Women know how to do it. Creating successful companies, self-made businesses and making a fortune in any industry. Below is an impressive list of the 7 most financially successful self-made women in America. Some names you’ll recognise, and others you may be interested to learn of. Either way, it’s no denying that these females are fierce, and know what it takes to succeed.
#1: Diane Hendricks – $4.9 Billion
As the chair of ABS Supply, Hendricks is head of this successful company, which is one of the largest wholesale distributors of windows and roofing in the U.S. She’s been running the business since her husband, Ken, passed away in 2007. They cofounded the company together 26 years ago, and she has continued their legacy with raging success. They entered the business with her experience selling custom homes, and Ken’s experience as a roofer. ABC Supply enjoys over $9 billion in sales and has more than 700 locations America-wide. An impressive action Hendricks has taken with the company is making some of the biggest acquisitions in history, buying the rival company Bradco in 2010 and in 2016, purchasing the construction materials producer L&W Supply.
#2: Marian Ilitch – $4.3 Billion
Back in 1959, Marian Ilitch cofounded Little Caesars Pizza with her husband, Mike. She continued to run the business upon his recent death in 2017. What has grown into a popular pizza chain now earns more than $4 billion each year. Additionally, as a sports fan, Ilitch owns the Detroit Red Wings, as well as MotorCity Casino Hotel. The Detroit Tigers are in Mike’s family trust. She’s also creating a large entertainment and sports district in Detroit that’s estimated to cost around $1.2 billion.
#3: Judy Faulkner – $3.5 Billion
As the founder of the medical-record software provider ‘Epic’, Faulkner started off with humble beginnings. She created the company in her Wisconsin basement way back in 1979. She’s an experienced computer programmer turned CEO of this successful company, which raked in $2.7 billion in 2017 sales. Epic develops all of its software completely in house, never having raised venture capital or ever made an acquisition. It’s a company that supports the records of 230 million medical patients, used by notable centres including Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins. What’s more, she’s a generous soul, in 2015 signing a Giving Pledge, which promised to donate within her lifetime 99% of her fortune to philanthropic causes.
#4: Meg Whitman – $3.3 Billion
In her time as CEO of eBay from 1998 to 2008, Whitman achieved the amazing feat of taking the company sales from $5.7 million to $8 billion. This woman clearly knows how to make money, and later began to work as CEO of Hewlett-Packard after leaving eBay, staying in this company from 2011 to 2015. She split the company during this time, into Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and HP Inc. Currently, Whitman remains on HPE’s board, though has since moved to NewTV, Jeffrey Katzenberg’s mobile media startup, as CEO in March 2018. It doesn’t stop there; she’s also on the boards of the successful Dropbox and Procter & Gamble.
#5: Johnelle Hunt – $3.2 Billion
Working with her husband, Hunt decided to sell their home, get a loan and take a risk in creating a rice hull packaging business way back in 1961. Fast forward eight years, and the company grew to purchase seven trailers and five trucks in order to launch a bigger operation of the J.B Hunt Transport Services. The business went public in 1983 after some initial success, and then skyrocketed to become one of America’s largest transportation companies, raking in up to $7.2 billion in sales annually. Her husband passed away in 2006, and in 2008 Hunt stepped down as corporate secretary. However, she still remains as the company’s biggest individual shareholder (17% stake). She’s given back with her wealth, as she donated 6 acres of land in 2014, to build an outdoor entertainment amphitheater, ‘The Walton Arts Center’s Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion.’
#6: Oprah Winfrey – $3.1 Billion
A name we all know a love, she transitioned from a news anchor to land in a long-standing 25-year talk show career. From hosting her own show, she then ventured out to create a media and business empire. Her show profits reinvested, add up to almost $2 billion. She stepped away from the show in 2011 and launched her self-created cable channel called OWN. Owning now 25.5% of the network, this chunk is worth a staggering $75 million. She then branched out to own 8% of the company Weight Watchers, acting as an ambassador for the brand. Did you know, that even Apple works with Oprah? She’s got a multi-year deal to create programming for the large company. Now that’s a widespread ownership empire, she’s created.
#7: Judy Love – $3 Billion
Back in 1964, the couple Judy and Tom Love used a $5,000 loan to open a gas station in Watonga, Oklahoma. It was a joint effort to run the business, as Judy kept the books and did the details until 1975, when she returned to college and Tom took over. Now she is the executive secretary at their self-created convenience story called Love’s. Revenues in 2017 reached $19 billion, with 36 new Love’s locations opening America-wide. Tom is the chairman of the company, and all four of their children also stayed in the family business.