Are you ready to feel inadequate? Prepare to be amazed; these are America’s 10 richest self-made women. These females have earned their places on this list and have worked hard to get to where they are today. Some of these women have partnered with their significant others and have seen success after success. Others had rockier beginnings and had to fight for their right – to make big bucks. These women did not get rich the easy way and some of them came way before Taylor Swift, but they certainly can hold their own with the big boys (and girls!)
From an immigrant who came to California from Far East Asia, to a Stanford University dropout who changed the face of cancer testing as we know it, these females exhibit the ideal presence of “girl power.” They continue to command respect and admiration as well as expand their enterprises and see greater successes. From trucking to pizza, lab work to fashion, these are the women who will make you step back and realize just what a determined, intelligent, and business savvy woman can do. We hope you enjoy reading a bit about these females who lead some of the most globally-recognized industries.
And yes, Oprah is on this list.
10. Meg Whitman – Net Worth: $2.2 billion
With a net worth totaling about $2.2 billion, Meg Whitman excels as the Chief Executive Officer of Hewlett-Packard. She has been a force to be reckoned with and has held her CEO position for a few years now. Hewlett-Packard currently boasts $112 billion in revenue. Meg had ample practice before overseeing this company; she served as the CEO of eBay as well and bumped its sales up from $5 million to $8 billion along the way. Meg also contributed her business prowess at the Walt Disney Company, Hasbro, and Bain & Co. Right now she has a top spot on the board of Proctor & Gamble. Her educational background is equally impressive: Princeton and Harvard.
9. Marian Ilitch – Net Worth: $2.2 billion
Don’t you just love the $5 Hot-and-Ready pizza at Little Caesar’s? You have Marian and Michael Ilitch to thank for that. Marian has a net worth of $2.2 billion and co-founded the pizza chain with her husband. Since 1959, the franchise has greatly expanded and continues to get hotter. The Ilitches have also expanded their interests to the gaming, entertainment, and sports industries. Marian is the vice chairwoman and secretary-treasurer of Ilitch Holdings, Inc. This enterprise includes Little Caesar’s, the Detroit Tigers, the Detroit Red Wings, Olympia Entertainment, and Champion Foods, just to name a few. She is hot hot hot!
8. Judy Love – Net Worth: $2.4 billion
Another Judy makes our list, with a net worth of $2.4 billion. Judy Love is one of the duo in charge of Love’s Travel Stops and Country Stores. It all started in 1964 when college drop-out Tom Love and his wife Judy opened up a gas station in unknown Watonga, Oklahoma. A bit afterwards, a convenience store popped up and then before they knew it they had a full-fledged enterprise on their hands. Now Love’s Travel Stops and Country Stores is a huge company in the United States and has more than 300 locations in 39 of the 50 states. It has also expanded to include fast-food chains, showers, and supplies for worn and weary truckers.
7. Johnelle Hunt – Net Worth: $2.4 billion
At age 83, Johnelle Hunt is worth about $2.4 billion from her success in a trucking company she started back in 1961 with her husband, J.B. The enterprise started as something to supplement J.B. And Johnelle’s poultry biz, but ended up growing and expanding. The couple saw so much success that they branched out from transporting chickens and went public in 1983. Johnelle took on a leadership role, serving as corporate secretary and credit manager. She is the largest sole shareholder in J.B. Hunt Transport Services, which is the largest transportation company in the United States, with over 14,000 drivers.
6. Judy Faulkner – Net Worth: $2.7 billion
As the co-founder of Epic Systems, Judy Faulkner has a net worth of $2.7 billion. Epic Systems is an electronic health records company, making Judy one of the richest women in the healthcare industry. She is super-smart lady, in fact! With a degree in computer programming, she actually wrote the code that started Epic back in 1976. Three years later, her enterprise was formed and provides healthcare records for half of the population residing in the United States. Epic Systems works with the Cleveland Clinic, Mayo Clinic, and Johns Hopkins. In 2014 it partnered with Apple; more big things ahead!
5. Oprah Winfrey – Net Worth: $3 billion
We all know Oprah. I mean, Tom Cruise jumped on her soda ten years ago. Yet there are other things that Oprah is known for, among them her net worth of $3 billion. So what has Oprah not done? She had a long-running daytime talk show, she has her own magazine (O Magazine) and television network (OWN), and she is super-rich after coming from humble beginnings. She is a producer, host, actress, and philanthropist. She created the Oprah’s Angel Network and loves to give free stuff away. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Not bad for a woman who grew up in poverty.
4. Jin Sook Chang – Net Worth: $3.1 billion
Have you heard of Jin Sook Chang? You should have! She has a net worth of $3.1 billion and at 52 years old she is sure to run into more success in the coming years. Back in 1981, she moved to California from her native South Korea. She struggled for about three years before opening up a fashion retailer along with her husband, Don, called Fashion 21. Every six months after that initial opening, they unveiled more and more stores in other locations. Have you ever passed a Forever 21? Maybe you have even shopped there. Well, that is the evolution of Fashion 21.
3. Doris Fisher – Net Worth: $3.1 billion
Doris Fisher may be old (age 83), but she is a self-made billionaire with a net worth of $3.1 billion. She is the co-founder of Gap and now serves as a shareholder in the merchandiser that is valued at $16.4 billion. Gap industries also oversee other retailers such as Old Navy, Banana Republic, and Athleta. She has also earned her money through her work as a celebrated art collector, amassing about 1,100 masterpieces by the art world’s greats (over 185 of them.) Aaaand, she does work with the KIPP Foundation, which she co-founded as well. The KIPP Foundation supports charter school education.
2. Diana Hendricks – Net Worth: $3.6 billion
Diana Hendricks is the co-founder and chairwoman of ABC Supply and boasts a net worth of $3.6 billion. Her company distributes roofing, siding, and window materials and continued to expand the business after the passing of her husband and business partner, Kenneth. The sales of ABC Supply have reached about $4.8 billion and continue to grow. Diana is also in charge of Hendricks Holding Co. This enterprise focuses on manufacturing, plants, commercial real estate, recycling, and insurance. Wait, there’s more! She also does work with the Hendricks Family Foundation, Wisconsin Eye Public Affairs Network, and Beloit College in her Wisconsin hometown.
1. Elizabeth Holmes – Net Worth: $4.7 billion
With a net worth of $4.7 billion, Elizabeth Holmes is indeed uber-powerful. She is the Chief Executive Officer of Theranos, a blood-testing company that is valued at $9 billion itself! At just 31 years of age, she is the world’s youngest female billionaire. Theranos is a cutting-edge enterprise dedicated to detecting fatal diseases such as cancer, earlier. She was a Stanford University dropout, but her lab at Theranos can run up to 70 different lab tests. She is a power-player in the medical field and has been featured in the most prominent business magazines. Her business may lead the way to faster and less invasive testing.