Working Mother 50 Most Powerful Moms of 2015 | Working Mother

Working Mother 50 Most Powerful Moms of 2015

This year's list features 50 remarkable, inspiring moms in eight work sectors.

We think all moms are powerful. That being said, this year's list of Most Powerful Moms features 50 remarkable women whose influence is felt on a daily basis via their singular talent, hard work and intellectual capital—not to mention courage, strength, love of family and, importantly, their passion to make the world a better place. These moms (each with at least one child under age 18, listed alphabetically by work sector) have so many qualities we admire—and then some! A star denotes new to the list this year.

Beyoncé

Beyoncé

[Arts/Entertainment]
Musician/Actress/Producer
Children: Daughter, Blue Ivy, 3

According to Forbes, Queen Bey became the top earning woman in the music business last year by doubling what she made in 2013 to the tune of $115 million, boosted by endorsement deals with Pepsi and H&M. But beyond being a mega-talent working mom, she’s also an artist who carves out her own way and stays on top by keeping everyone on their toes. Case in point: Instead of performing one of her hits, she chose to make a statement at the 2015 Grammys by belting out a gospel hymn in support of black men. To celebrate the one-year anniversary of her Beyoncé album in December, she released a surprise black-and-white video tribute, “Yours and Mine,” extolling her feminism, as well as the joy she’s found in motherhood and marriage. In it, she speaks of the power of her inspiration—her family: “One thing that’s for sure, the love I have for music, for my husband, for my child is something that will last far beyond my life.”

Nancy Dubuc *

Nancy Dubuc *

[Arts/Entertainment]
President and CEO, A+E Networks
Children: Two

Just the third president and CEO in A+E’s 30-year history, Nancy has proven herself a bonafide hit-maker by taking risks. The lifelong TV fan heads brands like the History channel, A+E networks, Lifetime and LMN, and her networks had 11 of the top 50 shows in total viewers last year with hits like Ice Road Truckers, Hatfield’s & McCoy’s, Vikings, Pawn Stars and Dance Moms. Entertaining 330 million–plus viewers and 500 million digital users in more than 200 territories worldwide, Nancy credits her success to following her gut. She's got a slew of Emmy awards and nominations under her belt and has been named one of Fortune’s 50 Most Powerful Women in Business and annually one of the Top Five Most Powerful on The Hollywood Reporter Power 100 Top Women in Entertainment list. Last year, she broadened the A+E scope even further by overseeing the acquisition of a 10 percent stake in Vice Media. About to present the opening keynote at the 36th Banff World Media Festival next month, Nancy told the New York Times: “The drug of success is great but it’s fleeting. The exercise and nutrition that you have to do to get the drug of success is failure.”

Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie

[Arts/Entertainment]
Actress/Producer/Writer/Director/
Activist/Ambassador
Children: Maddox, 13, Pax, 11, Zahara, 10,
Shiloh, 8, Knox and Vivienne, 6

It's no surprise that Angelina makes our list, what with six kids and both longterm and current acclaim as actor, writer, producer, director and UN Ambassador with a relentless drive to better the world. This past year she earned praise for her work as director and producer of Unbroken and also penned a much-shared New York Times essay about her decision to remove her breasts (and eventually ovaries and fallopian tubes), raising awareness about how a simple genetic mutation test can empower women's health choices. Sure, she can bring her family to work—currently directing and co-starring with dashing hubby Brad Pitt in the upcoming film By the Sea—but Angelina knows full well how fortunate she is to do so. She told the New York Daily News: “I actually feel that women in my position, when we have all at our disposal to help us, shouldn’t complain. Consider all the people who really struggle and don’t have the financial means, don’t have the support, and many people are single raising children. That’s hard.”

Kim Kardashian

Kim Kardashian

[Arts/Entertainment]
Reality Star/Retail Mogul/#1 Social Media Influencer
Children: North, 2

With 29 million followers on Instagram, 31 million followers on Twitter and the avidly watched E! show Keeping Up With the Kardashians—not to mention a retail enterprise, endorsement deals and a video game in her honor—there’s no denying the global reach of Kim K. At the helm of a multimedia juggernaut, she and her tireless clan have perfected the art of self-promotion as career, earning millions and millions in the process. But Kim is more than just selfies and photos that break the Internet and bing married to Kanye West. Just last month she, along with her famous sisters, made a pilgrimage to Armenia to honor ancestors who perished in the Armenian Genocide, focusing cameras (and much needed media attention) on one of the most underpublicized atrocities in recent history. In doing so, she managed to lend more headlines and cameras to the Armenian diaspora than anyone else had in the last century. Now that’s putting self-promotion to great use.

Donna Langley

Donna Langley

[Arts/Entertainment]
Chairman, Universal Pictures
Children: Two sons, 6 and 4

Donna is one of the most powerful executives in Hollywood, the force behind the juggernaut Fast & Furious franchise. She’s just extended her contract through 2017 and has taken on oversight of worldwide marketing and overseas production as well. Universal's domestic box-office revenue is up 28 percent from 2010 under her watch. Formerly a host at the '90s Hollywood club The Roxbury, she scored a job at New Line and worked her way up the ladder to Chairman. But Donna isn’t all marquee all the time—she also has a philanthropic bent. As a member of Vital Voices, she provides women with the resources and life coaching to boost leadership endeavors alongside a group of women leaders from all over the world. In a recent interview with the Director’s Guild of America, she spoke of the need to cultivate more young female talent: “We have to look for the college or post-college group of women, and really get in there and mentor and support them in a way that hasn’t happened so far. I think that women are uniquely suited to the job of directing and I’ve seen it firsthand.” Way to pay it forward!

Blake Lively *

Blake Lively *

[Arts/Entertainment]
Actress/Entrepreneur
Children: Daughter James, newborn

Brand new mom Blake is totally having a moment as an actress and entrepreneur. There’s no denying she’s come a a long way from The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and Gossip Girl’s fashion-forward “it girl,” Serena Van Der Woodsen. After challenging herself with more intense roles in films like Savages and The Green Lantern (where she met hubby Ryan Reynolds), Blake now stars in the much touted film The Age of Adeline, about a woman who cannot age. Before having daughter James just a few months ago, she had already long celebrated a more domestic side—perfecting recipes alongside some of the world’s most celebrated chefs and hanging out with friend Martha Stewart. That sparked her to launch Preserve, a lifestyle retail website dedicated to the celebration of domestic handmade goods—kind of like an expertly curated Etsy with amazing photography. All of this prompted Forbes to name Blake to its juicy 30 Under 30 list earlier this year. On a recent Tonight Show appearance, the fashion icon joked with Jimmy Fallon that she and Ryan are already at war about daughter James’s first words: "She has to say 'ma-ma' first. I do everything! He does nothing!”

