Although it can feel, at times, like progress has stalled, like women are just banging their collective heads against that glass ceiling, and losing rights where we believed gains had been firmly secured, all is not hopeless. Women are as motivated as ever to change laws, reshape the status quo, fight injustice, and raise millions of dollars for innovative, game-changing companies. Whether they’re breaking barriers in their field, building mega-successful businesses, battling discrimination, or standing up for what they believe in, the game-changers named to our inaugural Power List have made major moves this year—and are inspiring us to do the same.
ACTRESS; CHIEF CREATIVE OFFICER AND COFOUNDER, THE HONEST COMPANY
Although Jessica Alba appeared in her first movie at age 13, she may be now more well-known for her business, The Honest Company, which just celebrated its 10th year. The early direct-to-consumer brand focused on chemical-free, non-toxic ingredients and products for babies and families. Despite some growing pains and many doubters, Alba prevailed. The company went public in 2021, and boasts a current valuation of $550 million. Today, she is focused on a new partnership with Walmart that will expand the brand globally, and, on the personal front, advocating for mental health and women’s rights. She recently joined the board of Yahoo and became an executive producer of Honest Renovations, a Roku show that will give new parents a home and lifestyle makeover.
Not that we ever underestimated Serena Williams, but this year she made it clear that her G.O.A.T. moniker is no exaggeration. From proving that motherhood and professional performance is not a no-win situation and raising $111 million for her venture capital firm, Serena Ventures, to amping up investment in minority- and female-lead companies and her exhilarating performance at the US Open, she’s shown that ends can be just beginnings. Not to mention, she once-and-for-all shut down the notion that women need to apologize for their power (see: quote, below).
MUSICIAN; PRODUCER; COFOUNDER AND CEO, YITTY
Three-time Grammy Award-winner Lizzo continues to electrify with the launch of her fourth album, her first arena tour, and her single About Damn Time topping the charts this summer. Oh, and she added Emmy Awardwinner and founder to her CV. As her footprint expands, so does her advocacy: Her Emmy acceptance speech for competition show Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls made an emotional call for more size representation in TV and movies. Her shapewear line, Yitty, launched with a mission about body normativity. And in an historic moment at her Washington, D.C., concert, she played a Founding Father’s priceless flute, with signature twerk.
CEO AND COFOUNDER, MAVION
As the cofounder of Accessory Junkie, a DTC jewelry company, Michelle Reeves saw a chance to piggyback on the emerging digital-art market. So along with cofounder Andrea Siegel, she started Mavion, which mints NFT art that comes with a limited-edition physical accessory, making NFTs more tangible for consumers while providing visibility for designers and artists. The business model includes royalties for owners in the event that the artwork is used commercially. Mavion also launched a roadshow to educate 2,000 women on Web3, as well as an accessory collaboration with Rebecca Minkoff.
CEO AND COFOUNDER, CANVA
Melanie Perkins went from 100 “no”s when pitching her graphic design startup a decade ago to 100 million users today. That wildly successful company is Canva, a platform that makes visual communication easy, which she thought of after struggling with the design tools available to students. In September, the company launched a workplace productivity suite that will put it in the same sphere as Google Docs and Microsoft, plus web building and whiteboarding. It’s now valued at $26 billion. But Perkins cares most about the value to humanity. She and her cofounder husband have signed the Giving Pledge and plan to donate 97 percent of their shares to the global poverty foundation they started.
NEW YORK STOCK EXCHANGE PRESIDENT
Lynn Martin took over as President of the NYSE in January 2022—one of the most volatile times for the world’s largest stock market. She joins as only the second woman in the organization’s 200-year history to run the exchange and the first to also oversee the entire NYSE Group. Since joining, she has applied a tech-forward, data-driven approach to increasing system capacity for the half-trillion transactions seen each day, and created a Sustainability Advisory Council as well as the NYSE Institute to support and tell the innovative stories of listed companies.
MANAGING DIRECTOR AND COFOUNDER, THE CLEAN FIGHT
After years spent as a serial entrepreneur, Kate Frucher saw that time was running out on climate change. She cofounded The Clean Fight, NY, to help climate tech startups speed the transition to the clean economy. In addition to the $63 million the organization received as part of Biden’s Build Back Better Program, it was recently awarded $2 million by the US Economic Development Administration’s “Build to Scale” Grant program, and another $10 million to decarbonize New York’s tall buildings, one of the leading contributors to greenhouse gas emissions.
