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CNBC Changemakers: Fortune 500 CEOs Naomi Osaka and Alex Cooper Share a Secret to Success


CNBC Changemakers 2024 list revealed

On Wednesday, CNBC unveils Changemakers, a new annual list of 50 women who innovate and transform the business of the largest companies, startups and philanthropic organizations.

CNBC received 720 nominations and has spent the past few months, with advice from Changemakers Advisory Councilevaluating the impact of candidates both quantitative and qualitative lenseswith a particular focus on their achievements over the past year.

The inaugural class of Changemakers 2024 covers 17 sectors. Leading the way is health care, with 22%; technology, with 14%; and consumer products and financial services, tied at 10%. It includes 15 startup CEOs and founders whose companies have a total valuation of more than $47 billion, and 11 public company CEOs overseeing companies with a combined market capitalization of approximately $170 billion. In addition, it features five women deploying technology to amplify the philanthropic impact of their organizations and four women who are shaking up the world of sports business. Nearly a fifth of women are based outside the United States

Each had a significant achievement in 2023, propelling a major company to a new level of growth and often tackling issues of significant importance to society.

Anat Ashkenazi, the chief financial officer of pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly, secured key manufacturing capacity at the dawn of an era of blockbuster weight-loss drugs and worked to lower prices of insulin drugs amid political scrutiny increased prescription costs. CEO and Co-Founder of RePurpose Global Svanika Balasubramanian works to minimize and reuse plastic waste alongside hundreds of consumer brands. Bobbie CEO Laura Modi solved the infant formula shortage with a new product, while Baby2Baby co-CEOs Norah Weinstein And Kelly Sawyer Patricof are disrupting the status quo in diaper manufacturing and distribution.

In some cases, Changemakers take advantage of their star power to create new market opportunities. Alex Cooper is changing the podcast industry and building a new type of audio media empire. Actor Tracee Ellis Ross is changing the hair care industry and more with Pattern Beauty. Naomi Osaka is making things happen on and off the tennis court with her media company and skincare line.

In examining Changemakers, CNBC identified a few key trends. First, this new generation of women leaders is striving to align purpose and profits, creating businesses that succeed when they achieve environmental or social good. At rePurpose Global, Balasubramanian created a model that succeeds when companies take steps to reduce their plastic production and environmental impact. Jessica ChangCEO of Upwards, is reinventing the childcare industry to make it more widely accessible and affordable. Maya Cohen created Hello Heart to help individuals manage their cardiovascular health, while helping employers manage costs.

Illustrations by Monica Ahanonu

Changemakers are also reformers, inventing new approaches to fixing broken systems. And many of them offer consumers much-needed new options in areas that are often overlooked. Kate Ryder fills major gaps in women’s and family health care with Maven. Founder of Mielle Organics Monique Rodriguez created new options for natural hair care. Commissioner of the National Women’s Soccer League Jessica Berman This proves the broad appeal of women’s sports and narrows the pay gap between professional athletes.

And we see several women blazing new trails in renewable energy, like the CEO of Dandelion Energy. Kathy Hannunwhich is working to create a new market for geothermal energy, and Twelve’s Etosha Cavewhich focuses on transforming CO2 and water into aviation fuel.

As women continue to be underrepresented in the world of technology, and particularly in the cutting-edge field of artificial intelligence, several of this year’s Changemakers are playing key roles in the use of AI to improve and accelerate their activities and others. Clara Shihas CEO of Salesforce AI, helps businesses deploy AI within their organization. Michelle Zatlynco-founder and COO of Cloudflare, provides businesses with AI tools to strengthen cybersecurity and reduce costs for critical and vulnerable infrastructure providers, including schools and local election systems. Kristin PeckCEO of an animal health company Zoétisuses AI to improve outcomes for pets and their owners.

All of these women are pioneers in their field, with inspiring stories and unique approaches. Changemakers remind us that success is the result of authentic leadership.

CNBC’s Julia Boorstin is the author of “When Women Lead,” which brings together the stories of women who defied the odds to found and lead successful organizations, with data explaining how they did it. In the book, she explores the concept of “reformers” – women working to fix broken systems.


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