Sheryl Sandberg’s Inspirational 2010 TED Talk

Sheryl Sandberg is not only a powerful tech executive, the COO of Facebook, Inc., but also one of the leading activists within the industry fighting for women’s rightful place in the executive room. Below is Sandberg’s powerful, inspirational and thoughtful TED talk from 2010.

It is important to note that Sandberg is cautious in her speech about women in the workforce, making it known that it is ultimately up to the women themselves if and how they are to remain in the workforce. This is an important factor to consider, and Sandberg knows that very well.

Safra Catz: Tech & Business Leader

Safra Catz
Safra Catz, Co-CEO of Oracle Corporation

The tech industry has offered tremendous opportunities for women in business, although strives still need to be made. However, there are some gleaming examples of highly talented and respected women who have made it to the top, paving the way for others to do so as well.

Safra Catz is one of those women. As of 2014, Safra Catz has been the co-CEO of Oracle Corporation, a California based global tech giant with billions in revenue. Catz, who has been with Oracle for over 16 years, is one of Oracle founder Larry Ellison’s closest confidant. Apart from being Co-CEO with another Oracle Corporation star, Mark Hurd, Safra Catz is also Oracle’s Chief Financial Officer.

Safra Catz was born in Israel to Jewish parents and moved to the United States at the age of six. She went on to study at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where she obtain a bachelor’s and completed her J.D. at the University of Pennsylvania School of Law and Harvard Law School. She began her career within finance as an investment banker but joined Oracle Corporation in 1999.

Currently, Safra Catz is considered among the most powerful women within the tech industry and in business as a whole. Oracle, despite the tendency for older tech companies to fall behind, has been holding steady and strong with many of its great fiscal years having been under Catz’s leadership.

Check out the video below of a short segment from Bloomberg following Safra Catz’s rise to co-CEO of Oracle Corporation. As the speakers point out, Safra Catz may very well be the most powerful woman in the history of business:

3 Of The Most Influential Women This Century

A recent article from Time Magazine highlighted some of the most influential women leaders from the past hundred years and the list is chock full of notable names. Let’s take a look at what some powerful and brave women have done to earn a place in the history books. It is safe to say without the list of women below, the world would not be the place it is today.

Jane Addams (1860-1935)

The first ever woman Nobel Prize recipient, Jane pioneered the thought of community houses in 19th century Chicago. Her Hull House was home to community groups, kindergarten, a gym, coffee house, and site of night classes for adults. It was also home to about 25 women in the community and saw about 2,000 people walk through its doors every week. Her influence gained her positions on state and community boards focused on improving sanitation, food safety and midwifery.

Julia Child (1912-2004)Unknown

Co-author of the infamous 3lb cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and focal point of the public TV show The French Chef, Julia expanded the pallet of Americans one dish at a time. She perfected her French cooking while at culinary school in France at Le Cordon Bleu. She almost single handedly changed the nation’s inkling toward fine food from meatloaf to frogs legs.

Estée Lauder (1908-2004)

A native of Queens, New York, Lauder was strongly influenced by her uncle who was a chemist and facilitator of her passion for beauty products. From this young age her interest and expertise grew until 1946 when Lauder and her Husband founded what we know today as the Estée Lauder Co. With just four products, she relentlessly sold her offerings by performing free demonstrations at beauty salons and on 5th ave in Manhattan. After 40 years of selling her products and growing her company to be a name brand in the beauty industry, she insisted on being at every new counter or store launch. Her legacy lives on in the company that bears her name, and is run by her grandson.

To read the full list of 25, please click here.

Women in Leadership: Janet Yellen

Forbes named her the fourth most powerful woman of 2015, and the sixth most powerful person in 2014. She made history last year when she was appointed the first female Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve. Janet Yellen, Unknown-2economist, has a hefty, intimidating resume; after attending Brown and Yale, she taught at Harvard and UC Berkeley, served on the chair of economic advisors to President Bill Clinton, and served as president and vice president on both international and national economic associations, to name a few, before becoming Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve in 2010.