The Women of Angel City Football Club
Angel City Football Club, cofounded by Julie Uhrman, Kara Nortman, and Natalie Portman (pictured left to right), shattered expectations for its debut year in the National Women’s Soccer League. The expansion team is proving that if you build a place for women’s sports, money and fans will follow, breaking records for attendance, exceeding season-ticket sales goals, and attracting $35 million in sponsorship deals. Its 100-person-strong ownership group, comprised of A-listers, sports legends, and top executives, is committed to a core mission: Make women’s soccer as valuable as men’s.
VICE PRESIDENT, NEW INCUBATION VENTURES, ESTÉE LAUDER COMPANIES
As VP of Estée Lauder’s New Incubation Ventures (NIV), Shana Randhava is charged with identifying the next great global company for the 76-year-old heritage brand to bring into its fold. Since her start in 2020, NIV has invested in cult male-grooming brand Faculty and clean beauty pioneer Haeckels. This fall saw the launch of BEAUTY&YOU, an incubator for beauty entrepreneurs in India. The initiative will provide the go-to-market support, education, and mentorship needed to unlock growth and global potential in what is today’s fastest-growing beauty and personal-care market. It is the first beauty startup-funding program that does not demand equity to participate, providing greater autonomy for founders.
CHIEF CULTURE OFFICER AND COFOUNDER, MYCOWORKS
MycoWorks cofounders Sophia Wang and Phil Ross first came together as artists excited about the use of mycelium, the structure that holds mushrooms together, as a material for living sculptures. Then they realized it had immense potential for other applications. Today their Reishi Fine Mycelium™ is a sustainable, ethical alternative to leather that earned their company a $125 million Series C investment. The renewable material can be crafted to match the highest quality animal skins, making it a darling of artisan designers such as Hermès.
CEO AND FOUNDER, HILL HOUSE HOME
A reluctant entrepreneur, Nell Diamond took a slow path to growth with her company Hill House Home— and it paid off. The original idea was to apply a fashion sensibility to home goods and leverage the direct-toconsumer model. But the game-changer was putting the comfort of home into fashion with the wildly successful Nap Dress. And she’s proven that they’re more than a quarantine phenomenon. The home, accessory, and apparel company secured $20 million in funding to expand the brand’s fashion portfolio (she’s following the success of her swimwear launch this summer with an outerwear collection for winter) and eye international expansion.
GLOBAL HEAD OF PROGRAMMING AND ORIGINAL CONTENT DIVISION, PINTEREST
Nadine Zylstra, formerly of YouTube Originals, was tapped to lead Pinterest’s Global Programming and Original Content division in July. The move comes as Pinterest is rapidly expanding its original content production, including a multi-year agreement with Tastemade to launch 50 new shows. Zylstra started as a producer at VH1, then Sesame Workshop before jumping to the tech industry. At YouTube, she most recently oversaw the development of several original projects as part of its Black Voices Fund, and also launched Recipe For Change: Standing Up to Antisemitism.
HEAD OF PUBLIC POLICY, BUMBLE
Payton Iheme has dedicated her career to the OG influencer job...public policy. Her work to impact change for the public interest has ranged from the U.S. Army to Facebook. Now, at the woman-first dating app, her efforts have led to cyberflashing being banned in two additional states this year and getting it deemed a criminal offense in the UK. The policy team’s work complements an in-app AI feature to block the sharing of lewd photos without consent. In keeping with Bumble’s mission to make the world safer for women, Iheme is committed to legislation that holds digital exposure to the same criminal standards as offline flashing.
CEO AND COFOUNDER, BOBBIE
There are a lot of reasons women can’t breastfeed. But there is one stigma: breastfeed or fail. Laura Modi, CEO and cofounder of organic formula startup Bobbie, felt the guilt when she couldn’t breastfeed, but it was the dubious ingredients in her baby formula options that led her to leave her dream job at Airbnb to start an organic formula company. Modi raised $50 million for launch and grew a loyal consumer base, which she was able to keep supplied during this year’s formula shortage via Bobbie’s direct-to-consumer subscription model. The brand’s next step is to stop the stigma, enlisting Ashley Graham in a campaign to free mothers from judgment.
