Who run the world? You know how the rest of that Beyoncé song goes. And it’s no surprise that there are some incredibly successful businesswomen in our society. It’s important to recognize the stories of boss women before you start building your empire. We found some for you.
Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx
Some of the best entrepreneurs don’t set out to launch an empire, just to solve their own problem. Sarah Blakely dressed well for her sales job, but she lived in Florida. She quickly found out that pantyhose and Florida humidity didn’t mix well. They were too hot, and she couldn’t wear open-toed shoes. She decided to make something that worked for her, but she couldn’t find a hosiery mill to make her design. Interesting note: They were all owned by men. Well, when she eventually was able to launch Spanx, she netted $4 million in the first year and $10 million in the second. By 2001, she had a deal with QVC. Time included her in the Top 100 Most Influential People, and Forbes featured her as the youngest self-made billionaire in the world. Take that, pantyhose.
Sheila Johnson, co-founder of BET Network
Another boss woman is Sheila Johnson, who was the first African-American woman to achieve a net worth of at least $1 billion. She founded BET network with her ex-husband. This “Ebony magazine for television” ran news, public affairs, educational programs and more with the main goal of empowering the Black community. The network had become so successful that she sold it to Viacom, CBS in 1999. But Johnson didn’t stop at her first venture. She’s pretty good at breaking barriers. She became the first African-American woman to be an owner or partner in three sports franchises: Washington’s Mystics, Wizards and Capitals. Like someone with a true entrepreneurial spirit, overcame obstacles and found a way to the top.
Mellody Hobson, president and co-CEO of Ariel Investments
Talk about starting from the bottom. How many interns do you think become CEOs? Well, here’s one: Mellody Hobson. After graduating from Princeton, she became an intern at Ariel Investments, one of the largest Black-owned management firms in the country. Fast forward through setbacks and frustrations and hurdles, and she became the president and co-CEO. But like Johnson, Hobson didn’t stay in her lane. She’s also a former chairwoman of DreamWorks Animation. And she serves on several boards, including the Sundance Institute, the Chicago Public Education Fund and the Lucas Museum of Narrative Arts. And yes, success attracts success because she married the creator of Star Wars, George Lucas. Power couple status.
Can you think of any more businesswomen who went way past the glass ceiling and built their own empire? Let us know in the comments!