3. Mary Schapiro and Kathleen Sebelius
Mary Schapiro and Kathleen Sebelius
Chair, SEC and Secretary, Health and Human Services
Last year's rank: 3 and 4

These two are leading the unglamorous efforts to implement President Obama's signal domestic achievements, the sweeping reforms of the financial services and health care industries.

Schapiro's push to head off another financial crisis has meant crafting dozens of regulations mandated by the Wall Street overhaul. It hasn't been easy. She's faced criticism for the pace of her progress, which she chalks up to budget constraints from House Republicans hostile to the law.

Sebelius has faced headaches of her own: her decision to require insurers to offer birth control with no co-pays irked religious groups.

Last updated September 29 2011: 3:11 PM ET