#GWOP Report: Black Women Entrepreneurs

GWOP Magazine staff has released our list of #GWOP top African American Female Entrepreneurs.  These black women work in various industries from media to politics. These women all have excellent leadership qualities management skills and innovative ideas that lead to their success.  Checkout the full list after the jump.

Beyonce & Oprah

Ursula Burns

Born: New York, NY   September 20, 1958

Company: Xerox Corporation

Position: Chairman and CEO

Industry: Printing and Imaging Equipment

Country: United States

Ursula Burns, former president of Xerox Corporation, was named by the board to succeed Anne Mulcahy as chief executive officer effect July 1, 2009 and assumed the role of chairman of the company on May 20, 2010.

She is the first black woman to head a Fortune 500 company. According to Xerox, this is also the first time a female chief executive has replaced another female chief executive at a Fortune 500 company.

Burns joined Xerox in 1980 as a mechanical engineering summer intern. She subsequently held several positions in engineering, including product development and planning. In June 1991 she became the executive assistant to Paul A. Allaire, then Xerox chairman and chief executive officer.

From 1992 through 2000, Burns led several business teams, including the office color and fax business, office network copying business and the departmental business unit.

In May 2000, she was named senior vice president, Corporate Strategic Services, and was named president of Xerox Business Group Operations in 2002. She was appointed an officer of the company in 1997 and named a corporate senior vice president in 2000.

In April 2007, Burns was named president of Xerox, expanding her leadership to also include the company’s IT organization, corporate strategy, human resources, corporate marketing and global accounts. At that time, she was also elected a member of the company’s Board of Directors.
Burns received a bachelor of science degree from Polytechnic Institute of New York in 1980 and a master of science degree in mechanical engineering from Columbia University in 1981.

She serves on professional and community boards, including American Express, Boston Scientific Corp., CASA – Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, FIRST – For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, National Association of Manufacturers, University of Rochester, and the Rochester Business Alliance.

Tyra Banks

Born: December 4, 1973

Company: Bankable Enterprises

Position: President & Chief Creative Officer

Industry: Film and Television Production

Bankable Productions was started by Tyra in 2003 as a film and television production company.

As a top supermodel Tyra was the first black model on the cover of GQ, Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue and the Victoria’s Secret catalogue.

Her company has developed the prime-time hit America’s Next Top Model and the hit syndicated program The Tyra Banks Show, which is aimed at women ages 18 to 34. The show has averaged 1.7 million viewers since its debut.

Tracey Edmonds

Born: February 18, 1967,  Los Angeles, CA

Company: Edmonds Entertainment Group, Inc./Our Stories Films

Position: President, CEO, COO

Industry: Media

Country: United States

Tracey E. Edmonds, birth name Tracey McQuarn, is the President and CEO of Edmonds Entertainment Group and COO of Our Stories Films.

Edmonds’ first feature film, Soul Food, was produced for $7 million and grossed over $43 million at the box office, spawning a triple platinum soundtrack and a popular Showtime television series of the same name that ran for five seasons.

Our Stories Films, the film studio created by Robert L. Johnson and The Weinstein Company, named Tracey as its president and chief operating officer in August 2006.

Tracey has produced some of the most popular television shows to ever appear on BET, including the first African-American reality series, “College Hill”.   Edmonds created and executive produced “Lil Kim: Countdown to Lockdown,” which was one of the top-rated series in BET history.

Producer – filmography

  • Good Luck Chuck (2006) (announced) (producer)
  • Robbin Hoodz (2006) (announced) (executive producer)
  • “Lil Kim: Countdown to Lockdown” (2006) TV Series (executive producer)
  • “College Hill” (2004) TV Series (executive producer) (producer)
  • Maniac Magee (2003) (TV) (executive producer)
  • Josie and the Pussycats (2001) (producer) “Soul Food” (2000) TV Series (executive producer)
  • Punks (2000) (producer)
  • Light It Up (1999) (producer)
  • Soul Food (1997) (producer)
  • Hav Plenty (1997) (executive producer)

Oprah Winfrey

Born: January 29, 1954

Company: Harpo Inc.,

Position: Chairman, CEO, and chief creative officer, OWN; chairman, Harpo,

Industry: Media

Country: United States

Oprah Gail Winfrey is the chairman of Harpo, Inc. She is one of a handful of women who are self made billionaires, and is the only black female billionaire and the richest African American.

She’s the first black woman to own and run a television network, OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network. Launched on January 1, 2011

The Oprah Winfrey Show  is the highest-rated TV talk show in history, seen in 110 countries and was internationally syndicated from 1986 to 2011. The series finale of The Oprah Winfrey Show aired on May 25, 2011.

Oprah has been honored with the most prestigious awards in broadcasting, including the George Foster Peabody Individual Achievement Award (1996) and the IRTS Gold Medal Award (1996).  Oprah and The Oprah Winfrey Show have received a total of 39 Daytime Emmy Awards:

Through Harpo Films, Oprah has a long-term deal with the ABC Television Network to produce Oprah Winfrey Presents telefilms. Scheduled for broadcast in fall 2004, Oprah Winfrey Presents: Their Eyes Were Watching God, based on the Zora Neale Hurston novel, will star Academy Award-winner Halle Berry.

