50 Most Powerful Moms of 2013 | Working Mother

50 Most Powerful Moms of 2013

These 50 American moms hold real power—in fact, they generate it on a daily basis through their talent, influence, status, money and intellectual capital. But even more so, each of these women have exhibited the strength to overcome tremendous obstacles, the insight to innovate and inspire, and the passion and courage to go against the grain to change the lives of others for the better. Working Mother’s 50 Most Powerful Moms of 2013 (each of whom have at least one child under age 18) measure up in these ways and so many more.

Angela Ahrendts

Angela Ahrendts

[Fashion/Beauty]

CEO of Burberry Group

Children: Jennings, 17, **Sommer, 16, **Angelina, 12

As CEO of Burberry since 2006, Angela played an instrumental role in transforming the brand from stodgy trench-coat purveyor into an award-winning young luxury label with a widened scope of stylish offerings, actively promoting it through social media. The Indiana native moved to New York after college to begin her climb up the executive ranks. She was president of Donna Karan International from 1989 to 1996, where she gained luxury, wholesale, international and licensing experience. She was also EVP of Henri Bendel and Claiborne Inc. When asked about how her family’s move to London was faring, she told Newsweek/Daily Beast, “It’s fun when you have kids, because you get to play the ‘kids card’!”

Christiane Amanpour

Christiane Amanpour

[Media]

Chief International Correspondent for CNN

Children: Darius, 13

With a career spanning three decades, Christiane is considered one of the most influential and respected journalists in the world. She is CNN’s chief international correspondent; anchor of Amanpour, a nightly foreign affairs program on CNN International; and global affairs anchor for ABC News, anchoring primetime documentaries on international subjects. She’s interviewed most of the world’s top leaders—having taken huge leaps from her first gig as entry-level assistant at CNN’s assignment desk in Atlanta. Christiane has earned every prestigious award in journalism and is also Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) and an Honorary Citizen of the City of Sarajevo for her “personal contribution to spreading the truth.”

Kristin Armstrong

Kristin Armstrong

[Sports]

Professional Road Bicycle Racer, Two-time Olympic Gold Medalist

Children: Lucas William, 3

She's faster than your average mom, having raced her way to gold in two consecutive Olympic summer games (2008, 2012). Born to a military family, she was raised in Tennessee and went to high school in Japan. At 17, she became a Junior Olympian in swimming and an accomplished triathlete who competed in the Ironman World Championship. She was derailed when diagnosed with osteoarthritis of the hips—a painful and often debilitating condition. Undeterred, Kristin simply switched to cycling and ultimately excelled. Along with Olympic gold, she also counts three World Titles and Five National Championships among her accomplishments. A graduate of the University of Idaho, she was a project manager at an ad agency for a time.

Mary Barra

Mary Barra

[Retail/Manufacturing]

Senior Vice President of Global Product Development for GM

Children: Son, 16, Daughter, 14

A lifelong employee of GM, this ardent lover of cars was born into the business. Her dad spent 39 years as a die maker at Pontiac, and at age 18 she was a co-op student at the Pontiac Motor division of General Motors Institute. She’s been responsible for the design, engineering, program management and quality of GM cars worldwide since 2011. She’s also on the Executive Operations Committee and the Adam Opel AG Supervisory Board. This passion for wheels is truly genetic: In 2011 she told an interviewer her kids can’t wait to drive the cars she makes—at least the fast ones! "We had to tell him [her son], the odds of you having the Camaro when you're 16 probably are pretty small."

Beyoncé

Beyoncé

[Entertainment]

Singer, Actress, Mogul

Children: Blue Ivy, 1

Arguably the hardest working mom in show biz, Queen Bey earns a spot on our list for her long list of accomplishments in the music industry, undeniable drive and relentless talent. After giving birth to daughter Blue Ivy last year (Dad is music mogul Jay-Z), this Grammy-winning superstar sang at our President’s second inauguration, performed a dazzling half-time show at the Super Bowl, released a self-produced HBO documentary, dropped a new album, Mrs. Carter (Jay-Z’s real name is Sean Carter), and embarked on a world tour underscored by a $50 million Pepsi endorsement deal—and the year isn’t even half over!

Sara Blakely

Sara Blakely

[Fashion/Beauty]

Billionaire Founder of Spanx

Children: Lazer, 3

Sara is proof positive a great idea can make a billion if you believe in it. A former sales trainer and stand-up comedian, she developed Spanx with $5,000 of her own money—without ever taking a business class. Neiman Marcus scooped up the product, and today Spanx is worth more than $1 billion, with more than 100 styles endorsed by scores of red-carpet celebs. Eager to pay it forward, Sara**** established the Sara Blakely Foundation, raising $20 million for women’s causes. The mom of a young son, she told us: “Take the time to think and then prioritize. Delegate what’s not essential for you to do, map out your schedule weekly, and always include alone time for yourself.”

