Forbes most Powerful Black Women 2011
Michele Obama, First Lady, USA The first lady is the world’s most powerful black woman. Obama’s wife continually commands media attention for her intense efforts towards ending childhood obesity and has developed a cult-like following among world fashionistas for her stylish inclinations.
Oprah Winfrey earned the rare opportunity to convert her media charisma into a monogramed TV channel. Now she’s the one tasked with rescuing OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network, after a disappointing first year.
It’s a high-stakes, potentially ego-shattering challenge that could make the strongest woman or man flinch.
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FORBES The World’s Most Powerful Black Women 2011
||Michele Obama, First Lady, USA The first lady is the world’s most powerful black woman. Obama’s wife continually commands media attention for her intense efforts towards ending childhood obesity and has developed a cult-like following among world fashionistas for her stylish inclinations. In the past year, she has made official and non-official trips to at least four continents, including a visit to South Africa where she was granted a rare audience with former president and Apartheid hero Nelson Mandela|
|Beyonce Knowles, Entertainer, Designer Jay-Z’s wife is all grown-up now. She turned 30 this year, and is now taking responsibility for her own business concerns. In March, she relieved her father, Matthew Knowles, as her business manager. She’s earned 16 Grammy awards in her career, runs a fashion label, House of Dereon, and released her fourth solo album, “4”. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart, selling 310,000 copies in its first week.|
||Oprah Winfrey, Media Personality In May, Oprah bade farewell to her highly successful, syndicated talk show, after a 25 year-stint. She set out to achieve bigger things: In January, she launched her own cable channel, the Oprah Winfrey Network. It started out strong, but viewership is floundering. Nevertheless, Oprah remains one of the world’s most powerful media moguls: The Oprah brand owns media interests in TV, Radio, the web, and the 2.5 million circulation O Magazine. Oprah is also the world’s wealthiest black woman. Estimated worth: $2.7 billion.|
||Ursula Burns, CEO, Xerox First worked for Xerox in 1980 as a summer intern; joined the company full time in 1981 after obtaining her Masters’ Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Columbia University. Worked through the ranks to become Vice- president in 2000, and was named CEO in 2009. Burns was pivotal in Xerox’s $6.4 billion acquisition of business process outsourcing giant, Affiliated Computer Services (ACS) last year. Burns serves on the board of American Express and Boston Scientific among other companies.|
||Helen Gayle, CEO, CARE USA Started off her career at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control in 1984, eventually became the director of the National Center for HIV, STD and Tuberculosis Prevention. Also served at the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation between 2001 and 2006 where she directed the foundation’s HIV, TB and Reproductive Health Program. In 2006, took up the position of President and Chief Executive Officer of CARE USA, a leading humanitarian organization which actively fights global poverty in 87 countries around the world. Top Priority: Empowering girls and women to bring lasting change to poor communities. Gayle serves on the Board of trustees for the Rockefeller foundation.|
||Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, President, Liberia The Harvard-trained economist and Africa’s first female president is seeking to be reelected this October during Liberia’s presidential elections, breaking a promise she made during her 2005 campaign to serve only for a single term if elected. But the odds are in her favour: Successfully negotiated for debt relief from international creditors, including a $4.9 billion debt waiver from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.|
|Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigerian Finance Minister In July, Okonjo-Iweala stepped down as Managing Director of the World Bank to accept an appointment as Nigeria’s finance minister. This will be the second time she will be in charge of steering the affairs of the Nigerian economy. Between 2003 and 2006 she served in the same capacity during former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration. She was instrumental in negotiating for, and ultimately achieving, an $18 billion debt write-off from a consortium of Nigerian creditors.|
|Nonkululeko Nyembezi-Heita, CEO, ArcelorMittal South Africa Nyembezi-Heita heads the South African operations of the world’s largest steel company, ArcelorMittal. ArcelorMittal South Africa is Africa’s largest producer of steel, with an annual production capacity of 7.8 million tons. She was appointed as CEO in 2008; took up position after managerial stints at Vodacom Group and Alliance Capital Management. Ms Nyembezi-Heita serves as non-executive director on the board of the JSE Securities Exchange.|
|Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, CEO Robert Wood Johnson Foundation The Harvard grad is the president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, America’s largest health care foundation, with a $10 billion endowment and annual disbursements of $400 million. This year, the foundation is spearheading a campaign against childhood obesity and fighting for tobacco cessation. Lavizzo-Mourey is the first woman and the first African-American to head the foundation. In 1984 she was selected as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania. Joined the foundation in 2001 as senior vice president and director of the health care group; became CEO in 2003.|