The Glass Cliff

A term coined by British professors Michelle K. Ryan and Alex Haslam, it explores the idea that women should be wary when appointed leadership positions, because dangers lurk in high places. It’s been found that female business leaders are more likely to be given a powerful position when the organization they’re working for is in crisis or high-risk circumstances. So when Janet Yellen was appointed head of the Federal Reserve in 2014, she was, in a way, set up for failure based on the state of the economy. But just as she shattered the glass ceiling, she’s diligently chipping away at the cliff.

The Fed, structured by Congress, serves as an independent agency whose monetary-policy decision are specifically exempted from congressional audits. When Yellen took over Ben Bernanke’s position, it was soon after the central bank started to unwind its recession era bond buying program. Since, Yellen has had to make some tough decisions, allocating budget cuts and hiking interest rates, but recently received praise in March of this year when she was able to change guidance of the economy without scaring off investors.

Power and Responsibility

A single word from Yellen can send asset prices exactly where you wouldn’t want them to go, and while she’s known to come to head with President Obama and Congress with differing opinions, she sticks firm to her economic philosophies, as she is a Keynesian economist and believes in the modern version of the Phillips curve.

At 63 years old, the Brooklyn, NY native doesn’t show signs of slowing down anytime soon and is known to be almost unusually optimistic for holding such a stressful position.

To read the original article please click here.


Woman in Leadership: Indra Nooyi

Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi has built a career that many people are envious of. One of the most influential women leaders in today’s society, Indra credits much of her success to a tough love atmosphere growing up. Her mother, despite Nooyi’s position running a multi-billion dollar company, affectionately tells her to “leave that damned crown in the garage” when she goes home. Such an outlook on life contributes to some of the best career advice she has to give others.Unknown

Embrace Tough Assignments

The woman who ranked at the number 14 position in the 2014 Forbes World’s 100 most powerful women says that the path of least resistance doe not take you to the promised land for any career. Common practice says to take the easiest assignments, and excel at them. This will push you up the corporate ladder faster. Unfortunately for those who have been following this wisdom, the inverse is closer to the truth.

Management and bosses understand when a task is a difficult one, and take note of a good job done on such tasks. By challenging oneself to a more difficult problem, you not only stand out from the crowd, but train yourself for difficult tasks in the future.

It pays to be a contributor to an organization, not just a taker. In order to show those in charge you are worth your weight in gold, it is going to take some elbow grease.

Indra Nooyi has been named one of America’s Best Leaders by U.S. News & World Report in 2008 as well as being elected to the Fellowship of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She has ranked on Forbes 100 most Powerful Women in Business seven times, and Fortune’s 100 Most Powerful Women in Business five times.

To read the original article, please click here.


Woman Leader: Marissa Mayer and Yahoo!

March 8, 2015 marked this years International Women’s Day, a multi-national holiday since the early 20th century. Honoring the women who paved the way for women’s rights, we take a look at yet another woman who has made an impact on the business world by breaking through the glass ceiling. Marissa Mayer is the current sitting CEO of technology company Yahoo!. She has been at the helm of the company since 2012, attempting to reinvent the crippled structure of the business. Making her way from search engine and technology pioneering firm Google, Mayer held an executive, usability leader and spokesperson position for years prior to Yahoo!.

Since beginning her career, Mayer has an ambition that knows no limits. The 20th employee at now gigantic Google, she was not 121128_marissa_mayercomfortable in just building a radically new business and powerhouse. She found her next undertaking in Yahoo! and their struggling platform. Search and media has become out of touch for the once dominant site and she was enthusiastic about pulling this staple of the internet back up to its appropriate perch. She has pursued its reinvention by acquiring the likes of Tumblr, as well as employing high profile journalist, Katie Couric. Her constant vision for capturing the young target market has led her to place conduites on apps such as Snapchat where users can see the latest news from the desk of Katie Couric, for deeper insight viewers will visit the site. This type of cerebral marketing and broad spectrum touch points may prove to be what it takes to pull Yahoo! out of the dog house. While stock prices have not been too kind to the firm, her strategic mind is always planning the next move with a cool confidence that is enviable.