Jennifer Lopez

Jennifer Lopez

[Arts/Entertainment]
Singer/Actress/Producer/Designer/
Businesswoman
Children: Max and Emme, 7

This tireless Renaissance workmom always has a few (well, many) irons in the fire—in front of and behind the camera. Aside from winning a Billboard Icon award last year and producing and starring in the Universal Picture thriller The Boy Next Door, J. Lo's Nuyorican Productions just sold a few more TV projects: California, an ABC limited series about the state’s history, and the comedy Mothers I’d Like To…. She also produces ABC Family sitcom The Fosters, about an interracial lesbian couple and their children, is the voice of Rihanna’s mom in the current hit kid film Home and is, of course, an American Idol judge. Plus, her memoir, True Love, was a best seller. With such a heaping plate, the doting mom always manages to seem totally hands on, having recently gushed about her twins to People: “I know everybody feels this way about their kids, but I just feel like they're super-special. I can't wait to see what they do, and I feel like my job is to not mess them up too much. It's unconditional love.”

Madonna *

Madonna*

[Arts/Entertainment]
Musician/Dancer/Actress//Producer/Mogul
Children: Lourdes, 18, Rocco, 14, David, 9, and Mercy, 9

Who are we to deny one of the most influential artists of the past 30 years her due? With her new album Rebel Heart, Madonna continues to push toward new boundaries. Her upcoming tour stands to earn the upward of $1 million per live show, to say nothing of album sales. Meanwhile, her oldest kid entered college, her second entered high school and her two children adopted from Africa are in primary school. She visits their homeland, Malawi, often and funds a number of orphanages, including the two from which she adopted her children. Ever the provocateur, Madonna recently told Carson Daly on the Today show that being a mom and Madonna can place her in some precarious moments: "Every time my kids would visit me in the studio, it would just so happen that I'd be working on a song like 'Holy Water' or 'S.E.X.' And I'd be like...'Stay outside. I'll be right out.’"

Julianne Moore *

Julianne Moore *

[Arts/Entertainment]
Actress/Producer
Children: Caleb, 17, and Liv, 12

This has proved to be Julianne’s year. A true woman of substance, the five-time Oscar nominee finally won for her powerful star performance in Still Alice, a moving film about a working mother with early onset dementia. Leveraging her ageless looks, the stunning 51-year old has scored seven-figure endorsement deals with brands like L’Oreal and Bulgari. She’s also a wildly creative children’s author; her children's book Freckleface Strawberry was made into a successful play and her next, Backpacks, will be on shelves this coming July. Her upcoming films include Freeheld, Maggie's Plan and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2. Julianne is known to be down-to-earth and a hands-on parent, and she often declares her adoration for hubby director/writer/producer Bart Freundlich and their two teens. On what she wants her kids to know about her work, she told Working Mother: "I don’t want them to know a lot, but I do want them to know, for their sake, that I really enjoy what I do, that I care about it, I look forward to doing it, and that I’ve chosen it because it’s a way of spending my life that is valuable. Obviously, most of us have to grow up and make a living, so I want them to do something they enjoy if possible."

Amy Poehler

Amy Poehler

[Arts/Entertainment]
Actress/Writer/Producer/Director/
Voice-over Artist
Children: Archie, 6, Abel, 4

Workmom Amy rules comedy, and here’s why: She hilariously held court at the Golden Globes these past few years with bestie Tina Fey; she wrote a best-selling memoir called Yes, Please; and, although her own sitcom, Parks and Recreation, aired its finale this spring, she’s growing her production company, Paper Kite, with amazingly funny television like the Comedy Central hit Broad City. To pay her good fortune forward, she launched Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls, an online organization created to provide positive comedy and community to teen girls on the Internet, which was snagged by Legendary Entertainment in late 2014. What with Hillary Clinton’s current presidential bid, we’re sure to see a lot more of Amy’s spot-on impersonation of the candidate any second now!

Shonda Rhimes

Shonda Rhimes

[Arts/Entertainment]
Showrunner/Producer/Writer
Children: Harper, 13, Emerson, 3, and Beckett, 2

This wunderkind showrunner is on one hell of a hot streak, thanks to the fruits of her brilliant imagination. Shondaland, her production company with partner Betsy Beers, is responsible for all three shows of ABC’s current Thursday night ratings-bonanza lineup—as is more than evident by the devoutly used hashtag #TGIT by Twitter-happy fans. Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder have each in their own way busted through boundaries with compelling storylines and wicked-wise but flawed female leads. We applaud her recent inspirational speech at the Human Rights Campaign gala, where she encouraged aspiring writers and creatives to just go for it, no matter the odds: “If you are a kid and you are out there and you are chubby and not so cute and nerdy and shy and invisible and in pain, whatever your race, whatever your gender, whatever your sexual orientation, I’m standing here to tell you: You are not alone. Your tribe of people, they are out there in the world. Waiting for you.” So what’s next for Shonda? Growing Shondaland—she’s just sold three new shows, including a cop drama and a comedy. We can’t wait to see!

Jill Soloway *

Jill Soloway *

[Arts/Entertainment]
Showrunner/Writer/Producer/Playwright/Director
Children: Isaac, 18, and Felix, 6

When Jill’s autobiographical Amazon show Transparent stole the Golden Globe awards this year, it was a groundbreaking, game changing victory for the LGBT community as well as a huge hit for the first-time show runner and until-that-moment unsung subscription-only network. The former writer and director of the innovative HBO hit Six Feet Under and Showtime’s United States of Tara, Jill specializes in creating characters that walk off the screen and into your life. Her own story will make its way to us shortly by way of memoir. Even when the muse strikes, Jill recently told Elle she tries to keep her hours family-kosher: "This industry was created for men to be like, 'Sorry, honey, I'm working on a movie. Sorry, not going to make it home.' There's this illusion that you've got to work long, crazy hours, and it's really hard. But it's really not."