Rosalind Brewer

Rosalind Brewer

[Retail/Manufacturing]

President and CEO of Walmart/Sam’s Club

Children: One Son, One Daughter

The first woman__ and first African American CEO of Sam’s Club, Rosalind was cited by Fortune as one of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business for the past three years. Previously, she was president of Sam’s Club U.S. East business unit. She began her career as an organic chemist at Kimberly-Clark, where she worked for more than 20 years, rising to president of the nonwoven fabrics business. Roz believes in mentoring women and has established a fund for first-generation college students. “I feel pretty confident that I’m going to make Sam’s successful, but I’m less confident the generation behind me has everything they need to be prepared,” she said recently. “I want to make sure that I make a difference and have an impact.”

Gisele Bundchen

Gisele Bundchen

[Fashion/Beauty]

Supermodel, Environmentalist

Children: Stepson John, 5, Benjamin Rein, 2, Vivian Lake, infant

Bringing the “super” to supermodel in even the most candid of vacation photos, Gisele recently rode an ATV with newborn daughter Vivian strapped on in a baby carrier! The native Brazilian moved to Boston to support her husband, New England Patriot’s quarterback Tom Brady. Her endless list of endorsements, business ventures and modeling jobs have deemed her the world’s richest supermodel and, according to Forbes, the thirty-sixth most powerful celebrity—at the ripe old age of 32. As ambassador for the U.N. Environmental Program, she headed an initiative to plant some 50,000 trees in her native Brazil and spoke out about sustainable energy in Kenya.

Tory Burch

Tory Burch

[Fashion/Beauty]

Billionaire Designer

Children: Nick and Henry, 15, Sawyer, 12

Not every fashion designer can instantly establish an iconic brand, but Tory Burch did—in record time. She launched her namesake line from her kitchen in 2004 and now has 82 stores worldwide, with 35 more slated to open this year. Her handbags, shoes, jewelry and preppy-boho tunics are de rigueur among ladies about town. Divorced from the father of her children and former business partner, Chris Burch, she’s newly minted to this year’s list of Forbes World Billionaires. She was named 2008 CFDA Accessory Designer of the Year and 2005 Rising Star by Fashion Group International. Her Tory Burch Foundation supports the economic empowerment of women and families through mentoring women-owned small businesses.

Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey

[Entertainment/Literature]

Singer, Actress, Fragrance Mogul

Children: Twins Monroe and Morrocan, 2

As if selling more than 100 million albums worldwide, judging contestants on American Idol (for which she reportedly earned $18 million), earning praise for her work as an actress (Precious) and parenting twins isn’t enough to keep her sufficiently busy, this music icon has proven a formidable force in the fragrance business, with a whopping 12 brands under her belt for Elizabeth Arden. Upon the recent launch of No. 12, Dreams, she told People, “I humbly call myself a ‘perfumer-in-training’ because I love it so much.” And from all accounts, she should! Her fragrance line is a cash cow, adding millions to her bank account each year.

Safra Catz

Safra Catz

[Technology]

President and CFO of Oracle

Children: Two Kids

Safra is currently the highest paid woman in America, earning more than $51 million yearly over the past few years, according to CNNMoney. She completed more than 85 acquisitions within the last five years alone. Born in Israel to a Holocaust survivor, Safra’s family settled in Brookline, MA, when she was 6. She worked her way up at computer tech company Oracle, where she’s been CFO, EVP and SVP. Prior to Oracle, she was managing director of investment bank Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette. She currently resides in Redwood City, CA, and rarely gives interviews. According to an article on Bloomberg.com, she “protects her privacy so ferociously that few who know her will talk about her.”

Suzanne Collins

Suzanne Collins

[Entertainment/Literature]

Author of the Hunger Games Series

Children: 2 Kids

A former writer for children’s television, this talented and wildly successful writer mom worked on Clarissa Explains it All and Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! before trying her hand at children’s books. Her first series, The Underland Chronicles, sold well enough to pave the way for her next series, the multimillion-selling book and movie series, the_ Hunger Games._ Now living in Connecticut with her husband and two children, Suzanne seems to favor a low, grounded profile. We’ll see if she can keep that going when her new book, Year of the Jungle, hits shelves sometime this year!

