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Claire Newton

Claire Newton

The Top 5 Businesswomen
In The World Today

There’s never been a better time for women from all backgrounds to get involved in almost any business you can imagine. From innovative startups to megalithic corporations, women all over the map are starting out, moving forward, and breaking glass ceilings. Long may it continue!

Today, we celebrate five women from very different backgrounds who are triumphing in their chosen business or career. It’s almost impossible to pick the top businesswomen in the world (could any two people even agree?), but these ladies are excellent examples of what’s possible when you believe in your talents and have the self-possession to continue your journey, even when times are tough. Looking for some inspiration? These women have it in spades: read on!

Graphic Design - Jing Zhang

As digital domination hurtles towards business at a furious rate, competition in the area of graphic design has skyrocketed. Whereas the graphic design of old was limited to printed media and product packages, today you’re likely to see visual media almost everywhere you look. In such a competitive environment, it’s hard to survive and even harder to shine. One woman who has managed to do both is graphic designer Jing Zhang. Chinese-born and living in England, she is a designer of reference when it comes to infographics, one of the most popular ways of imparting complex information on the internet.

Zhang’s designs have been commissioned by HPE, Slack, and Nintendo, and if you’ve ever seen one of her works, you’re unlikely to forget it – her style is colorful, creative, and informative, and makes instructions and explanations a whole lot more fun. She has also commented that she’s not the kind of person who likes to get her hands dirty and much prefers sitting in front of her iMac. That’s a breath of fresh air for other digital would-bes, as she shows that fighting from the stockroom to the boardroom is not the only path to success!

Programming - Charity Majors

Charity Majors, CEO and co-founder of Honeycomb.io, is often described as a “colorful” character. Not only is she literally colorful (her hair is a rainbow of purples and blues), but she’s also known to have a devil-may-care attitude to conventionality – and isn’t afraid of expressing it in colorful terms. You can get more of an insight into her views and words over at her supremely minimal website.

Majors stands out as someone who has thrived in a world that is not always friendly to females. Instead, she has held on, moved forward, and continued to set a pace in the world of development – despite the bad vibes. Her company, Honeycomb.io, builds a tool for production systems and, when she’s not doing that, she’s pushing new ideas and processes in the areas of deployment, observability, testing & development culture.

Art - Jenny Saville

British painter Jenny Saville wins a place in our top 5 as she has the honor of being the most expensive living female artist in the world. In 2018, she sold a selection of her paintings for a staggering £67.3 million. She’s managed to rise to success in a world that’s increasingly dominated by unrealistic, optimized images, often on tiny screens. In contrast, her paintings depict highly realistic physical beings and are sometimes many meters high.

Saville’s topic matter is also worth mentioning – one of her favorite subjects is the female body. She is classically trained and has been compared to Ruben, but her paintings offer an unflinchingly modern view of the human body and provide ample material for the academic discussion of the female perspective. For Saville, she has managed to take a classical approach to tackle a very modern talking point, and for that, she makes our list.

Traditional Business - Robyn Denholm

Robyn Denholm is an Australian businesswoman who succeeded Elon Musk as chairman of Tesla in November 2018. She merits a place in our top five as not only has she stepped up to captain one of the biggest, most interesting automotive companies in the world, but she has also taken over from a hugely charismatic and controversial leader whose presence was not universally considered a positive.

Many other businesswomen have clearly demonstrated that merely being a business leader and a woman is no longer something of note. In fact, the automotive industry, a sector traditionally thought of as very “male”, has recently seen an influx of female leaders. Mary Barra (General Motors), Ginger Butz (Caterpillar), and Pamela Fletcher (General Motors) are just some of the women who have set the stage. Now it’s Denholm’s chance to shine. Can she lead Tesla to greatness and rescue it from recent controversy? The company certainly seems to have the potential, and it’s now in her hands to show the world.

Self-Starter - Sara Blakley

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Mentioning Sara Blakley in an article celebrating businesswomen isn’t exactly a game-changer. The founder of Spanx has been championed as a pioneer of female-led startups for a while now, and obviously has a great social media manager, as she appears in blogs, podcasts, and interviews on a very regular basis. Spanx, if you’re not familiar with the brand, is a type of figure-shaping underwear developed for wearing with more modern clothing silhouettes and outfits.

What’s interesting about Blakely’s story is that she literally created the multi-million dollar brand from nothing, with zero knowledge of clothes-making or production. Once she had the prototypes (which didn’t come easily), she pounded pavements until someone agreed to sell her new product. That someone was an employee of Neiman Markus and the rest, as they say, is history. If you’ve ever needed a good female startup story or a dose of motivation, Spanx is the place to start.

Summing It All Up

Mentioning Sara Blakley in an article celebrating businesswomen isn’t exactly a game-changer. The founder of Spanx has been championed as a pioneer of female-led startups for a while now, and obviously has a great social media manager, as she appears in blogs, podcasts, and interviews on a very regular basis. Spanx, if you’re not familiar with the brand, is a type of figure-shaping underwear developed for wearing with more modern clothing silhouettes and outfits.

What’s interesting about Blakely’s story is that she literally created the multi-million dollar brand from nothing, with zero knowledge of clothes-making or production. Once she had the prototypes (which didn’t come easily), she pounded pavements until someone agreed to sell her new product. That someone was an employee of Neiman Markus and the rest, as they say, is history. If you’ve ever needed a good female startup story or a dose of motivation, Spanx is the place to start.

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