Forbes Magazine has released its list of the world’s 100 most powerful women of 2013, 13 of whom are Jewish. The women range from corporate leaders and journalists, to philanthropists, fashion designers and Hollywood execs.
#99: Judith Rodin
Judith Rodin is the president of the Rockefeller Foundation and 14th most powerful Jewish female, according to Forbes. As the head of a philanthropic organization, Rodin oversaw and distributed $171 million in 2012 to organizations that focused on a variety of global problems. This year she was named co-chair of the NYS 2100 Commission to help New York prepare for future natural disasters. But her leadership skills began long before the Rockefeller Foundation, she headed up her alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania, from 1994-2004, becoming the first permanent female president of an Ivy League college.
J-Connection: Judith comes from a Jewish family.
#89: Mindy Grossman
Anyone impulse shopping from their couches through the Home Shopping Network can blame Forbes’ 89th most powerful woman, Mindy Grossman, for their unnecessary purchases. Grossman has been the CEO of HSN since 2006, during which time she added celebrity sellers and an online video game channel to boost sales and broaden the network's audience base. This past year, HSN.com rose to become one of the top 10 most trafficked commerce sites.
J-Connection: Mindy is Jewish and probably plays a huge role in the lives and wardrobe of retired Jewish women everywhere.
#82: Carol Meyrowitz
As the economy’s recession hits shoppers hard, budget-friendly stores have become a huge source of support for individuals struggling to make ends meet. Meyrowitz, Forbes’ 82nd most powerful woman, plays a significant role in this dynamic as the CEO of TJX Cos, which runs 3,000 discount retail stores. Most common among Meyrowitz’s stores are T.J. Maxx and Marshalls, but she sits on the boards of Staples, Party City Holdings, and Amscan Holding. Having her hand in so many operations seems to have paid off, as she doubled her salary last year, earning more than $21.8 million.
J-Connection: Meyrowitz is Jewish.
Fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg is Forbes 74th most powerful woman in the world, and the 10th most powerful Jewish female. A self-proclaimed “real Jewish princess,” von Furstenberg oversees 427 fashion designers and has an estimated net worth of $1.3 billion. She made headlines this year when dressing her models in Google Glasses during New York Fashion Week. It would be difficult to debate her rank on Forbes’ list, because nothing says feminine power like a combination of strong fashion sense and excessive wealth.
J-Connection: Diane is Jewish, and was born and raised in Belgium. Her mother was liberated from Auschwitz just 18 months before her birth.
#69: Tory Burch
As the second youngest self-made billionaire in America, this fashion mogul brought in $800 million in revenue last year. Seller of preppy women’s clothing and $200 ballet flats, Burch has the public attention and financial backing to make a lot of change. She certainly seems to know it, having launched the Tory Burch Foundation in 2008 to provide economic assistance and opportunities to women and families. She is also on the board of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
J-Connection: Burch is Jewish on her mother’s side.
#61: Bonnie Hammer
As chairman of Cable Entertainment and Cable Studios, NBCUniversal, and Comcast, Bonnie Hammer has a lot of say over what the masses are watching every night. Maintaining the USA Network at the number one cable spot and recently bringing the SyFy channel into the top five, Hammer is further increasing her company’s revenue by acquiring syndication rights to popular ABC sitcom “Modern Family.”
J-Connection: Despite her successes, Hammer is not always calm, cool, and collected. She once stated, "There always has to be worry. It's my Jewish nature."
#59: Margaret Hamburg
As the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, Hamburg is 59th on Forbes list and the 7th most powerful Jewish female in the world. The Harvard-educated physician oversees the protection of public health in the United States and supervises the safety of food, tobacco products, dietary supplements, pharmaceuticals, vaccines, blood transfusions and veterinary products. So for anyone who values his or her health or general well being, Hamburg holds a lot of responsibility.
J-Connection: Hamburg’s father is of Jewish descent, and like his daughter, he had a successful career in medical research and public policy.
#36: Amy Pascal
If television and movies really do have the power to influence viewers’ ethical ideals and worldly outlooks, no explanation is needed for why Forbes’ ranked the leader of one of Hollywood’s largest studios among their most powerful women. Amy Pascal, the co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment, has held her 36-rank steady from last year's ranking.
