positions of power and be successful in organizations formerly dominated by men.