1. Kaya Thomas, developer
Mobile developer Kaya Thomas (center) is the cool big sister of tech; maybe you’ve seen her coding tutorials on YouTube, or caught her onstage with Michelle Obama on BET’s Black Girls Rock? We Read Too, her iPhone app, features books written by authors of color, with characters of color. Oh yeah, she’s also a junior at Dartmouth.
2. Myleik Teele; founder and CEO, CurlBox
Myleik is a guru for modern entrepreneurial women, who seek her advice so much that she dispenses it across social media with the #MyTaughtYou hashtag. She’s all about self-development, sharing everything from her favorite books to her inspirations, as she dominates the natural hair world through her product subscription service, CurlBox.
3. Carla Harris; vice chairman of wealth management, managing director and senior client adviser, Morgan Stanley
A famous boss once said, “Always stay gracious; best revenge is your paper.” Carla Harris, a 20-year-plus Wall Street veteran, knows all about it and doesn’t mind sharing how she made it to the C-Suite; check her book Expect to Win. And no big deal — she’s also a singer who has performed four sold-out concerts at Carnegie Hall.
4. Bozoma Saint John; head of global consumer marketing, Apple Music
Boz, a self-described unicorn, knows branding. Like, that’s her thing. Remember that commercial you loved with Taraji, Mary J. Blige, and Kerry Washington kickin’ it? Yea, that was Boz. Before that, as an exec at PepsiCo, she activated celebrity endorsements with Beyoncé, Kanye West, Nicki Minaj…and Michael Jackson.
5. Ursula Burns; chairman and CEO, Xerox Corporation
Ursula started as an intern at Xerox…now she runs it, becoming the first African-American female CEO of a Fortune 500 company in the process. You’ve seen her name on like every Forbes and Fortune list of the world’s most powerful women — and she’ll probably be there next year, too.
6. Valeisha Butterfield Jones; head of black community engagement, Google
Valeisha was named Google’s head of black community engagement in January, but she’s been a #boss for a long time. She founded the Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network, which mentors young women interested in the industry, and she’s long been a go-to political strategist for agencies hoping to mobilize the “hip-hop generation.”
7. Erin Teague; director of product, Yahoo
Erin is a Silicon Valley #girlboss who’s worked at Twitter and Intel. She’s currently responsible for designing the interface of Yahoo’s fantasy gaming apps. Erin has an MBA from Harvard and a degree in computer engineering (she was the only black woman in her graduating class), and is on the advisory board of CODE2040.
8. Marley Dias; founder, #1000BlackGirls
Marley was chillin’ in fifth grade and found herself frustrated by all the books she had to read with no characters who looked her. So she did something about it! This 11-year-old started #1000BlackGirls, a campaign to collect 1,000 books where black girls are the main characters. She’s also an avid blogger.
9. Angela Benton; founder and CEO, NewMe Accelerator
Angela was an early adopter of technology, using design and coding to help underrepresented communities. Her Black Web 2.0 was the go-to site for black people in the digital space. Now with the NewMe Accelerator, she has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs launch businesses and raise funding from investors.
Most important, her IG bio says: “I don’t want followers I want leaders.” 🏾
10. Cathy Hughes, Radio One
The first radio station Cathy Hughes bought was a disaster. She lost her home and had to live in the station, but legends don’t give up. That station turned into Radio One, the largest African-American owned and operated broadcast company in the U.S. It branched into cable network TV One and digital publishing brand Interactive One.
11. Florence Adepoju; founder, MDMFlow
Florence didn’t just say, It’s tough shit out here for black women who like bold lipstick. Nope, the 24-year-old got a damn degree in cosmetic science and made it herself. “I’m a black girl, and a lot of my friends are black, so what sense does it make for me to make a product we can’t use?” she previously told BuzzFeed. Cop her hip-hop–inspired lipstick line, MDMFlow, at Topshop and other retailers.
