Businesswomen may be under-represented in the corporate world, although it’s not stopping these inspiring entrepreneurs from smashing glass ceilings to become the wealthiest self-made women in the US.
Celebrating the inspiring journeys of the trailblazers, Forbes put 100 of the most successful self-made females on centre stage.
Worth a collective US$90 billion, the passionate executives have made an impact on the world with a variety of innovative ventures from medical records software firms to building rockets.
For its sixth year recognising the most influential women in the US, the 2020 list differs in that they all faced one extraordinary challenge: COVID-19.
Wealthiest self-made women in the US*
- Diane Hendricks
- Judy Faulkner
- Meg Whitman
- Judy Love
- Marian Ilitch
- Lynda Resnick
- Johnelle Hunt
- Thai Lee
- Oprah Winfrey
- Doris Fisher
Crowned the wealthiest self-made woman in the US for 2020, Diane Hendricks is worth an estimated US$8 billion.
The 73-year-old co-founded ABC Supply – a roofing wholesale distributor – in 1982 with her late husband and has run the company since his death 13 years ago.
With a net worth of US$5.5 billion, Judy Faulkner is ranked as the second wealthiest self-made woman in the US.
As the CEO and Founder of Epic Systems, she leads the nation with the top medical record software provider – a US$3.2 billion company she founded in a basement in 1979.
Renowned for transforming eBay’s US$5.7 million in sales to US$8 billion as CEO from 1998 to 2008, Meg Whitman has a diverse skill set.
Worth an estimated US$5 billion, the Quibi CEO is among the most influential women.
From humble beginnings, Judy Love and her husband Tom used a US$5,000 loan to open their first petrol station in 1964.
At 83 years old and with a net worth of US$4.7 billion, the Executive Secretary is responsible for more than 520 stores across 41 states.
With US$4.1 billion to her name, Marian Ilitch was ranked the fifth richest self-made woman by Forbes.
She co-founded Little Caesars Pizza in 1959 with her late husband, which now brings in more than US$4 billion in annual system-wide sales.
The powerhouse behind The Wonderful Company – an umbrella company to brands including FIJI Water and Wonderful Pistachios – has a net worth of US$3.6 billion.
Lynda Resnick, who is the marketing expert of the venture, owns the snack and drink business with her husband.
Recognised as the seventh wealthiest self-made woman in the US for 2020, Johnelle Hunt made her fortune from the trucking industry.
The businesswoman has a net worth of US$3.5 billion, which grew from the company she launched with her late husband, J.B. Hunt Transport Services.
As CEO of IT provider SHI International, which turns over US$10.7 billion in sales, Thai Lee is an intelligent executive.
Worth US$3.2 billion, she and her now ex-husband bought a software reseller in 1989 (the predecessor to SHI) for US$1 million before turning it into a multibillion-dollar conglomerate.
Arguably the most iconic self-made woman in the world, Oprah Winfrey nurtured her talk show into a globally successful media and business empire.
Growing up in poverty with her unmarried teenage mother, the influential powerhouse is now worth US$2.6 billion – a true inspiration.
At 89 years old, Doris Fisher is the oldest self-made woman to make the top 10 list for 2020.
The businesswoman co-founded fashion retailer Gap in 1969 with her late husband, raising just US$63,000 to open the first store. Today her net worth is US$2.6 billion.
Feature image: Getty Images