20 Mar She’s the Chief: Women CEOs
Twenty-one Fortune 500 companies are being lead by women. That number is down 4% from 2015 just proving that women leadership is a rare commodity in America’s top businesses.
For women of color the gap is even wider. According to Fortune, “Black women represent just 8% of the private sector workforce and a dismal 1.5% of senior leadership. Hispanic women represent about 6% of the workforce and 1.3% of leadership.” After the recent retirement Rosalind G. Brewer, former CEO of Sam’s Club, Inc. and the resignation of Ursula Burns, former CEO of Xerox leadership looks very grim for women of color.
However, women are taking the helm in founding their own entities and acquiring the top c-suite position in companies not yet qualified to be S&P 500. Like the Black women who were named the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs to the women taking leadership positions at startups and mid-size agencies. With great leadership capabilities and opportunities for growth, these women are on their way to shaking up Corporate America and their respective industries. With the help of my online community, I compiled a list of some women of color who are taking charge of some of America’s well-known brands, upcoming start-ups and homegrown businesses that you need to know:
Stacy Brown-Philpot, CEO of TaskRabbit
Stacy took on the role as Chief Executive Officer of the short-term freelance app just last year with her primary goal to “ build a strong culture around growth and improvement.” Due to her recent promotion, Stacy has been afforded opportunities that many Black women have yet to experience in Silicon Valley when she joined the board HP Inc. and now she’s the only woman of color to hold the CEO position in this tech-epicenter. Stacy told Marie Claire, “There are people who are better than me at things, and I don’t have to be the best. In order for me to be the best, I have to rely on other people and learn to ask for help”.
Lisa Su, CEO of Advanced Micro Devices
After taking on the role as CEO of Advanced Micro Devices, Lisa Su has turn things around at this California-based semiconductor company. According to Fortune, “The company recently reported a 23% jump in quarterly revenues, it posted a small profit, and the stock has more than quadrupled since Su took charge.” Lisa decided the company need to move away from PCs and focus on what the company was good at and that is game technology. She’s focused and innovative, foreseeing how the company can make an impact on virtual reality.
Myleik Teele, Founder & CEO of curlBOX
You might have seen her quotes posted throughout your Instagram and Twitter with the viral hashtag #MyTaughtMe. However, her social media daily motivation is only the icing to Myleik’s lifestyle empire. She is the CEO and founder of curlBOX, an exclusive monthly subscription box, but her lifestyle brand also includes a web series and podcast. “Her intense focus and drive to be her best is what I admire about Myleik,” Ijeoma shared. It’s only been 5 years since she launched curlBOX and #MyTaughtYou podcast, but her wealth of experience as an entrepreneur, publicist and CEO has garnered her a multi-million dollar business. She gives her consumers and followers access to advice and transparency on what life is like for this boss lady that many CEOs don’t offer.
Indra Nooyi, CEO, PepsiCo
Sitting in PepsiCo’s top position since 2006, Indra oversees a $150 million dollar company, but she’s never too far from her India roots. When she became CEO she realized that her success had much to do with her mother and late father. “They’d go to my mom and say, ‘You did such a good job with your daughter. Compliments to you. She’s CEO.’ But not a word to me,” she shared with CNBC. Since then, Nooyi spends time out of her schedule to write 400 personalized letters to the parents of her senior executive staff, thanking their parents for the “gift of their child to PepsiCo.” Her passion for people event prompted the CEO to address her PepsiCo family after the Presidential election by offering encouraging words and denouncing the negative comments about women at The New York Times’ DealBook conference.
Miko Branch, CEO, Miss Jessie’s
Miko operates the multi-million dollar natural hair care line, Miss Jessie’s, which she co-founded with her late sister, Titi. Miko and Titi built their business from their kitchen in Brooklyn to know having their line of products sold in Target’s nationwide. Despite the loss of her sister, Miko is still trucking on meeting her business goals, publishing a book and touring around the country to talk about entrepreneurship. “She really emphasizes about knowing your value and your worth, which is something that I held close to because I’m working on trying to start my own business,” shared Kiara. Miko has found the importance of happiness and enjoying life. She told The Root, “My business has surpassed anything I could imagine. [But] with the loss of my sister, I’m putting a value on life and the quality of life. There is more for me to do personally, more happiness to touch on. I’m figuring out ways to extend my life and be a happy and healthy human being.”
Karen Civil, CEO, Always Civil Enterprise
“I’ve actually heard her speak at NYU she has an amazing story on how she built her own brand. [Karen Civil] took what she knew (digital, social media) and put herself out there to help artists,” Shiesha Towler.
Karen Civil is the personification of the CEO that’s inside of each of us. She’s one of the pioneers for getting paid to be yourself. Karen used her passion for music, networking abilities and Internet savvy to build an online empire. She took a tool that we all have access to – the Internet and found a way to brand herself and grow a business from it. Her talents were noticed by some of the top names in Hip-Hop and consumer brands and most recently Senator Hillary Clinton who brought her on to help grow their online presence.
Morgan Debaun, CEO, Blavity
This woman has got grit and she’s determined to create informative Black-centric content as well as champion creatives who are looking to share their art with the world. She’s the youngest CEO on this list, but her candidness and sincerity about the obstacles she navigates while trying to build Blavity is inspiring. Her recent win of $1 million in seed funding, proves that the grind never stops.
Also published on Medium.