Top Businesswomen of America

Top Businesswomen of America

Between them, the top five businesswomen of last year represent a wide variety of skills and backgrounds.

From food and beverage companies to cosmetic product businesses, these modern leaders prove that success can manifest from multiple walks of life. This year marked a new face in the leading businesswoman spot, and some familiar faces closely follow. Though each powerhouse leader differs in decisions made and companies led, one thing all of them have in common is their presence on the Fortune 500 list.

Irene Rosenfeld

The Chief Executive Officer of Kraft Foods is the number one businesswoman of last year for good reason. The native New Yorker holds a PhD. in Marketing and Statistics, making her an expert ideal for any business team. She also holds a Masters Degree in Science of Business and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. Rosenfeld may have once made her mark by acquiring new companies into the fold of Kraft Foods, but the 58-year-old took Fortune’s number-one spot when she cut Kraft into two entities. 

Indra Nooyi

PepsiCo’s Chief Executive Officer and chairwoman led the pack as 2010’s top businesswoman of the year. Her continued efforts to meet market demands for healthier options and nutrition-based beverages have kept her company well ahead of her competition. Nooyi , an Indian-American, routinely makes the annual list of the World’s Most Powerful Women. The business magnate joined PepsiCo in 1994 and holds a Master’s Degree in Public and Private Management from Yale School of Management.

Patricia Woertz

Another food company Chief Executive Officer, Patricia Woertz also serves as president and chairwoman of Archer Daniels Midland. 58-year-old Woertz led oil company Chevron as Vice President and worked as an accountant before she took on this agricultural processing business. Big boosts in the demand of Archer Daniels Midland’s key products, such as wheat and corn, helped fuel Woertz’s company’s success this year, but the Pennsylvania native’s experience and education at Penn State University surely played a pivotal role as well.

Ellen Kullman

 Ellen Kullman is one of the top businesswomen of 2011 for good reason. This chairwoman and Chief Executive Officer of Dupont has nearly tripled her company’s stock shares in just two years on the job. Kullman’s focus on nutritional content over the company’s previous chemical affixation has resulted in positive reception from the public as well. The Delaware native holds a Bachelor’s Degree in mechanical engineering from Tufts University and a Master’s Degree in management from Northwestern University.

Angela Braly

Wellpoint’s Chief Executive Officer, chairwoman, and president is the only top businesswoman of 2011 who works in an industry other than food products. The health insurance mogul provides services for more than 10 percent of Americans and has taken on Medicare customers this year as well. Texas-born Braly’s previous experience includes serving as a partner at a law firm after earning her Juris Doctor from Southern Methodist University School of Law. Braly also graduated from Texas Tech University.

As the business demands and economic climate continue to grow and change, so too will the women who earn spots on the annual top businesswomen lists. Food products and healthcare continue to be vital necessities for Americans, providing business leaders in these sectors security that other company leaders may only long to obtain. Experiences and strategies demonstrated by the top businesswomen of 2011, however, may serve both the women who executed them as well as future leaders who look up to these women today.