I think we can all agree — 2020 has been a different kind of year.
Yet, many people have made the most out of this year. In particular, the people that Forbes listed as 2020s Most Powerful people of 2020.
However, as female business owners ourselves and in the name of celebrating October as National Women’s Small Business Month and women entrepreneurs/business leaders, we want to focus on Forbes list of the top 7 most powerful women leaders in 2020 and what we can learn from them.
It is important to note that Forbes analyzes a variety of components when they compiled this list, and although there are many successful women leaders listed on their original list we have only pulled the top 7.
1. Julie Sweet – CEO of Accenture
Julie Sweet is the CEO of Accenture, an information technology company that is dedicated to the idea of making life easier and more accessible to everyone. In particular, Accenture is a company that stores your information in the cloud.
Julie Sweets is a passionate women leader. In particular, Sweet is passionate about leading Accenture’s mission so much that she states that, “Across the globe, one thing is universally true of the people of Accenture: We care deeply about what we do and the impact we have with our clients and communities. It is personal to all of us.”
We can all learn a lot from Julie Sweet, but a few things in particular that she speaks about with Forbes is that embracing inevitable shifts in history is crucial for advancement.
Some of the takeaways we can learn from Sweet’s interview with Forbes includes:
- Stop questioning the use of technology and start implementing it to better advance your business and productivity.
- Operate at faster speeds. Faster speeds are crucial for business development.
- Continue to move forward and look at accomplishing goals— in her case she speaks about continuing to move forward to achieve the opportunities of the UN Global Compact Sustainable Development Goals set to be completed in 2030.
2. Mary Barra – CEO of General Motors
Mary Barra is the first female CEO for General Motors. Various sources state that Barra worked her way up to CEO from a fender panel inspector as a teenager to now the first-ever female CEO for General Motors.
Barra not only is listed as one of the most powerful women of 2020 for her first female CEO of General Motors title, but she also was the primary leader in creating thousands of ventilators this year to save individuals who suffered from COVID-19 while still producing revolutionary vehicles that compete against other manufacturing competitors such as Tesla.
Some of the things we can learn from Barra include:
- Understand we’re all learning. Mary Barra states in her interview with Forbes that she met with her leadership team and admitted that she and her entire leadership team is learning at all times.
- Pay attention to behavior. Barra is a big believer in behavior and has stated, “how we behave everyday forms the culture.”
- Work hard. As a CEO that has worked their way to the top, Barra never would have gotten to where she is now if she stopped working hard.
3. Abigail Johnson — CEO of Fidelity Investments
Abigail Johnson is the CEO of Fidelity Investments, a large brokerage firm that, according to Forbes, has broken many financial records.
Johnson started leading Fidelity Investments after her father in 2014. As two-thirds of the people, she has hired in the previous year have been women and people of color (Forbes).
She is paving the way for women and people of color within the financial world.
Some of the things we can learn from Abigail Johnson include:
- Embrace change and stay innovative. Abigail understands the world continues to change and to successfully adapt to the world as it continues to change. Create new methods, understand the changing trends, and keep moving forward.
- Have passion. Abigail attributes the success of her family’s business, fidelity investments, to her grandfather and father’s passion for the industry.
- As a leader of a company, it’s important to interact with your company as a customer. Abigail has a team that manages a portfolio of investments for her through her company, and even though she knows a variety of other methods she wants to see how her team explains the company and helps other customers.
4. Gail Boudreaux — CEO of Anthem
Gail Boudreaux is the CEO of Anthem, an innovative health care company that is working on providing thoughtful and meaningful healthcare solutions. Before Gail Boudreaux dove into business, she was a NCAA Dartmouth College basketball player that went on to play professional basketball in France.
After Gail Boudreaux’s basketball career, she went into healthcare where she worked her way to where she is now.
Here are a few things we can learn from Boudreaux:
- “You can do anything as long as you’re open-minded” — Boudreaux says she learned this when she went to France to play basketball on an only French-speaking team and even in her professional health care career.
- Continuously think about the future — how can we get where we’re going and where can we improve? Boudreaux understands the evolution of the healthcare industry and the only way to continue to be successful is to keep moving forward.
