Women in Business

To vote in our Elite 8 round, please go to the THE ELITE EIGHT page. These are all the women who were in our Business category.

Desiree Rodgers –
Desiree is an American business executive who is currently the CEO of Johnson Publishing Company, which has a revenue of 90 million dollars a year.  She is specifically responsible for overseeing the publication of Ebony and Jet magazines.  Before this position, she was appointed as the White House Social Secretary under Barack Obama until 2010.  She was the first African-American person to hold this position.

Hedy Lamarr –
Hedy Lamarr started as an Austrain and American film actresss who became an inventor and pioneer in the field of technology. Lamarr helped to invent a “Secret Communications System” to help combat the Nazis in World War ll. It was used on naval ships during the Cuban Missile Crisis and in many other applications.

Christine Lagarde –
Christine Lagarde has been involved in many different fields throughout her career. She is a French lawyer and politician who has been the Managing Directory of the International Monetary Fund since 2011. Additionally, she was the first female chairwoman of the international law firm Baker & McKenzie and was ranked the best Minister of Finance in the Eurozone in 2009.

Muriel Siebert –
Muriel’s nickname was “The First Woman of Finance” because of her involvement in this industry. She was known for being the first woman to own a seat on the NYSE, the New York Stock Exchange. Also, she occupied one of the NYSE’s member firms. As a philanthropist, Muriel created the Siebert Entrepreneurial Philanthropic Plan where she shared half of her firm’s profits.

Ursula Burns –
Ursula Burns received her Master of Science at Columbia University and today is the Chair-CEO at Xerox. Since 2010, she is responsible for turning a company known for paper copies, into a viable and profitable business in a digital world. She is the first African-American woman to lead an S&P 500 company, generating $18 billion dollars in revenue in 2015.

Martine A. Rothblatt –
Rothblatt is an American lawyer, author, and entrepreneur.  She began her career in the field of communication satellite law in Washington D.C., then moved into science projects like the Human Genome Project.  She is currently the founder and Chairman of the Board of United Therapeutics.

Helena Rubinstein –
Rubinstein was a cosmetics entrepreneur who was the founder of “Helena Rubinstein Incorporated” cosmetics company. This made her one of the richest woman in the world. She was a Polish American businesswoman, art collector, and philanthropist.

Mary Barra –
Mary Teresa Barra is the Chief Executive Officer and Chairperson of the General Motors Company. She has held the CEO position since January 15, 2014, and she is the first female CEO of a major global automaker.

Donna Reed –
An American actress and producer, noted for The Donna Reed Show and It’s a Wonderful Life. Apart from being a movie star, Reed had a strong interest in politics. She became especially interested during the Vietnam War. In 1967, Reed advocated for anti-war and anti-nuclear weapons. She co-chaired “Another Mother for Peace,” organization that aimed “to educate women to take an active role in eliminating war as a means of solving disputes between nations, people and ideologies.”

Mary Pickford –
Not only was Pickford a Canadian-American actress, screenwriter, producer and director, but she was also a successful businesswoman. Throughout her rapidly growing career, she promoted several causes. During World War I, she traveled to cities and spoke about Liberty Bonds, causing sales to skyrocket. Because of her fundraising success, the U.S. Navy named her an honorary “Little Sister.” Being a huge supporter of the arts, Pickford created the Motion Picture Relief Fund, which offers resources and assistance for those who are in the motion picture and television industries. A detailed-oriented person, she demanded that she oversee all aspects that went into making a film as a producer. In 1919, she co-founded United Artists studio in Beverly Hills, California. This studio broke away from commercial studios that restricted the freedom of producers in controlling certain aspects that went into creating films.

Lettie Pate Whitehead Evans –
The first woman to serve on the board of directors for Coca-Cola, Whitehead remained on the board for over 20 years. After her husband, Joseph Brown Whitehead unexpectedly passed away, she took over the family’s businesses. She successfully lead the Whitehead Holding Company and Whitehead Realty Company. Not only was Whitehead a smart, dedicated businesswoman, but she was also a philanthropist. She donated millions to over 100 organizations mainly in Virginia and Georgia. Later in her life, she established the Lettie Pate Evans Foundation, which gave her entire estate after she passed away.

Oprah Winfrey –
Noted for her successful talk show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, she has been called “arguably the world’s most powerful woman” by CNN. Winfrey revolutionized the idea of talk shows and built an empire based on her personality and skill in creating intimate interviews with a variety of people. Winfrey’s influence has spanned across her success as an entertainer, producer and philanthropist. She has co-authored five books, published a magazine, created a radio show and her website, oprah.com. In 2013, Barack Obama awarded Winfrey the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award of the United States. Her most notable philanthropic organizations include: Oprah’s Angel Network, which supports several charitable projects around the world and has raised more than $80 million; and in South Africa where Winfrey established the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls.

Madame C.J.  Walker –
Walker created an empire of hair care products, making her “the first black woman millionaire in America.” Walker worked hard to promote her enterprise known as “The Walker System” by going door-to-door to sell her products. Noted for revolutionizing black hair care, Walker eventually headquartered her business in Denver, Colorado. She worked to train her “beauty culturalists,” or employees, by placing value on building loyal relationships with customers. She took care of her employees by creating clubs and providing support. Not only was Walker a successful businesswoman, but she was also generous. Walker has donated a substantial part of her wealth to African American charities such as the black YMCA, the NCAA and scholarships for black women.

Meg Whitman –
Whitman, a strategic and successful businesswoman, is the president and CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise and chairwoman of HP Inc. In 1998, Whitman served as EBay’s CEO when the company began with only 30 employees. In her 10 years with EBay, Whitman contributed to the growth and success, reaching over $8 billion in annual revenue. In 2014, she was ranked 20th in Forbes list of 100 Most Powerful Women in the World. Not only is Whitman a businesswoman, but she is also a politician. She ran for Governor of California in 2009, and though she lost, she was named on a list of women who are most likely to become president of the United States by The New York Times. Whitman co-founded the Griffith R. Harsh IV and Margaret C Whitman Charitable Foundation with her husband. They have donated $46 million to several charities.

Sheryl Sandberg –
The CEO of Facebook, Sandberg was the first woman to serve on Facebook’s board. Before joining the board, Sandberg was the vice president of global online sales and operations at Google. In 2012, Time magazine ranked Sandberg as one of the 100 most influential people. She also founded “The Lean in Foundation”, a nonprofit organization that works “to offering women the ongoing inspiration and support to help them achieve their goals.” Sandberg began this foundation after she wrote a book titled Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead. The organization aims to provide support for women by setting up peer groups where they can share their experiences and give advice to other women.

Indra Nooyi –
The chairperson and CEO of Pepsi Co., Forbes has ranked Nooyi as one of The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women. And in 2016, she was ranked 82nd most powerful woman on the Fortune list. Nooyi was born in India and came to America in 1978 to pursue a M.A in Public and Private Management from Yale University. She joined Pepsi Co. in 1994 and became CFO in 2001 and president and CEO in 2006. Since 2001, she has contributed to Pepsi’s annual net profit rising from $2.7 billion to $6.5 billion. Apart from being a successful businesswoman, Nooyi has served on foundation boards for the World Economic Forum and International Rescue Committee