IRANIAN-AMERICAN JOURNALIST AND ACTIVIST
When Mahsa Amini’s arrest for wearing a headscarf too loosely led to her death in an Iranian prison, it broke the world. It also broke open the call to protest not only among Iranian women, but also amongst Western feminists. Masih Alinejad, an exiled Iranian journalist, who regularly writes for The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal, is championing that call. Since 2014, Alinejad has been working to encourage women to record their defiance of the hijab, which she, in turn, shares as social proof on private networks in Iran to encourage others. Alinejad now has 10 million followers and her posts and recent barrage of op-eds are helping activate Western leaders, for whom choice is a freedom, to join the fight and reject the country’s gender-apartheid mandates.
Dr. Caitlin Bernard
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF CLINICAL OBSTETRICS & GYNECOLOGY AT THE INDIANA UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE
Caitlin Bernard, M.D., an Indianapolis obstetriciangynecologist, rose to the top of the post-Roe v. Wade conversation when she spoke publicly about providing an abortion to a 10-year-old Ohio rape victim in June. Opponents of reproductive rights jumped to attack Dr. Bernard, with the Indiana attorney general even announcing he would investigate her actions. While her specialty is high-risk patients, the riskiest move she makes is advocating for access to abortion in her conservative state, where it is not unusual to suffer harassment and even death threats for such support. Despite the attention, legal fees, and threats, Bernard remains committed to ensuring patients get the best medical care possible.
CEO AND COFOUNDER, STATE OF MENOPAUSE
Stacy London has been shattering perceptions of aging her whole life, including rocking an (illness-induced) gray streak since she was 11 years old. What Not To Wear, TLC’s pioneering makeover show that she hosted for more than a decade, was the first to depict the relationship between self-esteem and self-expression, which only becomes more complicated with age. That led to her role as CEO of State of Menopause, where she is focused on changing the menopause narrative and ensuring everyone who experiences it is seen, heard, and has access to solutions. In October, London organized the first Menopause CEO Summit, convening the emerging category’s leaders to collaborate, rather than compete.
The 25-year-old Cuban-American artist with multiple platinum records to her name is shaking things up as a first-time coach on The Voice this season, scoring the show’s most sought-after performers while earning the respect of fellow coaches with her competitive edge. But she’s seeking an impact beyond music. In addition to ongoing advocacy for climate change, this year she launched the “Protect Our Kids” fund to provide LGBTQ+ students and families in Florida with legal resources, and invested in Olipop, a gut-friendly alternative soda that aims to promote healthier habits.
CEO AND FOUNDER, THE NEWSETTE; CO-CEO AND COFOUNDER, WONDERMIND
After investors gave then-college student Daniella Pierson the “You remind me of my granddaughter” treatment and showed her the door, she decided to take her one-stop newsletter business and make money herself, building a thriving stream of ad revenue. That is, until the summer, when Pierson accepted an undisclosed investment that led to a $200 million valuation and the fuel to grow the media company and expand its creator arm. That’s not the only business she started: This year she cofounded Wondermind, a mental-health startup, with Selena Gomez.
MANAGING DIRECTOR AND GLOBAL HEAD OF CONSUMER FOR BLACKSTONE GROWTH
Ann Chung has put private-equity firm Blackstone Growth on the map for identifying high-growth, high-potential, female-founded businesses. She led the firm’s investment in Spanx and Supergoop (resulting in valuations of $1.2 billion and $700 million, respectively). It likely didn’t hurt that the all-female deal team she put together pitched Spanx founder Sara Blakely while wearing her signature leggings and pants. Chung is a strong advocate for having a diverse team, arguing that it leads to more high-growth investments that might otherwise have been overlooked.
CEO AND COFOUNDER, SUMA WEALTH
Beatriz Acevedo is the cofounder and CEO of SUMA Wealth, a fintech company set on closing the Latinx wealth gap. An Emmy Award–winning media exec, Acevedo leverages in-culture visual content, digital tools, and virtual experiences to make complex, dry topics accessible and entertaining. Most recently, SUMA Wealth launched a partnership with NFT creator platform Encantos to drive Web3 education. Acevedo is also cofounder of LA Collab; the non-profit recently partnered with Amazon Studios and LTXMatch to connect Latinx talent to jobs, mentors, and capital in Hollywood.
