A little more than half of the population of the Earth is female, yet only a little more than 14 percent of top executives are female. With a world of statistics against them, these inspirational women are models of global leadership. Taken as a whole, they embody an archetype of business inspiration that would benefit any gender:
Listed as the 30th largest business in America by Forbes, Amway’s success in the United States rests largely on the shoulders of its regional president, Candace Matthews. Before Amway, she served as a marketing leader at SoftSheen for L’Oréal. With a MBA from Stanford, Matthews has been recognized numerous times in the industry, not the least of which is the 2009 Black Enterprise Magazine’s Corporate Executive of the Year. Matthews is known for her dual role as a driven leader and caring mentor. In an article for the Huffington Post, she attributes her determination to her parents and mentors, recommending to young women in business to find an honest mentor of their own.
The Money Maker
Although money is not everything, it is a good indicator of reputation. This puts Marissa Mayer at the head of the pack. The Yahoo! CEO is listed by CNBC as the highest paid female executive. After being hired from Google, Mayer has increased Yahoo!’s stock by 177 percent and its earnings by $9.5 billion. With Mayer there is no magic secret. She is successful because she is smart, driven and passionate, refusing to be made into a stereotype.
Listed as the youngest self-made female billionaire in America by Inc.com, Sara Blakely embodies the American dream. The founder of Spanx, Blakely sees mistakes as being just as important as success. She coaches young entrepreneurs of either gender to be unafraid of making mistakes. She says that the worst case scenario is that you become memorable. Now at the age of 44, Forbes places her net worth at $1.06 billion, which most would consider quite memorable.
The Rags to Riches Story
With only a few dollars in her pocket, Indra Nooyi came to the United States from India to earn a management degree. According to Real Business, she worked as a receptionist during the graveyard shift so she could buy her first business suit for an interview. Her hard work paid off, as Nooyi sits as the CEO of PepsiCo. Her advice to women in the workplace is simple: work twice as hard as your male, and any, counterparts.
The World Changer
Women in leadership roles have the ability to change the world’s beliefs. Global Vice-Chair of Public Policy at EY Beth Brooke-Marciniak understands this better than most. Named as one of the “World’s 100 Most Powerful Women” seven times by Forbes, Brooke-Marciniak is a leader in diversity advocacy. Not only has she changed her own world, but she is committed to ushering in a new world of equality for everyone. Of the female business leader archetype, Brooke-Marciniak is the soul, calling for men and women to work together to eliminate workplace bias. Like many visionaries, she is calling for change now, not in some far-off future. She is looking toward a time when 50 percent of the population holds 50 percent of the leadership jobs.
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