SUCCESS IS NOT LUCK. IT'S WHAT HAPPENS when preparation meets opportunity. And those who begin this preparation process out of the starting blocks tend to acquire key leadership assignments and professional reputations that, in some cases, exceed those of colleagues more than a decade their senior. The female entrepreneurs and corporate executives identified in our latest "editors' choice" roster--40 Rising Stars 40 and Under--have made moves that have placed them on the path to power and success in business, all before their 41st birthdays.
In consulting the nation's largest public and private corporations, major trade associations, established entrepreneurs, and senior executives over the past several months, our editorial research team discovered this cadre of remarkable women. They operate within a range of industries and disciplines, including science and technology; advertising, marketing, and public relations; finance; energy; food and beverages: and entertainment Some run large or significant divisions of their companies and report to a chief executive or division head, others have launched and managed successful independent entities. These women are innovators and influencers, trailblazers and pioneers who reshaped and refreshed disciplines with cutting-edge processes, or transformed ideas into tangible, lucrative products or services.
We chose not to include managers or employees of law firms, unions, nonprofit organizations, or government agencies, or those employed in fashion or the arts medicine, and education.
Having attained this much power and success early in their respective careers, there's no telling what groundbreaking achievements the women who made this year's list will accomplish in coming years. Judging from the drive that put them in their current positions, it appears as if nothing will stop them from reaching the pinnacle of global industry.
Tyra Banks, 38
Nia Batts, 27
Director of Strategic Partnerships
Angela Benton, 30
Founder, Publisher & CEO
Black Web Media L.L.C.
Leea Bridgeman, 34
VP, Business Development
Churchill Downs Inc.
Kelli Coleman, 27
EVP, Corporate Communications & President, GHV of New York
Daphne Dufresne, 39
Co-founder & Managing Director
RLJ Equity Partners L.L.C.
Rosalyn Durant, 35
Sharon Fortune Bowden, 40
Information Technology Architect
IBM Global Business Services
Teneshia Jackson Warner, 35
Chief Creative Officer
Egami Consulting Group
Kellee James, 35
Organic Futures Group
Sheldra Khahaifa, 38
SVP, Finance and Operations, Commercial Group
Sony Music Entertainment
Lauren Kramer-Dover, 35
Global Executive Director--Strategy & Corporate Development
Leona Locke Dotson, 31
Product Marketing Manager, U.S. Information Worker Business Group
Ninon Marapachi, 34
Head of Hedge Fund Origination & Product Management
Bank of America
Karine Mehu, 35
Senior Director, Strategic Marketing
USA Network, NBC Universal Entertainment Cable Group
Jada Miranda, 35
SVP, Drama Development
Meredith Moore, 30
Director, External Relations & Brand Outreach
Tamara L. Nall, 36
President & CEO
The Leading Niche
Raissa Nebie, 32
Founder & CEO
Monique L. Nelson, 37
SVP, Board Integration
UniWorld Group Inc.
Ory Okolloh, 35
Policy and Government Relations Manager
Africa for Google
Julia-Feliz Sessoms, 33
Director of Global Public Policy and Government Affairs
Latraviette D. Smith, 35
VP, Global Diversity & Inclusion
Sonnia Thomas Shields, 33
VP, Global Leadership & Diversity
Goldman Sachs & Co.
Eleanor P. Williams, 33
Assistant Vice President and Counsel
Amy Ellis-Simon, 39
Head of Specialty Sales and Americas Head of Corporate Access
Bank of America Merrill Lynch
A few months ago Ellis-Simon was named head of specialty sales and Americas head of corporate access in the equities division at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. focused on delivering value-added, alpha-creating opportunities to clients. One of the biggest professional accomplishments for this veteran, who was included on Buick ENTERPRISE'S 75 Most Powerful Blacks on Wall Street list. has been "working on a team that gets recognized for its excellence, working on this p of America Merrill Lynch through some turbulent times an interesting merger, and coming out with a platform that we're all pretty proud of."
Professional Lesson Learned: 'It's a small world, and treating people with grace and respect is always the right thing to do. No matter what business or career you're in. it's a small world and people recycle, and the most important thing you can have is your integrity."
Career Advice for Aspiring Investment Professionals: "Go to a place that's up and coming. Take some risks early on. Don't go to a place you think is comfortable and familiar, but really dig in and see where growth s going to come from in the next 10 to 20 years and position appropriately. Think about having international experience. having a product in its burgeoning stages, and learning that product or learning clients that aren't fully developed. Learn an expertise that is new. Take that risk and go to an area that is underdeveloped."
Role Models: "I have lots of them, and their one consistency is their demonstration of courage. It's difficult, especially in these difficult economic times to stand on principle, particularly when the repercussions feel more severe than in times past.
Nikki Bethel, 36
Vice President of Organizational Effectiveness
Home Box Office Inc.
Bethel oversees all executive and employee development. Internal employee communications and initiatives and integrated business solutions for the 2,000-plus workforce of the multibillion-dollar division of Time Warner. She worked in finance for Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley before transitioning into the entertainment industry. "I came to HBO...