Before Black History Month comes to an end we want to celebrate 10 black women who inspire us all. They started companies, invented products, and became CEO’s. These women show us that nothing is impossible if we dare to dream.
1. Ursula Burns
Burns is the chairwoman of Xerox and served as CEO through 2016. Burns made a risky move that she thought would get her fired by publicly disagreeing with her vice president but instead she realized sticking to her guns paid off as that landed her an executive assistant role that eventually lead to CEO.
2. Carla Harris
Harris, know for her legendary CNBC quote, “Don’t be distracted by anything anybody else tells you” was the Vice Chairman of wealth management at Morgan Stanley. She was also appointed by President Barack Obama chair of the National Women’s Business Council in 2013.
3. Janice Bryant Howroyd
Howroyd was the first black woman to own a billion dollar company as the founder and CEO of ACT -1 staffing agency. ACT-1 is the largest certified woman-minority-owned staffing agency in the US. Not bad for a girl from North Carolina who was one of the first black students to attended a segregated high school.
4. Tina Wells
Wells is the CEO and founder of Buzz Marketing Group who’s clients include Dell, The Oprah Winfrey Network, Kroger, Apple, P+G, and Johnson & Johnson and she founded the company when she was just 16. Tina is also the author of six books, including the best-selling tween fiction series Mackenzie Blue and the marketing handbook, Chasing Youth Culture and Getting It Right and she is a member of the United Nations Foundation Global Entrepreneurs Council and is the academic director of Wharton’s Leadership in the Business World program, a program for high school students.
5. Cathy Hughes
Hughes is a media mogul who became the first African-American woman to chair a publicly held corporation when Radio One went public in 1999, a media company she co-founded that operates more than 50 radio stations.
6. Sheila Johnson
Johnson co-founded BET, the cable television news and entertainment network targeted at black audiences, and is the first African-American woman to attain a net worth of at least one billion. She is also managing partner of the WNBA’s Washington Mystics and the CEO of Salamander Hotels and Resorts.
7. Rosalind Brewer
Brewer will transition from her current position as the COO of Starbucks to become the CEO of Walgreens in March 2021 and will become the only Black woman CEO of a Fortune 500 company. In 2018 she was listed as the 34th in Forbes’ ranking of the most powerful women.
8. Mary Ellen Pleasant
Pleasant was a 19th-century entrepreneur, financier, real estate magnate and abolitionist and became one of the first African-American female self-made millionaires in the U.S. She invested in multiple businesses like laundry mats and boarding houses and she used her wealth for aiding abolitionist causes and helping slaves escape through the Underground Railroad.
9. Madam C. J. Walker
Octavia Spencer brought Madam C.J. Walker’s story to life in the movie “Self Made” as the first ever self-made woman millionaire with her hair growth solution for black women. She created the hair products after suffering from a scalp ailment that resulted in her own hair loss, then sold them door to door, all of which was documented in the Netflix film based on her life.
10. Lisa Price
In the 1980’s Lisa Price started making hair products, Carol’s Daughter, in her Brooklyn kitchen as a side hustle. After non stop requests from family and friends her mother, who the company is named after, encourage her to start a business. Some of her investors were Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Jay-Z. In 2014 Carol’s Daughter was acquired by L’Oreal and is currently valued at 27 million dollars.