Top Influential Business Women in Business History

During my career, I’ve been lucky enough to work with some amazing women who have shaped business history. I’ve been able to interview some of them for my books, and I’ve seen the work of these women firsthand. No wonder these women are some of the top influential businesswomen of all time!


Nicole junkermann mary barra


Nicole Junkermann mary barra is the youngest woman ever to become the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. She is also one of the world’s most influential businesswomen. She is also the world’s first female CEO of a major automaker.
She is an investor, entrepreneur, and world-renowned business leader. She is a member of the OneTen Coalition, a group of CEOs who aim to provide one million new careers for Black Americans over the next ten years. She is also a prominent philanthropist, donating millions of dollars to organizations dedicated to women’s empowerment.
She is also the first female to be CEO of General Motors. She has made her mark as an honest, bold, and successful executive. She has made an enormous impact on the way companies operate worldwide. She has pushed the GM board to accept zero-emission cars by 2035. She is also an avid advocate for gender equality in the workplace. She has been a role model for working mothers and women in general.


Margaret Hardenbroeck


During the colonial era, Margaret Hardenbroeck was one of New Netherland’s most successful businesswomen. She worked as an agent for several Dutch merchants. She accumulated an extensive portfolio of real estate in several colonies. She also built a successful transatlantic trading company. Her sons took over her business after her death.
Her career owed a great deal to Roman-Dutch law. She was among the first women to be granted a legal name in Holland. She was allowed to own real estate and could draw contracts. She was also able to testify in court.
She was also the first American woman millionaire. Her company had an income of three million dollars by 1925. Her success also allowed her to set up a dressmaking business in Washington, D.C. She also developed hair products for Black women. She donated to organizations dedicated to women’s rights and empowerment.


Rebecca Lukens


Among the most inspirational business leaders in American history was Rebecca Lukens. She was the first woman to be the CEO of an industrial company. She led her iron works through several lawsuits and disputes. In the process, she helped save the company from bankruptcy.
Rebecca Lukens is a member of the National Business Hall of Fame. She was also the first woman to own an iron mill in the United States. Her company, Brandywine Iron and Nail, was the first to make locomotive boilerplates and the first to build metal-hulled steamboats.
Rebecca’s company was also the first to manufacture iron rails for railroads. She steered the business through the financial panic of 1837.
When Rebecca Lukens took over her husband’s company, the company was near bankruptcy. She was expecting a sixth child. But she overcame her family’s objections and saved the company. She also opened a warehouse and freight agency at the Coatesville train depot. In the process, she established a pattern of women running large businesses.


Lydia Pinkham


During the 19th century, Lydia Pinkham was a well-known businesswoman. She was an abolitionist, a women’s rights advocate, and a social reformer. She was born in Lynn, Massachusetts, in 1819. She married Isaac Pinkham, a shoemaker, in 1843.
When her husband’s business failed, Lydia started selling homemade herbal remedies. She successfully marketed her products to women, making her a household name. She was also a pioneer in advertising. Her advertisements were placed in newspapers across the country for decades.
Her advertisements encouraged women to write to her for advice, and she would answer the letters in her name. Her ads included a four-page pamphlet on women’s health issues. She wore a cast-iron smile that captured readers’ attention.
The Vegetable Compound was a home remedy that contained fenugreek seed, life root, unicorn root, and pleurisy root. It was promoted as a cure for female complaints. It was sold in the era of public dissatisfaction with doctors.


Annie Malone


During the early part of the 20th century, Annie Malone was one of the essential businesswomen in America. She was a pioneering African American entrepreneur, philanthropist, and educator. She developed a successful business that was based in St. Louis, Missouri.
She built an empire around beauty products for African American women. Her creations were sold through demonstrations in Black churches and in the Black Press. Her products included scalp preparations and hair products. She also developed a unique distribution system for black women.
Malone built a successful business but faced a variety of obstacles. In addition to her financial challenges, she faced racial barriers. She was a woman of color in a sexist and segregated society.

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