LeadershipWomen’s Corner

TOP 10 POWER WOMEN OF 2020 (AS LISTED BY FORBES)

TOP 10 POWER WOMEN OF 2020 (AS LISTED BY FORBES)


Angela Merkel (Chancellor, Germany)

  • Merkel became the first female Chancellor of Germany in 2005 and is serving her fourth term.
  • In November 2018, Merkel stepped down as leader of the Christian Democratic Union and announced she wouldn’t seek another term as chancellor in 2021.
  • Merkel remains the de facto leader of Europe, leading the region’s largest economy after steering Germany through financial crisis and back to growth.
  • Her leadership is marked by her steely reserve, from standing up to Donald Trump to allowing more than a million Syrian refugees into Germany.
  • An October 2020 survey found 75% of adults in 14 European countries trust Merkel more than any other leader in the region.
  • The big question that the public is now asking is who and what will come after Merkel’s time in office comes to an end.

Christine Lagarde (President, European Central Bank)

  • Lagarde became the first woman to head the European Central Bank on November 1, 2019.
  • As head of European monetary policy, Lagarde faces a critical test: ensuring the coronavirus pandemic does not wreak further havoc on the Euro zone.
  • “I think 2021 will certainly be a difficult first half of the year,” she predicted in November 2020.
  • From 2011 until mid-2019, Lagarde ran the International Monetary Fund that works to ensure the stability of the global monetary system.
  • She was the first woman to hold that position.
  • On the 10-year anniversary of the 2008 bank collapse, Lagarde pointed to “groupthink” in the male-dominated industry and called for gender reform

Kamala Harris (Vice President-elect, United States)

  • On November 7, 2020, Harris became the first woman in American history elected to the vice presidency.
  • She’s no stranger to firsts: In 2016, Harris was the first Indian-American woman to be elected to the United States Senate.
  • And in 2010, Harris became the first African-American and first woman to serve as California’s attorney general.
  • Harris is a California native; she was born in Oakland to immigrant parents (her mom was from India and her dad was from Jamaica).
  • As a Howard University alumna, Harris will be the first graduate of a historically Black college or university to hold the vice presidency.

Ursula von der Leyen (President, European Commission, European Union)

  • Ursula von der Leyen was appointed president of the European Commission, the executive branch of the European Union, in July 2019.
  • She is the first woman to serve in the role, which is responsible for legislation affecting more than 700 million Europeans.
  • From 2005 until 2019, von der Leyen served in Angela Merkel’s cabinet–the longest tenure of any cabinet member.
  • For the last six years of her time in the cabinet, she was Germany’s defence minister.
  • In September 2020, in her first state of the union speech as commissioner, she spoke out against anti-LGBTQ policies in Poland.

Melinda Gates (Co-Chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation)

  • Gates maintains her position as the most powerful woman in philanthropy as co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
  • Founded in 2000, it’s the world’s largest private charitable foundation with a $40 billion trust endowment.
  • She’s increasingly visible in shaping foundation strategy, solving tough global challenges from education and poverty to contraception and sanitation.
  • As part of the foundation’s mission to help all people lead healthy, productive lives, she has devoted much of her work to women’s and girls’ rights.
  • In her next chapter, Gates’ mission is to close the funding gap for female founders, through her investment and incubation company, Pivotal Ventures.

Mary Barra (CEO, General Motors)

  • GM’s CEO since 2014, Barra is the first woman to lead one of the big three automakers in the U.S.
  • Barra has invested billions in electric vehicles, self-driving cars and a ride-share service called Maven.
  • In spring 2020, she shifted GM’s production lines to help Ventec Life Systems make critically-needed ventilators.
  • Having earned $21.6 million in 2019, Barra has the highest compensation of any leader of a Detroit Big Three automaker.
  • GM has consistently scored highly in gender equity reports; in 2018, it was one of only two global businesses that have no gender pay gap.

Nancy Pelosi (Speaker, House of Representatives, United States)

  • Nancy Pelosi is the 52nd Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.
  • The role makes her the highest-ranking elected woman in the country and the second-in-line for the presidency.
  • She started her third term as Speaker in 2019; she previously held the position from 2007 to 2011.
  • In 2019, she initiated the fourth-ever impeachment proceedings in U.S. history against President Donald Trump.
  • In 2013, she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame at a ceremony in Seneca Falls.

Ana Patricia Botín (Executive Chairman, Santander)

  • Botín became chair of the company in 2014, after the sudden death of her father, Emilio.
  • She pulled off a coup in 2017 when Banco Santander acquired failing Banco Popular (BP) for 1 euro to become Spain’s largest bank.
  • In the face of political unrest, she has championed fintech and focused on entrepreneurs, backing small enterprise and women-owned businesses.
  • She launched Santander X to support university entrepreneurship and helped create the country’s first multi-sector blockchain-based platform.
  • The bank’s $200 million InnoVentures private equity fund has seeded disruptors such as Digital Asset Holdings, Ripple and Kabbage.

Abigail Johnson (CEO, Fidelity Investments)

  • Abigail Johnson has served as CEO of Fidelity Investments since 2014 when she took over for her father and has been chairman since 2016.
  • Her grandfather, Edward Johnson II, founded the Boston-based mutual fund giant in 1946.
  • She owns an estimated 24.5% stake of the firm, which has nearly $2.9 trillion in managed assets.
  • Johnson has embraced cryptocurrencies and, in 2018, Fidelity launched a platform that allows institutional investors to trade bitcoin and ether.
  • She worked summers at Fidelity through college and joined full-time as an analyst in 1988 after receiving a Harvard M.B.A.

Gail Boudreaux (President and CEO, Anthem)

  • Boudreaux was named CEO of Anthem in 2017. She was previously CEO of UnitedHealthcare, the largest division within UnitedHealth Group.
  • It’s one of the nation’s largest health insurers and has completed acquisitions of America’s 1st Choice, HealthSun and Aspire Health.
  • The Anthem Foundation Awards announced over $53 million in grants to address critical health issues facing Americans.
  • With her industry experience, she has earned plaudits from peers and Wall Street alike; in the first two years of her tenure, the stock popped 20%.
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