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Women’s History Month: Highlighting 5 Influential Women and Their Impact on Business

Did you know that Women’s History Month started out as Women’s History Week?

Women’s History Month: Highlighting 5 Influential Women and Their Impact  on Business
Women’s History Month: Highlighting 5 Influential Women and Their Impact on Business

In 1987 Congress designated March as “Women’s History Month.” It soon became an event celebrated nationally. Each year themes are designated to International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month. This year the theme for International Women’s Day was, “#BreaktheBias - Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow, and the theme for the month is, “Women Providing Healing, Promoting Hope.” This serves as a tribute to caregivers and frontline workers as well as giving recognition to all women that have provided healing and hope throughout history.


Today and throughout the month of March, we’re highlighting influential women that have made an impact in business. Here are 5 examples of those women we give recognition to:



1. Estée Lauder

Photo by Skrebneski

Estée Lauder, born Josephine Esther Mentzer, took the beauty industry by storm. She was the sole female leader in Time’s 1998 list of the Most Influential Business Geniuses of The 20th Century. She started out by developing her own fragrance called “Youth Dew.” That fragrance sold in the millions and created the empire, Estée Lauder Cosmetics.


Aramis and Clinique are two examples of subsidiaries that made Estée Lauder a billionaire and earned her a Presidential Medal of Freedom. It’s nearly impossible to find the exact number of beauty brands globally but what we do know Estée Lauder paved the way for millions of other women to make their start in the cosmetic industry.


2. Oprah Winfrey

Photo by Cliff-Watts/Courtesy of Harpo, Inc.

Oprah first entered the entertainment industry when she was the youngest news anchor and the first African American female news anchor at Nashville’s WLAC-TV. She made waves in the industry when she took over a struggling AM talk show. Within months, the show went from last in ratings to being the highest-rated talk show in Chicago. She is most known for developing her own talk show: the Oprah Winfrey Show. The show aired from 1986-2011 and is still counted as one of the most successful shows in daytime television.


Ms. Winfrey then launched her own channel, “OWN- Oprah Winfrey Network.” Currently, Oprah is in a partnership with Apple to create new and original programs exclusively for Apple’s streaming service, Apple TV+. Oprah elevated herself from a girl born in Kosciusko, Mississippi to a household name. She continues to be an impactful female leader within the entertainment industry and beyond.



3. Katharine Graham

Series: Katharine Graham [1917-2001], publisher of The Washington Post, guest at a meeting of the Dutch Newspaper Press (NDP)
Photo collection Anefo Report

Katharine “Meyer” Graham grew up around influential people in the financial and business industries. After graduating Katharine worked for a couple of newspapers until she started to have her children. Her husband, Phillip Graham, became publisher of The Washington Post after her father handed over the newspaper to his son-in-law. Katharine stated that giving the newspaper to her husband was:


“Far from troubling me that my father thought of my husband and not me, it pleased me. In fact, it never crossed my mind that he might have viewed me as someone to take on an important job at the paper.”


Katharine took over the reins of The Washington Post after the death of her husband in 1963. She held the titles of publisher and chairman of the board. She then became the first female CEO of a Fortune 500 company in 1972. She struggled to be taken seriously as she had no other females in that high of a position. She fought for changes and promoted gender equality within her own company which makes her a role model for many women who strive to enter the business world. Katharine has won numerous awards including a Pulitzer Prize for her autobiography, “Personal History.”


4. Tory Burch

Photo by Patrick Demarchelier

Tory Burch, born Tory Robinson, has risen to become a fashion icon. She began her career working for big names in the fashion industry such as Vera Wang, Polo Ralph Lauren, and Loewe. She started her own fashion label – “TRB by Tory Burch” with a single store in Manhattan. In what grew to over 300 stores and a line in over 3,000 department stores, Tory Burch quicky became a well-known name in the industry. Burch has even been listed as one of the top 100 Most Powerful Women in The World by Forbes in 2020.


While Burch loves fashion, she also has a passion for helping others. Burch is a philanthropist and is associated with several foundations as well as launching her own foundation, Tory Burch Foundation, which supports the economic empowerment of women through small business loans, education, and mentoring.


5. Pat Jones

Charlotte Business Journal
Photo by Melissa Key

What better way to highlight women in business than to pick local Carowinds’ owner Pat Jones? Carowinds is an entertainment staple for the Carolinas, being split between the two states. It’s friendly, family fun that brings two states together!


Pat’s career history has proven that dedication, hard work, and consistency can push you to the top. With more than 40 years of experience in the amusement park industry, Pat began her career as a game attendant at Kings Dominion. Throughout the years her determination to succeed led her to be the former Vice President and General Manager of Carowinds.


As of 2021, Pat was promoted to Senior Vice President of Operations. She now has operational oversight for 5, yes 5, different amusement parks across the United States which still includes our very own Carowinds. Pat is an example of a woman in business with the passion to stick with an industry and grow within the company.



At DYE CULIK PC, we’re celebrating women this month and every month by applauding our female-led businesses and heroes in entrepreneurial leadership roles. If you need help or legal advice for your small business, you can contact us or give us a call at 980-999-3557. Also, follow us on Instagram for the latest updates on CLT small businesses.