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Four Female CEOs Who Are Breaking Barriers

Here are four women who have overcome barriers to assume positions of senior leadership in important sectors or have struck out as entrepreneurs.

International Women’s Day has been observed since the 1900’s and constitutes a collective day of celebration and global equality. The day is especially important in light of last year’s LeanIn.Org Women in the Workplace Study that found women underrepresented across Corporate America and often overlooked for promotion. In light of such an important day, here are four women who have overcome barriers to assume positions of senior leadership in important sectors or have struck out as entrepreneurs.

Katrina Lake, CEO of Stitch Fix

This innovative retail subscription and styling service uses personal data points and algorithms to recommend clothes for customers. CEO Katrina Lake has assembled a team of astrophysicists, computational neurologists and more than 2,800 stylists to help handpick clothes for men and women across the country. The Silicon Valley startup offers women and men five personalized items for a $20 styling fee. Customers can pay for what they keep and return what they don’t. Stitch Fix is trying to shave time away from busy working men and women who don’t want to search online or have time to contemplate what looks good on them. Lake is looking to revolutionize fashion with data and insight. Online shopping is reaching record highs and Lake’s company brought in an estimated $250 million in revenue last year.

(Image via @kmlake)

Julie Sweet, CEO-North America Accenture (ACN)

The United States and Canada represent the largest markets of Accenture’s business, and Julie Sweet is responsible for managing the Fortune 500 assets and personnel. A Columbia Law School graduate is building an inclusive and diverse environment at Accenture, which made Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list in 2016. The company has prided itself on transparency, which was evident when it released demographic data about its workforce last year. The company is looking to attract Millennials with an individualized employee experience. Accenture recently announced ten new innovation hubs in the United States that will bring 15,000 highly skilled jobs, along with a $1.4 billion investment in training.

(image via @juliesweet2)

Shivani Siroya, CEO and Founder of Tala

Siroya has recently raised $30 million in a Series B funding for her company Tala. Tala is an app that makes micro-loans of $10-$500 to entrepreneurs in emerging economies. Most of Siroya and Tala’s customers are women in developing geographical markets that do not cater to women. Currently, the company’s average loan is for $50 and has over a 90% repayment rate.

Tala, originally called InVenture, gather 10,000 data points on an applicant’s smartphone to customize a credit score based on habits and financial transactions to determine a qualifying loan amount. The process takes five minutes. Siroya and Tala have raised an impressive $44 million since 2012

(image via @shivsiroya)

Lisa Conte, President and CEO of Jaguar Animal Health (JAGX)

Conte is the veteran of two biotech companies and is now leading San Francisco-based Jaguar Animal Health Inc. Jaguar develops gastrointestinal products for pets and production animals like race horses. The company’s lead treatment is a product candidate called Canalevia – designed for the treatment of several types of canine diarrhea. The company is also developing an ulcer therapy for horses, called SB-300. JAGX recently announced the publication of a study titled “Prophylactic use of a standardized botanical extract for the prevention of naturally occurring diarrhea in newborn Holstein calves” in the official journal of the American Dairy Science Association, Journal of Dairy Science—a leading peer-reviewed general dairy research journal. The study was conducted by researchers from Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. Jaguar plans to launch the prophylactic formulation of Neonorm Calf this year in powder form for administration in liquid. Jaguar is in the hands of a leader who will not give up and knows the industry well. Conte started as an analyst in the biotech sector in 1989 and has pushed many drugs through clinical trials.

(image via

If you are looking for more on this topic, please check out this video on CEO Shalini Vadhere and her company Power Beauty Living.

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