Female CEOs Chip Away At Glass Ceiling

The glass ceiling hasn’t been broken yet, particularly when it comes to the C-suite, but there are some powerful women chipping away at it.

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When it comes to the technology and defense sectors, finding women at the top is hard to come by. After all, at a very young age girls are taught to go into so-called women-friendly fields such as nursing and teaching. Forget engineering, math, and science, that is the work of men, the old way of thinking went. But tell that to the women who climbed the corporate ladder and made it. They show little girls and young women around the globe there is a big world outside of the traditional roles women have long been expected to play.

Take Ginni Rometty, the chairman, president, and Chief Executive at International Business Machines for starters. A veteran IBMer, Rometty worked her way up the ranks over the course of more than thirty years. Rometty was credited with integrating IBM’s mega acquisition of PriceWaterHouseCoopers Consulting, which was the largest in the service industry and created a global team of more than 100,000 business consultants and experts. She has held a series of leadership positions, most recently as senior vice president and group executive, IBM sales, marketing, and strategy.

Then there is Marillyn A. Hewson, who is Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Lockheed Martin, the defense company. Hewson got her start at the company more than 35 years ago as an industrial engineer. Like IBM’s Rometty, Hewson held several leadership and corporate level jobs at the company before being named CEO. In 2017 she was bestowed the No. 3 spot on Fortune’s 50 Most Powerful Women in Business list and has also been recognized as a Top 10 Businessperson of the Year by Fortune, as one of the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women by Forbes, and was named as the 2018 CEO of the Year by Chief Executive Magazine. It’s been a tumultuous time for Hewson but she’s handled it with grace. When President Trump went after Lockheed in a series of tweets, Hewson pledged to cut the cost of its new F-35 fighter jets and create 1,800 jobs in the U.S. getting back in the good graces of the White House. If civility is dead in the era of Twitter, President Trump and Facebook Hewson shows little girls how to handle pressure and at the same time take command a huge company with a market capitalization of $92 billion.

Susan Wojcicki isn’t your typical tech CEO but she too is paving the way for the women leaders of tomorrow. As the head of YouTube since February of 2014, Wojcicki has been in charge of a Google unit that has been growing and plays a huge role in how people access content. She’s help make lots of YouTube stars money along the way, ripping them from obscurity into fame. Wojcicki was behind Google’s acquisition of YouTube, in which it paid $1.65 billion in 2006. Today it's worth around $90 billion. Wojcicki is also the 16th employee at Google where she started as its first marketing manager. She went on to head up all the marketing and commerce at the internet giant. In a man heavy industry, Wojcicki teaches girls that females are welcome and can be just as successful in Silicon Valley as men, even if most of the companies leaders don’t look like them. It's the same message that Facebook’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg sends. As the best-selling author of “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead,” Sandberg has become one of the public faces of Facebook. Amid a data scandal with now-defunct political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, Sandberg calmed the public and played nice with the politicians. Along the way she brought more attention to the role women can play in technology and corporate America, paving the way for the next wave of female leaders.