Celebrating Women: The Dominant Figures of Communications & PR

Women’s History Month marks a united national effort, commemorating the success and impact of women socially and politically throughout history. Women continue to defy gender-related obstacles in the workforce, with data showing more women business owners now than ever before. From public relations to strategic communications to literature, Maven is highlighting the female figures who have broken boundaries and embody what it means to be resilient, innovative and gritty.   

 Indra Nooyi 

Indra Nooyi is an Indian American business executive and former chief executive officer of PepsiCo. Nooyi began her professional career in India, working as a product manager at Johnson & Johnson and textile firm, Beardsell Ltd. After attending Yale’s School of Management, Nooyi was introduced to the world of communications and became a strategy consultant for the Boston Consulting Group. Nooyi joined PepsiCo. in 1994, after working as Vice President for Motorola, and became CEO in 2006. She pushed PepsiCo. to develop a competitive edge and cultural identity among consumer markets. Nooyi led PepsiCo. into a revolution of environmental reform, prioritizing sustainability. Indra Nooyi has been named consecutively as one of Forbes’ World’s Most Powerful Women. Today, she serves on the boards of Amazon and the International Cricket Council.  

 Susan Wojcicki 

With 20 years of experience in the tech industry, Susan Diane Wojcicki is the current CEO and lead strategist behind YouTube. It was in 1998 that Larry Page and Sergey Brin set up shop in Wojcicki’s garage, the very spot where Google was formed. Wojcicki was Google’s first marketing manager, working on viral programs like Google Doodles and the Google Image Search extension. Her mission was to make Google more than just a search engine by investing in creative branding. Wojcicki rose to become Google’s Senior Vice President of Advertising & Commerce, in which she oversaw the promotion of Google’s analytic domains. In 2014, Wojcicki became the CEO of YouTube. In this role, she has tightened YouTube’s policies on video violations and hate speech, as well as expanded the platform’s collection of educational content. In 2021, Wojcicki was awarded the “Free Expression Award” by the Freedom Forum Institute.  

 Joan Didion 

Joan Didion was an American writer who began her literary work in the 1950s, after winning a contest sponsored by Vogue magazine. With an English degree from the University of California, Didion went on to work for Vogue for several years; working her way to associate feature editor. She went on to write for Time Magazine and explore her journalistic path as an independent author. Didion’s writing showcased her ability to write in different styles and her understanding of audiences. She wrote on topics of counterculture and politics, usually in a rhetorical style. Didion has received several recognitions for her work as a female journalist, including the National Book Award for Nonfiction, a Pulitzer Prize, and a National Medal of Arts from former President Barack Obama. 

 Diane Sawyer 

Diane Sawyer is a nationally known television broadcast journalist – one we have all seen and heard of before. After graduating from Wellesley College, Sawyer was employed as a weather forecaster for WLKY-TV in Louisville. Looking for a more fast-paced environment, she moved to Washington, D.C., and got involved in politics, becoming an assistant to White House Press Secretary Jerry Warren. Sawyer sharpened her PR skillset and became President Nixon’s staff assistant through the Nixon-Ford transition. Fueled by the complexity of the political scope during this time, Sawyer’s passion for news came back. She joined CBS News in 1978 as a general assignment reporter. She was promoted to a political correspondent to work on the feature, ‘Morning with Charles Kurait’. In 1984 she received her most iconic role as lead host for the program ’60 Minutes’. Sawyer moved on to ABC News to co-anchor Primetime Live and later, Good Morning America. Diane Sawyer is known for her crafted interviewing and investigative abilities. Her list of achievements consists of winning an Emmy, being inducted into the Television Hall of Fame, being named to the Forbes World’s 100 Most Powerful Women, and countless honors in journalism.   

Ursula Burns 

Ursula M. Burns is a proud American businesswoman. Burns first worked for Xerox, a digital printing and service corporation, as a summer intern in 1980 before completing her master’s degree. She worked within areas of product development and planning. After gaining experience at Wayland Hicks, incorporating strategic services and global communications, Burns returned to become President of Xerox. Two years later, in 2009, she became CEO. Burns was the first black woman CEO to head a Fortune 500 company and the first woman to succeed another woman as head of Xerox. While in her leading position at Xerox, she split the business into two independent companies and filled the ranks with strong female professionals. Burns serves on the board of directors for multiple American companies, like American Express, Uber, and ExxonMobil. She was a leader of the STEM program for the White House and head of the President’s Export Council until 2016. Today, she continues inspiring young women to get into the technology field and work their way into success.  

The qualities of a “woman in business” are amplified within the work and achievements of the females showcased above. Through their contributions to communications, journalism, and technology, many women follow in their footsteps to make their mark in business.  


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