Kerry Washington

Kerry Washington

[Arts/Entertainment]
Actress/Activist
Children: Isabelle, 1

There’s so much to love about Kerry Washington—even more than her mesmerizing turn as White House fixer Olivia Pope in fellow power mom Shonda Rhimes’s hit Scandal. This new mom is a hardcore activist, having just received the Vanguard Award for promoting equality at the 26th Annual GLAAD Media Awards. She was also the 2014 Ambassador for the Allstate Foundation’s Purple Purse, an organization that empowers domestic violence and financial abuse survivors. And way back in 2009 she was appointed by President Obama to the President’s Committee of the Arts and Humanities. Kerry is also a member of the V-Counsel, a group of advisors to V-Day, the global movement to end violence against women and girls. Up next showbiz-wise? The lead in rom-com film Is He the One, currently in pre-production. Regarding her new role as a mom, she recently told Entertainment Weekly: ”The thing that has changed the most about me since I became a mom is that my heart keeps getting bigger and bigger.”

Reese Witherspoon *

Reese Witherspoon *

[Arts/Entertainment]
Actress/Producer
Children: Ava, 15, Deacon, 11, and Tennessee, 2

Recently named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People, the incredibly talented Reese is fresh off of two Academy Award nods; one for her turn as best actress in Wild and another for her role as producer of the hit film Gone Girl. She has, of course, already won an Oscar for her performance as June Carter Cash in Walk the Line. An actress since age 14, Reese certainly knows the business inside out and what makes for a challenging project. In the interest of producing better scripts for women, she formed production company Pacific Standard with partner Bruna Papandrea—and turned out both Gone Girl and Wild. Just opening is her third film as producer, buddy action comedy Hot Pursuit, in which she co-stars with Sofia Vergara. Even with so many red carpets to grace and scripts to pursue, she told the Cricket’s Circle blog that she’s launching an online business to promote handcrafted products created in her native South. She also discussed the sanctity of family time: “I love Sundays. We go to church, brunch and then just relax at home. We watch TV, play outside, and I attempt to cook dinner or bake something. It's all very relaxing and it reminds me how lucky I am to have such a wonderful family.”

Yao Chen *

Yao Chen *

[Arts/Entertainment]
Actress/Philanthropist
Children: One

Just named one of Time’s Most Influential People on the Internet and dubbed by The Telegraph UK as “China’s answer to Angelina Jolie,” Chen is way more than a beautiful actress starring in some of China's biggest romantic comedies. She was named UN Refugee Agency Goodwill Ambassador last June and uses her considerable Weibo (the Chinese Twitter) reach of 71 million followers to voice troubling social and environmental issues in her country. From humble beginnings, the superstar studied at Beijing Film Academy until making her initial debut on the big screen. Today she’s married to a cinematographer and has a baby son who she calles Xiao Tudou (“little potato”). As emotionally fulfilled as she is by her work, Yao recently told The Telegraph: “I’m happiest when I’m cooking and have a chance to stay in with my husband. He loves to play with his cameras and we love spending time with the baby. Even though he’s so young, we can really understand each other.”

Emmanuelle Alt *

Emmanuelle Alt *

[Fashion/Tastemakers]
Editor-In-Chief, Vogue Paris
Children: Antonin, 18, and Françoise, 10

Emmanuelle may have the power to raise and lower hemlines with the snap of a finger, but this tastemaker prefers to stay in the background, eschewing most interviews in favor of those featured in her publication. At the helm of Vogue Paris for the past four years, she has altered the more provocative take of former editor Carine Roitfeld, pointing her proverbial lens toward high fashion on real women of all ages. Emmanuelle was raised by a model mom and a choreographer dad and got her first gig at French Elle after having babysat for an editor. She then worked her way up the ranks. When asked by Telegraph UK if there's as much debate about working mothers in France as in Britain, she replied firmly: "Yeah, but I don't think guilt is a solution to anything. I know I'm not giving 100 percent of my time to my kids because I'm working, but I give all my free time to my kids. I don't do anything for myself. I don't go to the pool, I don't do sports, I don't go to see my friends on my own. But guilt is not a good example. They have always, since they were born, seen me leaving for work smiling. It's a gift to your kids, I think. It gives them the association of work and happiness. I am never grumpy about work.”

Victoria Beckham

Victoria Beckham

[Fashion/Tastemakers]
Fashion Designer/Singer
Children: Brooklyn, 16, Romeo, 12, Cruz, 10, and Harper, 3

Victoria earns continued props for her rebirth as a legitimate, high-powered fashion icon and businesswoman. When building her career as a designer, it took her family a while to figure out what she was up to. “It wasn’t until they first came to the show a few years ago that they realized that mummy has a proper job," she said in an interview with the New York Times. Untrained as a designer, she’s completely hands on, trying on all her clothes, working with shapes and making decisions from there. This untraditional approach seems to be working: Her namesake fashion lines are well-respected by power players in the industry and growing strong, with sales doubling between 2013 and 2014 to the tune of 30 million pounds in a single year. When asked by the host of Vogue online video series 73 Questions what's the greatest thing she’s learned from he kids, she playfully answered, “How to play football in the house and how to love unconditionally.”

Sara Blakely

Sara Blakely

[Fashion/Tastemakers]
Founder and CEO, Spanx
Children: Three

Sara proves time and again that total commitment, sheer determination and unwavering belief in yourself can make all the difference in the outcome of your business. Once upon a time, her fulfillment center was her bathroom; she couldn’t afford a lawyer (so she studied patent law in the Georgia Tech library); and hosiery plants from Atlanta to North Carolina opted not to manufacture her product. Today, Spanx is valued at more than $1 billion, is sold in 60 countries and features eight stand-alone retail locations. She’s also big into paying it forward—the Sara Blakely Foundation has donated the upwards of $24 million to support education and female entrepreneurship. Sara’s latest greatest idea? Becoming co-owner of the Atlanta Hawks as of last month! As she told Marie Claire, quiet time helps her make business decisions: "When you spend time alone, that's when your gut really has a clear channel to you. It's so important to trust it. I think that trusting your gut is like a muscle. The more you do it, the stronger it gets. I recognized, just by asking myself some personal questions and also being quiet with myself, that I hear my gut the loudest when I'm driving in the car alone."


