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Women's History Month - Women Entrepreneurs

Unconventional Women Entrepreneurs I admire

Women's History Month - Women EntrepreneursIt’s Women’s History Month so I’d be remiss if I failed to applaud the contributions of women to business. When we think of women entrepreneurs, it’s easy to identity those in cosmetics (Madam C.J. Walker, Elizabeth Arden, Estee Lauder, Mary Kay Ash), fashion (Coco Chanel, Sara Blakely), food (Martha Stewart, Ruth Fertel of Ruth’s Chris Steak House), and the entertainment industry (Lucille Ball, Oprah Winfrey). They’ve changed our world. But many women entrepreneurs made their mark in other industries and are what we may think of as unconventional. Here are five I admire:

Olive Ann Beech co-founded Beech Aircraft Corp. with her husband. After his death, she ran the company for 20 years, transforming it into a multimillion-dollar aerospace business that was bought out by Raytheon Corp.

Lillian Vernon created a mail order phenomenon from her kitchen table. As the story goes, using $2,000 of her wedding money, she placed ads for matching purses and belts in Seventeen Magazine. The overwhelming response led her to create a mail order catalog. She too ran her company for over 50 years. I met her a number of years ago…what a woman!

Brownie Wise found a product and convinced her boss Earl Tupper to let her sell it; Tupperware was born. She created a new direct sales technique (in-home parties) and was the first woman to appear on the cover of Business Week.

Joy Mangano is an inventor-turned-entrepreneur who launched her success selling the Miracle Mop on QVC. She’s been listed in The 10 Most Creative Women in Business.

Kate Ryder created Maven, a women’s health app designed for women that enables the user to connect with a doctor for prescriptions and advice via video chat. Launched in 2014, this is part of healthcare for the future.


There continues to be a dearth of women entrepreneurs in science, technology, engineering, and math industries. Hopefully, women will take a greater lead in STEM industries in the future as a result of two new laws: