100 years of power

From Mary Pickford to Carly Fiorina, the most powerful businesswomen by decade.

Lila Acheson Wallace (1889-1984)
Lila Acheson Wallace (1889-1984)
Co-Founder and Co-Chair, Reader's Digest

Unable to sell their idea of a volume of condensed magazine articles to publishers, DeWitt and Lila Acheson Wallace did it themselves, founding Reader's Digest in 1922 out of their basement apartment in New York. Lila focused on the business side; DeWitt the editorial. The magazine, which started with 1,500 subscribers, grew steadily, then took off in the 1930s, hitting the million-subscriber mark and going international.

Reader's Digest, which now has 50 editions in 21 languages, is one of the world's biggest monthly magazines. The Wallace Foundation, which dates to the 1950s, has given away more than $2 billion to a wide variety of charitable causes.

Mary Pickford

C.J. Walker

Elizabeth Arden

Lila Acheson Wallace

Mary Gindhart Roebling

Olive Ann Beech

Margaret Rudkin

Ida Rosenthal

Ruth Handler

Estée Lauder

Katharine Graham

Catherine Cleary

Linda Wachner

Carly Fiorina
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