Tory Burch

Tory Burch

[Fashion/Tastemakers]
Designer and Founder, Tory Burch/Activist
Children: Nick and Henry, 17, and Sawyer, 14

With her ubiquitous logo anchoring trademark ballet flats, flip-flops and bags, Tory remains a stalwart purveyor of easy, breezy upscale chic. Her billion dollar brand is upheld by more than 120 freestanding boutiques and spaces in more than 3,000 department and specialty stores around the globe. Right now her eye is on continued growth. Remaining the company’s largest shareholder, she recently hired Roger Farah, formerly of Ralph Lauren, to further expand her brand’s offerings and reach. Her Tory Burch Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting women’s economic empowerment, recently partnered with Bank of America to offer female entrepreneurs $10 million dollars in loans. In a recent Harper’s Bazaar Q&A, Tory credits her success to blood, sweat and timing: “I think it comes down to having a great idea and an amazing team and being willing to work incredibly hard. There's no such thing as an overnight success.”

Joanna Coles *

Joanna Coles *

[Fashion/Tastemakers]
Editor, Cosmopolitan, and Editorial Director, Seventeen
Children: Thomas, 16, and Hugo, 14

In publishing, you’re only as good as your last headline—and Joanna knows headlines. Sometimes regarded as America’s first feminist publication, the formidable impact of the 128-year old Cosmo can’t be denied: Cosmo.com now attracts 30 million unique views per month, compared with the magazine’s 18 million monthly readership. Joanna makes our cut for how she’s infused a cerebral sensibility into the Cosmo brand, publishing essays by well-regarded authors and scoring the first interview with Jill Abramson after her firing from the top editorial spot at the New York Times (a huge publishing coup). Next up on Joanna's full agenda? Executive producer of an upcoming NBC TV pilot based on a woman’s magazine very much like hers. A New York Times profile revealed how weekends are her sacred time: “I never do any work on a Sunday, unless there’s a crisis. Saturday and Sunday are my days for restocking my brain, and I find if I don’t do that and I work Saturday and Sunday, I get tired. I like having Saturday and Sunday as a punctuation mark at the end of the week.” Don’t we all!

Jenna Lyons

Jenna Lyons

[Fashion/Tastemakers]
Creative Director and President, J. Crew
Children: Beckett, 8

Celebrated for elevating J.Crew from a basic jeans and t-shirts retail brand to fashion-forward favorite of Michelle Obama and Anna Wintour, Jenna is J.Crew because it's literally where she's spent her entire career. She landed her first job there fresh out of Parsons School of Design in New York City and worked her way up the ranks from an assistant position. Along the way, she has always been vocal about her creative vision, to the point of overhauling the look of the clothes, catalog and marketing strategy to utilize her coterie of influencers. As she told Marie Claire UK, her story is proof there’s no such thing as overnight success: “There's this idea that everybody has to have everything right away. But you have to let the slow burn happen. I wasn't the superstar. I had to work for it. Really long hours.” It’s paid off. Though sales took a hit the last quarter of 2014, J.Crew’s Madewell spin-off brand grew 33 percent to $74 million. In a recent New York magazine Q&A, Jenna alluded to her son Beckett when asked what her perfect day looked like: “No wi-fi. Ice cream. And Minecraft.”

Mary Callahan Erdoes *

Mary Callahan Erdoes *

[Finance/Business]
CEO, JPMorgan Asset Management, JPMorgan Chase
Children: Mia, 12, Morgan 10, and Mason, 7

Named by American Banker as the most powerful woman in finance, Mary oversees the sixth-largest money management operation in the United States, with more than $2.5 trillion in assets. What’s more, she’s empowering fellow women in finance with two programs aimed at giving women in the industry a greater range of opportunities for career advancement. She instituted Women on the Move, a program she co-created to send top-ranking women at JPMorgan's New York City headquarters on round-the-world trips to meet with other female staffers. Another program, ReEntry, was designed to bring women who have taken breaks from asset management back into the fold. As she told American Banker: "Women fall out of the workforce during years where they wanted to do other things in their life, pursue a different job track or raise a family. When they're ready to return, they don't have a natural way of coming back into the industry.” Thanks to this mom of three girls, they do now.

Jane Fraser *

Jane Fraser*

[Finance/Business]
CEO of U.S. Consumer and Commercial Banking
and CitiMortgage, Citibank
Children: Two

One of the most powerful women in banking, Jane is a finance world power player. But earlier in her career, during a tenure at Goldman Sachs, she didn’t think she could work the way she wanted and have a family. She spent a decade consulting at McKinsey, opting to work part-time to spend time with her two sons. When it came to balancing work and family, Jane said it was her husband who opted out of the fast-paced banking world to spend more time with their children back around 2008. “You cannot have it all at the same time,” she told CNN. “You can have it all, spread over decades. I think of my life in different chunks. When the kids were little, I needed to be around more, but it's different now.”

Sri Mulyani Indrawati

Sri Mulyani Indrawati

[Finance/Business]
COO and Managing Director, World Bank Group/Economist
Children: Three

Ranked by Forbes as one of the world’s most powerful women, Sri is responsible for World Bank’s operations—everywhere. She also oversees the new global practices and cross-cutting solution areas to cultivate expertise that can tackle the most complex development challenges. In addition, she oversees other administrative vice presidencies and functions, including the Integrity Vice Presidency, Sanctions Board Secretariat and the Office of Evaluation and Suspension. Sri formerly served as Indonesia’s minister of finance and the coordinating minister of economic affairs. She recently visited Egypt and Tunisia to view the Bank’s interests and spoke at the China Development Forum, advising the nation’s leaders on how to adapt to their new normal. In March, she penned a piece for the World Post to advocate for gender equality across the globe: “We can do better. And we must, because when women succeed, they bring diversity into policy making and inclusiveness into policy. They are powerful drivers of growth and formidable fighters of poverty. In other words, they are a force no country, no society, no company, and no family can afford not to unleash fully.” Can we get an amen?

