The presidential candidate field is growing more crowded by the day with almost 20 candidates declared to date, three quarters of whom are candidates for the Republican nomination. In the entire Republican candidate field, there is only one female candidate, Ms. Carly Fiorina.
While our political views at the Lala vary across the spectrum, we appreciate the superior example Ms. Fiorina sets for young women. As the political fever starts to pick up in anticipation for 2016, here are the 10 things you need to know about Carly Fiorina and her rise to where she is today.
1. She was the first woman to head a Fortune 50 company.
Becoming a leader in business and technology, as Hewlett-Packard’s CEO, she became the first woman to lead a Fortune 50 business, helping the company do a little ladder climbing of its own as it moved from the 28th to the 11th largest company in the US. She originally held a filing and typing position at HP, only to return and lead the company years later.
2. She was the first woman officer for AT&T.
Prior to her CEO position at HP, Fiorina became the first female officer for AT&T at age 35. By age 40, she led AT&T’s North American operations. In her role as an executive, she helped AT&T’s Lucent Technologies become one of the nation’s largest IPO’s in history.
3. She was named “Most Powerful Woman in Business” for 6 years in a row.
For her success leading AT&T’s Lucent Technologies, Fortune named her “Most Powerful Woman in Business” in 1998. She held her title for 6 straight years, from 1998-2003.
4. She began her career as a secretary.
While Fiorina’s current resume is nothing short of impressive, she began her prominent career as a secretary for a small real estate business. Fiorina embraces the American Dream; only in this country can a young woman start as a secretary and rise up through hard work to become the CEO of one of the most prominent technology companies in the world.
5. She took the undergraduate degree less traveled.
Based on her career path, you probably wouldn’t guess that she graduated from Stanford University with degree in medieval history and philosophy.
6. She is a law school dropout.
After less than a year of law school, she realized that was not the career for her. But no worries; she later received business degrees from UMD and MIT in marketing and management, respectively. She says, “Quitting law school was the most difficult decision of my life. But I felt this great relief that this is my life and I can do what I want with it.” Well said, Fiorina. Well said.
7. She is a dog person.
Fun fact: she has two dogs, Max and Snickers. Both are Yorkshire terriers.
8. She is passionate about giving back.
Since leaving HP, she has dedicated her life to giving back, becoming a leader in philanthropy through numerous charities and nonprofits. With her financial and business expertise, she helped millions out of poverty as the Chairman of Opportunity International and helped large and small businesses grow as Chairman of Good360.
9. She beat breast cancer.
When she was 54, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and received a double mastectomy. To all brave, strong women who were touched by the disease, she says, “It’s a sisterhood.”
10. She is redefining feminism.
Not only can Fiorina’s career to date inspire us all, but the presidential candidate is challenging women everywhere to redefine feminism. She believes that “a feminist is a woman who lives the life she chooses. … A woman may choose to have five children and home-school them. She may choose to become a CEO, or run for President.” Her aim is to shift the feminist conversation away from being a pity party for women that puts guys and gals on two separate teams. Feminism should be about individual empowerment. Can we get an amen?!
Regardless of each of our own political stances, Ms. Carly Fiorina is a candidate to keep an eye on during this presidential race. She reminds us all that if you want it, you can make it happen and that there is a spot for women in politics. Get it, girl.