A mom and a CEO, Mayer has set the bar for how young women see women in business. She is breaking down barriers by showing her taste for fashion, innovative thinking, and caring for her child. The balance between all three is a sight to cherish, as young girls who know who Marissa Mayer is can envision what it will be like to run a bigtime Silicon Valley company and raise a family.

To read the original article, click here.


Oprah’s Road To Success

Everyone knows Oprah. No matter where you are in the world, everyone has heard of Oprah Winfrey in one way or another. Many of these people do not understand or know how Oprah came to be. Nothing was handed to her, it was hard work and determination that got her to where she is today.

Growing up, Oprah lived with her grandmother since her parents were only teenagers at the time. This lasted until she was the age of six, when her grandmother passed away and when she moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin with her mother. While with her mother, Oprah rebelled as she transitioned into a teenager. She acted just as any other teenager, running away from home, breaking her things to get newer things, and even getting pregnant at the age of fourteen, even though the baby sadly passed away at birth. With her mother being fed up with Oprah, sent her to Nashville, Tennessee to live with her father. This move was a turning point for Oprah as she found herself in Tennessee.Oprah_Thumbnail_3

When Oprah arrived to Nashville she found, unlike her mother, her father was very strict and made sure Oprah focused on school and going to college. This push by her father helped Oprah become an honor roll student, and help mold her into the social butterfly she is today. Her grades and outstanding ability to speak publicly earned Oprah a scholarship to Tennessee State University. At TSU, she blossomed in her communications program which landed her jobs on talk shows, radio shows locally and shortly after in Chicago.

Her success while working for a talk show in Chicago came quick. Before anyone knew what had hit them, the station changed the name of the show to the ‘Oprah Winfrey Show.’ She went on to own her own magazine, talk show and even book club. But her most impressive accomplishment was after she earned success.

Oprah always gives back to her communities and to the less fortunate who are going through the same struggles she had gone through. She built schools, programs, and donated money to various foundations. Her biggest accomplishment in her mind was when she started a school in Africa called the Oprah Leadership Academy. Her hopes are that the girl’s in the academy will become Africa’s and the worlds future. Oprah continues to help the less fortunate and ultimately hopes to see a change.

Leda Braga A Top Hedge Fund Manager

Hedge funds have long been run by a mostly male majority but to kick off the year 2015, we have seen one woman take over a very large firm. Leda Braga takes the reigns at Systematica Investments after she left her long time European firm, BlueCrest Capital Management. Braga will be managing $8.5 billion, a figure similar to what she managed at BlueCrest. This will make her the most influential female manager in charge of her own firm.Leda Braga | Lohra Miller

Systematica ranks among the top 100 hedge funds by assets. Well known funds are managing $18.3 billion (Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management), $16.5 billion, (Dan Loeb’s Third Point), $10 billion (Larry Robbins’ Glenview Capital Management). Systematica is a new company, a product of a BlueCrest spinoff.

Braga is a 48 year old Brazilian who has climbed the financial latter quickly using her elite business practices. A recipient of an engineering Ph.D. from Imperial College London, where she also lectured, Braga worked at JP Morgan Chase as an analyst on their derivatives research team. She joined the BlueCrest ranks in 2001 after a short tenure at Cygnifi Derivatives Services, and by 2004 she was managing the firms largest fund named, Bluetrend. BlueTrend manages futures of stocks, currencies, bonds, and commodities by looking for trends within each respective market.

Her qualifications for her new title comes from BlueTrend’s success and growth. It is now a sub $8 billion fund while averaging 11.2% net increase in fees over the 10 year span from 2004 to 2014. This beat the Absolute Return Managed Futures Index over the 10 year period, beating their 4.91% growth.

Her position as the top woman hedge fund manager marks her as a force to be reckoned with in the investment world. It will be a pleasure to watch Braga continue to succeed in her profession and prove there is no limits to what women can achieve.

To read the original article, click here.


Reframing Gender Issues in Corporations

gender balanced leadership
Companies with a gender-balanced leadership team are way ahead of those that are not.