Margarita Louis-Dreyfus

Margarita Louis-Dreyfus

[Finance/Business]
Chairman, Louis-Dreyfus Holdings
Children: Eric, 22, and Kyril and Mauric, 16

As chairman of Louis-Dreyfus, a Rotterdam-based commodities company and one of the world’s biggest traders of coffee, sugar and wheat, Margarita is worth $8.4 billion dollars, according to Forbes. An orphan from Russia, she met her beloved late husband Robert when they sat side-by-side on a plane. After he lost his battle with Leukemia in 2009, she took over the company and, recently, has been making some big changes to increase her stake from 65 to 80 percent (through a trust named Akira) and keep the company in the family. Margarita remains dedicated to the foundation she created in memory of her husband by directly supporting sustainable agriculture and food security to help small farmers in developing countries become more self-sufficient. Such a meaningful way to honor her family—as well as so many others.

Kathy Murphy *

Kathy Murphy *

[Finance/Business]
President, Fidelity Personal Investing
Children: One son, 12

Heading up the Personal Investing division of Fidelity Investments, Kathy is in charge of mega bucks—overseeing more than $1 trillion in client assets, more than 13.5 million customer accounts and some 10,000 employees. Under her management, many of her division's products, services and customer experiences have been recognized for excellence by third-party organizations including Barron’s, SmartMoney, Kiplinger’s and more. She came to finance from a long tenure at Aetna, where she worked in both legal and government affairs positions. Kathy also, pardon the pun, pays it forward. For the past eight years, she’s mentored women from emerging countries through a Fortune and U.S. State Department Global Women’s Mentoring Partnership. As a LinkedIn Influencer, she shares her knowledge with the general public, frequently blogging about personal finance. When it comes to work life balance, Kathy told BizWomen: “I’m a big proponent of flexibility. There are ways to approach juggling work and entire life with less stress.” Right on the money!

Zhang Xin

Zhang Xin

[Finance/Business]
Founder, SOHO China
Children: Two sons, 15 and 14

Xin rose from poor factory worker on the outskirts of Beijing to become one of the richest self-made women in the world, amassing a personal fortune of more than $3.6 billion, according to Forbes. After earning scholarships at Sussex and a master's degree at Cambridge, she began her career as as a Goldman Sachs Wall Streeter, but eventually returned to her native China, where she met her future husband and business partner, Pan Shiyi. Together they formed SOHO, now the largest real estate developer in China. (They own some New York real estate holdings, as well.) With more than 5 million followers on Weibo (the Chinese Twitter), Xin once made headlines by stating to a CNN reporter that what China really craves is democracy. She also has said she keeps her two teenage sons in check with an allowance—and strict discipline. When Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother author Amy Chua interviewed Xin, she admitted she was raising her sons as she had been raised in the interest of a future payoff. After all, she knows how to cash in on a serious work ethic.

Carolyn Everson *

Carolyn Everson *

[News/Media/Advertising]
VP of Global Marketing Solutions, Facebook
Children: Daughters Kennedy and Taylor, 9

Your compulsive Facebook cruising is something Carolyn counts on—her team is the reason those product items you came across in your last search continue to tempt you on your page. She's a key player in leading Facebook’s epic global mobile ad sales team, its 2014 revenue ringing in at $12.47 billion (a boost of 58 percent year-over-year). Mind you, Facebook also owns Instagram, giving access to approximately 200 million monthly users globally. Before Facebook, Carolyn was CVP of global ad sales and strategy at Microsoft and EVP of strategy and operations at MTV Networks. She recently told genConnect that the key to managing career and family is less about work life balance and more about work life integration: “I say Mommy works because we need to pay the mortgage…I am trying to instill a work ethic in the kids that hopefuly will last a lifetime.”

Sarah Hofstetter

Sarah Hofstetter

[News/Media/Advertising]
CEO, 360i
Children: Two, 15 and 13

Helping behemoth clients like Kraft, Oreo, HBO and Coca-Cola reach more than 250 million consumers, this former New York Times reporter has led one of the top three agencies on Advertising Age's Agency A-List for three years running. The agency has also been named MediaPost's OMMA Agency of the Year two years straight and garnered awards at Cannes, the CLIOs, New York Festivals, the One Show and the Shorty Awards. Sarah sits on the 4A’s board of directors and was named to the 2014 AAF Hall of Achievement. When asked by AdWeek how her two teenage kids feel about her success, she said: “When I got my most recent promotion, I came home from work that night and my kids had made dinner, they decorated the front of the house, they had this whole, like, ‘Congratulations, Mommy!’ They had a candlelit dinner and a big card. They're so incredibly supportive, and I think it's really great that they're seeing that and saying, not, ‘Oh, you're not home again’ but like, ‘Hey, you're doing something really cool.’”

Susan Wojcicki

Susan Wojcicki

[News/Media/Advertising]
CEO, YouTube
Children: Five

Susan always knew she wanted two things in life: to have a big family and to do something meaningful. She’s pulled off both with flying colors. This February, the mom-of-five (one a newborn) became CEO of YouTube, a company she helped Google purchase back in 2006 for $1.65 billion. Did we mention she helped launch Google by renting her garage to two PhD students determined to make a great search engine? Even though she was pregnant, she quit her job at Intel to become Google's sixteenth employee. Today, YouTube is a $400 billion juggernaut, counting one billion unique monthly visitors. One of just six women CEOs at the top 100 tech companies in the United States, Susan has said she loves how the medium helps women elevate their careers. At the core of all her drive is her commitment to family—she tries to be home for dinner every night at 6:00 p.m. As she told the Today show: “I try, because I found that if I'm home for dinner, I can get the scoop from my kids on the day. After my kids go to bed, I check email. It's about having that balance."

Lisa Utzschneider *

Lisa Utzschneider *

[News/Media/Advertising]
Senior Vice President, Sales, Americas, Yahoo!
Children: Tess, 7

Yahoo!’s Marissa Mayer poached Lisa from Amazon late last year for her track record of leadership, relationship building and revenue boosting. After joining Amazon in 2008, she rallied advertising business from very little to a revenue stream in the realm of $1 billion in 2015, according to eMarketer. Prior to Amazon, she spent a decade at Microsoft, where she oversaw sales for a division of MSN and spearheaded fundraising and program analysis for the International Rescue Committee, overseeing operations in New York and Hungary to support refugee relief programs. Clearly, she’s a working mom who values relationships of all kinds.

Melinda Gates

Melinda Gates

[Philanthropy]
Businesswoman/Co-Founder and Co-Chair,
the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Children: Jennifer, 18, Rory, 16, and Phoebe, 13

They may be among the richest people in the world, but Melinda and husband Bill have literally set out to change the world with their bounty—to success. Via their 15-year-old foundation and with a focus on education and health, the hands-on couple donates huge amounts of money to charities like the World Health Organization and UNICEF and travels the world to improve circumstances for those less fortunate. They’ve plowed money into immunization programs that have helped to all but eradicated polio and reduced deaths from measles. Melinda recently stood with presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at the International Women’s Day launch of the Clinton Foundation’s No Ceilings: the Full Participation Project, having funded the research behind the report. This data-driven analysis of gender equality spans more than 20 years and 190 countries, outlining ways to level the playing field between the genders, from breastfeeding breaks to constitutional rights and compulsory education. When asked by Fortune to share the best advice she’s ever received, Melinda said: “It is hard for women who have families to juggle work and career and busy lives. On the day I die, I want people to think that I was a great mom and a great family member and a great friend. I care about that more than I care about anything else.” Now that’s what wealth really is.

Rania Al Abdullah *

Rania Al Abdullah *

[Politics]
Queen of Jordan/Human Rights Activist/Author
Children: Crown Prince Hussein bin Al Abdullah, 20, Princess Iman bint Abdullah,
18, Princess Salma bint Abdullah, 14, and Prince Hashem bin Al-Abdullah, 10

Her Majesty Queen Rania is a deeply compassionate philanthropist dedicated to empowering women and children in the Middle East and all over the world. A former Apple employee of Palestinian descent, she’s a modern leader who is highly vocal about human and equal rights in a region where it isn’t a given. Her website is emblazoned with messages promoting the education of children, and her nonprofit Jordan River Foundation (JRF) has helped families access resources to rise out of poverty for 10-plus years. What’s more, she’s been appointed an eminent advocate for UNICEF and honorary chairperson for UNGEI, where she campaigns on behalf of children in need. She’s also held a seat at the Clinton Global Initiative and the World Economic Forum, of which she is a board member. Queen Rania is the author of New York Times best-selling kids’ book The Sandwich Swap, about diversity. In a CNN article, it was revealed that she is active on Twitter, describing herself as "a mum and a wife with a really cool day job.” We totally agree.

Sylvia Mathews Burwell

Sylvia Mathews Burwell

[Politics]
U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services
Children: Helene, 7, and Matthew, 5

Sylvia walks a tightrope as our Secretary of Health and Human Services but somehow does so with the approval of both Democrats and Republicans. She's in charge of 11 agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration, the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Affordable Care Act and services and the enormous Medicare and Medicaid insurance programs. Sylvia was raised in a small town in West Virginia, graduated from Harvard cum laude and became a Rhodes scholar at Oxford. Impressive prior gigs include deputy chief of staff to the President, chief of staff to the Secretary of the Treasury, staff director of the National Economic Council during the Clinton administration, president of the Walmart Foundation, president of global development for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and a board seat at MetLife. Recently, on the Health and Human Services blog, she wrote lovingly about her own children while emphasizing the importance of vaccinations: “In a world of unknowns, we can all make sure that our families don’t have to needlessly suffer from easily preventable diseases. That’s security that every child deserves.”

Kirsten Gillibrand

Kirsten Gillibrand

[Politics]
U.S. Senator, New York (D)
Children: Theodore, 11, and Henry, 6

This powerhouse senator—one of only two women in the U.S. Senate with young children—works tirelessly for women’s causes. With bipartisan support, she sponsored the Campus Accountability and Safety Act; it allows students across the country to report on how their colleges are handling (and mishandling) rape cases, adds funds for training to make sure students who come forward are properly treated and imposes penalties that could amount to up to 1 percent of the college’s budget (for many schools in the millions). The STOCK Act, which she co-authored, demands transparency by making insider trading in Congress clearly and expressly illegal. Determined to protect women in the military and end military sexual assault, she also supports the Military Justice Improvement Act. The recent author of a New York Times best-selling book Off the Sidelines: Speak Up, Be Fearless and Change Your World, she said she wrote the book as a call to action for young women to rise above sexism in the workplace. She told ABC 7 Online: “It’s important for young women reading this book to know they’re not alone. These comments are pervasive in workplaces and that it doesn’t have to mean anything. They can actually push past it and they don’t have to feel demeaned, defined or belittled.”

Nikki Haley

Nikki Haley

[Politics]
Governor, South Carolina (R)
Children: Rena, 16, and Nalin, 13

Fresh into her second term in office as the youngest U.S. governor—and first female governor of South Carolina—Nikki is getting ready to take things, as she recently said in an interview with WYFF 4, “to the next level.” She was born to Sikh immigrants from Punjab, India, and graduated from Clemson University with a political science degree. Before being elected governor, she served in the South Carolina House of Representatives from 2005 to 2010. And she plans on “stepping it up” during her next term. Her state dropped support of the Common Core education standards under her watch, and she intends to make ethics reform a top priority, given her penchant for accountability in politics. But she’s also accountable to her family: In her State of the State address earlier this year, she gave props to her daughters, Rena and Nalin, for taking their time in public life in stride.

Neera Tanden

Neera Tanden

[Politics]
President, Center for American Progress
Children: Ilina, 12, Jaden, 9

Having gained considerable experience in domestic policy from her work in both the Obama and Clinton administrations as well as think tanks, Neera ascended to her current position after serving as COO. It was after the Today show's Matt Lauer asked fellow power mom Mary Barra whether she could run an automotive company and raise kids concurrently that Neera penned a missive on ThinkProgress.org. In it, she both chastised the NBC host and also nodded to the just-convened White House Summit on Working Families, which her organization co-hosted and where a thousand advocates, business leaders, policy makers, workers and Working Mother brainstormed “about how to drag public policy and public sentiment into the 21st century.” The fact that Neera used the term “drag” defines the root of the problem. Ready for the solution, she’s backing Hillary Clinton’s current bid for the White House. She also wrote a powerful piece last summer about the plight of the working mom for the National Journal: “I'm fully aware that I would not be heading the Center for American Progress, as a mother of two, without being so lucky in my husband and former boss. I had the chance to step up in my career when my kids were young, not step back. That's impossible for most women in the U.S.”