Barbara Corcoran

Barbara Corcoran

[Media]

**** Real Estate Entrepreneur, Expert Media Commentator, Shark Tank Investor, Author

Children: Tommy, 19, Katie, 7

Her name has become synonymous with her industry—real estate. She launched her empire in 1973 with a $1000 loan, creating a $5 billion business that she sold in 2001 for $66 million. The author of three business books, Barbara frequently talks real estate on Today and is a featured “shark” investor on NBC’s Shark Tank. She became a first-time mom at 45; she’s now 64 and told Kiplinger she felt she had to establish herself professionally before becoming a mother: "When I go home at night, I'm focused on my family. I build these 'time walls' so that the minute I walk in the door at home, I'm not texting, emailing or taking work calls."

Katie Couric

Katie Couric

[Media]

Host of Katie, News Journalist, Author

Children: Ellie, 21, Carrie, 16

Currently host of her eponymous daytime talk show, she’s a former co-host of Today—_beloved for her mix of congeniality and hard-hitting interviews. She anchored ABC’s _Dateline and from 2006 to 2011 was the first solo female anchor of the CBS Evening News. After losing husband Jay Monahan to colon cancer in 1998, Katie advocated and raised millions for research. She’s also written a bestselling children’s book and compiled essays for The Best Advice I Ever Got, in which she shares how she taught her kids the value of first impressions: “Showing your children how to properly shake a person's hand, look someone in the eye and be polite to everyone will help them now and later in life.”

Christine Day

Christine Day

[Fashion/Beauty]

CEO of Lululemon Athletica

Children: Three Kids, 27, 24, 13

It’s only natural that this hiker, biker and yoga aficionado runs a sportswear company that encourages employees to downward dog during business hours. Christine joined lululemon as EVP of retail operations in January 2008 and just five months later was named CEO. She oversees the brand’s aggressive growth—37 percent, or $1.4 billion, in 2012 alone. She came to lululemon after 20 years at Starbucks, holding key senior positions like president of the Asia Pacific Group of Starbucks Coffee International and SVP, North American Finance and Administration. Christine lives near lululemon HQ in Vancouver, Canada, with her husband and the youngest of their three children.

Mary Callahan Erdoes

Mary Callahan Erdoes

[Finance]

CEO of JP Morgan

Children: Three Kids, 11, 9, 6

As the leader of JP Morgan Asset Management since September 2009, Mary is one of the most powerful women on Wall Street, presiding over $1 trillion in investments. She joined the company in 1996, as the head of Fixed Income for high-net-worth individuals, foundations and endowments. According to Forbes, she favors the term “work life integration” over “work life balance,” as one who picks her kids up from school and then heads right back to the office. She was once quoted as saying, “There is a little luck along the way, but there is no substitute for really ­super-hard work, first in, last out.”

Tina Fey

Tina Fey

[Entertainment/Literature]

Tina Fey

Writer, Actress, Producer

Children: Alice, 7, Penelope, 1

Brilliant. That’s the first adjective that pops into mind when considering Tina Fey: Golden Globe co-host, New York Times bestselling author, writer, dead-on Palin impressionist, 30 Rock producer/showrunner and film actress extraordinaire. The first woman to become head writer at Saturday Night Live, this comedy-icon mom of two paved the way for the current wave of female-driven TV comedy. But what we love most about her is how whip-smart her work is. Now focused on film roles, she stars in Admission and has an upcoming role in The Muppets…Again! We’re looking forward to the cheap thrill of cheering her on from the cheap seats.

Michèle Flournoy

Michèle Flournoy

[Politics]

Co-Founder and **Co-Chair of the Board of Directors, Center for a New American Security (CNAS)******

Children: Three Kids

A day in the office for this working mom centers on our nation’s safety. As board co-chair for CNAS, Michèle leads a nonpartisan think tank that forms our nation’s national security policies. She’s also senior advisor at the Boston Consulting Group, the world’s leading advisor on business strategy. As U.S. under secretary of defense for policy, she earned numerous awards and accolades from the secretary of defense and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff but left her demanding post in 2012 to spend more time with her children. In an interview with NPR, she explained: “There was a point in time, when my older kids were reaching the teenage years, that they really needed more of a parent.”

