The Most Powerful Women in Business

The most powerful women in business

powerful women in business

As much as we hate to admit it, the glass ceiling, though cracked, scratched and etched by female leaders who refuse to be held down, is still very much in existence. Lately, the biggest issue related to imitations on women at work is the pay gap. Thanks to public figures like Emma Watson, using their popularity and celebrity platform to speak out against unequal compensation between men and women, we are making strides.

But, what is an even bigger identifier of progress is the increase in females as business executives. According to this year’s Fortune Global 500, the number of female chief executives making the list has risen to a record 17. While this is certainly a great achievement, women only make up a small percentage of this international list.

American companies are slightly more balanced than those with similar economies, as reported by Fortune, including 24 female CEOs, which is up from 20 a year ago. The article also notes that the industry that continually lacks female executives is tech.

In honour of women’s progress in business, here is an infographic of top female leaders. The image and facts below have been rounded up by Brighton School of Business and Management, an online distance learning provider with management courses meant to boost your competitive edge so that you too can be the next great female leader of our generation.

Here are additional details on these 10 amazing women.

Ginni Rometty

Ginni Rometty

Rometty is chief executive officer of the International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) and is the first woman to head the company. According to Forbes, she is 57 years old and graduated from Northwestern University. She continues to turn the company around by focusing financially on IBM’s cloud computing business. She joined the company at age 24 in 1981 as a systems engineer.

Indra Nooyi

Indra Nooyi PepsiCo

Nooyi earned her MBA from Yale after graduating from Madras Christian College. At age 59, she heads PepsiCo Inc. as chief executive officer.

Despite global market shrinkage in the consumption of sugary drinks, Nooyi worked to grow the company’s shares by 3.1%, while the S&P 500 Index added less than 1%, according to Forbes.

Opposing critics who have pressured her to split the company to cut costs, she pledges to keep the company undivided while improving performance.

Marillyn Hewson

At age 61, Hewson is the chief executive of officer of the aerospace and defense giant Lockheed Martin. She earned her undergraduate and post-graduate degrees at the University of Alabama.

Forbes reports: “CEO Hewson has a vision for the company: Focus on cyber security and alternative energy. This commitment comes as no surprise; under her leadership, Lockheed Martin has joined the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and maintained a top ‘A’ rating for carbon performance in the CDP Global 500 Climate Change Report.”

She has been loyal to the company for more than 30 years, having held a number of executive-level positions, including president and COO at Lockheed Martin.

Ellen Kullman

Ellen Kullman

Kullman, 59, is the first female chief executive officer of DuPont. She earned her masters degree from Northwestern University after graduating in engineering at Tufts University.

Since taking the lead role in 2009, Forbes reports that Ellen Kullman transitioned the 212-year-old chemical empire – for which she has been apart of for 25 years – from performance chemicals to industrial biosciences, agriculture and advanced materials in solar energy and more.

Meg Whitman

Whitman, 58, is the president and chief executive officer of Hewlett-Packard Company (HP).

A Princeton graduate with an MBA from Harvard, Whitman, according to Forbes, worked at toymakers Hasbro, shoe company Stride Rite Corporation and the Walt Disney Company before landing as CEO of eBay in its infancy in 1998. Whitman then joined Hewlett-Packard in 2011 as CEO.  She will remain CEO of corporate computing company Hewlett-Packard Enterprise while Dion Wesler will head up HP Inc., the printing and PC company.

Pat Woertz

Pat Woertz

Woertz, 61 years old and a Penn State graduate, is the chief executive officer of Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM), joining in April 2006. She was named chairman of the board in February 2007, and serves on the boards of directors of The Procter & Gamble Company and Royal Dutch Shell PLC.

Abigail Johnson

Johnson, 53, replaced her father, Edward “Ned” Johnson III, as CEO of Fidelity in October 2014. Fidelity is American’s second-largest mutual fund company founded by Abigail Johnson’s grandfather Edward Johnson II in1946.  In the summer before her freshman year at Hobart and William Smith, as reported by Forbes, she was a gopher at the company, taking orders from customers by phone. After college, Abigail spent a year as a consultant at Booze Allen Hamilton. She got an MBA at Harvard, then started full time as an analyst.

Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl Sandberg

Sandberg is a Harvard MBA graduate, and at 45 years old, she is the Facebook Chief Operating Officer. She is also known for her 2013 bestseller Lean In, triggering thousands of Lean In Circle support groups. She is a mother of two and a former Google executive who was poached by Facebook in 2007.

Marissa Mayer

A Stanford University graduate, Mayer at 39 years old is the chief executive officer at Yahoo. According to Forbes, Mayer came to the portal in 2012 after 13 years at Google and is known as Yahoo’s ‘spender-in-chief’  because she has “spent more than $100 million on 21 companies last year, largely for acqui-hires.” She also announced her plans to produce more original programming.

Ursula Burns

Ursula Burns

Burns, age 56, began her career with Xerox in 1980 as a summer intern before rising up the ranks to CEO, according to Forbes. Earning her masters degree from Columbia University, she now heads the once world-renowned carbon-copy king Xerox into a paperless future. Services, as of recent, represents 57% of the company’s total revenue. Forbes reports that this number is expected to grow to two-thirds by 2017.

Photo courtesy by Getty via Huffington Post

Megan Broussard

Megan Broussard is a storyteller from New York City. She credits her talent for balancing big hand gestures and a glass of red on her Cajun roots. When she isn’t covering women in career/business, fashion, lifestyle and culture, she’s playing with her pup – the inspiration for her doggy daycare business.