We have certainly come a long way since the times when women were not allowed to work or vote. Many women of the past probably could never imagine where we are today. Times have indeed changed. And now it’s time for women leaders to take center stage and celebrate the greatness they have achieved. Indeed, every small step towards equality is a worthy milestone to commemorate, as more women in business are taking their rightful places as global leaders. A 2019 Grant Thornton research discovered that today women hold a record high of 29% of senior management roles.
Furthermore, 87% of businesses around the world now have at least one woman in a senior management position. Women’s History Month is coming up in March, and in preparation for the hype, here’s a curated list of 5 exceptional women! These women are inspirational icons that have bravely built their own empire, independently and paving the way for future generations of influential women in business.
1. Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook
The head and creator of the “Lean In” movement. She has a whole series on how to “Lean In.” “Lean In” is a guide for young women to understand what they needed to do to triumph in the male-dominated workplace. It has since become a cultural phenomenon. So besides being the COO of Facebook, she is also known for being the founder of Leanin.org. In fact, she was the first woman to serve on Facebook’s board in June 2012. Before Facebook, Sandberg was already a distinguished individual, who held the position of vice president of global online sales and operations at Google until 2008. Her esteemed reputation and professional prowess are recognized across the country. She is truly an inspiration! A quote from Forbes indicates that Sandberg and Facebook have huge plans for the future. “Facebook’s impressive growth continues with Sandberg still in the COO slot. The $17.9-billion-in-sales social network’s mobile-ad revenue jumped 80% in the most recent quarter and now makes up 84% of total ad sales. Next up: further monetizing video and Facebook Live, the company’s live-streaming initiative.”
2. Indra Nooyi, CEO/Chairman of PepsiCo
Indra Nooyi is an Indian American business executive and the former CEO of PepsiCo. She attained the position of CFO and president within 7 years of joining the company in 1994. Her milestones include assisting in the acquiring of Tropicana in 1998. 2001 was the year she revealed how capable she was by acquiring the Gatorade and Quaker Oats Company, plus numerous other companies. Since she took over as a leader, Pepsi has seen revenue rise by 72%. Nooyi has proven her astute business acumen in restructuring and leading the company. This led to the doubling in profits. After being named CEO of PepsiCo in 2007, her global strategy and efforts as the CEO led to the revolutionary milestone – whereby PepsiCo surpassed Coca-Cola in terms of market value for the first time in 112 years. She has consistently ranked among the world’s 100 most powerful women. In 2015, she was ranked the 2nd most powerful woman on the Fortune list. Besides being such an inspirational powerhouse, she also serves as a chairperson for the U.S.-India economic council and a member of the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum.
Forbes reported that “PepsiCo’s $155 billion market cap is up 18% in the past 12 months, even as international volatility hit 2015 sales and profits, which dropped 5% and 13%, respectively. Investors seem to have faith that Nooyi’s push toward healthier food and drink offerings will pay off—and they like the $63 billion company’s $3 billion in cost cuts over the past three years too.”
3. Mary Teresa Barra, CEO/Chairman of GM
Another spectacular woman who was named on Fortune‘s Most Powerful Woman after a year of dramatic improvement at the $152.4 billion in revenues for General Motors is Mary Teresa Barra. Mary Barra is the chairperson and CEO of General Motors Company. On January 15, 2014, she became the first female CEO of a major automaker company. But she has Barra has “driven strong domestic sales, shown a steady performance in Europe and new growth in China’s SUV and luxury markets.” She even guided GM through the 2014 ignition switch crisis, by making tough decisions to end operations in Russia and invest in ride-sharing company Lyft. Not only that, she has brought record profits in 2015 of $9.7 billion. Recently, she invested billions in electric vehicles, self-driving cars, and a ride-share service called Maven. Her efforts and achievements have not gone unnoticed. She earned $21.9 million in 2018, which marks as the highest compensation of any leader of a Detroit Big Three automaker.
In conclusion, we hope this list has inspired you to chase your dreams because anything is possible – even if you are a woman.