Michelle Gass

Michelle Gass

[Retail/Manufacturing]

President of Starbucks, Europe, Middle East, Africa

Children: Megan, 14, Will, 10

Since 2011, Michelle is charged with spearheading Starbucks’ vast expansion across her regions. She’s been with the coffee giant since 1996, holding a variety of leadership roles in global strategy, marketing and category management. Her first position: marketing manager of Frappuccino, now a $2 billion brand. Michelle previously held a marketing and development position with Procter & Gamble. She now lives in London but, as she told the Lewiston-Auburn Sun Journal, she’s still a down-to-earth Mainer: “The Maine work ethic is still deep inside me. One of the things I strive to be is a very approachable leader, a real person. I want everybody to feel very comfortable that they can talk to me about everything.”

Gabrielle Giffords

Gabrielle Giffords

[Politics]

Gun Control Activist, Former U.S. Congresswoman

Children: Stepkids Claudia and Claire Kelly

This U.S. representative from Arizona was at a supermarket meet and greet two years ago when she was shot point blank in the head. She miraculously survived, and though sustained injuries forced her to step down from Congress, she founded Americans for Responsible Solutions, a nonprofit focused on ending gun violence. Senators recently failed to pass legislation that would make it more difficult for citizens to purchase assault rifles, but Gaby’s resolve is palpable. She wrote in a recent New York Times op-ed piece, “I will not rest until we have righted the wrong these senators have done, and until we have changed our laws so we can look parents in the face and say: We are trying to keep your children safe.”

Kirsten Gillibrand

Kirsten Gillibrand

[Politics]

U.S. Senator, New York

Children: Theodore, 9, Henry, 4

Every mom strives to teach accountability, and this one truly lives it. Having freshly commenced her second Senate term, she’s the first member of Congress to post her official public schedule and personal finances online, earning kudos from peers and the press. She advocated for the STOCK Act, which bans insider trading by Congress members, and led the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.” With two young sons, she has a vested interest in quality health care and affordable child care. “I understand some of the challenges women face, like affordable day care, quality early childhood education and keeping our families safe,” she told us. “I bring that lens to work every day.”

Margaret Hamburg

Margaret Hamburg

[Politics]

**Commissioner of the **Food and Drug Administration (FDA)****

Children: Two Kids

The second woman to be nominated FDA commissioner, Margaret regulates what amounts to 25 cents of every dollar American consumers spend on things like drugs, devices, dietary supplements, tobacco products, food, cosmetics and medicines. She was the first health commissioner of New York City to have children while in office, and her name appears twice on her kids’ birth certificates—as mom and health commissioner! She’s faced working-mom compromise, having denied President Clinton’s newly created post of federal AIDS coordinator because she was pregnant, but she went on to become his assistant secretary for Policy and Evaluation at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services—an instrumental step toward her current appointment.

Melanie Healey

Melanie Healey

[Retail/Manufacturing]

Group President of P&G

Children: Two Teenagers

This Rio de Janeiro native joined P&G in 1990 as a soap brand manager in Brazil, working her way up to head of the feminine care division. Today, she leads a $9 billion business with a 38 percent share of the global market. According to Forbes, P&G stock rose 17.5 percent since she became group president in 2007. Melanie’s also been brand manager for both SC Johnson and Johnson & Johnson in Brazil. On LeanIn.org, she encourages working moms to “set limits and clearly articulate them” to superiors, recalling how, shortly after the birth of her son, she’d asked a new boss if she could leave each day at 6 p.m.: “This takes courage, but it is also liberating and empowering, and often earns you new respect.”

Kerri Walsh Jennings

Kerri Walsh Jennings

[Sports]

Professional Beach Volleyball Player, Three-time Olympic Gold Medalist

Children: Joseph Michael, 4, Sundance Thomas, 3, Scout Marjory, Infant

For Kerri, good things come in threes—she won her third consecutive beach volleyball gold medal in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games while pregnant with her third child, born just last month. She won her first gold after pairing up with her idol, Misty May-Trainor, in 2004, and the two twice took gold again. This brainy California girl graduated from high school as a sophomore and went on to attend Stanford University. Married to top men’s beach volleyball player Casey Jennings, she recently shared her thoughts with us about being a strong working mom: “Just don’t stop doing what you love. Try to incorporate everything you love alongside everything you love about being a mom.”

Laurene Powell Jobs

Laurene Powell Jobs

[Technology]

Philanthropist, Founder and Chair of the Emerson Collective

Children: Reed, 22, Erin, 17, Eve 15

With an estimated net worth of $9 billion, the widow of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs could do anything she wants—but Laurene remains dedicated to improving education. She founded the Emerson Collective, a nonprofit that funds strategic educational reform efforts around the globe. She’s also on the boards of the New America Foundation and Teach for America and funded “The Dream Is Now,” a website featuring videos of immigrants who could benefit from passage of the Dream Act. Once a fixed-income trading strategist at Goldman Sachs, she told Walter Isaacson, her husband’s biographer, “My relationship with money is that it’s a tool to be self-sufficient, but it’s not something that is a part of who I am.”

