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Guest post: 7 Business women who became successful in later life

August 23, 2017
Diversity & Inclusion

We’re always hearing about the new kids on the block who, barely into their 20s, are making millions or even billions.

Steve Jobs started Apple when he was just 21 and Mark Zuckerberg was already a billionaire by his 25th birthday. However, there are plenty of inspiring role models who succeeded later in life. They show us that continuing to strive and never giving up on your dreams can lead you to accomplish incredible things at any age.

Here are seven inspirational business women who found success later in life:

Anna Jane Harrison
A trailblazing woman in science, Anna J. Harrison was born in 1912. She studied chemistry at university and went on to become a professor, teaching and conducting research into ultraviolet light and the way it interacts with organic compounds. Her whole career was certainly impressive but it was at the grand age of 60 that she was asked to serve on the National Science Board, which she did from 1972 to 1978. Then, in 1978, at the age of 66, she became the first female president of the American Chemical Society.

Lynda Weinman
Along with her husband, Lynda Weinman founded the website when she was 40 years old. The teacher turned entrepreneur created the website as a way to communicate more effectively with her own students and to teach classes online. Now, nearly half of all colleges in the US use the platform she created to help and support their own alumni. And in 2015, was sold to LinkedIn for $1.5 billion.

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw
Another successful woman who made it big in later life, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is India’s richest self-made female billionaire. She is the chairman of Biocon Limited, a huge biotechnology company, and in 2016 was listed as one of Forbes’ 100 most powerful women in the world. She started her business out of the garage of her home and struggled to find investment at first. Today, however, the company continues to expand whilst respecting and promoting the importance of affordable drugs in developing countries.

Ursula Burns
Chairwoman of Xerox and one of the most powerful businesspeople in the world, Ursula Burns only stepped down from her role as CEO at the end of 2016. She began her career at Xerox as an intern back in 1980 when she was in her early 20s. At 41 she was made vice president of global manufacturing and became CEO in 2009.

Nina Zagat
Husband and wife team, Nina and Tim Zagat were working as successful lawyers. However, their wealth was set to expand rapidly when they relocated temporarily to Paris and started compiling reviews and summaries of the city’s restaurants. As friends back home started to clamour for their recommendations they saw the potential and started their own official restaurant guide. By the age of 48 Nina had quit her job as a lawyer and was working at full time. In 2011, the website sold for $125 million.

Fabiola Gianotti
Italian particle physicist, Fabiola Gianotti, was appointed the first female CERN Director-General when she was aged 55. She earned a Ph.D. in experimental particle physics in 1989 and went on to work with CERN, fulfilling several roles and working on a number of ground breaking experiments. It was Gianotti who, in 2012, announced the discovery of the Higgs bosun particle.

Irene Rosenfeld
Rosenfeld had already been involved in the food and drink industry for around 20 years when she landed the top job of CEO and chairperson at Frito-Lay at the age of 51. A few years later she was appointed CEO at Kraft Foods and now regularly features on the Forbes list of most powerful women in the world.

These women show that no matter your gender and no matter your age, the right grit and determination can see you reach great heights in whichever industry your talents and passions lie.

Sophia Mest is a freelance writer at BizDb, where she aspires to put her writing passion into practice and spread her words across the world. She spends her free time travelling and exploring the wonders of nature. Follow her on Twitter @MestSophia.

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