It’s not always that we hear of a woman leading an organization. However, lately there have been so many women CEOs who have worked their way to the top of some of the leading companies in the world. Given below are the life stories of three inspiring women CEOs who have made it big in an organization. The three of them come from varied cultures and lifestyles, but only one thing helped them achieve their dreams – education. They teach us dream big, not to give up and to work hard to achieve what we want.
1. Indra Krishnamurthy Nooyi
“Just because you are CEO, don’t think you have landed. You must continually increase your learning, the way you think, and the way you approach the organization. I’ve never forgotten that.” ~ Indra Nooyi
With her jet black bob cut and her broad, warm smile, Indra Nooyi is a charming woman and the CEO of the world’s second largest company, Pepsico. From being born into a conservative South-Indian family, to getting to the United States with big hopes and dreams, one can’t help but reflect how far she has come. Did you know that Indra Nooyi was rejected in her first interview after graduation because she wore trousers that only came up to her ankles? She confidently wore a sari for the next interview and got selected! Indra Nooyi was a non-American woman who had no family business to take over. Then how did she end up becoming the CEO of one of the leading companies of the world? What we can learn from Indra Nooyi is that all it takes is sheer hard work and determination to achieve your dreams. She did not become a CEO overnight. After working for eight long years at Boston Consulting Group, she went on to join Motorola as the Vice-President and Director of Corporate Strategy and Planning. It was only in the year 1994 that she joined Pepsico, and eventually became its CEO in 2006. When she is not busy leading a multinational corporation, Indra Nooyi has been able to make time to be a loving wife and a caring mother at her home in Greenwich, Connecticut, USA.
2. Ursula M Burns
“Where you are is not who you are.”
Her life is like a sensational ‘Rags to Riches’ story that we usually see in the movies or read in novels. Ursula Burns is truly an inspiration to many who are under the impression that you require money and connections to make it big. As a child, she lived with her mother in a public housing project on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. She was realistic and didn’t feel like she could dream big. It was her mother who gave her the confidence that where she lived should not define who she was. Despite of being a poor black girl, that didn’t deter Ursula Burns from getting past all the obstacles in life, and holding on to the confidence of achieving her dreams. After attending Cathedral High School, she went on to graduate from NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering and did her post-graduation in Colombia University. When she was 22, Ursula joined Xerox for a summer internship. After she graduated, she joined the company permanently. She worked hard, and made her way to the top to become the CEO of Xerox in the year 2009. As CEO, she worked hard to transform Xerox from a copy and printing company to a technology and services enterprise.
3. Marissa Mayer
“I always did something I was a little not ready to do. I think that’s how you grow. When there’s that moment of ‘Wow, I’m not really sure I can do this,’ and you push through those moments, that’s when you have a breakthrough.”
Don’t get fooled by her looks; Marissa Mayer is more than just a pretty face. As the CEO and President of Yahoo, she has managed to pull the company out of the deep pit of failure that it had fallen into, and transform it into what it is today. As a child, Marissa had big dreams to study at the prestigious Stanford University. It was sheer hard work and determination that allowed her to realize her dreams because she graduated from Stanford as an honor student. Despite from getting multiple offers from top companies, Marissa took the risk of rejecting them and joining a start-up called Google in the year 1999. With very few employees at that time, she worked with a close knitted group to mould Google and make it the number one internet company in the world. After working at Google for thirteen years, Marissa joined rival company Yahoo as its CEO and President, which was performing miserably at that point of time. Marissa worked hard to revamp the entire organization and to make Yahoo what it is today.