Debra L. Reed
Debra L. Reed
Company: Sempra Energy
Fortune 500 rank: 266

Sempra Energy CEO Debra Reed began her college education as a pre-med student, only to realize the cutthroat environment was not for her. She went into business, keeping her distaste for that kind of competitive culture in mind. "There's room for everyone to be successful," she wrote in the New York Times in 2008. As she climbed the corporate ladder, Reed became the boss of men twice her age. She often asked herself, "How would my father react to having a 24-year-old woman giving him instructions on what to do?" That respect for others was a key component to Reed's rise to the top.


By Colleen Leahey, reporter - Last updated July 18 2012: 2:08 PM ET