MUSIC INNOVATOR AND ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVIST
Experimental artist and indie musician Beatie Wolfe has beamed her music into space and served as a UN Women innovation role model. She is currently working with Microsoft on The Global Music Vault, an initiative to preserve the world’s music in a cold storage facility for 10,000 years. A climate-change activist, Wolfe’s installation, From Red to Green, which launched at the Nobel Prize summit in 2021, allows viewers to interact digitally with data-tracking atmospheric carbon levels over the last 800,000 years. She’s also featured with R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe on the world’s first commercially available bioplastic vinyl; produced by Brian Eno, the initial run sold out in one day.
CEO AND COFOUNDER, SPRING HEALTH
Since raising $190 million for Spring Health, the mental health startup she cofounded in 2016, April Koh is focused on helping families access care in the face of an enduring global mental-health crisis. Koh, who experienced mental-health issues herself in college, was overwhelmed trying to determine which of the many apps on the market was right for her. She teamed up with Yale Ph.D. candidate and cofounder Adam Chekroud to find a solution. Today their clinically validated AI matching program is used by 2 million people and is proving to be an important employee benefit in a post-Covid world. A valuation of $2 billion makes 30-year-old Koh the youngest woman to run a multibillion-dollar company.
PRIME MINISTER OF FINLAND
Sanna Marin, the 36-year-old Prime Minister of Finland, is bulldozing the double standards that exist for women leaders. When a video of Marin’s uninhibited dancing at a private party leaked in August, it went viral, drawing harsh criticism initially. But then the world clapped back. Hillary Clinton tweeted “keep dancing,” and scores of people posted their own dance videos, sparking a global conversation on sexism. While Marin acquiesced to a drug test (negative), she defended her decision-making. Then, she got on with her job, building on recent successes like securing Finland’s entrance to NATO, setting new climate-change goals, extending parental-leave policies, and making a bold public statement on ending the Russia-Ukraine War.
NASA/ARTEMIS LAUNCH DIRECTOR, EXPLORATION GROUND SYSTEMS, NASA
When Artemis 1 lifts off in November, it will be a giant leap forward for womankind. Yes, other women in STEM have blazed trails in space, but Charlie Blackwell-Thompson will be the first woman to make the “go for launch” call at Kennedy Launch Center. The launch will mark the first moon mission since Apollo 17, yet it’s more than another moonshot. Artemis is a three-part mission with a goal to put the first woman and the first person of color on the moon as early as 2025 and clear the way for sustainable space expansion to Mars.
CEO AND COFOUNDER, CROWD AI
The vast volume of visual data that is being generated in our increasingly meta-world? Devaki Raj is using it to solve real-world problems. After noticing a gap in the adoption of AI tools, Raj founded CrowdAI as a no-code computer-vision solution that makes it easy for non-technical users to analyze images and make turnkey decisions. CrowdAI has raised more than $10 million and recently secured a $249 million agreement with the U.S. Department of Defense to build the AI infrastructure for the U.S. Government. The platform has been used to support numerous humanitarian aid and disaster-relief projects, from wildfire tracking to hurricane damage.
CEO AND FOUNDER, MEET CUTE
While researching new media business models at her venture capital firm in 2019, Naomi Shah hit on an idea for her own: an entertainment company specializing in romcoms, reinvented through a diversity lens, in short, consumable formats. Today, Meet Cute has raised $9.3 million and produced 450 original romcom podcasts told in 15 minutes. Shah eschewed the traditional Hollywood talent pool by drawing on diverse voices from a variety of creator sources, with content spanning the stories of Latinx, Black, Native American, and LGBTQ+ folks across all ages and backgrounds. This year Meet Cute inked deals to expand to TV, film, and short format video.
TALK-SHOW HOST, COMEDIAN, AND MUSICIAN
Showtime’s late-night breakout, Ziwerekoru Fumudoh, known simply as Ziwe, has guests clamoring to be put in the hot seat about their political and racial inconsistencies. She has a unique ability to make people feel uncomfortable while also making them laugh, and bring the audience along for the ride. In her spare time (kidding), Ziwe is working on a book of essays, The Book of Ziwe, a music album, and her collaboration with Loyal 9, a new ready-to-drink cocktail.
CEO, HELLO SUNSHINE
When Reese Witherspoon had it with studios telling her that one woman-led story was enough, she started production company Hello Sunshine. Sarah Harden was with her from day one, building a $1 billion media company where women’s stories are the bread and butter. Harden’s media and tech background has helped them build a loyal audience via Reese’s Book Club, YouTube communities, and the purchase of The Home Edit earlier this year, enabling them to add e-commerce to the platform.
