Forbes reveals America's richest self-made women: Key insights on wealth, diversity, setbacks, and rising stars
7 takeaways from Forbes' latest list of America's wealthiest self-made women.
It's been a year of triumph and financial growth for the 100 formidable entrepreneurs, executives, and entertainers who have secured their spots on Forbes' ninth-annual list of America's Richest Self-Made Women. These exceptional women have amassed their fortunes in diverse industries, ranging from building supplies to healthcare software, gas stations to TV shows, and more. Thanks to a rebound in the stock market, their cumulative net worth has reached a staggering record of $124 billion, marking a notable 12% increase from the previous year. Furthermore, the entry threshold for the list has risen to $225 million, reflecting the prosperous state of these self-made women. Here are 7 key takeaways:
Diane Hendricks: Reigning supreme in roofing and building supplies
Securing her position at the top for the sixth consecutive year is Diane Hendricks, the powerhouse behind the roofing and building supply distribution empire. Hendricks' remarkable success has catapulted her fortune to an all-time high of $15 billion, a significant increase from last year's $12.2 billion. Under her leadership as chairman since 2007, ABC Supply has experienced a 25% revenue growth, reaching an impressive $18.5 billion. This remarkable achievement is attributed to the company's expansion with the launch of 27 new locations and the acquisition of 40 more.
Judy Love: Carrying on the legacy of Love's travel stops & country stores
Claiming the second spot on the list is Judy Love, who, together with her late husband Tom, founded Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores. With an estimated net worth of $10.2 billion, Judy Love's contribution to the success of this truck stop and convenience store chain is undeniable. While Tom's passing in March 2023 left a void, their sons Greg and Frank have capably stepped up as co-CEOs, ensuring the continued prosperity of the business they have nurtured since 2014.
Power Couples: Self-made women who founded successful companies with their husbands
Interestingly, Hendricks and Love are among the 20 self-made women who founded successful companies with their husbands. This includes Marian Ilitch, who co-founded Little Caesar's Pizza in 1959 with her late husband Mike. Doris Fisher, the co-founder of the iconic clothing chain Gap, embarked on her entrepreneurial journey with her husband Don in 1969. Donna Carpenter, chairwoman of snowboard firm Burton, built the company alongside her late husband Jake Burton Carpenter. Additionally, Elizabeth Uihlein, a newcomer to the list, co-founded packaging supplies firm Uline with her husband Richard, and their joint efforts have led the company to estimated revenues of $6.1 billion.
Shonda Rhimes and rising stars: New faces on the list of self-made women
The list also welcomes several new faces who have made waves in their respective fields. Showrunner Shonda Rhimes, renowned for her successful series like Grey's Anatomy and Scandal, inked a massive deal with Netflix in 2017, bringing her reported earnings to over $100 million. Notable newcomers also include Insitro CEO Daphne Koller, who leverages the power of AI to accelerate drug development, and Doreen Granpeesheh, the psychologist behind the Center for Autism and Related Disorders, which she recently sold to Blackstone for an astounding $600 million.
From 96 to 25: Age is just a number for trailblazing women on the list
Among the list's members, 24 are billionaires, the same as the previous year. Four of these impressive women are trailblazers in their 90s, including 96-year-old Alice Schwartz, who co-founded Bio-Rad Laboratories with her late husband David in 1952. On the other end of the spectrum, the youngest member of this year's ranking is 25-year-old Kylie Jenner, the cosmetics entrepreneur and reality TV star with an estimated worth of $680 million. Notably, pop star and cosmetics mogul Rihanna, at 35, stands as the youngest self-made billionaire, owing to her successful makeup line, Fenty Beauty, which experienced a sales surge in 2022.
Setbacks and challenges: Self-made women facing financial obstacles
While many self-made women on the list thrived, some experienced setbacks. Market downturns and lower valuations for private tech companies affected the fortunes of 29 list members. Jenny Just, founder of Apex Fintech Solutions, witnessed her firm's valuation plummet from $4.7 billion to under $600 million due to slumping fintech markets and a challenging Securities and Exchange Commission. Whitney Wolfe Herd, the founder of Bumble, faced a decline in revenues due to a drop in paid users for the dating app, resulting in a $230 million reduction in her net worth. Similarly, Kim Kardashian's shapewear firm, Skims, experienced a decline in value, leading to a $600 million loss, leaving her with an estimated worth of $1.2 billion.
Geographic distribution: California leads the way, Texas and New York follow
As for geographical distribution, California remains the hub for self-made women, with 38 list members calling it home. Notable Californian residents include Kim Kardashian, Ruth Porat (Alphabet CFO), and best-selling author Danielle Steel. Texas follows with 12 list members, with Austin serving as home to seven, including Lisa Su (AMD CEO) and Paige Mycoskie (Aviator Nation founder). New York houses 10 members, and Massachusetts, which hosted five listees last year, is now home to hedge fund founder Nancy Zimmerman.
While eight members dropped off the list this year, including biotech entrepreneur Reshma Shetty and meal delivery service founder Rachel Drori, Forbes' ninth annual list of America's Richest Self-Made Women continues to celebrate the remarkable achievements of these exceptional entrepreneurs. Their resilience, business acumen, and unwavering determination serve as an inspiration to aspiring self-made women across the nation, paving the way for a more diverse and inclusive business landscape.