Angela Ahrendts

Angela Ahrendts

[Retail/Manufacturing]
Senior Vice President of Retail and Online Stores, Apple
Children: Jennings, 19, Sommer, 18, and Angelina, 14

There’s a lot of power in heading up the ubiquitous Apple $20 billion retail operation—especially with the launch of the new Apple watch—but as former CEO of Burberry, Angela was quite prepared to promote a huge product launch from a legacy brand with panache. Having earned a reported $73 million in her first year at Apple, the Apple Watch launch was a test of Angela’s mettle. The first new product offering since the iPad, Angela didn’t launch it in their retail stores. Instead she made its purchase available online only, elevating it to a luxury accoutrement available to try on at exclusive retailers around the world, like Colette in Paris—and drawing lines around the block. Along with big launches, this Midwestern-born workmom is big into family. In an interview with Makers, she said family has always come first: “If I’m a better mother, if I’m a happy wife and my husband’s happy, I will be a better executive and the company will win.”

Mary Barra

Mary Barra

[Retail/Manufacturing]
CEO, General Motors
Children: Son, 17, daughter, 16

Mary has always been driven towards the automobile industry—literally. At GM for 34 years, she started as an 18-year-old co-op student at the Pontiac Motor division of General Motors Institute (now Kettering University), where she earned a degree in electrical engineering and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. in 2014, she saw some ups and downs in her first year as the first female CEO of GM. Although CNN reports she made $16.2 million last year, she was scrutinized for a GM faulty ignition switch scandal that led to a recall costing the company $4 billion and has been tied to as many as 87 deaths. She apologized for how GM executives failed to recall the cars, set up a $500 million compensation fund for recall victims and their families and called for an independent investigation into what she termed a "fundamental failure,” leading to the dismissal of 15 executives. Of her dedication to the industry, Mary recently told Fortune: “If you are doing something you are passionate about, you are just naturally going to succeed, and a lot of other things will happen that you don’t need to worry about. There are so many opportunities and choices that women can make or anyone can make about what they do. Do something you are passionate about. Life is too short.”

Rosalind Brewer

Rosalind Brewer

[Retail/Manufacturing]
President and CEO, Sam’s Club, a Division of Walmart
Children: One son and one daughter

Rosalind makes our list time and again for her exemplary leadership—she was cited by Fortune as one of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business for the past several years and will speak at the 2015 Forbes Women’s Summit. The first woman and first African American to become CEO at Sam’s Club, she began her career as an organic chemist at Kimberly-Clark, where she worked for more than 20 years. In her current position since 2012, Roz has been striving to expand Sam’s Club offerings, adding organic items to meet the changing needs of restaurants and also expanding offerings from private labels. She’s also guiding the retailer toward expanding its online presence, integrating stores and e-commerce, and implementing consumer-friendly mobile payment processing. When asked by Capital Style for the best business tip she could offer, she said: “Lead with your gut. Usually my gut doesn’t steer me wrong. It’s that initial reaction to something that’s likely the right reaction. Then I usually follow it up with numbers and all the other things that are important. But my gut usually tells me what to do next.”

Helena Foulkes*

Helena Foulkes *

[Retail/Manufacturing]
President, CVS Pharmacy, and EVP, CVS Health
Children: Four

This mom is committed to making the country a healthier place—and she’s literally put her money where her mouth is. As president of CVS’s $65.6 billion retail business, Helena is in charge of more than 7,700 pharmacies serving some 5 million people. Having been at CVS for 20 years, she grew the retailer into the largest pharmacy health care provider in the States. Helena made CVS the first pharmacy chain to stop selling tobacco products (though the risk was a loss of $2 billion in revenue) and rebranded the chain CVS Health. Of this commitment, Helena told Fortune: “I think a lot of times making a business decision is like being a marathoner. In other words, you know what the finish line is that you really want to get to but, along the way, it’s not always pure joy. There are really hard moments. But if you keep your eye on the prize, it’s part of what drives you to get there.”

Gisel Ruiz *

Gisel Ruiz *

[Retail/Manufacturing]
EVP, Walmart International
Children: Two

Gisel’s inspiring career trajectory shows a rise to the C-suite through hard work and determination. Her career at Walmart began in 1992 as a store management trainee and eventually led to her being responsible for 350 employees. Although her father never went to school and her mother never made it past middle school, their support allowed Gisel to focus on her studies. As she said in an interview with the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR): “All while I was growing up, they had an amazing passion for ensuring that my sister and I got set up for success, especially through education.” It certainly worked: Today, as EVP of Walmart International, Gisel is dedicated to giving back through various diversity and mentorship programs. As she told HACR: “Looking back there were so many people in my career who chose to help me, who chose to support me, and took the time to do that because they had an interest in me. It’s more of a personal responsibility than a professional one. It really is about giving back considering what you’ve received.”

Safra Catz

Safra Catz

[Tech/Science]
President and CEO, Oracle
Children: Two

The world’s top paid female exec and CFO—to the tune of $44.3 million in total compensation—Safra got promoted last year to Oracle co-CEO alongside Mark Hurd after the company's longtime founder stepped down to executive chairman position. This puts Safra in charge of all manufacturing, finance and legal decisions. First joining Oracle as senior VP in 1999, Safra worked her way up to executive VP within seven short months and became president by 2004. She served as Oracle’s interim CFO from November 2005 to September 2008, only to return in 2011 as full-time CFO. Born in Israel to a nuclear physicist and Holocaust survivor, Safra had done her share of big banking deals before Oracle at investment bank Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette. But she's not one to be interested in the spotlight. In a recent Business Insider interview, partner Mark Hurd revealed what it’s like to work with her: “When you work with someone like Safra who is smart, knows the business, is a fierce competitor, is easy to work with, it is a hell of lot easier than doing these jobs alone. I love every minute.”

