More women are creating new businesses and amassing fortunes than ever before. As a result, Forbes has expanded our ranking of the nation’s wealthiest self-made women to 80 ceiling crashers, one-third more than a year ago.
Here Are the Richest Self-Made Women Around the World
11. Oprah Winfrey: $2.6 Billion
Easily one of the most recognized, respected, well-liked and celebrated billionaires (if not celebrities in general) on our list – and the world at large, Oprah Winfrey is a true pioneer in the industry, a testament to the power of perseverance and hard work. Oprah Winfrey’s childhood was anything but easy, facing issues of domestic violence, poverty, and molestation at the hands of relatives.
At a young age, Winfrey would run away from home and suffer several other devastating challenges before ultimately finding her way out via a full scholarship she earned which sent her to Tennessee State University. From there,
Winfrey moved on to working in local media, climbing the ranks and catapulting a mega-hit talk show into a mass media empire. For everything Winfrey has earned, she has never forgotten to give back, having donated over 400 million dollars throughout her career.
10. Johnelle Hunt: $2.7 Billion
A university drop-out, Johnelle Hunt was a stay-at-home mom when she and her late husband J.B. used loans and the profits of selling their home to start a business in rice hull packaging, later transitioning into the transport industry, naming the company J.B. Hunt Transport Services.
In 1983 their business went public and is today one of the nation’s biggest transportation companies, earning $8.6 billion in sales. Hunt remains the largest shareholder of the company.
8. Lynda Resnick Net Worth: $2.8 Billion
You can thank Lynda Resnick and her husband for delicious drinks like Pom Wonderful and Fiji Water, which are just a few of the beverages under billionaire Lynda Resnick’s Wonderful Co. brand. Lynda met her husband and future business partner Stewart, a fellow divorcee at the time, in the 1960s, and Lynda began assisting him with his alarm company’s marketing.
An entrepreneur from the very beginning, Lynda left college life for her own pursuits. After working briefly at an ad company, she started up her own marketing agency at 19 years old. Of her many business successes, Resnick also aims to give back via her many philanthropic pursuits, including focusing on making improvements to the communities located in California’s Central Valley.
7. Judy Love Net Worth: $2.9 Billion
With only a $5,000 loan from her in-laws, future billionaire Judy Love and her husband Tom opened up their first gas station in Watonga, Oklahoma, in 1964. On the success of their first location, one gas station evolved into the brand Love’s Travel Stops and Country Stores, which now boast 480 stores in 41 states.
6. Thai Lee Net Worth: $3 Billion
Thai Lee grew up in South Korea, moving to the United States to attend high school and later obtaining her MBA from Harvard. Lee worked at Proctor and Gamble and American Express before eventually becoming co-owner, CEO and president of SHI International Corp.
(Software House International). Forbes has reported SHI to be the largest woman-owned business in the U.S. She is also known for being the first Korean woman ever to graduate from Harvard Business School.
5. Judy Faulkner Net Worth: $3.6 Billion
Inspired by her parents, who worked in the industry, Judy Faulkner showed an interest in the health care field at a young age. After obtaining her bachelor’s in mathematics and her master’s in computer science,
Faulkner co-founded Human Services Computing (later to be renamed Epic Systems) out of a basement in Wisconsin using $70,000 invested by friends and family members. Epic Systems is now the record carrier for over 200 million individuals.
4. Marian Ilitch Net Worth: $3.7 Billion
Marian Ilitch met her future husband and business partner on a blind date in 1954. After a year of dating, they married, and in 1959 they co-founded Little Caesar’s Pizza, which now nets $4 billion in annual profit. Ilitch also owns the sports team the Detroit Red Wings and MotorCity Casino Hotel.
3. Meg Whitman Net Worth: $3.8 Billion
In 2008, The New York Times tagged billionaire Meg Whitman as the woman most likely to be the first female president of the United States. It’s not surprising, given Whitman’s impressive scholastic and business background.
Whitman graduated from Princeton University and Harvard Business School before working at several high-profile companies, including The Walt Disney Company and Hasbro.
Her most notable professional accomplishment would be her eBay role, where she served as the CEO and president from 1998 to 2008. During her tenure there, she oversaw a massive growth and expansion that would catapult the $4 million yearly revenue to $8 billion.
2. Diane Hendricks Net Worth: $7.2 Billion
Coming from humble beginnings, Diane Hendricks grew up in Wisconsin, the daughter of dairy farmers. In 1975, while working for a builder selling custom homes,
Hendricks met her future husband, Ken, and the two decided to partner up in marriage and business. The Hendricks’ used loans and their credit lines to start ABC Supply, which sells building materials like roofing, window gutters and siding.
1. Wu Yajun Net Worth: $9.9 Billion
Originally earning a baffling $16 per month doing factory work, Wu Yajun knows all too well what it means to work your way from the bottom up.
In 1993, when she and her then-husband were unable to purchase property, they decided to get proactive and build themselves. Founding Beijing-based development company Longfor Properties, Yajun nurtured her company until it grew to a net worth of $9.9 billion.
Source: | Forbes