Top 10 Most Influential Women in Business
As a successful business woman, myself, with my own company and a great workforce, I am constantly finding inspiration in other women who have been influential in the business sector. Below are the top 10 most influential women in business, to me, and who I consider to be inspirational powerhouses. The women listed below are just some of the strong, confident and powerful women that are changing the face of business one day at a time.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, General Motors Company
Mary Barra is the first female CEO of a major global automaker. Barra has served as CEO of General Motors since January 15, 2014 and she was elected Chairman of the General Motors Board of Directors on January 4th, 2016. She confidently steered General Motors through the ignition switch crisis that hit in 2014 and posted record profits in 2015 of $9.7 billion. In 2014, she was named Time magazine’s list of “The 100 Most Influential People in the World.” In 2016, Forbes magazine named Barra one of the “World’s Most Powerful Woman in Business” and number five among the “World’s 100 Most Powerful Women.”
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of PepsiCo
Indra Nooyi heads up the global food and beverage leader that produces thousands of products that are consumed by people all around the world. Indra Nooyi has a positive approach to business with her focus on weaving sustainability into the fabric of the company therefore making it future-proof for this ever-changing and fast-paced world. She’s certainly not going to let herself be left behind!
Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Lockhead MartinCorporation
Ms. Hewson certainly has the education to back up her business success. The proud holder of a Bachelor Science degree in business administration and her Master of Arts degree in economics from The University of Alabama, Hewson’s educational success is nothing to sniff at. She also attended the Columbia Business School and Havard Business School executive development programs. Ms. Hewson has been selected by Fortune magazine as one of the “50 Most Powerful Women in Business” for the past seven years and was named number three in 2016.
Chief Executive Officer, Chairman, and President of IBM
Virginia Rometty, or “Ginni” as she is more commonly known, is arguably the most powerful female business leader in the world. She runs IBM and is the first woman to head up the company. A company with almost half a million employees, its technology is found in 90% of the world’s banks, 80% of its airlines and 70% of all corporate enterprises. She has been named in Fortune magazine’s “50 Most Powerful Women in Business” for ten consecutive years, ranking first in 2012, 2013 and 2014.
Chief Executive Officer and President of Fidelity Investments
Fidelity was founded by Johnson’s grandfather, Edward C. Johnson II. Johnson is taking full reins of the fourth largest asset manager in the world and assuming its chairmanship from her father who is retiring after nearly six decades with the company. By taking Fidelity’s chairmanship, Johnson is continuing her ascendence on Wall Street. As Chairman and SEO, Johnson has inherited one of the most powerful purchases in all of finance. In Forbes magazine 2016, Johnson was ranked as the most powerful woman on Wall Street.
Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer
Not only is Sheryl Sandberg one of the most successful women in business but she is also extremely open about the difficulties of balancing work and family life. In her book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the will to lead Sandberg very openly discusses the pull towards motherhood and how it often conflicts with the demands of work. Sandberg understands that many women don’t want both a career and a family, and that some don’t care about ascending to a power position. But she does insist that increased numbers of women in leadership roles will help the status and opportunities of all women. She wants women to talk about getting ahead and what it means to step into leadership roles.
Chief Executive Officer and President at Hewlett Packard Enterprise
Meg Whitman has built her incredible reputation in a corporate world still largely run by men. She served as CEO of eBay for 10 years and in 2010 began running the computer giant Hewlett-Packard. Whitman holds a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University and an MBA from Harvard University.
Chief Executive Office and Chairman of General Dynamics
Phebe Novakovic helms one of the world’s top defence contractors. She took the lead job in 2013 after starting the company in 2001, following a long career in the federal government that included posts at the CIA, the Defence Department and the Office of Management and Budget. Novakovic feels she best serves national security by working with General Dynamics.
Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Mondelez International
As head of the global food company, Mondelez, Rosenfeld has become one of the most powerful – and highest paid- women in the business world. Rosenfeld is famed for her attention to detail. When Kraft’s Orea cookie was failing to take off in China (too sweet and expensive) she helped revaluate the product and adapt it to meet Chinese snack tastes by adding flavours such as green tea. Needless to add, sales rocketed. Rosenfeld names parenting as one of the best management training programmes there is.
Oprah Winfrey is one of the most famed and widely known women in the business world. Although often dismissed as ‘just’ a talk show host, Oprah Winfrey is one of the most successful entrepreneurs. Oprah Winfrey’s father taught her the meaning of hard work, making her read one book and write a book report every week. Although his rules were strict, Oprah states in multiple interviews how she knew he was simply concerned about seeing her make the best of the life she was given and he would not accept anything less than her best. Oprah Winfrey became the first African American to host a television show, inspiring millions around the world. She has also been extremely open when discussing her views on significant issues such as; equal right, women’s rights, poverty, racism, and many others. Oprah is regarded, by many, as a beacon, someone who has paved and lit the way for others to become successful.
Are any of these women influential to you? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
Francesca is the Managing Director of Sash Windows London Ltd, a family-owned and professionally managed window company providing a full range of sash window products throughout the UK. Passionate about providing high-quality, friendly, and reliable services. You can read Francesca’s full bio here.