Renée James *

Renée James *

[Tech/Science]
President, Intel
Children: Two

Renée is co-leading the $52 billion dollar company through a change, receding from PCs and targeting growth segments like wearable technology, gaming and mobile computing, according to Forbes. During her quarter-century tenure, she's worked her way up the ropes from technical assistant to chief executive Andy Grove—an anomaly because she held an MBA instead of an engineering background. She eventually led the company's strategic expansion into services for applications in security, cloud-based computing and smartphones. Earlier this year, she announced Intel’s $300 million investment in training and recruiting female and other groups of under-represented computer scientists. She also holds a spot on President Obama's National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee, along with another of our power moms, showrunner Shonda Rhimes. Of the glaring lack of women in tech, she told the India Times: “It's as difficult today for a woman in tech to progress in her career as it was 25 years ago. In some ways it is harder. The business has got bigger; it's a force in the world of growth. In many countries, IT is a pillar of growth and attracts a lot more competitive talent. Plus, there aren't more women coming out of engineering on a percentage basis for the top jobs.”

Lori Lee *

Lori Lee *

[Tech/Science]
Senior EVP & Global Marketing Officer, AT&T Children: Two

At AT&T since 1997, Lori was promoted to the top marketing officer spot after Cathy Coughlin stepped down just last month. Prior to that, Lori managed the $23 billion Home Solutions division, boosting high-speed Internet and including all consumer wireline services as well as U-Verse, AT&T’s fastest-growing unit. Lori was also a key player in the $48.5 billion bid for DirecTV in May. Originally from Springfield, MO, Fortune named her one of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business in 2014. She's also a board member of the National Film Institute. Lori is all business—she keeps her personal life offline—but in light of how much she’s accomplished, who could blame her?

Marissa Mayer

Marissa Mayer

[Tech/Science]
CEO, Yahoo!
Children: Macallister, 2

Since Marissa assumed the role of CEO, Yahoo! has undergone a complete metamorphosis—and it seems she's got more changes in store. She led the build-out of its content verticals, rebuilt and relaunched its email app, bought mobile apps and integrated them into the company’s big picture—and on and on. This is Marissa’s forté, as she led the development of Google's most successful products for 13 years, putting her stamp on the search engine’s look and feel. At the time of her Yahoo! appointment in 2012, she was one of only 20 female CEOs at the helm of a Fortune 500 company. In a field dominated by men, she never saw herself as a minority, telling Business Insider: “The moment you play into that, it's an issue... In technology we live at a rare, fast-moving pace. There are probably industries where gender is more of an issue, but our industry is not one where I think that's relevant.”

Theresia Gouw Ranzetta

Theresia Gouw Ranzetta

[Tech/Science]
Partner, Aspect Ventures/Entrepreneur
Children: Two

Theresia returns to our list for her continued entrepreneurial savvy and determination to rise above gender bias in venture capitalism. After all, women get what women buy, and since more than 50 percent of many mobile and social services target women, the benefit of female investors on the board of a new venture should be obvious. An engineer, an experienced entrepreneur and a successful investor in the mobile space, Theresia co-founded Aspect Ventures after being a partner at Accel for 15 years and with IPOs for companies like Trulia, Birchbox and LearnVest under her belt. On the boards of several private and public companies, she was the founding VP of business development and sales at the venture-backed company Release Software. Before that, she worked at Bain & Company and as a product manager at Silicon Graphics. If her current workload (and chasing after two young kids) weren’t enough, she serves as a fellow on Brown University’s corporation board, vice-chair of DonorsChoose.org and a co-teacher of a Stanford University course on venture capital. "The fastest way to make cultural change," Theresa told CNBC, "is when you see something that is not being met in the marketplace is to go out there and start your own firm."

Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl Sandberg

[Tech/Science]
COO, Facebook/Author
Children: Two sons, 8 and 6

She joined Facebook in 2008, when it was yet to be fiscally sound. But the tremendous power and influence Sheryl has built in the meantime is undeniable. The best-selling author of Lean In is also building a movement toward gender equality in the workplace. And just a few months ago, she launched a new initiative, “Lean In Together,” targeting men and their role in the gender equality equation. Her conversation with Nate Silver from FiveThirtyEight best explains her point: “When we get to more equality in our homes we have happier marriages, happier relationships and more successful, happier and healthier children.” In a very recent interview with USA Today, she called working fathers to action: "We have to recognize that people are both workers and a lot of them are also parents. We need to make work, work for parents. As a society we don't do that well.” Very sadly, Sheryl's working-father husband, SurveyMonkey CEO Dave Goldberg, passed away suddenly due to a head trauma on May 1. She called him “...my best friend...and the love of my life” as well as a 50/50 partner in “Lean In.” Our hearts go out to Sheryl and her family.

Gwynne Shotwell *

Gwynne Shotwell *

[Tech/Science]
President and COO, SpaceX
Children: Two teenagers

With the world watching as Falcon 9 (a reusable rocket) tested and crashed recently due to a slow throttle valve response, Space X has recently come under the spotlight—just as its fearless leader makes our list. Gwynne runs the day-to-day operations of the commercial space exploration company and manages more than $5 billion in contracts, including a $1.6 billion contract with NASA to deliver supplies to the International Space Station. Her background is in math and mechanical engineering, and she admits she didn’t even so much as watch Star Trek as a kid. Before joining Space X, she spent 10 years at Aerospace Corporation and after was director of Microcosm Inc.'s space systems division. According to an interview she did with the Northwestern alumni magazine, Gwynne volunteers with cancer patients and spends what limited down time she has cooking, reading and watching movies with husband Robert, an engineer at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology, and their two children.

Katie Jacobs Stanton

Katie Jacobs Stanton

[Tech/Science]
Vice President of Global Media, Twitter
Children: Ellie, 14, and Declan and Caleigh, 12

Talk about influence: Katie is the woman behind the relationships Twitter has with your favorite TV show or sports team. After Twitter media chief, Chloe Sladden, left the company last summer, Katie took over her duties while maintaining her own, becoming the head liaison to a range of industries including television, sports and music to forge better connections between networks and fans. At Twitter for four years, she previously worked at Yahoo! and Google and spent time in the political realm, at the White House under President Obama and the State Department under Secretary Clinton. Katie is vocal about the gender divide that still exists in Silicon Valley and took to Medium to vent about missing a sacred family dinner to attend the Crunchie awards—only to witness a few interactions that depicted a public lack of respect for women. “Silicon Valley has so much talent and there is a lot of innovation to celebrate,” she wrote. “But last night was no celebration. It was a dismal reminder of how much work we still have to do.” Here’s to female tech pioneers like Katie who insist on changing the landscape.

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