6 Companies You Didn’t Know Have Female CEOs

Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Tim Cook — these are names of CEOs that are commonly heard on the news that are synonymous with power and prominence, but they are all men. In fact, Forbes’ list of the top ten most powerful CEOs of 2018 were all men. It can be easy to feel like corporate America is a boy’s club, and with the 2018 Fortune 500 list having only 24 companies with female CEOs, you’re not entirely wrong. The number of female chief executive officers spiked in 2017 with 32 of the Fortune 500 CEOs being women; however, that number has started to decline. This is just all the more reason to champion our current female leaders for the hard work and fight they have put up to get (and stay) where they are, especially since female CEOs are 45% more likely to be fired than their male counterparts. Without further ado, let's give it up for the women who are killing the game and running some of the biggest companies in the country.  


1. Adena Friedman - Nasdaq, Inc.

Located in NYC, the Nasdaq Stock Market is the second largest stock exchange in the world (behind the NYSE). Adena became the President and CEO in 2017 and is currently a member on the Board of Directors. Her 20+ years of experience in the industry has shaped Nasdaq’s strategy and brought operations to new frontiers. Adena graduated from Williams College and later the Vanderbilt University Owen Graduate School of Management.


2. Mary T. Barra - General Motors Company (GM)

GM is a leading automobile manufacturing corporation responsible for brands such as Chevrolet, GMC, and Cadillac. Mary has been the CEO of GM since 2014 and Chairman of the Board of Directors since 2016. Approaching 40 years with GM, Mary started out as a co-op student while in college at Kettering University and worked her way up. She now leads the company with the mindset of putting the customer at the center of all company operations. 


3. Marillyn A. Hewson - Lockheed Martin Corporation

Lockheed Martin is an aerospace and defense technology company that has averaged 51 billion dollars of revenue annually in recent years. Marillyn was appointed as CEO back in 2013 after starting out as an industrial engineer with the company 35 years ago. She attended the University of Alabama and went on to graduate from Harvard Business School and the Columbia Business School. 


4. Virginia M. Rometty - International Business Machines (IBM) Corporation

IBM is a huge American computer hardware/information technology company. Virginia (Ginni) became CEO in January of 2012 after being with the company since 1981 and has since led the company into emerging tech eras such as AI and cybersecurity. She has also extended parental leave and implemented programs that make it easier and encourage women to return to the workforce post childbirth. Ginni obtained her BS degree in computer science and electrical engineering from Northwestern University, and she also holds an honorary degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.


5. Michele Buck - Hershey Company

Your next chocolate indulgence just got that much sweeter. Michele has been the CEO of Hershey since December 2016, following her 11 years experience in Hershey operations and an additional 17 previous years working at Kraft/Nabisco. She graduated from Shippensburg University and later got her MBA from UNC-Chapel Hill. 


6. Tricia Griffith, The Progressive Corporation

Flo isn’t the only prominent woman at Progressive. Tricia was appointed President and CEO and elected to the Board of Directors in 2016 after starting with the company as a claims representative back in 1988. Tricia graduated from Illinois State University and later the Wharton School of Business.


All of these women started where we are currently, young collegiate women just trying to make it through finals. However, they set their minds to their goals, worked hard for a long time, never lost sight of their aspirations and ended up shaping the futures of their companies and industries. These women have paved the way for future generations of female corporate leaders because, in order to get more women in charge, someone has to be the first. Did I mention that several of these women are also mothers? Now that’s what I call a boss babe. I don't know about you, but these driven and intelligent women just became some of my newest #WCWs.