Worldwide, sixty percent of university graduates are women.  In the United States, women under the age of thirty out earn their male counterparts.  As a result, forty percent of American households can label the woman as their main source of income; therefore, it is unsurprising that women are often the decision maker on purchasing consumer goods.  Despite all of these statistics, women remain underrepresented in senior level positions in corporate America, according to an article recently completed by the Harvard Business Review.

There is a decided split to be addressed—women’s potential on the one hand, and their relative absence from the highest levels of business on the other. As a result, it can be the easy approach to continue to insist that the process is unfair and unequal, that women are simply disregarded in the process of hiring for senior levels.  This can often lead to the assumption that women who don’t make it to the top must be doing something wrong.

The article offers a solution to this assumption and conflict0.  Instead of focusing on the issue as a lingering women’s problem or an issue of equality, choose instead to view the issue as a massive business opportunity.  Don’t fester on the problem; seek solutions instead, such as roadmaps to businesses that are better balanced, arguments that help companies and managers understand and benefit from shifting global gender balances.  As a result, the discussion will veer away from what is wrong with women who didn’t make it to the top to focus on analyzing what is right with companies and leaders that do build gender balanced leadership teams.

Focusing on these teams will draw attention to the healthy mode of competition that results to a properly gender balanced leadership team.  According to the article, gender balance delivers better and more sustainable performance.  Research shows that companies with more gender-balanced leadership teams out-perform those with less.  Essentially, seeking gender balance in leadership teams will put a company decades ahead of its competition; while skeptics will spend another decade resisting this fact, the best leaders will charge forward, armed with the information.


Powerful Women in Business Increasing

Sheryl Sandberg women in business
Sheryl Sandberg is one of many women to help increase the number of powerful women in business and leadership roles in America.

With every passing year, more women are emerging in the chief executive officer pull in the United States.  To celebrate women who have succeeded in becoming a powerful authority in business, Forbes recently completed its annual list of the twenty most powerful women in business.  Technology was a large theme for women succeeding in business.  Sheryl Sandberg has been COO of Facebook for four years.  Virginia Remetty was noted as the CEO of IBM, along with Ursula Burns of Xerox and Meg Whitman of Hewlett-Packer.  For Whitman and Burns, they both will face particular challenges over the coming years; Xerox is still searching for a means to reframe its business, and HP has been labeled as a struggling tech company.  But these aren’t the only tech-related CEOs to make the list.  Marissa Mayer, who was the twentieth employee of Google, shocked everyone in announcing hse would be leaving to become CEO of Yahoo.  Susan Wojcicki serves as Google’s SVP, declaring her as the womn behind all of the company’s ad products.  While not directly in the technology industry, Mary Barra earns her spot on the list working for General Motors; serving as SVP of Global Product Development, Barra is the highest-ranking woman within the company.

Entertainment is also a popular field for women to be successful.  Anne Sweeney is the first to make the list, serving as co-chair of the Disney Media Networks, as well as president of Disney’s ABC network.  Arianna Huffington made the list, as per usual, serving as the founder of her online newspaper—The Huffington Post, which just earned its first Pulitzer Prize in reporting.  Amy Pascal, Laura Lang and Sue Naegle are also authorities in the entertainment business.  Pascal serves as co-chair of Sony Pictures Entertainment, while Lang and Naegle serve as CEO of Time, Incorporated and President of Time Warner’s HBO Entertainment respectively.

Women who serve in companies related to food, fashion and beauty manage to toe the line between gender roles beautifully; these women are both powerful authorities in their businesses, while working with what society defines as strictly feminine fields.  India Nooyi serves as CEO and chair of PepsiCo and has impressively held the position since 2006.  Irene Rosenfeld has worked tirelessly as CEO of Kraft, putting together a corporate split that has drawn much attention.  Diane Von Forstenberg wields quite a bit power, serving as the president of the Council of Fashion Designers in America.  Along similar lines, Angela Ahrendts is CEO of Burberry, a leading accessories and luxury goods company.  Finally, Sheri McCoy works in the beauty industry, serving as CEO of Avon.