Today there are far fewer women in management positions than there are men. In the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) women are not as well represented. To get more young women interested in the areas of STEM or in a high-performance role, we need to inspire them. Many women are confronting the bias that exists in the boardroom and winning. By sharing their story we can inspire future women to do the same. Here are some of the most inspirational business women we know. These three women are personal inspirations of mine and simply incredible people.
Alexa Van Tobel
Alexa Van Tobel is a smart and ambitious businesswoman. Time magazine recently wrote a piece about her and we can expect much more analysis on her career in the future. She was attending Harvard Business School when she came up with the idea for LearnVest. LearnVest is a personal finance website for women that helps readers understand how to manage their money. In 2009 Van Tobel dropped out of Harvard Business School to launch the business and run it full time. A bold move.
In 2015 Van Nobel sold the business for an estimated $250 million and had a child in the same year. In 2019 she launched a new venture fund company called Inspired Capital. Alexa is an inspiration to her all because of her ability to have both an incredible business and personal life. She has a creative and tactical mind that means she is able to create fantastic businesses and turn them into huge successes.
Emily Weiss is a personal hero of mine. In 2010 she was a fashion assistant at Vogue, which is a pretty great job. Fast forward ten years and Weiss has her own billion-dollar company. Weiss launched her own blog while working at Vogue and in doing research for her articles she learned everything she needed to know about the beauty market. She realized the market was built on the idea of telling women they needed to change, to be different, to use makeup as a lie. She wanted the makeup to tell a different story.
She launched her business Glossier in 2014 with just four items. The idea of these four products was to make women feel good about themselves. It clearly worked as the bran is worth around $1.2 billion today and is a noted tech unicorn. Emily is the founder and CEO.
Jennifer Hyman co-founded Rent the Runway in 2009. The company provides designer dresses and accessory rentals as an online service. For those who can’t afford to purchase incredible designer goods, they can still wear them regularly. By 2019 the company was valued at $1 billion.
Jennifer Hyman is incredible not only for her business mind, her ideas but for her humility. She has said on numerous occasions that she is lucky to be in the position she is in. She points out the huge opportunities that were afforded to her to allow her to start her business and knows that for many women there are not always so many open doors.
That is changing. The doors of the boardroom that were once shut are now opening more and more. Today only 6% of CEOs in the top 3,000 US companies are women but that figure is growing quickly. 10 years ago there were only 80 women in CEO positions and today that number is 167. That figure is changing, but not quickly enough. We need to do what we can to inspire the young women of today to be the leaders of tomorrow.