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Luisa Kroll Forbes Staff
This story appears in the June 15, 2015 issue of Forbes.
Forbes has compiled its first ever list of the nation’s top 50 most successful, self-made women as measured by their net worths. The exclusive freshman class includes entrepreneurs, CEOs, entertainers, designers and even an author. Some of the list members are extremely well-known, starting with the likes of Oprah Winfrey andFacebook’s Sheryl Sandberg. Others like Kathy Fields and Katie Rodan, dermatologists who created acne treatment Proactiv and now have another skin care company, aren’t quite household names yet but may be on their way.
Elizabeth Holmes, who dropped out of Stanford to launch blood testing firm Theranos in 2003, tops the list with a net worth of $4.5 billion. At age 31, she is also the world’s youngest female billionaire. Other notables who made the cut include Eren Ozmen, who is chairman of Sierra Nevada, the biggest female-owned federal contractor in the U.S.; creator of American Girl dolls Pleasant Rowland; prolific novelist Nora Roberts and Martine Rothblatt, a transgender woman who founded and runs biotech firm United Therapeutics.
A remarkable 20 of the self-made women reside in the truly Golden state of California. Many of them are in technology including Weili Dai, cofounder of semiconductor firm Marvell Technology; Lynda Weinman, who sold her Lynda.com to LinkedIn for $1.5 billion in May; and Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer. But a number made their money in other ways. With her husband, Kit Crawford built Clif Bar into a successful maker of organic nutritional bars and drinks now sold in 14 countries. Former fashion model Kathy Ireland, who graced Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue for 13 years, is a licensing mogul who has lent her name to some 17,000 unglamorous products from socks to ceiling fans.
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About kathy ireland Worldwide® (kiWW®):
Founded in 1993, the kathy ireland Worldwide® brand, celebrates a lifestyle. The missions of “...finding solutions for families, especially busy moms™,”
“...finding solutions for people in love™,” and
“...finding solutions for people in business™,” translate to all kiWW® collections, including: fashion, fine jewelry, intimate apparel, skincare, accessories, weddings, home, office and more. kiWW’s unique capability to design and translate fashion trends for all markets and price points allows it to develop product for a wide variety of customer tastes.
Listed as the 28th most powerful brand globally, by License Global Magazine, with annual merchandise sales of $2 billion, according to Forbes Magazine, the success of kathy ireland Worldwide® is the result of teamwork and dedication. According to Fairchild Publications, Kathy Ireland is one of the 50 most influential people in fashion.
Kathy and kiWW® support many non-profits including; YWCA, Dream Foundation, Providence Educational Foundation, 911 for Kids/AEFK, Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation and the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
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