Historic Women You Should Know

It’s mid-March and March is Women’s History Month. Let’s celebrate by taking a look at some of the amazing women who have paved the way! Check out these women whose work and success serve as inspiration and a bit of a history lesson! Here are some historic women you should know.

3 Historic Women You Should Know as a Boss Babe

Madam C.J. Walker (1867-1919)

Born on a Louisiana plantation the daughter of former slaves in 1867, Sarah Breedlove, better known as Madam C.J. Walker, is one of the historic women you should know.

Recognized as one of the twentieth century’s most successful, self-made women entrepreneurs, Walker started her brand out of necessity. She suffered from a scalp condition that caused mild hair loss. Looking for ways to treat her condition, Walker concocted a remedy. Her research eventually lead her to found her business. She began selling Madam Walker’s Wonderful Hair Grower door to door across the US South.
3 historic womenAfter much success with direct sales, Madam C.J. Walker traveled north to Pittsburg. She founded Lelia College, a beauty school named after her only daughter there. In addition to training in sales and grooming, Walker showed other Black women how to budget, build their own businesses, and encouraged financial independence.

By the 1920s her business market expanded beyond the United States to the Caribbean and parts of Central America. International success!

Upon her death, her multi-million dollar estate was left to various philanthropic organizations and to her daughter, whose philanthropic endeavors were key to funding the Harlem Renaissance.

Madam C.J. Walker is a woman you should know as a boss babe. Her story is both fascinating and inspiring.


Shelly Lazarus (1947-    )

The next on our list of historic women is Shelly Lazarus. Lazarus is the Chairman Emeritis  of Ogilvy & Mather, international advertising, marketing and public relations agency founded in 1948.

Ranked amongst Fortune’s “Most Powerful Women in Business”, Lazarus is a woman about her business. As an advertising maven, she has overseen campaigns for many huge brands including IBM, American Express, and Coca-Cola among others.

3 historic womenLazarus (then Braff) graduated from Smith College in 1968 and has an MBA from Columbia University. She was one of only four women in her class when receiving her MBA. An indication of things to come, she spent many years as the only woman in the room and being one of only a few in the industry. That hasn’t stopped her from rising to the top.

After graduating she began her career at Clairol, briefly, and then started at Oglivy & Mather, one of the world’s largest advertising agencies. During her tenure she’s been a supervisor for accounts like Cambell’s, American Express and eventually scored exclusive agency rights for IBM who previously employed 40 agencies for their advertising!

Lazarus was promoted to president of North American operations in ’94 and then CEO of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide in 1997. The position was previously held by the company’s first female CEO & Chairman, Charlotte Beers when she took over.

Lazarus currently serves on the boards of several corporate, philanthropic and academic institutions including but not limited to New York Presbyterian Hospital, Lincoln Center, and the Board of Overseers of Columbia Business School. She has also served as Chairman of the American Association of Advertising Agencies.


Sheryl Sandberg (1969 –    )

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO, is another historic woman you should know.

3 historic womenSheryl Sandberg was born in Washington DC in 1969 and grew up in Miami, FL. The two time Harvard grad has a Bachelors in economics and an MBA.  Sandberg has worked at some of the largest, most successful organizations including the US Treasury, the World Bank and Google.

At 29 years old Sandberg advanced to chief of staff at the US Treasury under her mentor and past professor. When that term ended in 2001, she moved to California and joined the Google team. She is credited with helping to build the super-successful AdWords and AdSense advertising services, which reportedly made the company billions of dollars. This was during her role as Vice President of Global Online Sales & Operations. In 2008 she became COO of Facebook.

Forbes magazine named Sheryl Sandberg #5 on its list of “Power Women” in 2011; the next year the magazine estimated her worth at $500 million making her “one of Silicon Valley’s most successful female executives!”

The 2013 book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead is also Sheryl Sandberg’s work.

Hopefully these brief profiles of some pretty amazing historic women have you inspired. Look them up to learn more about their roads to success.

Happy Women’s History Month, boss babes! What other women in business are you inspired by? Share with us!

Tiffanie Bernard

Tiffanie is the Founder and CEO of Embodi Collective, THE place for all things indie, plus size and dope! We’re pretty sure that she was born with the creative bug. As long as she can remember, she’s had a huge passion for designing and creating. Her most recent endeavors have lead her to women's fashion. Tiffanie understands the importance of developing your own personal style and how difficult it can be to find the right pieces to bring it all together. Embodi Collective is the answer to that need.

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