10 Powerful Women Leaders (in Every Industry)

By Gary S | Strong Female Leaders

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10 Powerful Women Leaders (in Every Industry)
History is replete with women who have established themselves as great leaders. Rising to a position of power, some have influenced global politics or contributed to global health. Others have led Fortune 500 companies and fought for social justice. Today is no different: many powerful women leaders are using their influence to make the world a better place. Here are 10 of them:

1. Michelle Obama (politics)
Michelle Obama is probably best known as the wife of Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States. However, she is also a lawyer, writer and mother. She will go down in history as the first African American First Lady of the United States. Mrs. Obama is an advocate for higher education and for the education of international adolescent girls.

Obama grew up on Chicago's South Side as the daughter of Fraser and Marian Robinson. She is a graduate of Harvard Law School. She has served in many capacities, including Associate Dean of Student Services at the University of Chicago. Mrs. Obama inspires all of us to be a risk taker and to step outside of traditional boundaries.


2. Sheryl Sandberg (Technology)
Sheryl Sandberg is a best-selling author and the Chief Operating Officer at Facebook, a position that she has held since 2008. Under her leadership, the social media giant has risen from a company with more than $50 million in losses to one that recorded profits of more than $22 billion in 2018.

Sandberg earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Harvard and also attended Harvard Business School. She is the author of Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, which has sold more than a million copies. One thing we learn from Sandberg is that our expectations should be defined by our passions and talents and not by stereotypes.


3. Melinda Gates (non profit)
Melinda Gates is an American businesswoman and philanthropist. Along with her husband, Bill Gates, she cofounded the charitable Gates Foundation. After joining Microsoft in 1987, she rose to become its general manager of information products. She married Bill Gates in 1994 and left Microsoft in 1996 to devote more time to her family and to concentrate on her charitable work.

One of the initiatives taken on by Mrs. Gates is global health. This initiative is designed to solve health problems around the world and develop vaccines for such diseases as malaria and tuberculosis. One thing we can learn from Melinda Gates is the benefit of collaboration, which has allowed the Gates Foundation to accomplish much more than it could have on its own.


4. Gail King (journalism)
Gayle King is co-anchor of the daily television show CBS This Morning. She is also an editor for O, The Oprah Magazine. King has been honored by Time Magazine as one of the most influential people of 2019. King earned a double degree in sociology and psychology from the University of Maryland in 1976.

King previously worked as a reporter, weekend anchor and news anchor. In 1997, she had her own syndicated talk show. However, it was cancelled because of its low ratings. This is one of the admirable things about Gayle King. Even when things don’t work out the way that she wanted them to, she continues to persevere.



5. Oprah Winfrey (media communication)
Oprah Winfrey ranks near the top when it comes to strong female leaders. She is an actress, television producer, media executive and philanthropist. However, she is best known for The Oprah Winfrey Show, a syndicated talk show that aired from 1986 to 2011. Her show was the highest rated show of its kind in the history of television.

Winfrey was born in poverty but later became the richest African American of the 20th Century. She was also the first black multi-billionaire in North America. One thing that we can learn from Oprah Winfrey is that a person is defined by who they are and not by the conditions in which they were born.


6. Indra Nooyi (food and beverage)
Indra Nooyi served as CEO of PepsiCo from 2006 to 2018. She also served as chairman of the board from 2007 to 2019. Under her leadership, PepsiCo expanded aggressively on an international basis, which led to a $25 billion revenue increase from 2006 to 2017.

While at PepsiCo, Nooyi earned her place along the strong women leaders who are not afraid to address gender equality in the workplace. She also brought other issues to the forefront, ranging from overcoming oppression to breaking rules. One of the things that we could learn from Indra Nooyi is how to lead in a style that excites people to follow.


7. Janet Yellen (Finance)
Janet Yellen served as chair of the Federal Reserve Board from 2014 to 2018. She was nominated to that position by President Barack Obama, who called her one of the nation’s foremost economists. Yellen was the first democrat to serve in that position in almost 30 years.

Yellen was valedictorian of her high school class and went on to earn an economics degree from Brown University and a Ph.D. from Yale. One of the things that most people admire about Yellen is her ability to spot dangers that others are not able to see. She is also known for her good judgment.


8. Sonia Gandhi (Politician)
Sonia Gandhi previously served as president of the Indian National Congress. She became its leader in 1998, seven years after the assassination of her husband, Rajiv Gandhi. During her career, she received credit for several programs that promote human rights and the welfare of citizens.

Although Gandhi never held an official public office in the government of India, she was able to shape the country’s politics and is often described as one of the most powerful women leaders in the world. What we can learn from Gandhi is that a person does not have to be part of a political body in order to influence its decisions.


9. Christine Lagarde (banking)
Christine Lagarde has been named the next president of the European Central Bank. This will be the first time that a woman has led that powerful institution. Lagarde is presently serving as head of the International Monetary Fund and previously served as France’s finance minister. She has been ranked number three on Forbes’ list of strong women leaders.

Lagarde is a lawyer and not an economist, making her a somewhat unusual pick for the position. However, she has been credited with guiding Europe’s recovery following its sovereign debt crisis. What we can learn from Lagarde is that we should not let our education and previous experience prevent us from taking on new challenges.


10. Shonda Rhimes (Entertainment)
Christine Lagarde has been named the next president of the European Central Bank. This will be the first time that a woman has led that powerful institution. Lagarde is presently serving as head of the International Monetary Fund and previously served as France’s finance minister. She has been ranked number three on Forbes’ list of strong women leaders.

Lagarde is a lawyer and not an economist, making her a somewhat unusual pick for the position. However, she has been credited with guiding Europe’s recovery following its sovereign debt crisis. What we can learn from Lagarde is that we should not let our education and previous experience prevent us from taking on new challenges.


And why are we sharing with you?
Because we believe that each of you can be as extraordinary as the women above. Together, we can change the world.

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