These days there are countless examples of powerful and successful women of all ages who have overcome the odds in their lives and gone on to enjoy great achievements. These are women who challenge, inspire and influence others. Here are just ten of the young power women in the US who have made it onto the annual Forbes’ List of the 100 Most Powerful Women. For those of us who may never see our names on this list, let us take courage and know that wherever we are, we too can make a positive difference in our families, in our marriages and in our communities.
1. Elizabeth Holmes
At the tender age of 30, Elizabeth Holmes is the youngest woman in the world to become a billionaire through her own enterprise called Theranos which is a blood testing diagnostic company. Her fortune is now estimated at well over $4 billion. This comes after many years of hard work and facing challenges including the controversies regarding the blood collection practices of Theranos. Elizabeth founded Theranos when she was only 19 years old, with the vision of providing more affordable diagnostic tests.
2. Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift is even younger than Elizabeth Holmes, and at only 26 years old she already has a proven track record as an entertainer and philanthropist. She is undoubtedly a household name who has won hearts the world over through her honest and heart warming music. But despite her incredible fame, Taylor remains sensitive, caring and compassionate to her friends and fans alike. She is well known and appreciated for her prolific contributions via social media, openly sharing her life with others.
3. Shakira Mebarak
Another truly beautiful global superstar is Shakira Mebarak. She has been in the music business since the age of 13, and now at 39 she is well established as both a singer and a philanthropist. She founded the Barefoot Foundation which focuses on building schools and providing early education systems. Shakira was recognised by President Obama in 2011 when he appointed her to the Advisory Commission for Educational Excellence for Hispanics.
4. Marissa Mayer
Marissa Mayer’s 40th year saw her as the CEO of Yahoo, earning one of the highest pay-checks in the country. After spending 13 years of excellent work with Google, she is now applying all her skills to improving Yahoo. When Marissa stepped into this position in 2012, it was a particularly difficult period for Yahoo. Through her skilled eye for detail, dedicated work ethic, astute business acumen and impressive know-how as a computer scientist, Marissa Mayer has been able to turn the tide. In an interview in 2008, Marissa was heard to say, “I helped build Google, but I don’t like to rest on my laurels. I think the most interesting thing is what happens next.”
5. Sheryl Sandberg
Another power woman who spent time as a Google executive is Sheryl Sandberg. She is now the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook and is also the bestselling author of her book called “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead”. More than a million copies have sold, showing that Sheryl has struck a resonating chord with women worldwide. Lean In is also the name of the non-profit organisation which Sheryl founded to support empowerment groups for women in the workplace.
6. Amy Hood
Amy Hood has been with Microsoft since 2002. Then she became the company’s first female Chief Financial Officer in 2013 where she is now responsible for Microsoft’s multi-billion revenue stream. With Amy’s oversight, substantial growth has occurred, especially in the development of cloud services. If you or your kids enjoy the video game Minecraft, then spare a thankful thought for Amy Hood who presided over Microsoft’s acquisition of this mega-hit.
7. Susan Wojcicki
As the current CEO of YouTube, Susan Wojcicki is way up on the list of power women. This video platform influences literally thousands and millions of people every day. Susan’s aim is to support YouTube celebrities and media companies, helping them to make the most of this platform. Susan is a dynamic mother of five and is well known for speaking out on finding a balance between family and career.
8. Adena Friedman
Forty-six year old Adena Friedman serves as co-president of global corporate and information technology solutions at Nasdaq. Since her internship at Nasdaq in 1993 she has indeed come a long way. Adena spent a few years as Chief Financial Officer of The Carlyle Group before returning to Nasdaq as president. As part of her aim to pass on what she has learned and to mentor others, Adena shares and blogs regularly on leadership and career issues.
9. Tory Burch
From finance to fashion is where we have our next young power woman: Tory Burch. She is the CEO of her own company which bears her name: Tory Burch LLC. This over $3 billion retail empire offers not only clothing, but also accessories, handbags, jewellery, shoes and eyewear. Tory uses her success to help others through the Tory Burch Foundation which is aimed at empowering women in America by providing entrepreneurial education and giving small business loans.
10. Angelina Jolie
Finally, no list of currently influential young women would be complete without Angelina Jolie. As one of Hollywood’s most powerful women, Angelina is well renowned both on and off the screen. Besides acting she also writes and directs. When it comes to activism, Angelina is not afraid to make her voice heard on behalf of the suffering and oppressed, and she is a special envoy for the United Nations on refugee issues.
This Women’s Day, celebrate these beautiful women and seek what you can learn from them to make a difference in your life and others.