Abigail Johnson

Abigail Johnson

[Finance]

President of Fidelity Financial Services

Children: Two Kids

This power mom, with a net worth estimated by the Bloomberg Billionaires index at $10 billion, was born to know money. Just last year, she took over as President of Fidelity Financial Services, the business her grandfather built some 66 years prior. She oversees asset management, retail and institutional brokerage, and retirement and benefits services, reporting to her father, Edward Crosby Johnson III. The Boston native worked her way up the family business ladder, answering phones in customer service as a teen, becoming a stock analyst in 1988, senior vice president 10 years later and president of investment services by 2001.

Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie

[Entertainment/Literature]

Actress, UN Ambassador, Entrepreneur

Children: Maddox, 11, Pax, 9, Zahara, 8, Shiloh, 6, Twins Knox and Vivienne, 4

An Oscar-winning actress, humanitarian and mom of six, Angelina may have the world watching her ring finger, but when it comes to advocating for human rights, she’s not afraid to get her hands dirty. When she’s not asking G8 foreign ministers to help stop rape in conflict zones or pledging some $200,000 to support the education of women in Pakistan, she’s travelling the world with her brood and her partner, actor Brad Pitt. Even with her jet-set lifestyle, certain parenting experiences are universal. As she recently told Total Film: “The great thing about having a bunch of kids is they just remind you that you’re the person who takes them to go poop!”

Ellen Kullman

Ellen Kullman

[Retail/Manufacturing]

CEO and Chair of the Board of DuPont

Children: One Daughter, Two Sons

Ellen has been with DuPont for more than 25 years, and CEO and board chair since 2009. She was first hired as marketing manager in 1988 and rose through the ranks to become EVP in 2006. She’s also a trustee at Tufts University and on the board of overseers at Tufts University School of Engineering, where she’s noticed an uptick in gender balance. “I look at engineering schools today and they enroll 20 to 30 percent women as opposed to there just being three of us when I attended,” she told Leaders online. To further this trend, Ellen sits on the board of Change the Equation, a coalition of more than 100 CEOs committed to improving math and science learning for U.S. Pre-K through 12 students.

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

[Entertainment/Literature]

Pulitzer Prize–Winning Author

Children: Two Kids

Once referred to by the Financial Times as “the most influential writer of fiction in America,” Jhumpa was born in London to parents from India, and much of her work explores the experience of first-generation children. Raised in Rhode Island and currently living in New York City, this academic scholar won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the Hemingway Foundation/PEN award for her first collection of short stories, Interpreter of Maladies. Her first novel, The Namesake, was made into a movie. Her highly anticipated second novel, The Lowland, hits shelves this September. Of writing and motherhood, she told The Atlantic, “I write whenever I have time to myself. It's getting more and more complicated.”

Julie Larson-Green

Julie Larson-Green

[Technology]

Corporate VP of the Windows Experience at Microsoft

Children: Two Kids

Responsible for the design interface of Windows 8, Julie’s a 19-year Microsoft veteran—the majority of her career spent creating the ultimate user experience. Prior to her current gig, she was program manager in Development Tools and Languages and led program management efforts for Microsoft Office FrontPage. She started her career in tech support at Aldus, creator of the PageMaker desktop publishing software, taught herself to program and started supporting developers within a year. Julie told Glamour, “Tech can solve anything we put our minds to. I always like to say that it’s chic to be a geek.” She lives in her home state of Washington with her husband and children.

Jennifer Lopez

Jennifer Lopez

[Entertainment/Literature]

Singer, Actress, Fashion Mogul

Children: Twins Max and Emme, 5

This Bronx-born powerhouse mama is constantly challenging herself as an actress, singer, dancer, producer and fashion mogul. After leaving her $20 million post as an American Idol judge this year, she’s back in the studio cranking out her tenth album and found time to lend her voice to the kids’ film Epic, due out May 24. As co-chair of Global Mom Relay, an endeavor by the Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA) to bring greater medical access to mothers in the developing world, she said parents just have one vital responsibility: “You just have to love your child unconditionally, which is a truly natural thing that happens, and just do the best you can.”

Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Julia Louis-Dreyfus

**[Entertainment//Literature]******

Actress, Producer, Environmentalist

Children: Henry, 21, Charles, 15

Star and producer of the HBO comedy Veep, Julia has won three Emmys, a Golden Globe and five Screen Actor’s Guild awards. She got her show-biz start on Saturday Night Live. Then came films like Hannah and Her Sisters, and then her career-defining role of Elaine on Seinfeld. She also produced and starred in sitcoms Watching Ellie and The New Adventures of Old Christine. Motherhood inspired her to become a passionate environmentalist—she designed a green home and works with organizations like the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). As she told WebMD, “As soon as I gave birth, I suddenly noticed issues in my own backyard. Motherhood changed everything for me.”

Joy Marcus

Joy Marcus

[Finance]

Partner at DFJ Gotham Ventures

Children: Two Kids

As partner at this venture capital firm since 2011, Joy led the seed investment in Dailyworth, a digital media enterprise dedicated to enriching the financial lives of women. Just prior she was general manager for video-sharing website DailyMotion, increasing the site’s U.S. audience four-fold. Joy also served as SVP Global Marketing at Time Warner, VP of Business Development at BN.com and in-house counsel at MTV Networks. A board member of the nonprofit Young Audiences New York, she recently shared this girl-power message on Women 2.0: “Girls, repeat after me ‘I’m great’ and keep repeating it until you believe it. You will need this in the halls of middle school, high school and college parties, at your first pitch meeting with an investor and all subsequent board meetings.”

Marissa Mayer

Marissa Mayer

[Media]

CEO of Yahoo!

Children: Macallister, 7 months

Former colleague and Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt described Marissa in Time’s 100 Most Influential People as “a pathmaker and trailblazer and an inspiration to women everywhere.” Her controversial ban on telecommuting at Yahoo! was rebuked by many—including us—and her recent announcement upping company paid parental leave didn’t erase the misstep. But there’s no denying her impressive list of accomplishments. Currently the youngest head of a Fortune 500 company and a new mom, Marissa was VP of Google, where she was the first female engineer they hired. She told NPR, “That feeling … ‘what have I gotten myself into?’ I realized that sometimes when you have that feeling and you push through it, something really great happens.”

Melissa McCarthy

Melissa McCarthy

**[Entertainment/Literature]******

Actor, Writer, Director

Children: Vivian, 5, Georgette, 3

This farmer’s daughter from Plainfield, IL, spent many years just under the radar, honing her craft in the L.A. comedy troupe The Groundlings and acing supporting roles in Gilmore Girls and Samantha Who? Her commitment to comedy finally broke through the Hollywood noise in 2011, when she won a lead-actress Emmy award for Mike & Molly and an Oscar nod for her hilarious role in Bridesmaids. Fresh off a white-hot turn as host of Saturday Night Live, Melissa is currently shooting the film Tammy with Susan Sarandon and co-stars with Sandra Bullock in the upcoming The Heat, due out June 28. She’s also busy writing and developing film projects with her husband, writer/comedian Ben Falcone.

Sherilyn McCoy

Sherilyn McCoy

[Fashion/Beauty]

CEO of Avon, Scientist

Children: Three Sons

Keeping a heritage brand modern can be a challenge, particularly after difficulties with a predecessor. But Sheri is hard at work turning things around. As reported in the Wall Street Journal, she “embarked on an ambitious turnaround plan that includes wringing out $400 million in costs, sharply increasing sales and almost doubling operating margins within three years.” Sheri’s well equipped; last year Forbes ranked her the thirty-ninth most powerful woman in the world. Before Avon, she spent 30 years at Johnson & Johnson, many as vice chairman of the Executive Committee, in charge of the pharmaceutical and consumer business segments. A native of Quincy, MA, this science- and business-educated maven holds four U.S. patents.

Stephenie Meyer

Stephenie Meyer

[Entertainment/Literature]

**Twilight Series Author, **Producer, Director****

Children: Three Sons

This hot, hot scribe began her most successful business venture as a stay-at-home writer mom, literally channeling her Twilight protagonists from a dream and writing furiously during nap breaks and after bedtime. Writer’s House took a chance on the proposal and the rest, as they say, is history: The Twilight franchise, with four books and five movies, has raked in more than $2.5 billion worldwide—and that’s as of November 2012. With producer and director added to her list of professional credits, Stephenie's latest film, from her 2008 book, The Host, brought in some $45 million worldwide.

