3 Revolutionary Women in Business
Written by: Tirzak Bipratip, Software Engineering Student
1. Dr. Lisa Su
A photo of Lisa Su speaking at a conference, from AMG Image Gallery
Out of everyone here on the list, this person is my most favorite, and it has nothing to do with the fact that I spend most of my hours playing video games. Dr. Lisa Su is the CEO of Advanced Micro Devices (AMD); it was under her leadership AMD launched Ryzen series of computer processors that revolutionized the computer industry. She became the CEO of AMD at a time when Intel completely dominated the micro-processor industry, and AMD was on the brink of bankruptcy. After joining AMD in 2014, she decided to focus on what the company was good at doing; you guessed it correctly. It was building high performance computing chips. She wanted AMD to be the backbone of cloud-computing, artificial-intelligence, and gaming. Now, you must remember that these technologies were not as dominating as they are now, back in the days. She said, “It's not what you do today, but it's really what you do year after year, after year that people pay attention to”. She was right. AMD stocks went up by 1300% since October 2014. Dr. Lisa Su did what Intel could not do; to focus efforts where it really matters. Now, Intel has lost a lot of their market shares, and the recent Ryzen 5 processors has put Intel in a serious jeopardy. Dr. Lisa Su literally saved AMD and brought us technologies that increased humanity’s computational power by a huge margin. Even though PS5 and Xbox Series X are like mortal enemies, they are powered by 2nd generation Ryzen processors, and that is because of Dr. Lisa Su’s groundwork.
2. Alicia Boler Davis
A photo of Alicia Boler Davis during an interview with Fortune Magazine
As an engineering student, I could not be prouder to write about this woman. Alicia Boler Davis, like Mary Barra, is long time GM veteran; 25 years to be exact. This year she became the first Black woman to become a part of Jeff Bezos’s S-team leadership group. She is the Vice President of Global Customer Fulfillment at Amazon. In simple words, she handles the huge infrastructure that ensures a smooth experience for customers shopping at Amazon. Her efforts to keep Amazon running during the pandemic are truly remarkable. She had to ensure the safety of workers all around the globe, and it meant not only putting up safeguards in the warehouses, but also redeveloping Amazon’s logistics algorithm. Things would not have been so difficult for Alicia if the need for new workers did not increase exponentially at Amazon. Amazon had to hire nearly 200,000 workers in the last 7 months. She handled that by increasing the square footage of warehouses dramatically. Amazon has been increasing their square footage of the facilities by 15% over year; Alicia Boler Davis is targeting a 50% increase this year. The initial bottleneck that Amazon faced during the start of pandemic is all but gone, and that is mostly because of Alicia Boler Davis. Now, mind you, she had a successful career at GM as well. At GM, she became the first Black woman to oversee a plant. In 2018, Business Insider ranker her as the No. 2 of the most powerful female engineers in the world.
3. Mary Barra
A photo of Mary Barra from Money Inc
Mary Barra is the first female CEO of a major automaker — GM. She is both the CEO and chairman of General Motors Company (GM). She started her career as a co-op student at GM in 1980 to pay her tuition fees. She later became the CEO in 2014 after working at the company for 33 years; that’s a long time. She has diverted the focus of GM towards electric vehicles from conventional vehicles. In her first year as the chairman and the CEO, she had to deal with the company’s biggest recall of its manufactured car. Since then, she is leaving no stone unturned to improve the company’s culture and work ethics. Under her leadership, GM produced more than 30,000 ventilators to handle the pressure from COVID-19. In 2017, GM released 2017 Chevy Bolt EV, the first affordable electric car, before Tesla. She has also invested in ride-sharing and self-driving technologies. Currently, she holds the number 2 position on Fortune’s 50 Most Powerful Women of 2020, and she is also a board member of Disney.