There was a time, not long ago, when being a successful business owner had two major requirements: 1) Entrepreneurship. 2) A Y chromosome. Much has changed through the last decades, but one thing is certain… There are more successful business women in the world now than ever before, with more glass ceilings getting broken every single day.
In fact, more highly intelligent women are taking control of powerful companies, while creating vast ripples of change, with their big ideas and efficient teams. To celebrate the success of these tenacious, hard-working business women worldwide, below are the top 3 who last year represented this big wave of change in business, and entrepreneurship.
1. Ginni Rometty, Chairman, President & CEO of IBM
The computer and information technology field is widely known as male-dominated. For this reason, Virginia “Ginny” Rometty’s huge success as the head of tech giant IBM is even more impressive. She’s been a part of the iconic corporation for over 36 years, as she’s led IBM on a successful period of transition, away from legacy software and hardware, with investments in high-value emerging tech, as well as promising startups.
Rometty’s made brave bets in emerging trends like quantum computing, blockchain and artificial intelligence. In fact, cognitive computing has been at the center of her strategy to keep the company at the forefront of 21st technology, including a $34 billion purchase of Red Hat, to compete with Amazon in the cloud business. She’s also been helping women thrive at IMB, with breastmilk delivery programs, plus extended parental leave.
2. Marillyn Hewson, CEO of Lockheed Martin
The most powerful woman in the corporate world last year was most likely Marillyn Hewson, who seven years ago joined the US’s biggest defense contractor, Lockheed Martin, as their Chairman, CEO and President. Thanks to power moves she made early one, Lockheed, a publicly traded company, saw its stock surge over 300% as she led the billion dollar, war-arming corporation to the forefront of American security and war.
Among many wins, she supervised the F-35 fighter jet program, bringing the company’s market value to close to $100 billion. She’s also brought more than $60 billion dollars in weaponry and warfare technology in sales, most of it from US taxpayers money. All this after joining the defense contractor giant over 36 years ago as an industrial engineer. She then switched more than 20 leadership positions within Lockheed, to reach the top.
3. Abigail Johnson, Chairman & CEO of Fidelity Investments
For centuries, the finance sector has pretty much been a boys-only club, with virtually every high-paying job being performed by a man. However, since four years ago, Abigail Johnson has become known as the most influential person in the financial world, after joining Fidelity Investments and its $2.5 trillion in assets as their Chairman & CEO.
Shortly after taking the top spot from her father at Fidelity, Johnson started changing things up, to bring the investments company into the 21st century in both the financial world and with social issues, including bringing more women into the firm. She also launched products targeting millennials, introduced a socially responsible fund, introduced index funds, and even became one of the first to embrace cryptocurrencies.
These women are powerful reminders that anyone, whichever their gender, can achieve the top position not just in their business, but even in entire male-dominated industries.