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Celebrating Women in Business

2 Apr 2019

Back in 2011, the government set a target for the FTSE100 boards to have at least 25 per cent female representation by 2015. With an increasingly level playfield presented to them, women soared through the business hierarchy — not only was the target met in 2015, by 2018, there were no all-male boards in the FTSE100.

Join Propsellers as we celebrate some of the most successful and inspiring women in business.

Barbara Humpton


Career highlights

As CEO of Siemens USA, Barbara Humpton has made numerous ‘powerful business people’ lists in recent years. Leading a company with over $23 billion in revenues, calling Humpton merely successful seems like a disservice to her achievements.

Humpton earned the powerful position of CEO despite facing the all-too-common false ultimatum often presented to women in the workplace — you can have a career, or you can have children. Not both. But mother and CEO Humpton is certainly proof of just how ridiculous this view really is.


Fast facts

Nationality: American

Educated at: Wake Forest University

Awards & achievements: Board of Directors of MorganFranklin; Board of Directors for the American Heart Association Greater Washington Region; Board of Directors for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments; Board of Directors for The George Washington University Law School Government Contracts Advisory Board. Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics.

Advice for women in the workplace: “Speak up and be brave,” Humpton told Time.

Mary Barra


Career highlights

CEO of General Motors Mary Barra began in the company as an intern. Working her way through the ranks of the business, Barra is now at the helm and steering the company towards its envisioned future: a world with zero crashes and zero emissions. Already, she has brought a slew of achievements in for the company — back in 2009, the company hit bankruptcy. But from Barra’s appointment as CEO in 2014, the company has bounced back to a stable success.

This desire is further highlighted in the CEO’s ambitious goal for General Motors, in that she hopes to lead the way for safe, autonomous driving. GM are not the only company vying for this goal, with the likes of Google and Apple also interested in the field of autonomous vehicles.


Fast facts

Date of birth: 24/12/61

Nationality: American

Educated at: Stanford University

Awards & achievements: Became the first female CEO for General Motors; Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering; Master of Business Administration from Stanford University; Board of Directors for The Walt Disney Co; Board of Directors for the Stanford University Board of Trustees; Board of Directors for the Social Issues Committee.

Advice for women in the workplace: Barra also spoke to Time on the matter, saying: “The biggest message I have for young women is — don’t start cutting off branches of your career tree unnecessarily early. Sometimes women say, ‘I know I want to have a family or play in the local symphony’, and they start pulling themselves out of their career path. You don’t have to take yourself out of the running before you even start.”

Dame Carolyn McCall


Career highlights

Dame Carolyn McCall has a history of leadership, having been CEO of Guardian Media Group and easyJet and prior to her appointment as CEO of ITV. Having brought easyJet into the FTSE100, McCall now has her sights set to the US streaming competition, rumoured to take the form of a subscription service from ITV itself.


Fast facts

Date of birth:  13/09/61

Nationality: British

Educated at: University of Kent and University of London.

Awards & achievements: easyJet entered the FTSE100 in 2013; 2014 winner of the Business Achievement Award at the British Travel Industry Hall of Fame Awards; Damehood in 2016 New Year Honours List; Airline Strategy Award for Low Cost Leadership; City AM’s Personality of the Year Award; Chartered Management Institute’s Gold Medal Award; Non-Executive Board Member of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy; MA in Politics from the University of London.

Advice for women in the workplace: McCall told Campaign Live that “women don’t need to defeminize, they need to be themselves.”






Rhodes, C. (2018). Briefing Paper: Business Statistics Number 06152. London: The House of Commons Library.








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