During her time at Sony, she empowered the Jewish, feminist and LGBTQ community alike. In 2006, she was one of few studio heads who spoke out against Mel Gibson’s anti-Semitic outbursts, and this year, she gave an empowering speech requesting her fellow Hollywood execs to end the use of gay slurs. She has also held key roles in the creation of female-focused films, such as “A League of Their Own,” “Little Women,” and “Charlie’s Angels.” Pascal maintained a balance of hard worker and loving mom when she adopted her son and had a meeting room at the studio converted to a playroom for him.
J-Connection: Pascal is described her upbringing as “middle-class Jewish intellectual.”
#30: Susan Wojcicki
Forbes 30th most powerful woman is Susan Wojcicki, an executive at Google who oversees all of the company's product management and engineering. If that position doesn’t sound powerful enough, Wojcicki was responsible for 87 percent of Google’s revenue in 2012. Needless the say, the person who brings in the bulk of money for a company that employs 30,000 people and is revered as a top tech corporation is not to be underestimated.
Interestingly, Susan has a long history with Google co-founders and fellow Jews Sergey Brin and Larry Page. She rented out her garage to the duo when they first started developing the search engine, was the company’s 16th hire and officially became part of the Google family when her sister, Anne, married Brin. She has also done her part to reach out to the other women in the tech community, issuing a new plan to have Google branded t-shirts available in women’s sizes as well as men’s.
J-Connection: Susan is the daughter of a Jewish American mother and Polish father. She continues the ongoing Jewish tradition at Google.
#23: Safra Catz
Israeli-born Safra Catz has jumped 45 ranks on Forbes’ Most Powerful Women list, from last year's #48, as the President and CFO of the computer tech company Oracle. She is the longest-serving president and CFO of Oracle and has overseen several dozen deals that earned the company millions of dollars, including the most recent $1.9 billion acquisition of software company Taleo.
J-Connection: Catz was born in Israel and moved to Brookline, Massachusettes at the age of six. She is Jewish.
#20: Irene Rosenfeld
As anyone who grew up in a Jewish home knows, food is the staple of a good and happy life. So it is no surprise that number 20 on Forbes’ Most Powerful Women list is the chairman and CEO of Mondelez, a snack company and former CEO of Kraft. Even though females rarely head American conglomerates, Rosenfeld has not held back in the making of bold decisions. She made headlines this year when she decided split Kraft’s North American grocery business and its global snack business, Mondelez, into two separate agencies. She took a huge risk and chose to lead the new business, which might explain the drop in her Forbes rank from last year’s #13.
She has also been outspoken about her commitment to the Jewish religion, having publicly spoken about the difficulties of keeping kosher in college and expressing a “lifelong love of Judaism.”
J-Connection: Irene Rosenfeld is Jewish and keeps a kosher home; luckily she can still indulge in her company's products because Mondelez brand foods are kosher.
#19: Jill Abramson
As the executive editor of the New York Times, which reaches 40 million viewers each month, it’s pretty easy to understand why Jill Abramson is one of the most powerful Jewish female this year and number 19 on Forbes’ overall list. In addition to being in charge of one of the country's most-read publications, she brings further power to the female population by being the first female executive director of the New York Times. The native New Yorker, who received her degree from Harvard University, shows her strong diversity of knowledge with the publication of three books, on the varied topics of Clarence Thomas, the career paths of women in a graduating class from Harvard Law, and raising golden retriever puppies.
J-Connection: Jill Abramson is Jewish, but often stated that growing up, “The Times substituted for religion.”
#6: Sheryl Sandberg
With Facebook’s seemingly permanence in the lives of an astronomical number of people, it would be fair to say that just about anyone involved in the company has some power. However, the power of its chief operating officer (COO), Sheryl Sandberg, is immeasurable. Forbes understandably ranked her as the sixth most powerful women, making her the most powerful Jewish female in the world.
As the mother of two children, she is a strong promoter of female empowerment in the workplace and at home. Sandberg said, “I do believe in women and men having both a successful career and family. The more women we get into positions of power, the more likely we’ll get that.”
J-Connection: Sheryl is Jewish, according to her Facebook profile.