When asked what percentage of CEOs of the world’s 500 largest companies are women, respondents across 27 countries majorly overestimated. For the US, Americans guessed 18%, while it is a mere 3%. These female CEOs are making waves and are a motivation to women climbing their way up the corporate ladder. Take a look at their stories, companies, and advice for growing in your career.
Jessica O. Matthews, Founder and CEO, Uncharted Power, Inc.
Jessica O. Matthews is the founder of Uncharted Power. Previously known as Uncharted Play, her company invented a soccer ball that creates enough energy to provide light to a small home, just by playing with it. Uncharted Power didn’t just stop at soccer balls though, as they recently introduced their new jump rope which produces 6 hours of LED light or 50% charge on an iPhone after jumping rope for 15 minutes. Her advice: “Anything that you can see coming, you can plan. It’s the things that you would have never expected to bubble up and mess you up, but then afterward feel so obvious, that are the things that you have to try and overcome. On one hand, it’s not so bad because when you do overcome them I think you learn the lesson even better than if you had just been aware, read a book and avoided it. You really understand why this makes sense. You become a better teacher for others. It also definitely shows you what you’re made of when you have to get through those things.”
Stacy Brown-Philpot, CEO, TaskRabbit
Stacey Brown-Philpot is the new CEO of TaskRabbit, a company founded in 2008 piggy backing on the gig economy, and was recently sold to Ikea. Her advice: "Don’t stress so much. The hardest moments of your life in your 20s will provide some of the greatest lessons that will come in handy later.”
Sarah Robb O'Hagan, CEO, Flywheel
Sarah Robb O’Hagan, CEO of Flywheel, has had a career filled with ups and downs. After being fired twice from Atari and Virgin, she became her own motivation, working her way up the corporate ladder to becoming the President of Gatorade and rebranding their reputation. Her advice: “In everything you do, are you developing yourself? Culturally, we tell people to make five-year career plans. If you have such a plan, you don’t want to make mistakes and fail because you want to reach the five-year goal as quickly as possible. You see failure differently if every decision starts with the question, ‘Is this pushing me and developing me in a new way?’”
Lisa Wang, CEO and Founder, SheWorx
Lisa Wang is the founder of SheWorx, a company that seeks to redefine what female leaders can accomplish, and helps provide access to support systems, mentors, and quality knowledge. Her advice: “As a gymnast, I grew up in an environment of zero sum mentalities. ‘I win, you lose.’ Only one gold medal. In contrast, SheWorx, thrives on collaboration, not competition…Founding a company is one of the hardest endeavors you can undertake and you have to be willing to do whatever it takes because if you don’t do it, nobody will. Being a founder means forcing yourself into uncomfortable situations, it means ignoring the no’s, it means sacrificing certain desires, and it means that you’re making a long-term commitment to working in one of the most difficult and uncertain professions.”
Kelly Peeler, CEO and Co-Founder, NextGenVest
Kelly Peeler began her career journey on Wall Street, and founded NextGenVest, a financial advice company targeted at helping Gen Z better navigate the financial aid process. Her advice: "I got my hands dirty understanding the dynamics around the student loan market and how predatory this whole process was for the 70 million people who will be entering the financial system for the first time," Peeler, who worked at JPMorgan Chase right after the 2008 crash, told Forbes. "I'm a huge believer that the next financial crisis is rooted in the student loan market." Peeler says, customers have saved more than $39 million through increasing access to the more than $2.7 billion in financial aid that goes unclaimed each year.
Feeling empowered by these female CEOs? Make sure your company is offering the training and development you need to further grow in your career with these questions!