Ann Miura-Ko

Ann Miura-Ko

[Finance]

Co-founding Partner of Floodgate Investments, Lecturer at Stanford University

Children: Three Kids

She’s a self-described “soccer mom” (Twitter) and “investing ninja assassin” (LinkedIn)—and largely regarded as one of the most powerful women in tech. As partner in this super angel fund dedicated to helping ambitious tech entrepreneurs become “great business success stories,” she counts behemoths like Twitter and Digg among her success stories. The Stanford PhD also nurtures entrepreneurs with her lectures there. In a YouTube video with EZEbis, she encourages women to hold onto their “internal optimism,” saying, “My husband told me he never left an exam thinking he only aced it. I’d agonize over every detail. A lot of female professionals will always feel that nagging doubt, and you have to push through that.”

Sue Naegle

Sue Naegle

[Media]

President of HBO and TWC

Children: Three Daughters, 10, 8 and 3

President of HBO Entertainment since 2008, this adoptive mom oversees all series programming and specials and is responsible for green-lighting hugely successful shows like Game of Thrones, Girls and Boardwalk Empire. This passion for edgy material earned HBO 19 Primetime Emmy awards and 81 nominations this past year alone—more than any other network. Sue started out working in the United Talent Agency mailroom and quickly rose to agent in just three years, becoming partner and co-head of the TV department after eight. It may be her job to watch the tube, but she ironically told the Hollywood Reporter that her daughters “aren't allowed to watch TV at all during the week.”

Gwyneth Paltrow

Gwyneth Paltrow

[Entertainment/Literature]

Actor, Singer, Entrepreneur, Author

Children: Apple, 8, Moses, 7

This singular working mom actor, daughter of actress Blythe Danner and producer Bruce Paltrow, impressed with early turns in films like Rust and Bone and Se7en before landing her Oscar-winning role in Shakespeare In Love. Between starring in art films like The Royal Tennenbaums and blockbusters like Iron Man, Gwyneth also makes time for entrepreneurial efforts: She’s authored two popular cookbooks (It’s All Good just topped the New York Times bestseller list) and is a partner in a new chain of gyms designed and led by her own fitness guru, Tracy Anderson. Gwyneth also launched Goop, a namesake lifestyle webzine she curates. Her current film, Iron Man 3, hit theatres big-time May 3.

Candace Parker

Candace Parker

[Sports]

Professional Basketball Player, Los Angeles Sparks and UMMC Ekaterinburg, Two-time Olympic Gold Medalist

**Children: Lailaa Nicole, 4
**

Star player for the L.A. Sparks and the 2013 championship Women’s EuroLeague team UMMC Ekaterinburg, Candace had the best rookie debut in league history with 34 points, 12 rebounds and 8 assists in 2008. She gave birth in the beginning of her second basketball season and led the WNBA in double-doubles that year—after missing eight games for maternity leave. She led her high school team to state championship titles in 2003 and 2004, her University of Tennessee team, the Son Vols, to two national titles and Olympic teams to victory in 2008 and 2012. On being a parent, she told Bliss.com, “Motherhood is the most rewarding and the hardest job I have ever done in my life.”

Amy Pascal

Amy Pascal

[Media]

Co-Chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures

Children: Anthony, 12

Amy has led Sony Pictures to 87 No. 1 domestic box office hits, breaking box office records with films like The Amazing Spider-Man and Skyfall. Climbing the ladder from secretary to gigs in development and production, she eventually became VP of Production at 20th Century Fox, then left for the same position at Columbia and produced female-driven films like A League Of Her Own. She became president of production at both Turner Pictures and Columbia before becoming CEO at Sony. In a recent speech, the much-honored mogul implored filmmakers to curb slurs aimed at the LGBT community: “What we see teaches us how to feel about ourselves and how to feel about each other.” We wholeheartedly agree.

Christie Rampone

Christie Rampone

[Sports]

Professional Soccer Player, Three-time Olympic Gold Medalist

Children: Rylie, 8, Reece, 4

Christie isn’t your everyday “soccer mom.” This Olympic Gold–winning U.S. soccer defender brought home the silver in 2000 and the gold in 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympics. A New Jersey native, the mom of two was once a star goal scorer and point guard for Monmouth College, where she earned a degree in special ed and an honorary doctorate in public services in 2005. Christie travels about 250 days in a World Cup year, often accompanied by her family. Her girls have learned from Mom to be resilient: They’re confident around adults, flexible eaters and curious about the world. Christie quipped to us, “Rylie and Reece can sleep anywhere—on a bus, in an airport lounge. They get it done.”

Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl Sandberg

[Media]

COO of Facebook, Best-Selling Author

Children: Sons, 7 and 5

This seems to be Sheryl’s year! Her foundation and accompanying guide for women, Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, is holding fast to the No. 1 spot on the New York Times and Amazon bestseller lists—a considerable leap for the girl who asked her high school to refrain from dubbing her most likely to succeed because it was “uncool.” As chief operating officer, she grew Facebook to 800 million users and $2 billion in annual revenue in just three years. The former vice president of global online sales and operations for Google, Sheryl also worked for former Harvard President Larry Summers during his tenure as President Clinton’s secretary of the Treasury.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Debbie Wasserman Schultz

[Politics]

U.S. Congresswoman, South Florida; Chair of the Democratic National Committee

Children: Three Kids

As DNC chair, Debbie has long advocated for child and family health care. The Long Island, NY, native went to college in South Florida and was in the Florida State Legislature as both a representative and senator. She now represents Florida's 23rd district and serves on the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues, a bipartisan group dedicated to promoting women's economic, health, legal and educational interests. “Women should never hesitate to ask for what they need and deserve in order to have a full family life and fulfilling professional career,” the mom of three told us. “My staff knows that Sunday afternoons and evenings with my family are sacred for me.”

Jessica Simpson

Jessica Simpson

[Fashion/Beauty]

Clothing Mogul, **Singer, Actress, **Fashion Star**** Mentor

Children: Maxwell, 1; Pregnant with Second

After establishing herself as a pop-country songbird and flirting with film, Jessica’s proven herself a prime example of how a stealth, strategic celebrity sideline can take center stage. In 2010, reports claimed that her namesake clothing, bag and shoe brand was worth an estimated billion bucks, although reporters at Forbes whittled that down to a still-impressive $20 million a year. Mom of 1-year-old son Maxwell, Jessica is poised to give birth to her second child, a son, any day now. She can be seen weighing in on aspiring clothing moguls this season on Fashion Star, offering words of encouragement to those who hope to share rack space with her.

Katie Jacobs Stanton

Katie Jacobs Stanton

[Technology]

Head of International Sales & Development for Twitter

Children: Ellie, 12, Twins Declan and Caleigh, 10

Her mission: that everyone from world leaders and celebrities to regular Joes actively identify themselves with an “@.” She’s close—Twitter counts more than 500 million users worldwide. Katie has held positions at both Yahoo and Google and served as special advisor to the Office of Innovation at the U.S. Department of State. Appointed by President Obama as director of citizen participation, she promoted open dialogues between citizens and the White House. A frequent work traveler, she recently told CNN: “When possible, I try to take one kid on a business trip, so we have one-on-one time. While I'm away, I Skype or Facetime with my family every evening…. And I never come home empty handed!”

Gwen Stefani

Gwen Stefani

[Entertainment/Literature]

Singer, Fashion Designer

Children: Kingston, 6, Zuma, 4

This powerful 43-year-old working mom from the suburbs of Southern California became front woman of No Doubt, a highly successful solo artist and an accomplished fashion designer—but always finds time to take her sons to the park. Her edgy-yet-wearable label, L.A.M.B, drew accolades from fashion critics; and its offshoot labels, Harajuku Lovers and Harajuku Mini, are selling well at Target. Like the rest of us, Gwen sometimes finds it challenging to reconcile her work-self and mom-self. Last year she told Vogue, “I am a mother. And if you don’t do it right, there are serious consequences.”

Meg Whitman

Meg Whitman

[Technology]

President and CEO of Hewlett Packard (HP)

Children: Two Kids

This billionaire is more than capable of growing long-struggling HP, where she was named CEO in 2011. After an early stint as VP of strategic planning at The Walt Disney Company, she held executive positions at DreamWorks, P&G and Hasbro. Forbes reports her net worth grew by $500 million in the last year alone due to the strength of her shares of eBay; as CEO until 1998, she grew the online company from 30 to 15,000 employees and from $4 million to $8 billion in annual revenue. In 2009, she ran for governor of California, winning the Republican primary. Meg was recently tasked with blowing the whistle on Autonomy, a UK tech firm just acquired by HP, for shady accounting practices.

Susan Wojcicki

Susan Wojcicki

[Technology]

SVP of Advertising for Google

Children: Four Kids

Cited by AdWeek as potentially the “most important person in advertising,” Susan grew Google’s ad business into a $43.7 billion revenue stream as of last year. A Silicon Alley native, she joined the company in 1999, housing its HQ in her garage and leading the initial development of products we couldn’t imagine life without. Before Google, she held positions at Intel, Bain & Company and R.B. Webber & Company. How does she fend off stress? In 2011, fiercely private Susan, who’s married to Google executive Dennis Troper, told Forbes she shifts her focus to family: “I have really young kids, so I’m also focused on the day-to-day. There’s something Zen about it.”

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