Being a business woman can be extremely stressful. Women in the business world don’t only have to deal with the high demands of a corporate job, but they also have to fight for their place in the business world, which, if we are being realistic, is always perceived as a man’s world.
Even if a man and a woman have the same position, the woman still has to work harder to keep up with the man because she is seen as the weak link. She has to have a strong will and positive thoughts about herself in order to stay on track. In addition to having to fight for her righteous place, and having to prove herself over and over again, the woman has to fight for equal pay, as well. Even in this day and age, this is still the harsh reality of it all.
Fortunately, the world is not so bleak for all women. Some women in the business world have succeeded and have proven their right to be where they are by hard work and expertise. Rightfully so, they deserved to be acknowledged and put on not one, but many lists similar to this. Therefore, without further ado, here are our picks for the most powerful women in business, in 2015:
1. Indra Nooyi - Chairwoman and CEO of PepsiCo
Since coming to PepsiCo, Indra Nooyi has made huge progress. She started in 1994, and in a short period of time, she was named the president and CFO. Her skills and knowledge got her the title of CEO in 2007. Other than that, she managed to raise Pepsi’s market value so much that it passed Coca Cola’s for the first time in many years.
In April 2015, Pepsi signed a contract deal with NBA, taking the sponsorship title form Coca Cola. Other than their drink, other brands are included in the deal, such as Lay’s, Lipton, and Doritos. This move has made Pepsi the King of Basketball drinks and will bring huge profit to the company.
2. Mary Barra - CEO, General Motors
Despite many ups and downs, during her time in General Motors, the first woman in charge of a major automaker, Mary Barra, has managed to stand tall in the face of many accusations and troubles that have plagued the company, including the infamous 2014 ignition-switch recall.
Another one of her great successes involves improving the financial state of the company because of the soaring sales of SUVs and the risky decision to pull out of Russia, Australia and Indonesia.
3. Sheryl Sandberg - COO, Facebook
Since coming to Facebook in 2008, Sheryl has been fulfilling her goals one after another. Not only did she make the company go public, and expand globally, but she has also enabled it to become a mobile advertising giant. Additionally, she plans on attracting more advertisers on Instagram which is now in the ownership of Facebook, and boasts 300 million users.
Moreover, she is also a bestselling author. Her book “Lean in” has been translated to more than 20 languages worldwide. What’s more, it has developed into the “Lean in together” program that strides towards gender equality. One of the first projects is a collaboration between the NBA and WNBA, which promotes equality.
4. Ursula Burns - Chairwoman and CEO, Xerox
Coming to Xerox as a summer intern in 1980, Burns has made her career here, managing to become the CEO in 2009, which made her the first-ever African-American woman to do so in the company. During just a few years as the CEO, she has turned the company’s focus from hardware to software-oriented products. Some of her acquisitions include Invoco Holding, based in Germany, Affiliated Computer Services and CPAS Systems.
Besides being the CEO, Burns provides counsel to several community, educational and non-profit organizations such as MIT, the US Olympic Committee, and FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology).
And, last but not the least, President Barack Obama has appointed her as the chair of the President’s Export Council in 2015.
5. Ginni Rometty - CEO, IBM
Even though the company hasn’t seen a major revenue increase in the past 13 quarters, and 2014 was the year when the company had a 6 percent revenue slide, Ginni Rometty still stands as the CEO, expanding the business side of IBM. She has shifted the focus of the company to cloud computing and analytics, as well as Watson’s artificial intelligence technology.
Rometty is the first woman ever at the helm of IBM. She took the position of the CEO in 2012, after being an employee of IBM since 1981.
6. Meg Whitman - CEO, Hewlett-Packard
Whitman will have the most difficult job of splitting Hewlett-Packard into two companies: HP International and HP Enterprise. The companies will be dealing with PC and printer products, and hardware, software and services, respectively. Whitman will lead HP Enterprise, and Dion Weisler will lead HP International. It’s a move that will make history.
Her work history, before becoming the head of HP in 2011, includes Walt Disney Co, DreamWorks, Hasbro and being the CEO of eBay for a decade. Her biggest challenge will definitely be the split of HP and keeping up with its largest rival - Lenovo. It surely will be a bumpy ride to more success.
7. Phebe Novakovic - Chairwoman and CEO, General Dynamics
Former CIA Intelligence Officer, Novakovic has been with General Dynamics since 2001, taking the chairwoman position in 2013. Her efforts and hard work earned the company $2.5 billion in 2014. Moreover, under her rule, the company’s aerospace business skyrocketed when they launched their Gulfstream jet which has seen more and more orders since its launch.
Since she stepped on the podium as the CEO, Novakovic has seen nothing but success and improvement. She has been bringing big money to the company and keeps on doing so. On top of that, another thing that helps is General Dynamics’ largest customer – the U.S. government.
8. Irene Rosenfeld - Chairwoman and CEO, Mondelez International
After being pressured to split Kraft, her previous company, in two, Rosenfeld took over Mondelez, an international snack maker. Some of their products include Oreos, Trident and Ritz. The company is making plans to merge with the European coffee maker, D.E. Master Blenders, and spend $190 million to build a chocolate factory in India.
Rosenfeld is eagerly trying to cut costs of ingredients, even though she upped the prices of the company’s products because of the high cost of key ingredients, like coffee and cocoa.
Even though she had a wish to be a politician and maybe one day a U.S. president, being in business hasn’t been so bad for her, since she has become one of the most powerful and highest paid women in the world.
9. Ellen Kullman - Chairwoman and CEO, DuPont
After stepping up as the company’s CEO in 2009, the profits of the company have doubled if not tripled. One of her main ideas is to make huge profits from sales in developing markets. Kullman’s plans for the company included turning it more towards agriculture and nutrition and away from chemicals.
She successfully shut down the attempted breaking apart of the company by Nelson Peltz. He wanted to break up the company and make a new board that would consist of the people he suggested. Kellman disagreed with that plan, and with votes of support from the rest of the investors, she stopped Peltz.
10. Marillyn Hewson - CEO and President, Lockheed Martin
Since becoming the person in charge at Lockheed Martin, Hewson has doubled the company’s profits. In addition to this, she has also improved the production of F-35 jet fighters and announced the buying of Sikorsky Aircraft, which is known for the production of Black Hawk helicopters.
Not only are her profits in the US something to be envious of, but the international profits are incredible, too. Besides expanding into a military-related business, Hewson has also expanded into cybersecurity.
To sum it all up, there are many women in business, but not all of them get to be Presidents and CEOs of companies. Those who are lucky to be in charge and have the power to change things should be awarded for their work. They should get more recognition from their peers and the world.
What can definitely be concluded is the fact that being a business woman is not a piece of cake.