Men have always been at the top of the food chain when it comes to running successful businesses or Fortune 500 companies, and it wasn’t until recently that we started hearing about women on the board of directors of some of the world’s biggest companies. With International Women’s Day around the corner, and an #EachForEqual theme that calls for gender equality in and out of the workplace, more and more women are raising the bar higher than ever before. Today, women are establishing their businesses as household names in a variety of industries, including publishing, technology, fashion, broadcasting, beauty, and more. Here are three inspirational women who are paving a new path forward, standing up for the values they believe in, and reaching supreme heights of success.
1. J.K. ROWLING
“Failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged.”
Despite having her fair share of obstacles and rejection when she was trying to publish her first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, soon enough the British novelist J. K. Rowling managed to break through publishing barriers and successfully launched her book series into films, merchandise, and even adventure parks.
2. SARA BLAKELY
“Don’t let what you don’t know scare you, because it can become your greatest asset. And if you do things without knowing how they have always been done, you’re guaranteed to do them differently.”
With little to almost no money to jumpstart her now billion-dollar business, Spanx founder Sara Blakely faced rejection after rejection from almost every investor she sat down with. It wasn’t until Oprah Winfrey publicly endorsed Spanx that her company started to take off.
3. DENISE COATES
“You start a 24/7 business and you work 24/7. When you’re not here [in the office], you take calls in the middle of the night, regularly– that’s how the early days were. I’ve worked harder than you can possibly imagine. In the last couple of years, life has normalized… The impact on my life now is very different.”
Denise Coates is the successful owner of betting site Bet365, which took her a year to develop and launch. She managed to fund the business by getting a GBP15 million loan from the Royal Bank of Scotland (about US$19.4 million), turning it into one of the world’s largest online gambling sites.