Last Wednesday, FORBES published its annual list of the world’s 100 most powerful women, the biggest decision makers and influencers of women across business, fashion, entertainment, public policy and more. Even though there were only 12 women of color, let’s celebrate those women whose impacts are felt across the globe and who stand as strong examples of all we should aspire to be.
1. Michelle Obama, First Lady of the USA
With her fight against childhood obesity, her classy and chic sense of fashion and her personal mission to increase the number of disadvantaged students who go on to college, Michelle is one of the most active (figuratively and literally…her arms give Angela Basset’s a run for their money), dedicated and involved First Lady’s this country has ever seen.
2. Oprah Winfrey, Media Mogul, USA
At 60 years of age, Oprah is the world’s only female black billionaire, with a net worth of $3 billion. Between her nationally syndicated and unrivaled talk show which lasted 25 years, her very OWN cable network, her extensive work in creating an excellent educational system in many parts of Africa and her ability give away cars to a full studio audience of shrieking women, Oprah is IT.
3. Ursula Burns, CEO of Xerox, USA
Ursula overcame seemingly insurmountable obstacles, including being born to a single mother in a severely impoverished neighborhood, to graduate with a Master’s Degree from Columbia University in 1981. After joining Xerox soon after and has been with the company since, becoming the CEO in 2009 and joining the ranks that very few women ever see in the business community.
4. Rosalind Brewer, President and CEO, Sam’s Club, USA
After an illustrious 22 year stint at Kimberly-Clark, Brewer joined Sam’s Club as CEO in 2012, becoming the first black woman to head a Wal Mart subsidiary. At Sam’s, she oversees 11,000 employees and $56 billion in revenues.
5. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, President, Liberia
Africa’s first female head of state spends her time working to greatly increase foreign aid to her impoverished country (64% of the country lives below the poverty line). Her 2011 Nobel Peace Prize for promoting Liberian reconciliation is a testament to her commitment to improve the dire standards of her nation.