- “Be authentic.” Boudreaux is constantly in front of Anthem. She spends a lot of time with employees that work with customers and customers themselves. She understands this is the way to help her “stay close to the business.”
5. Carol Tomé — CEO of UPS
Source: Getty Images
Carol Tomé is known for her long term employment with Home Depot; however, in August of THIS year (two months ago) she left retirement to lead UPS as their newest CEO.
She is working to elevate their business financially and socially and openly speaks about the unacceptable injustices the United States of America is currently experiencing.
Here are a few things we can learn from Carol Tomé:
- “Listen and engage.” Tomé states that “she doesn’t understand what it’s like to be discriminated against by the color of their skin but a lot of the UPS employees and customers do.” She believes that listening and engaging with others not only will you as an individual advance but it helps educate your business on matters you may not understand.
- “Use your value to drive solutions to change the world.” It really doesn’t get more explicit than that — thank you Carol.
- Impact people to do more. One of Tomé’s top goals for UPS is to increase the company financially — “get the stocks moving.” She understands that to successfully do this, you must work with people to operate at their highest potential.
6. Jane Fraser — CEO & President of Global Consumer Banking Citi
Source: News Yahoo
Jane Fraser the first-ever woman in banking to be named the CEO of a major U.S. bank. In fact, Forbes states Fraser is the first-ever female CEO on Wall Street — let’s think about this.
In 1792, Wall Street was born, and in those 228 years, there has never been a female leader on Wall Street.
You could say Fraser is the Willy Wonka of Wall Street — breaking the glass ceiling to accomplish the unthinkable and lead the dense testosterone saturated financial world to new heights.
Although Fraser hasn’t started her leadership as Citi’s CEO yet (she officially starts in February 2021), we understand she led the Latin American Citi location as their CEO for a number of years and is one of the most powerful financial leaders in the United States.
Here are some of the things we can learn from this powerful financial boss:
- Have balance. Fraser talks about the importance of maintaining a balance between a personal and professional life. She understands that sometimes different aspects of your life are more important than your career, but it is important to juggle between the two to grow as an overall individual.
- “Stop worrying about failing — do it anyway.” Fraser mentions how once upon a time she was a serial planner, and she wouldn’t take any position or opportunity that she wasn’t “100% prepared for.” She understands her ability to take a position that she wasn’t traditionally trained to elevate her as a human being and as a professional within her industry.
- “Stop being in a hurry.” Fraser iterates that she has always been in a hurry to get where she’s going. She says in an interview that the best piece of advice she ever got was to “slow down and enjoy the process” — you’ll get where you’re supposed to be going.
7. Ruth Porat — CFO of Google, Alphabet
Ruth Porat is the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Google Alphabet — the newest “parent” division of Google that will house everything Google owns and operates other than search. She powers and organizes finances for all things Google as well as the crisis management division for Google. Before Porat went to Google, she was a successful financial officer for the well-known bank — Morgan Stanley.
Here are a few things we can learn from Porat:
- “Collaboration helps create innovation,” Porat understands that people work better when they’re able to create together. Working together is crucial for creating new and meaningful innovations.
- Experience is everything. Porat states Google is very successful in business because of the community and experience they create within their work environment and “on campus.” If you can create a unique and caring experience you can increase productivity, happiness, and outcomes.
- Support your arguments and thoughts with data. Porat explains how throughout her career, she has learned that the majority of people engage with problems and proposed solutions when data is associated with your solution.
Final Point From The Top 7 Most Successful & Powerful Women of 2020
Forbes generates a powerful leadership list every year to showcase these monumental and inspirational people influencing and advancing our culture. Although there are many other women on this list we can learn from, if there are any other takeaways from these top 7 leaders, it’s that we should never stop learning to better ourselves, businesses, and one another.
At Mountain Air Marketing in Colorado Springs, we are proud to be a boutique agency led by powerful women that specializes in solving our clients’ problems and helping advance them to higher levels.
What are some of the business problems you’re facing, and do you believe they could be solved by getting in front of a larger audience?
Join us in working together to learn how to solve your business problems from some of these world-renowned female leaders.