In this blog post, we talk about 10 influential women in the business world. Leaders like these women have come a long and inspiring journey and paved the way for women in business. May the example of these leaders be a motivation for all talented female entrepreneurs, who want to open their businesses, but think that they are not able to survive in the business world, traditionally dominated by men.
1. Sheryl Sandberg
American businesswoman Sheryl Kara Sandberg has been Facebook's chief operating officer since 2008, but in 2012 she was elected by members to the company's board of directors, becoming the first woman to hold such a position at the company. Sheryl held TED Talks where she talks about how women are not reaching the top of any profession, anywhere in the world.
“I think a world where half of our countries and our companies were run by women, would be a better world.” - Sheryl Sandberg
2. Indra Nooyi
Indra Nooyi is an American businesswoman born in India. She is the current chairman and executive director of PepsiCo and was considered one of the most powerful women in the world by Forbes magazine in 2012.
“ Bring together what is good for business with what is good for the world.” - Indra Nooyi
3. Irene Rosenfeld
Irene Rosenfeld is an American executive, who was CEO (2006-17) of Kraft Foods Inc. and, after the company's restructuring in 2012, of Mondelēz International. Under her leadership, Kraft Foods expanded its participation abroad and reorganized the marketing of its wide range of snack and grocery brands.
“ Do your job brilliantly and the cream will rise to the top.” - Irene Rosenfeld
4. Virginia Rometty
"Ginni" Rometty is an American business executive. She is the current Chairwoman and CEO of IBM, and the first woman to be the leader of the company.
“Don't let others define you. You define yourself.” - Ginni Rometty
5. Ursula Burns
Ursula M. Burns is an American executive who served as CEO (2009–16) and president (2010–17) for the international company Xerox Corporation. She was the first African American woman to be CEO of a Fortune 500 company.
“Where you are is not who you are.” - Ursula Burns
6. Meg Whitman
Meg Whitman is an American executive and politician who has served as an executive for several renowned companies, including The Walt Disney Company and DreamWorks. Whitman also was eBay’s president and CEO (1998–2008).
“Do what you love and success will follow. Passion is the fuel behind a successful career.” - Meg Whitman
7. Maria das Graças Silva Foster
Also known as Graça Foster, Maria is a Brazilian chemical engineer who escaped her childhood in the favela to be an executive at Petrobras, Brazil's oil and gas behemoth. She was director of the company's Gas and Energy area, assuming the company's presidency on February 13, 2012.
“I am a focused person. I am a fighter.” - Graça Foster
8. Marissa Mayer
Marissa Mayer is an American computer scientist, information technology executive and co-founder of Lumi Labs. She was vice president of geographic and local services at Google. In 2012, Mayer was appointed president and chief executive officer of Yahoo.
“ If I had been more self-conscious about being a woman, it would have stifled me.” - Marissa Mayer
9. Anne Sweeney
Anne Marie Sweeney is an American businesswoman who served as president of Disney-ABC Television Group and Disney Channel until 2014. She was also president and CEO of FX Networks from 1993 to 1996.
“Define success on your own terms, achieve it by your own rules, and build a life you're proud to live.” - Anne Sweeney
10. Angela Braly
Angela Fick Braly is an American executive who served as president and chief executive officer of WellPoint, a major US health insurance provider, and was a member of the company's board of directors.
“The most important factor in determining whether you will succeed isn’t your gender – it’s you.” - Angela Braly
Always remember to dream big, set high goals, follow the advice of those who have achieved success, and you can be the next successful woman making the world better!
BGI and EIT Food are supporting women in this mission, creating the conditions for them to be successful in their dream business. We believe that initiatives like EWA - Empower Women In Agrifood can make a difference and help to reverse the average of 22% of women in leadership positions in Portugal, and to create a future of equal opportunities.
EWA aims to fight the lack of representation of women in rural business and be the launching pad for women in the business world. During 6 months, 50 female entrepreneurs participated in an educational program tailored for female-specific challenges regarding entrepreneurship. After this training period, the Final Competition of this program will be held on the 2nd of December, where the entrepreneurs will pitch and compete for two cash prizes: 1st prize - 10.000€ and 2nd prize - 5.000€ .
Find out everything and register for the event here.
What other businesswomen are missing from this list?
Do you think women will continue to increase their presence as CEOs of companies? Or will the most important positions continue to belong to men?