Forbes has released a list of the twelve women to watch over the coming year.
Every year, new creative visionaries and entrepreneurs emerge on the scene. Whilst they have not yet reached the ranks of the most powerful women, they have still made a huge impact and these women are honoured in this list.
Last year Sarah Blakely made her mark by finding herself on the prestigious Forbes World billionaire list. The outright owner of Spanx, the female shape-wear company, Blakely turned her £3,000 investment into the hugely successful company that brings in around £150 million in revenue. She has just released a line of shape-wear for men and takes on charitable causes, with her foundation supporting charities such as Dress for Success and Habitat for Humanity.
Also on the list is Lena Dunham who shot to fame thanks to her hilarious HBO comedy Girls. In 2010 she wrote, directed and starred in her own film, Tiny Furniture but it is Girls that she has become known for. The show has been a massive critical and commercial success and she has received five Emmy nominations for her creative, writing, directorial and acting work on the series.
Next on the list is the actress who is taking the world by storm. Jessica Lawrence has had leading roles in X-Men and Hunger Games and in 2011 was nominated for an Academy Award for her role in Winter’s Bones. She’s set to make over £6 million in the sequel to Hunger Games and is well on her way to becoming one of the best paid actresses of the coming year.
Another star on the list is Robin Roberts of ABC’s show Good Morning America. She is co-host of the show which beat ratings for NBC’s Today Show for the first time in 2012. In May she landed a landmark interview with Barack Obama, in which he declared his support for gay marriage and she has been heralded the ‘heart and soul of ABC News’.
Other entrepreneurs on the list include Caterina Fake, the serial entrepreneur who co-founded Flickr in 2002 and Olivia Lum, founder, President and CEO of Hyflux, one of the world’s leading desalination operations and Bethlehem Tilahun Alemum, founder of soleRebels, the fair-trade, locally produced footwear company, using Ethiopian craft practices, which brings revenues of over £600,000 to the West African nation.
The list also names other business gurus at the top of their game including, Maelle Gavet, CEO of the e-commerce giant Ozon, whose £190 million revenues were double the previous year when she was not CEO and Gwynne Shotwell, the President of SpaceX, the private space exploration company.
Unlike Forbes’ list of the most powerful women, government officials do not reign, with only two featuring. The first is Nikki Haley, the first female Governor of South Carolina who spoke at the 2012 Republican National Convention, sparking rumours that she is being prepared for higher office. The second is Kamala Harris, the Californian Attorney General, who had great success in July when California State Legislature passed the Homeowner Bill of Rights, protecting those left vulnerable by the collapse of the housing market. She had been incredibly vocal about her views that the housing bust was criminal and deplorable.
The final woman on the list is also the one British woman to feature. Kate Middleton, the pregnant Duchess of Cambridge, is internationally loved and is said to have rejuvenated the public image of the British royals. Her marriage to Prince William is said to have boosted the number of international travellers visiting the U.K. and made 2011 the most profitable year for the family since their charitable trust was created in 1993.
Copyright Speakers Corner 2016