If you are lucky enough to be surrounded by powerful businesswomen in your daily life, then you know that one of the best ways that women in business can learn, grow, and make themselves better leaders is to learn from examples. Studying and learning about some of the most successful women in business can help you learn about different leadership styles, follow all the varying paths to success, and understand the substantial upswing so many industries are starting to experience in the rise of female entrepreneurs and leaders.
If you're looking around and struggling to find these women in your immediate vicinity, you can look to some of the biggest company names in tech, medicine, food and beverage, and entertainment to find inspiration in these women who have taken the business world by storm.
YouTube - CEO Susan Wojcicki
YouTube has inarguably made itself a household name in the technology and entertainment space, with over $15 billion in revenue in 2019. While the company legally operates under the Google platform since its purchase of the video powerhouse in 2006, YouTube still operates as a stand-alone service and has generated unparalleled brand recognition and exposure over its 20+ years of existence. The company's continued success can be credited to a host of reasons, but one of the most substantial is the woman at the helm, CEO Susan Wojcicki.
Wojcicki is no stranger to the tech industry. She was one of Google's original employees in 1999 and was one of the biggest advocates for the acquisition of YouTube in 2006. She has served as the CEO of YouTube since 2014, making her the longest-tenured CEO in the company's history. She has led countless product releases, platform upgrades, and HR and communication efforts to help the conglomerate continue its skyrocketed success. As of 2020, YouTube has an estimated company worth of $90 billion.
Bumble- Founder and CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd
Bumble is a popular dating app that it the scene in 2014 and was considered revolutionary for the dating scene in that it only allows women to make the first contact in matchups with men. Since it began monetizing on in-app paid subscriptions just four years ago in 2016, the company's revenue will already cross $100 million this year.
Bumble's ability to resonate with women and address its female audience so effectively is no secret. Bumble was founded in 2012 by then-23-year-old woman entrepreneur Whitney Wolfe Herd. Herd was one of the initial founders and employees of Tinder, a popular dating app with a format similar to Bumble, but left the company amid her allegations towards Tinder's other leaders of her poor treatment. Rather than dwell, Herd chose to compete and launched Bumble soon after her departure from Tinder. As of 2020, Bumble has already surpassed the Tinder app in terms of paid subscriptions, with over 10% of its subscribers electing paid services as opposed to Tinder's 5%. Herd has been an avid supporter of women entrepreneurs and women in business in general, continuously advocating that women deserve a seat at any table.
In-N-Out Burger- CEO and Majority Owner Lynsi Snyder-Ellingson
In-N-Out Burger is one of the most popular burger chains on the West Coast and has been growing steadily since its founding in 1948. The company currently employs over 16,000 people and has annual revenue of over $6 billion. Famous for its simple menu and "old school" cooking techniques that do not include microwaves or heat lamps, the chain has become a growing staple for West Coast communities over the past decades.
The fast-food conglomerate is led by 37-year-old female CEO Lynsi Snyder-Ellingson, the granddaughter of the company's founders, Harry and Esther Snyder. She is devoted to maintaining many of the foundational principles that the chain was founded on, including the simple and wholesome cooking techniques, but also preserving the business' original structure, which includes no franchising. All of In-N-Out Burger's 300-plus locations are owned and operated by the chain, as franchising of In-N-Out Burgers is not permitted. Snyder-Ellingson has publicly stated on several occasions she has no intention of ever selling the company, and as of her 35th birthday, was the majority owner and shareholder in In-N-Out.
Rodan and Fields- Founders Dr. Katie Rodan and Dr. Kathy Fields
Rodan and Fields is a skin-care company that gained notoriety for its acne treatment product line Proactive, a revolutionary medication that had skyrocketing sales thanks to famous 30-minute infomercials that promoted the product's prominent results. As of 2016, the company broke over $1 billion in yearly revenue.
The company was founded by two female Dermatologists, Dr. Katie Road and Dr. Kathy Fields, who previously owned separate dermatology practices. The two collaborated to create the Proactive line and have never looked back. Though very successful in their launching of Rodan and Fields, the two women promote themselves as "doctors and not businesswomen" but are firm believers in the power of companies being women-led. In 2016, they brought on Diane Dietz as CEO of Rodan and Fields to head business operations.
General Motors- Mary Barra
In 2014, General Motors made history when it became the highest-ranking company on the Fortune 500 list to appoint a female CEO, as well as the first auto manufacturer to do so. General Motors is the biggest auto conglomerate in the market specializing in the design, manufacture, and distribution of vehicles and vehicle parts. As of 2020, the corporation employs over 164,000 people and brings in over $137 billion in yearly sales.
Mary Barra's journey at General Motors, from fender inspector in high school to CEO in 2014, has allowed her to develop a deep understanding of the company's internal organization and structure and has made her an effective leader at the company's helm. Her leadership and success as CEO of the auto conglomerate have brought her accolades, such as being included in Forbes' most powerful women rankings for several consecutive years.
The road for women in business can be long and one that is often paved with difficult obstacles to overcome. But these women-led companies are exceptional examples of the effect women in powerful positions can have on companies of every size in every industry. Surrounding yourself with advocates for women in business and for women entrepreneurs is the best way to build yourself a supportive network to help you achieve all the goals you have for yourself and your business.
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