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8 Notable Successful Business Women Leading Great Companies and Making A Difference

Updated: Mar 24, 2019

These women on our list are shaking up boardrooms all over the world, building and/or running innovative companies and changing the world

Courtney Adeleye built her hair empire from the ground up by incorporating her specialized knowledge base with her own curiosity.

Over the past 10 or so years, we have made great gains as it relates to the way we, as a global community, treat women.

Much progress has been made in all aspects of equality, and pay equity. 2017 and 2018 will go down as the years in which woman stood up and demanded to be respected and treated equally, and for the most part, the world listened. The Metoo movement has been a long time coming and I am glad it's here.

We have also seen a push for women to be major participants in the lucrative, male-dominated world of tech and the realm of corporate governance as a whole. This year, California became the first state to require publicly traded companies to include women on their boards of directors, and many observers believe other states will follow.

Another notable trend is the rise in the number of women entrepreneurs all over the world. As a matter of fact, it is safe to say that women are now in leadership roles in most major industries across the globe. From Safra Catz at Oracle to Chanda Kochhar ICICI Bank, It is safe to say that women are now a major part of the global entrepreneurial and corporate ecosystem.

In this Article, we will highlight 8 such women we think you should look-out for.

Pat McGrath, USA

Pat McGrath Labs

After two decades of transforming runway models for Prada, Gucci, and other high-fashion houses with Swarovski-studded masks and lightning-bolted cheeks, Mother--as those in the industry call the Jamaican-born, British-raised New Yorker--finally unveiled her own makeup line in 2015. Pat McGrath Labs began with a limited-edition metallic "dust" that sold out, online, within six minutes.

Suchi Mukherjee, India

Suchi Mukherjee is an Indian businesswoman who is founder and CEO of LimeRoad, an e-commerce and lifestyle and accessories website. She conceived the idea of LimeRoad when she was 39 and on maternity leave.

Njeri Rionge, Kenya

Ignite Consulting

The Kenyan business magnet started her first business at the age of 19, selling yoghurt at schools in the capital, Nairobi. She went on to sell clothes and run a few other small businesses.

Today, Njeri Rionge is one of the women pioneer investors in the IT sector in Africa, having co-founded Wananchi Online, East Africa’s first mass market internet service provider which has grown to become the region’s leading internet company.

Courtney Adeleye, USA

The Mane Choice

In 2013, Adeleye's hair was her business. Today, there's a good chance that your hair is also her business--which brings in more than $50 million a year. Five years ago, the Madison, Alabama, resident wanted her hair to sport a long, natural look, but couldn't find the hair care products to help her do it. She documented the process on YouTube, and started making her own hair care concoctions in her kitchen.

Adeleye told her YouTube fans how to make the stuff, but they weren't particularly interested; they wanted to buy it directly from her. Adeleye obliged, launching the Mane Choice, now in more than 50,000 retail locations including Walmart and Target. Adeleye also has her own show, "Who's the Bawse?" and an Instagram following that's 181,000-strong. --Kimberly Weisul

Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, Ethiopia


Growing up in a small neighbourhood in Addis Ababa, beloved entrepreneur Bethlemen Tilahun Alemu discovered that most people in her community were living in poverty and that some of them possessed artisan skills. Spurred by this realisation, she sought to find a way to translate the skills of her people into a business, and thus SoleRebels was born, in 2004. The eco-friendly footwear manufacturer creates hundreds of local jobs.

Not only has Bethlehem’s company grown to be one of the largest footwear companies in Africa, but it has also become a successful world class venture, with flagship stores in Taiwan, Spain, Switzerland, Austria, U.S, Singapore, Japan and many other countries.

Bethlehem has received a number of accolades for the work she has done to empower the Ethiopian youth with opportunities. In 2011, the 36-year-old entrepreneur made it into the World Economic Forum’s list of Young Global Leaders. She’s also been named by Forbes as one of 20 Youngest Power Women in Africa, and one of the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women.

Leila Velez, Brazil

Beleza Natural

Leila Velez is a Brazilian entrepreneur who is aiming to bring the efficiency of waste management in the fast food industry to beauty salons. She started her business, Beleza Natural, at 19 years old with the hope of bringing the accessibility of places like McDonald’s to the beauty industry.

Now, her company has locations all over Brazil and employs 3,000 people, many of whom Velez says are single mothers in their early 20s.

While Velez may have modeled aspects of her salons after fast food, she did not want them to become another low paying job people take on temporarily. She wanted to provide career opportunities that give her employees sustainability in life.

She says working at her salon is the first job of 90 percent of her employees and she wants her company to offer the opportunity to build a career rather than be a temporary stop.

Dr. Chayla Creer, USA

Live Alkaline Water

When Live Alkaline Water convinced three Jacksonville-area Walmarts to carry its product this past March, it was a huge moment for every employee--all two of them. Only later, when approached on social media and by a local reporter, did COO Creer and founder Robert McRae realize they'd made history as the first black-owned alkaline water company to land in Walmart. McRae started the business in 2013 after deciding the water from the spring on his family's North Carolina property tasted good enough to sell.

It didn't go anywhere until late 2016, when he met Creer through a mutual acquaintance. They work remotely: McRae runs operations in North Carolina while Creer manages the books, researches the value of untreated water, and conducts business outreach from her Jacksonville home.

She doubles as a physical therapist, often working 100-hour weeks to perform both jobs. While the business is still tiny, Creer's ambition is large. "No people in this country have a story like African-Americans," she says. "It makes a big difference for black people and others from all walks of life to see us on that type of level. Because you don't see it often." --Cameron Albert-Deitch

Angela Antony, USA


Antony was working for the National Economic Council in Washington, D.C., when she came across some alarming stats: Nearly half of all employees quit or are fired within 18 months, and replacing a full-time worker can cost up to twice his or her annual salary. That insight led to Scoutible, which measures job candidates' abilities using an unconventional source: a video game.

While users spend 20 minutes steering a character through an unfamiliar landscape, the San Francisco-based startup's artificial intelligence software studies their behavior and assesses them on traits like risk aversion, mental toughness, and coachability.

It then compares the results with those of the company's best workers. Enterprise clients include the Dallas Mavericks, which used it to assess prospects ahead of the 2018 NBA Draft (Mark Cuban is also an investor). "Employers usually have no idea why certain people outperform," Antony says. "That information hasn't been easily accessible. Until now." --K.J.R.

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