Adjoa B. Asamoah
LEADER OF THE CROWN ACT MOVEMENT
Adjoa B. Asamoah, a lifelong racial-equity advocate and legislative architect, has made history with the introduction and advancement of the CROWN Act, legislation that bans race-based discrimination in relation to hair choices; it allows Black people to legally wear their hair in its natural state or a protective style. In an effort to end hair discrimination in all 50 states through research, education, petitions, and activations, Asamoah created the CROWN Coalition along with founding members Dove, National Urban League, Color Of Change, and Western Center on Law and Poverty. It’s working: Hair discrimination is now against the law in 19 states, and this March a federal bill was passed by the House of Representatives (it awaits Senate approval).
CEO AND COFOUNDER, GAMING SOCIETY
Jaymee Messler is betting on women to make sports gambling more inclusive. Recognizing that the explosion of online sports betting is an opportunity to raise the profile and profitability of women’s sports leagues, Messler started Gaming Society with NBA Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett in 2021. The betting education and gamification company raised $3.5 million earlier this year and recently formed a partnership with leading online betting platform FanDuel to make sanctioned gambling less of a guys’ club.
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY)
CONGRESSWOMAN AND VICE CHAIR OF THE JANUARY 6TH COMMITTEE
She may have lost the Wyoming Republican primary in August, but Liz Cheney found new fire in her fight to course-correct the divisive direction of American politics. As one of only 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump for incitement of insurrection, Cheney sacrificed her political ambitions to prioritize democracy over party. Removed from her post as Head of the Republican Conference, she became Vice Chair of the January 6th Committee, channeling her energy into ensuring that whoever goes into office next will be faithful to the Constitution.
CEO AND FOUNDER, SLUTTY VEGAN
Pinky Cole is building a vegan dynasty from scratch. After losing her first restaurant in Harlem, New York, to a grease fire, she moved to Atlanta broke, but full of the entrepreneurial spirit that her Jamaican immigrant mother instilled in her. Slutty Vegan came to her one night in 2018 while craving a vegan snack. A lifelong vegetarian, she knew that vegan food could be comforting and wanted others to experience its flavor and access its health benefits. Five Atlanta locations, a foundation, and a $100 million investment later, Cole is just getting started. This year she expanded to New York City, launched an experience tour, and secured a seven-figure book deal.
CEO AND FOUNDER, RISE
A year after her own rape, Amanda Nguyen founded the non-profit Rise, which was instrumental in passing the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Rights Act in 2016. After Nguyen received countless letters from survivors around the world, she took the fight global. In April, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously passed a resolution providing justice for survivors of sexual violence. And in September, survivors walked in the second annual NYFW Rise Survivor Fashion Show, giving agency back to the question “What were you wearing?” Next up, Star Wars actor Kelly Marie Tran is set to produce and star in a biopic about the Nobel Peace Prize nominee and #stopasianhate activist.
CEO AND FOUNDER, MOS
Amira Yahyaoui is on a mission to disrupt every stage of financial access for students and young adults. Having fled Tunisia when she was 18 with no access to a steady paycheck or tuition on her arrival in Paris, she understands the pain of being left out of financial opportunity. She kicked off Mos by helping more than 400,000 users access a pool of $160 billion in scholarships and personal advisors to help them apply. She added support to appeal financial aid decisions, cash advances, and gig listings. Mos is now giving traditional banks a run for their money with a no-fee debit card that has garnered 100,000 app downloads in just one quarter. Next on the horizon: a similar solution for first jobs and buying first homes.
CEO, PASSES; COFOUNDER, SCALE AI
Lucy Guo learned coding in second grade and left college early to pursue a Thiel Scholarship, which allots $100,000 to 20 students each if they drop out to focus on building a business. By 23, she’d cofounded and exited Scale AI, a machine-learning startup valued at $7.3 billion. Since then, she has quietly started Backend Capital, an early-stage venture firm, and raised $8 million for Passes, a Web3 platform with a mission to redefine the creator economy. This year she joined the ranks of the richest self-made women under 40, with an estimated net worth of $440 million.
This story appears in Marie Claire's 2022 Power Issue, on newsstands November 22.
Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflected the correct spelling of artist Beatie Wolfe's name, the correct title for Sarah Harden of Hello Sunshine, and a more accurate amount of money raised by CrowdAI. We regret the errors.
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