12. Mellody Hobson — President, Ariel Investments; chair of the board of directors, Dreamworks Animation
Let’s discuss how Mellody Hobson put Oprah on: She seated Oprah next to another pal, the CEO of Starbucks, at a party. Next thing you know, Oprah’s chai is in stores. Basically, everybody knows Mellody, because she’s a goddamn boss. She is president of Ariel Investments, one of the largest black-owned money management and mutual fund firms in America…then she married some guy who created Star Wars or whatever.
13. Zim Ugochukwu; founder and CEO, Travel Noire
It’s not an understatement to say Zim, 27, has revolutionized the face of travel and empowered young people of color to see the world. In 2013, she founded Travel Noire, a digital publishing platform for travelers of color. But dig her bio: “Previously, I cloned a gene as a biologist, ran a national anti-tobacco campaign, helped open a Civil Rights Museum & traveled through 90% of Asia.”
14. Debra Lee; chairman and CEO, BET
BET is 36 years old; Debra’s been there 26. Can we can agree that the network seems to be reinvigorated, with original programming and awesome award shows? Let’s thank Debra for that. I mean, she’s only a member of the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame.
15. Ethiopia Habtemariam; president, Motown Records; president of urban music, Universal Music Publishing Group
That’s Ethiopia, hanging with Big Sean at SXSW. She’s one of the highest-ranking black women at a major record label, and has signed some of the biggest acts in music, including Justin Bieber and J. Cole. She once said, “I knew when I was 14 that I wanted to work in this industry. I haven’t stopped hustling toward that since.” 🏾
16. Rosalind Brewer; president and CEO, Sam’s Club
Rosalind got a lot of heat last year for saying she prioritizes diversity. Stay mad, haters: #bosses can prioritize whatever they want. Rosalind, a former scientist, has a degree in chemistry from a historically black college. She is the first woman and first African-American to lead a division within Wal-Mart.
17. Elaine Welteroth; beauty and health director; Teen Vogue
Elaine is fuckin’ fabulous, and that’s all there is to it. She extends this glam to the masses, having been a beauty editor at publications including Glamour and Ebony. Her role at Teen Vogue makes her a very visible black woman in the world of publishing, and her vibrant IG chronicles a #girlboss living her best life.
18. Sheila Johnson; founder and CEO, Salamander Hospitality
This is Sheila, court side with the president at a game of one of the THREE professional sports teams she owns. Sheila is the founding partner of BET, and currently oversees a myriad of luxury properties as founder and CEO of Salamander Hospitality. And if that weren’t enough, she sits on the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.
19. Karen Civil; owner, KarenCivil.com and LiveCivil.com
Karen is a highly respected social media maestro. She fell in love with hip-hop as a kid and blazed a path in the industry, becoming an authority on how to build an artist’s profile. Her websites are the blueprint for many aspiring bloggers, and last fall she released a popular motivational book, Be You & Live Civil.
20. Admiral Michelle J. Howard; 38th vice chief of naval operations
The woman in front of Barack Obama is the first black woman to become a four-star officer in the military and the first woman to earn four stars in the Navy. And, please, get in formation: Michelle is the first woman to command a warship in the U.S. Navy. *salute*
21. Stacy-Marie Ishmael; Managing Editor for Mobile News, BuzzFeed News
Sorry, not sorry. Have you heard the uber-popular “Stacy’s Career Corner” on the uber-popular Another Round podcast? If you are a woman who works, Stacy has the to success. She built BuzzFeed’s News App and has been a manager, #girlboss, and life-fixer probably since before you made your first resume. Plus, her newsletter is a breath of fresh air in a polluted world.
- Immigrants are worried two government memos are laying the groundwork for the deportation force Trump promised on the campaign trail.
- A US federal judge ruled that Texas can't cut Planned Parenthood out of its Medicaid program.
- The UK Supreme Court ruled that it's legal for the government to keep couples apart because of their income.
- A 2-year-old boy lost a race at school after he spotted his dad and ran to hug him instead of crossing the finish line 👦💨💞