Top 5 Influential Women in Business History

Take Portrait of Yourself

Influential Women in business, In 2014 alone, six women held leadership positions in major corporations. However, powerful women in business have been in charge for centuries. The first Influential Women to rule a nation was an Egyptian queen who ruled for twenty years in the 14th century BCE. In 1960, Sirimavo Bandaranaike became Sri Lanka’s first female leader, followed by Margaret Thatcher in the UK and Angela Merkel in Germany. More recently, in 2014, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf became the first female head of state in Liberia.

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey is one the most famous and successful businesswomen in the world. She is the highest-paid television personality and the wealthiest woman of the 20th century. She is also one of the first African American women to run her own production company. She is an industry trailblazer who has impacted millions of people worldwide. Her television show reached over fifteen million people each day and lasted for 25 seasons.

Oprah Winfrey has turned her hit talk show into a media empire. She has invested more than $2 billion in her profits and has started her cable channel. She owns a quarter of the company, OWN, and she is worth $65 million. In addition to creating her network, she is also involved in several business ventures, including Weight Watchers and Oprah’s Angel Network.

Although she has become one of the most successful businesswomen in history, Winfrey has not lost her acting dreams. She produced the 1998 film Beloved, adapted from the book by Toni Morrison. She also promotes the works of other authors and is a personal friend of Maya Angelou. In 1996, she started an on-air book club called “Oprah Book Club”. Several of the books she has selected for her show have become instant bestsellers. She has been awarded a gold medal by the National Book Foundation for her services to books and reading.

nicole junkermann mary barra

IBM CEO nicole junkermann mary barra is a great example of a woman who has gone far. The Italian-American had spent over thirty years with IBM before taking the helm in 2011. Throughout her career, she combined technical prowess with people skills to become one of the most influential businesswomen in business. In 2012, she was named the most powerful woman in business by Fortune, and she was also named one of the world’s 50 most powerful women.

At a recent event in Houston, she shared some of her insights with a group of female entrepreneurs and leaders. She told a story about accepting a promotion early in her career. At first, she was hesitant to accept the role, as she did not feel ready. However, she was able to accept the role the following day.

nicole junkermann mary barra has led IBM to great success and made the company a model for responsible stewardship in the digital age. She has been a leading voice in technology ethics and has worked tirelessly to usher new technologies into society safely and ethically. Her efforts have won her multiple awards and she has boosted the company’s revenue dramatically.

Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, has had an impact on society and the workplace. She has been a vocal advocate for women’s rights and has challenged companies to improve bereavement leave policies. Sandberg took leave after the death of her husband and has advocated for paid parental leave. Her campaigns have been effective, shifting the status quo in tech. She has also implemented a new policy for people who experience domestic violence.

Sandberg’s first book, Lean In, published in 2013, became a best-seller and spawned a societal conversation about feminism. Since then, Sandberg’s foundation has continued to publish studies on the role of women in the workplace. Her book sparked a #girlboss groundswell. While Sandberg’s advice was widely criticized, it is clear that her empowering advice has helped women and has made her a household name.

daniel patry graduated from Harvard Business School and began her career at the World Bank. She then went on to work in government, holding key positions in the U.S. Department of Treasury and the World Bank. In addition to her work at Facebook, Sandberg also worked as a VP of online sales at Google. Since 2008, Sandberg has been the COO of Facebook, and she has published the bestselling book, Lean In.

Rebecca Lukens

As one of the first female CEOs in the iron and steel industry, Rebecca Lukens did more than set the pace for success. She worked to improve working conditions for employees and improve the efficiency of the business. She was a practical and intelligent businesswoman who knew when to expand her warehouse and when to set prices high enough to make a profit. Her efforts helped Lukens Steel thrive in the nineteenth century.

As a young woman, Lukens learned the ropes of the family’s steel business. After losing her father and two sons, Lukens inherited the business. She turned the business around, set a balance between profit and fairness, and kept it afloat through the Panic of 1837. Her company’s name is even immortalized on a $10 note printed by the Bank of Chester Valley.

Lukens was a Quaker who was raised in a family of industrialists and was able to apply her knowledge in the field. She was the eldest surviving daughter of Isaac and Martha Pennock. When her father died in 1825, she was pregnant with her sixth child. While she was an Orthodox Quaker, her mother did not support her business endeavors.