Harpo Productions also owns and produces, the daily syndicated series, Dr. Phil, featuring life strategist Dr. Phil McGraw, Ph.D., who appeared as a regular guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show from 1998 through 2002.  Harpo Productions also produces The Rachael Ray Show.

In April 2000, Oprah and Hearst Magazines introduced O, The Oprah Magazine, a monthly magazine that has become one of today’s leading women’s lifestyle publications. It is credited as being the most successful magazine launch in recent history and currently has an audience of more than two million readers each month.

Oprah is co-founder of Oxygen Media, which was formed in November 1998 along with fellow founders Geraldine Laybourne, Marcy Carsey, Tom Werner, Caryn Mandabach. Oxygen Media includes the Oxygen Network, a women’s cable network that launched on February 2, 2000 and is currently available in 48 million homes across the country.

Majora Carter

Born: October 27, 1966   South Bronx, NY

Company: Majora Carter Group

Position: President

Industry: Consulting Services

Country: United States

Majora Carter, is president of the Majora Carter Group, a private, for-profit “green” economic consulting firm.
In 2001, after successfully shifting the Giuliani administration’s plans from more municipal waste handling to positive economic development, she founded the non-profit environmental justice solutions corporation, Sustainable South Bronx (SSBx). Her first major project was writing a $1.25M Federal Transportation planning grant for the South Bronx Greenway with 11 miles of alternative transport, local economic development, low-impact storm-water management, and recreational space. This led to the first new South Bronx water front park in over 60 years.
While needed parks are highly visible manifestations of her work, the real focus is creating intensive urban forestation, green roofing/walls, and water permeable open spaces. This robust horticultural infrastructure cleans the air, reduces urban heat island effect, efficiently manages storm water run off, calms the soul, and creates jobs – reducing poverty.
In 2003, SSBx opened the Bronx Environmental Stewardship Training program (BEST): one of the nation’s first urban green-collar job training and placement systems. After 5 years it boasts an 85% employment rate with 10% now in college. Many of these success stories were formerly incarcerated, and all of them were on some form of public assistance before completing the nationally recognized 10-week course. Her local and global environmental solutions rest on poverty alleviation through green economic development, because the local jobs they create can empower communities to resist bad environmental decisions.
She is a co-host of the Green on the Sundance Channel, a board member of the Widerness Society, SJF, and CERES, and host of a special national public radio series called “The Promised Land” (thepromisedland.org). She is currently president of the green-collar economic consulting company, The Majora Carter Group, LLC.
Born, raised, and continuing to live in the South Bronx, Majora believes you shouldn’t have to move out of your neighborhood to live in a better one, and that this notion has environmental and economic implications that span the globe.

Cathy Hughes

Born: 1947, Omaha, NE

Company: Radio One, Inc. TV One

Position: Founder, Chairman

Industry: Media

Country: United States

It is said that Hughes was turned down by 32 banks before securing a loan to buy her first radio station in the early 1980s. Struggling at first, the single mother and her teenage son literally lived at the office, cooking on a hot plate and bathing in the restroom. But she parlayed her mix of talk, political commentary, and activism into a $287 million company that owns 65 radio stations around the country.

Hughes founded the media company Radio One and later expanded into TV One, the company went public in 1998, making Hughes the first and only African-American female to head a publicly traded corporation. In the 1980s, Hughes created the very successful urban radio format called The Quiet Storm.

Desiree Rogers

Born: June 16, 1959  New Orleans, LA

Company: Johnson Publishing Company,

Position: CEO,

Industry: Media, Publishing,

Country: United States

Desiree Rogers is an American business executive who is the Chief Executive Officer of Johnson Publishing Company. In November 2008 she was selected by Barack Obama’s office as the White House Social Secretary for the incoming administration, the first person of African American descent to serve in this function. On February 26, 2010, the Chicago Sun-Times’ Lynn Sweet reported that she planned to step down.  Rogers was replaced by Julianna Smoot, former chief of staff to the U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk. Smoot was the Obama presidential campaign chief fund-raiser.  On August 10, 2010, Rogers was named CEO of Johnson Publishing Company.


Born: September 4,1981   Houston, TX

Occupation: Entrepreneur, Actress, Musician

Industry: Entertainment

Country: United States

Beyonce Knowles is an American R&B recording artist, actress and fashion designer. Born and raised in Houston, Texas, she enrolled in various performing arts schools and was first exposed to singing and dancing competitions as a child. Knowles rose to fame in the late 1990s as the lead singer of the R&B girl group Destiny’s Child, one of the world’s best-selling girl groups of all time.

In addition to being an entrepreneur, Beyoncé also makes a ton of money from sponsorships with companies such as Pepsi, L’Oreal, Emporio Armani, Samsung, American Express and DirecTV. Her net worth is currently in the neighborhood of $300 million.

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